30 Nov 2012

What Scientology Really Believe

Russian parliament to consider federal anti-gay law

Russia's parliament is to consider a nationwide ban on "homosexual propaganda", in a move activists likened to a Soviet-era crackdown.

Nine regions including St Petersburg have already passed legislation prohibiting the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" among minors. The Duma, Russia's parliament, will consider the nationwide ban on 19 December.

Russia_Gay_Rally

"This is an illegal policy of repression," said Igor Kochetkov, head of the LGBT Network, a Russian gay rights group. "It's a strange coincidence that this law will be looked at on 19 December, and on 17 December 1933, the Soviet authorities made sexual relations between men illegal. They argued that gays were alien to Soviet society. Now and then, we hear the same rhetoric."

Russia lifted its Soviet-era ban on homosexuality in 1993. Recent moves clamping down on gay rights have come amid a wider government push to promote traditional values and conservatism, often in concert with the Russian Orthodox church.

The Guardian

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Angus T. Jones vs. The "FILTH" (Is he crazy or confused?)

Angus T. Jones of 'Two and a Half Men' fame recently became a devout ultra-Christian nutjob and declared his own show, "Filth."

The Amazing Atheist

See who voted for Palestine at the UN general assembly

The UN general assembly has just voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as a state. An astounding 138 nations chose to support the path of peace and justice.

welcome palestine

Just weeks ago, the vote was expected to be much closer, with Israel and the US lobbying hard to deny Palestine key European support. But in the face of major public pressure and vigorous campaigning by the Avaaz community, countries such as France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden decided to vote yes to statehood for Palestine. In the end, just nine countries ended up on the wrong side of history: Israel, the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Avaaz

UN votes to upgrade Palestinian status

The United Nations General Assembly has voted in favour of upgrading the Palestinians status to that of a non-member observer state.

The vote was taken at a meeting of the body in New York, with 138 countries voting in favour of the upgrade. Nine countries voted against it, and 41 others abstained. Thousands of Palestinians gathered across the West Bank and Gaza to demonstrate their support for the fresh attempt by President Mahmoud Abbas to secure the status.

palestine UN

Palestinians were previously listed as a UN observer "entity" with no voting rights. The new status is an indirect recognition of the Palestinians' claims on statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. It allows them to join a number of UN agencies, as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Abbas addressed the General Assembly ahead of the vote. Abbas referenced the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, saying that Palestine had come to the UN at time when they were "still tending to [their] wounds and still burying [their] beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression".

"What permits the Israeli government to blatantly continue with its aggressive policies and the perpetration of war crimes stems from its conviction that it is above the law and that it has immunity from accountability and consequences [...] The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: Enough of aggression, settlements and occupation."

Al Jazeera English

Jailed Iranian lawyer said to drop to 95 pounds on hunger strike

Imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has dwindled down to 95 pounds as her hunger strike continues into its 42nd day, her husband said in a phone interview. Sotoudeh, who is known for defending Iranian dissidents, was convicted last year of spreading propaganda against the government and acting against national security. She faces six years behind bars at a Tehran prison and will be banned from practicing law for a decade.

EPA_IRAN EU PEACE PRIZE

Human rights groups denounced the prison sentence as an attempt to quash her activism. Before her arrest, Sotoudeh had spoken out against the unannounced execution of one of her clients. While jailed at Evin Prison, Sotoudeh has protested the restrictions placed on her husband and 12-year-old daughter, who are barred from leaving the country. Her family has also agitated against not being allowed to hug their mother on visits. In October she went on hunger strike.

“In the past 42 days she has drunk only salt water and sugar water solutions,” her husband, Reza Khandan, said in a phone interview. She weighed roughly 95 pounds the last time her family saw her. “Now she may have lost even more weight.” Sotoudeh spent 17 days in solitary confinement in punishment for her hunger strike, according to her husband, but was back in the ward with other female prisoners as of last week.

Khandan also complained that prison officials are not allowing the entire family to visit weekly, as is usually permitted. The Dutch foundation Lawyers for Lawyers sent a petition Monday to the Iranian Embassy in the Netherlands, alarmed about her deteriorating health. “Human rights lawyers do not belong in prison in the first place, and under all circumstances they are entitled to decent and equal treatment like any other prisoner,” said the group's president, Phon van den Biesen.

LA Times

Russell Howard Live

This is Russell Howard Live

29 Nov 2012

A fourth meal?

A study of one child-geared advertising campaign, launched by Taco Bell, demonstrates how perverse this marketing really is. In 2006, Taco Bell launched a campaign to convince children to eat a “Fourth Meal,” which is after dinner and before breakfast. (Essentially, the fourth meal is at the time of night when children should be sleeping or doing their homework.) 

fourth-meal

The campaign kicked off with a website showing children in their pajamas wandering around outside and eating nachos, tacos and other late-night snacks offered by Taco Bell. The foods being marketed often had more than 400 calories, placing them squarely in the meal category. But the goal isn’t just to sell more tacos; it’s actually to carve out an entire new post-dinner market where the consumer base is young children.

From: 7 Highly Disturbing Trends in Junk Food Advertising to Children on Alternet

Also see Is Fourth Meal Really Necessary? on Pink & Black

Extreme Peace

British ex-Defense Minister, Lord Gilbert, has threatened militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan with a neutron bomb. The UK could create "cordons sanitaire along various borders where people are causing trouble", he said.
"Your Lordships may say that this is impractical, but nobody lives up in the mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan except for a few goats and a handful of people herding them," Lord Gilbert said unveiling his plan to the House of Lords.
"If you told them that some ERRB warheads were going to be dropped there and that it would be a very unpleasant place to go, they would not go there," he added. "You would greatly reduce your problem of protecting those borders from infiltration from one side or another."
The remarks came in the midst of a Thursday debate over eliminating nukes across the world. Enhanced Radiation Reduced Blast (ERRB) warheads, or as simply put neutron bombs are a type of a weapon that kill people while leaving buildings intact.

RT Global Report

Zwarte Piet is a racist relic, so why is it part of the modern Dutch celebration?

Winter is coming. Christmas decorations adorn its shopping streets. Christmas is not yet foremost in Dutch people’s minds though, as it is preceded by the Sinterklaas celebration on December 5th. In The Netherlands, the festival provides an excuse to get together for creative gift giving, eating sweets and reading poetry. More importantly, however, is the omnipresence of its two main characters, Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) in Dutch streets and other public places. These characters are either depicted in imagery or enacted by predominantly white volunteers adorned with black face paint, red lips and black curly wigs. The public display of a white saint (Sinterklaas) and his jolly black helpers (Zwarte Piet) occupying almost every public space is a continuous defamation of people of colour – especially those of African descent – a project started in the 19th century.

sinterklaas en zwarte pieten

During the 1800s, when the print industry reached its peak, black figures were commonplace in popular Dutch illustrations known as the volksprent. Serving as educational and entertainment material, they often depicted black people as the “noble savage” or the servant boy. Similar images featured prominently in Sinterklaas children’s literature of the time. Zwarte Piet - known as ‘Peter my servant’ (‘Pieter me knecht’) until the 20th Century - developed from a bogeyman that threatened naughty children, into a clownish fool. Today, this character remains intact and either largely unquestioned or fiercely defended by the Dutch majority.

ZwartePiet protest

In fact, as the celebration is a national tradition, criticism is often perceived as a threat to Dutch culture in general. Addressing its racist elements, for example by wearing a t-shirt that states “Zwarte Piet is Racism” during the televised national arrival of Sinterklaas, is considered threatening to such an extent that it led to the violent arrest of artists Quinsy Gario and Kno’ledge Cesare who wore t-shirts bearing the statement. Their unlawful detention, on the 12th November 2011, for six and a half hours included exposure to repeated remarks from police officers that: “this is our Dutch tradition” – a tradition two young black men are not entitled to criticise.

The Independent

28 Nov 2012

Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin live at the Royal Albert Hall 1970

Atheists they are sending themselves to hell

What Mormons Really Believe

and What Jehovah's Witnesses Actually Believe

Graham Nash plays for Bradley Manning

On Oct. 26 2012, in Santa Monica, CA, Graham Nash of "Crosby, Stills and Nash" fame played for over an hour at a benefit for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. The video contains his live performance of "Almost Gone," as well as discussion of his support for Bradley Manning. Visit www.bradleymanning.org to learn more about Bradley's case,

27 Nov 2012

Christian group says demon sex makes you gay

The reigning scientific consensus on sexual orientation is that it’s an inherited, biological trait, but that’s just because scientists don’t know how to party. A far sexier explanation has been offered up by Christian magazine Charisma, which conducted its own investigation into the origins of homosexuality to reveal the real culprit: sex with demons.

succubus

“Can demons engage in sexual behaviors with humans?” the magazine asks. Why yes, they can! At least according to the article’s primary source, a former stripper-turned-ministry leader named Contessa Adams. Adams shares her decades-long struggle with demon sex, sparing no horrible, sexy detail:

These spiritual rapists, as Adams describes them in her book, Consequences, often prey on people by performing sexual acts through nightmares and erotic dreams. Some people become so dependent upon these demonic experiences that they actually look forward to them.
“Anybody that has been attacked by them will tell you … they’re worried [that] they could not find that pleasure with mortal people,” says Adams, who claims she was once possessed by sexual demons.
The two most identifiable sexual demons are the incubus, which is a male sexual demon that traditionally assaults women, and the succubus, which is a female sexual demon that assaults men. Sometimes they also lure people into homosexual behavior.

Adams says the succubus spirit that used to attack her confused her so much that she contemplated becoming a lesbian.

Salon.com

How the ITU could put the internet behind closed doors

26 Nov 2012

Cold War-era U.S. plan to bomb the moon with a nuclear bomb

It may sound like a plot straight out of a science fiction novel, but a U.S. mission to blow up the moon with a nuke was very real in the 1950s. At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America's Cold War muscle. The secret project, innocuously titled 'A Study of Lunar Research Flights' and nicknamed 'Project A119,' was never carried out. However, its planning included calculations by astronomer Carl Sagan, then a young graduate student, of the behavior of dust and gas generated by the blast.

project-A119

Viewing the nuclear flash from Earth might have intimidated the Soviet Union and boosted U.S. confidence after the launch of Sputnik, physicist Leonard Reiffel told the AP in a 2000 interview. Reiffel, now 85, directed the inquiry at the former Armour Research Foundation, now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He later served as a deputy director at NASA.

The author of one of Sagan's biographies suggested that he may have committed a security breach in 1959 after revealing the classified project in an academic fellowship application. Reiffel concurred. Under the scenario, a missile carrying a small nuclear device was to be launched from an undisclosed location and travel 238,000 miles to the moon, where it would be detonated upon impact.

Mail OnlineWikipedia

Jesus wept … oh, it's bad plumbing

When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.

jesus in mumbai

Now he is calling for European governments to press Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy.

"There is a huge contradiction in the content of the Indian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the blasphemy law from 1860 under then colonial rule," Edamaruku told the Guardian in an interview in Dublin.

"This blasphemy law can affect anyone in India – even a girl recently who wrote on Facebook against closing down a city because of the death of a famous local politician. She was prosecuted under the blasphemy law and another girl who 'liked' her comment on Facebook was also arrested and then charged with blasphemy."

More on The Guardian

Did Kentucky Town Fight Off Aliens In 1955?

A mysterious event back in 1955 inspired some of Hollywood's most famous movies, including E.T. and Poltergeist. The event? A Kentucky family claimed to have been visited by aliens from outer space. They said that for four hours, they fought off the aliens by shooting at them. Back in 1955, everyone thought the Sutton family was crazy. The family claimed to have been visited by a flying saucer and creatures they described as small goblins. And the Sutton story has never wavered - even 55 years later.

Illustrations by Pfc Gary F Hodson of the 101st Airborne Division

Geraldine Sutton Stith wasn't yet born when her father had the unexplained encounter. "They were keeping it hid from us if you want to know the truth about the whole thing," she said. It happened, her father Elmer Lucky Sutton one day explained to her, on the night of August 21, 1955. "The family actually battled with something for that long a period of time," said Stith. They battled for several hours. They ran to Hopkinsville to get help. Then they battled again until 5:15 in the morning.

"It was like a horror movie. These little suckers were like being shot and being hit and coming back," she said. Word spread like wildfire all over the area that a spaceship from Mars loaded with aliens had landed in the yard of the Sutton home on the northeast side of Kelly. Local historian William Turner was a teenager at the time, and says the story turned the town upside down.

"The media descending upon Hopkinsville," said Turner. "The involvement the military via Fort Campbell. The participation by the state police." The story gripped the imagination of the country, says Turner. But is it true? Geraldine says of course it is. "These were quiet people that didn't want nobody messing in their business," she said. "And, something happened. Something visited them that night.' Police said there was no evidence the family had been drinking, and no evidence ever proved their story wrong either.

LEX18.com - Lexington, Kentucky

25 Nov 2012

India's clothing workers: 'They slap us and call us dogs and donkeys'

Workers making clothes that end up in the stores of the biggest names on the British high street have testified to a shocking regime of abuse, threats and poverty pay. Many workers in Indian factories earn so little that an entire month's wages would not buy a single item they produce.

india-factory

Physical and verbal abuse is rife, while female workers who fail to meet impossible targets say they are berated, called "dogs and donkeys", and told to "go and die". Many workers who toil long hours in an attempt to support their families on poverty wages claim they are cheated out of their dues by their employers.

The allegations, which will be of concern to household names including Gap, H&M, Next and Walmart, were made at a human rights tribunal in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. The "national people's tribunal for living wages and decent working conditions for garment workers" was convened to investigate widespread human rights abuses in the garment industry.

The Observer

Tv Preachers Exposed

A needful documentary exposing the false religious leaders of the TV world; last day filthy lucre; false ideas of Godhood; false ideas of prosperity; false healing and more.
They promise health, wealth, and prosperity in exchange for your donations; but in reality, televangelists become filthy rich, while the people who support them remain poor, sick, and misfortunate!

24 Nov 2012

Sterilize the Palestinian people, Dutch writer says with Israeli ambassador listening

On the night a ceasefire came into effect ending eight days of Israeli slaughter that left 162 people, the vast majority unarmed civilians, dead in Gaza, Dutch columnist and author Leon de Winter proposed adding chemicals to Gaza’s water supply to sterilize the population.

Leon-de-Winter

The website PowNed reported that de Winter "made his proposal for forced eugenics yesterday evening in Amsterdam at a solidarity meeting of Dutch Jews," and that the speech by de Winter was broadcast this morning by Dutch mainstream and publicly-funded Radio 1.

PowNed said: De Winter responded in his speech to the accusations of genocide leveled against Israel, saying that the population of Gaza had only increased over the last few years. "Maybe we should secretly add some means of birth control to Gaza’s drinking water," De Winter proceeded to propose.

The suggestion was met with roaring laughter by the public. Among the participants that evening were the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Hiam Devon, and the cheerful leader of the [religious ultra-conservative] SGP party, Kees van der Staaij.

De Winter blogged until 2008 on the mainstream liberal news site Elsevier. He is also an "an adjunct fellow" at the Hudson Institute, a right-wing American think-tank. While de Winter, known for his "humor," might have intended his suggestion as some sort of sick joke, the reported reaction suggests that the audience were only too ready to mock an already dehumanized population.De Winter’s comment fits neatly with Israel’s racist conception of Palestinians as a "demographic threat" simply because they are not Jews.

Uruk Net

Rondo Capriccioso

Camille Saint Saens preformed by Janine Jansen

The complete idiots guide to atheism

23 Nov 2012

‘Where’s my wife?’ Electronic SMS tracker notifies Saudi husbands

Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.
Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

saudi women

The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.
“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

Al Arabiya - The uprising of women in the Arab world Facebook

Israel's War on Truth

Abby Martin highlights the Israeli Military's bombing of media buildings and targeting of journalists, including the RT office in Gaza, and calls out the Israeli government to for making veiled threats to RT's headquarters in Moscow.

Read the Masks. Tradition Is Not Given.

This film is a critical response on the Dutch tradition Zwarte Piet.

The Bad Touch

Bloodhound Gang

22 Nov 2012

West Papua - The secret war in Asia

The forgotten land of West Papua is under brutal Indonesian military occupation. Its tribal people are being slaughtered, and their unique environment destroyed. But the world is doing nothing to stop it. In 1963, in violation of international law, Indonesia occupied and colonised the West Papuan homeland in the western part of New Guinea. Since that tragic event the West Papuans are asking for a fair referendum about their independence. At least 100.000 indigenous people lost their lives in this secret war.

Free West Papua

The First Lady silent on Syria's human rights record

The First Lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad has long portrayed herself as a champion of women and children's rights in Syria. For example, in 2008 she gave a speech to women from around the world and promote the need for human rights. In February 2011, shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian popular protests, Asma al-Assad was interviewed by Vogue for a highly controversial profile piece. She was described as the "rose in the desert" but the interview did not mention Syria's abysmal human rights record. For the last ten months of bloodshed in Syria, Asma al-Assad words now sound hollow against the continuous brutalities committed by the Syrian security forces.
It is time to remind Asma al-Assad to speak out for women's rights defenders who work to protect the future for all Syrian children.

www.amnesty.org

Religion

Dylan Moran

21 Nov 2012

The Voice of Peace

The Voice of Peace was Israel's first offshore radio station. It lasted for 20 years from 1973 to 1993.

In 1973, Abie Nathan founded the Voice of Peace radio station. He bought a ship with the help of John Lennon,named it the "Peace Ship", and sailed it outside Israeli territorial waters. The station broadcast 24 hours a day, mostly English-language programs that mainly included popular music, while promoting Nathan's political activities. At the same time, he was involved with disaster relief in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Biafra, Colombia, and Ethiopia. In another anti-war protest, he presided over the burial of smashed military toys.

On 1 October 1993, economic and legal difficulties forced Nathan to close the Voice of Peace station. One of the reasons for closing was that, with the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, Nathan felt that his message for peace and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians had been spread. The Peace Ship was scuttled on 28 November 1993.

Weapon Of Choice

Fatboy Slim (ft. Christopher Walken )

Tolkien Estate Sues Warner Bros. Over 'Lord of the Rings' Slot Machines

Mere weeks before the release of the first film in the long-anticipated big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit, the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien has sued the film's producers, claiming they are overstepping their rights when it comes to merchandising the property and The Lord of the Rings.

tolkien-slot

In an $80 million lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the Tolkien estate and its book publisher HarperCollins claim that Warner Bros., its New Line subsidiary and Rings/Hobbit rightsholder Saul Zaentz Co. have infringed the copyright in the famous books and breached a contract. The crux of the suit is the estate's contention that a decades-old rights agreement entitles the studio to create only "tangible" merchandise based on the books, not an "online slot machine" or other digital exploitations that the estate calls highly offensive.

Read the full lawsuit here.

Hollywood Reporter

Melbourne bus racist abuse video puts Australian attitudes on trial

Police in the Australian city of Melbourne are investigating the racist abuse of a French-speaking woman travelling on a bus in which she was told by a man to "speak English or die". The verbal abuse, captured on video by another passenger, shows a second man threatening to cut the woman with a knife.

"I'll fucking boxcutter you right now, you bitch, if you talk to my missus like that," said the male passenger, who was pushing a baby buggy, during the footage, which sparked national discussion on the level of racism in Australia. To varying degrees all Australian states and territories have laws against racial vilification.

Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, has large migrant communities and the spread of the video is a setback for the image it cultivates of being Australia's most culturally sophisticated metropolitan centre. Media outlets described the incident as "shocking" and an ugly racist attack. One columnist described the perpetrators of the abuse as idiots who were being "caught on camera to their shame, and to our international embarrassment".

The Guardian

The Life of Monty Python

Also see “The Life of Brian

Why Privacy Matters

Privacy International asked lawyers, activists, researchers and hackers at Defcon 2012 about some of the debates that thrive at the intersection between law, technology and privacy. We also wanted to know why privacy matters to them, and what they thought the future of privacy looked like. This video is a result of those conversations.

20 Nov 2012

Massive Israeli Strike-back on Gaza Strip

TheYoungTurks

Irish priests say they will disobey new confession box law on child abuse

Irish priests have vowed to defy a new law forcing them to report details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional box. Ireland’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter is to introduce new legislation which will force the clergy to reveal all details disclosed in confession. But priests have vowed to defy the law despite the threat of a 10-year jail sentence after the introduction of the mandatory reporting legislation.

confession

The 800 strong Association of Catholic Priests has even told the Irish Independent newspaper that its members will flout the Shatter law. Spokesman Fr Sean McDonagh told the paper: “I certainly wouldn’t be willing to break the seal of confession for anyone -- Alan Shatter particularly.” Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field said: “The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that’s the end of the matter.”

Under the new law, every person in the state is obliged to report suspected sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults to police.

IrishCentral

Faith Fail

The Atheist Experience TV Show

19 Nov 2012

In His Final Speech Ron Paul Warns Of “Continuous March Toward Fascism”

In an over 45 minute long marathon address on the House floor yesterday, American Congressman Ron Paul said farewell after a 36 year long career in politics, including 23 years in office. And he did so with a stark warning to lovers of liberty everywhere.

“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.” Paul urged.

Ron_Paul_Sign

“All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” the congressman continued.

The Congressman described the federal government as “bloated, corrupt and wasteful”, adding that “Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed.”

“The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.” Paul added.

“Legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,’ Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.” the congressman said.

He added that sadly, many people do not realise the value of liberty, noting “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,”

InfoWars

Russia’s leap in Internet control

The Russian government this month began implementing a new Internet filtering policy, including a blacklist of banned Web sites. The policy is supposedly about protecting Russian minors from material about suicide, drugs or child pornography. But human rights advocates warn that the policy is intended to silence legitimate, independent speech in one of the last venues Russians have for it. Russian investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan reported on Wired.com that the technology required to enforce the blacklist would give the government the infrastructure it needs to monitor Russian Internet activity on a massive scale, “spying on millions of Russians.” This is a leap in Internet control; not merely bullying Internet service providers or shutting down Web sites, the authorities appear to be moving to dig deeply into the data stream.

putin internet

Reporters Without Borders points out that the blacklist is only one of many new policies in a broader rollback of Russians’ freedom. The state is curbing the use of technologies to evade Internet censorship and may soon further restrict “blasphemy.” Libel has become a crime. Leaders of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, promise more to come. Most disturbing, the legislature has voted to redefine “high treason” in a way that would vastly expand the universe of people whom the state could charge, possibly including journalists, activists and others who may be a danger to Mr. Putin’s regime but are no danger to Russia itself.

The Washington Post

As IDF strike kills entire family in Gaza, Israel is starting to get in trouble

The horrifying pictures that emerged Sunday evening from the home of the al Dalou family in central Gaza are liable to be the Palestinian version of the Lebanese village of Kafr Qana. Just as the pictures showing the results of the Israeli bombing of Kafr Qana in July 2006 changed the face of the Second Lebanon War and turned world public opinion against the Israeli operation, in the same way the bombardment of the house in Gaza and the killing of all 12 of its residents is liable to elicit Arab, European and, above all, American pressure on Israel to stop the aerial attacks immediately.

dalou familly

Among those killed in the house were five women, four children and three men. Al Jazeera television repeatedly broadcast the pictures of the bodies of the four children, who were 2 to 5 years old, lying next to each other in the hospital in Gaza on Sunday.

The live broadcasts from the house focused on documenting the attempts to rescue survivors from the ruins, but the cameras recorded only the discovery of another body there. Those pictures were broadcast all over the Arab world, on the eve of the arrival of an Arab League foreign ministers’ delegation, which was supposed to bring with it a cease-fire agreement. We can assume that just as in 2006, when Hezbollah retracted its intention of agreeing to a cease-fire in the wake of the Kfar Qana incident, this event too will only cause Hamas to toughen its positions toward Israel, in light of very sympathetic Palestinian and Arab public opinion.

One indication that the campaign in Gaza is starting to get into trouble, as far as Israel is concerned, is the constant increase in the number of casualties among Palestinian civilians. Even before the al Dalou family, reports about casualties among children, women and the elderly have been increasing over the past two days, while harm caused to militants from Hamas or other organizations has been relatively limited.

Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Shocking!

18 Nov 2012

Frontier Psychiatrist

The Avalanches - Also check out the official YouTube channel of The Avalanches

What's The Harm?

We are all confronted with new information daily. It comes to us via newspapers, radio, television, websites, conversation, advertising and so on. Sometimes it seems like a deluge.

Not all information is created equal. Some of it is correct. Some of it is incorrect. Some of it is carefully balanced. Some of it is heavily biased. Some of it is just plain crazy.

What's The Harm

It is vital in the midst of this deluge that each of us be able to sort through all of this, keeping the useful information and discarding the rest. This requires the skill of critical thinking. Unfortunately, this is a skill that is often neglected in schools.

This site is designed to make a point about the danger of not thinking critically. Namely that you can easily be injured or killed by neglecting this important skill. We have collected the stories of over 670,000 people who have been injured or killed as a result of someone not thinking critically.

We do this not to make light of their plight. Quite the opposite. We want to honor their memory and learn from their stories.

We also wish to call attention to the types of misinformation which have caused this sort of harm. On the topics page you will see a number of popular topics that that are being promoted via misinformation. Many of them have no basis in truth at all. A few are based in reality, but veer off into troublesome areas. We all need to think more critically about these topics, and take great care when we encounter them.

Many proponents of these things will claim they are harmless. We aim to show that they are decidedly not.

Please check out the list of topics and read what interests you.

What's The Harm?

Co-Host of the "The View" doesn't know if world is round

Here in the middle of a discussion of god on TheView, they start discussing evolution. They all believe in god but also in evolution, except for Sherri Shepherd who believes that the bible is the literal word of god. They then later ask her if the world is round or flat, and she doesn't know, as she've never checked.

17 Nov 2012

Anti-Atheist Comments Debunked

The Prince and the Pedophile

Fresh on the heels of the fallout from revelations regarding former BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile and his unbelievably sickening and innumerable instances of child molestation as well as the “look the other way” approach taken by the BBC, more and more questions are now emerging in regards to the connection between Savile and British Royalty, most notably Prince Charles.

Jimmy-Savile-Prince-Charles

At least, more questions should be emerging.
Unfortunately, however, the British mainstream media is deeming Prince Charles and the rest of his ilk in positions of power and perceived genetic royalty as if they are beyond reproach. This approach is typical and to be expected, yet it is also highly ironic considering the fact that such is the same position the mainstream media took with the allegations against Jimmy Savile for so many years.
As a result of the Savile affair, mainstream outlets, particularly the BBC, now have a lot of egg on their faces in the areas of credibility and respect.In short, any connections placing Prince Charles in an uncompromising position regarding his connections with Savile or his potential for sharing a penchant for unnatural relationships with children is being completely ignored if not officially covered up.
Although Prince Charles’ friendship with Jimmy Savile, allegedly begun when the two met in the 1970s during the course of working with children’s wheelchair sports charities, is now well-known, the extent to which the Prince and the Pedophile were connected appears to go much deeper than the mainstream media reports let on.

Full story on Activist Post

Bus Driver Refused To Board Vehicle With Gay Rights Billboard

A British bus driver kept his passengers waiting for 20 minutes after refusing to board the vehicle because it featured a gay rights message on the side.  The unnamed driver would not get on the X78 from from Rotherham to Sheffield, which bore a billboard for gay lobby group Stonewall, reading: "Some people are gay. Get over it!".
Passengers sat and waited while the driver argued loudly with colleagues and customers.

british bus

Among those on the bus was Rebecca Neill, 25, from South Yorkshire, who had boarded the 5.25pm service at Rotherham and had just taken her seat when the row began.
She said: "Once the driver had let us on the bus he was meant to be swapping with another driver, but when his replacement wouldn't get on they just left us there while they had an argument outside.” There were quite a few passengers arguing with him and several drivers as well. Someone was shouting at him: 'You can't do that, it's disgusting.'
"Then another driver got on and explained what was going on. He apologised and said that the poster wasn't acceptable to this Christian, but that he didn't agree with what the guy was doing."

The Huffington Post

Deaths as Israel expands air assaults on Gaza

An Israeli air strike killed four Palestinians in the central Gaza Strip, medics said, with Palestinian security sources confirming that at least three of them were Hamas fighters. The Israeli army, meanwhile, said that three soldiers were injured by a rocket fired from Gaza, with military sources adding they were "inside a building" when it happened.

Gaza bombed

Saturday's deaths raised the overall death toll in Gaza to 38 as a relentless Israeli air campaign against Gaza fighters entered its fourth straight day. "Three men died in an Israeli air strike on Maghazi camp in central Gaza," said emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya. A Palestinian security source told AFP that all three were from the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. Medics said another person was killed in a strike on a motorcycle in the Tel al-Sultan neighbourhood of the southern city of Rafah.

Israel expanded its fierce air assault on rocket operations in the Gaza Strip, striking Hamas government and security compounds, tunnels and electricity sources after an unprecedented rocket attack aimed at the holy city of Jerusalem raised the stakes in its violent confrontation with armed Palestinians. Israeli aircraft on Saturday also kept pounding their initial targets, weapons-storage facilities and underground rocket-launching sites.

Al Jazeera English

Nigeria Poised to Pass 'Jail the Gays' Bill

A draconian bill was introduced in Nigeria's Assembly that would ultimately jail Nigeria's gay citizens and anyone who supported them if it becomes law. All Out joined Nigeria's lesbians, gays, and allies by calling upon Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan to veto the bill should it pass its final reading in the Assembly this month.

african gay

The bill would make it a crime for gays and lesbians to get married, to witness a gay marriage, or for an affirming churches to perform a gay wedding. Gays and lesbians who marry will face 14 years in prison.

Any public displays of affection, such as holding hands, or even looking at each other affectionately could result in a 10-year jail sentence. Whether the participant is gay or straight, anyone who organizes or becomes a member of a "gay club" or supports a gay organization financially could also face jail time.

Joe Mirabella on Huffington Post

15 Nov 2012

The Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Israel Escalates Assault On Gaza Strip after Assassination Of Top Hamas Commander. Jihan Hafiz reports on the on-going military action in Gaza

More on the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza on The Real News

Woman who was refused an abortion has died

Irish health chiefs have launched investigations following the death of a woman in a Galway hospital after she was refused an abortion.
Savita Halappanavar, a dentist aged 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she died after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia.

a-ABORTION-PROTEST

The woman’s husband Praveen Halappanavar, 34, claimed she had complained of being in agonising pain while in University Hospital Galway.
He has said that doctors refused to carry out a medical termination because the foetus’s heartbeat was present.
Mr Halappanavar has claimed that following several requests by his late wife for a termination, they were told: “This is a Catholic country.”
The woman’s death is expected to spark a backlash against the Government for failing to reform health laws to allow abortion if the life of the mother is in danger

Irish Examiner

Mamamia

14 Nov 2012

The Harp Sponge

In this video we describe a new species of carnivorous sponge, Chondrocladia lyra from the deep-sea off California. C. lyra is called the harp sponge because its basic structure, called a vane, is shaped like a harp or lyre. Each vane consists of a horizontal branch supporting several parallel, vertical branches.

Invertebrate Biology

Google report reveals sharp increase in government requests for users' data

Government surveillance of citizens' online lives is rising sharply around the world, according to Google's latest report on requests to remove content and hand over user data to official agencies.

In the first six months of this year, authorities worldwide made 20,939 requests for access to personal data from Google users, including search results, access to Gmail accounts and removal of YouTube videos. Requests have risen steeply from a low of 12,539 in the last six months of 2009, when Google first published its Transparency Report.

Authorities made 1,791 requests for Google to remove 17,746 pieces of content in the first half of 2012, almost twice as many as the 949 requests made in the same period last year, and up from 1,048 requests made in the last six months of 2011.

"This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: government surveillance is on the rise," Google said in a blogpost.

google

One of the sharpest rises came in requests from Turkey, which held an election on 12 June 2011. Google reported a 1,013% rise in requests from Turkish authorities in the latest reporting period, including 148 requests to remove 426 YouTube videos, Blogger blogs, one Google document and one search result. The contested items allegedly criticised Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (the first president of Turkey), the government or "national identity and values". Google restricted Turkish users from accessing 63% of the YouTube videos. It did not remove the other content.

The US accounted for the most requests, as it has consistently since the report was launched. US authorities asked for private details of Google users on 7,969 occasions, up from 6,321 in the last reporting period. The number is more than a third of the 20,938 requests for users' details worldwide. Google fully or partially complied with 90% of those requests.

Over the six months, Google was asked to remove seven YouTube videos that criticised local and state agencies, police and other public officials. It did not comply with these requests.

The Guardian

Hillary Clinton : We created Al-Qaeda

In this video Hilary Clinton admits that the US government created and funded Al-Qaeda in order to fight the soviet union, and she even considers that as a good thing.

Banana Republic

The Boomtown Rats (1980)

13 Nov 2012

Radical jihadist leader threatens to bulldoze the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza

The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are now the target of a radical Salafist jihadist leader. Murgan Salem al-Gohary, 50, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, told Egyptian media that the historical landmarks are 'idolatrous' and must be destroyed. The threats are being taken seriously as ten years ago Gohary helped smash a pair of giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan.

Egypt_Pyramids

Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said Gohary is a jihadist leader with links to the Taliban, reported the Jerusalem Post. 'The idols and statutes that fill Egypt must be destroyed. Muslims are tasked with applying the teachings of Islam and removing these idols, just like we did in Afghanistan when we smashed the Buddha statues,' Gohary said in a Saturday night television interview, according to al-Masry al-Youm.

Mail Online

The Petraeus Affair and the Benghazi Cover-up

The resignation of the director of the CIA and one of America's most decorated military commanders David Petraeus has dominated headlines and air-time in American media recently. But while his extramarital affair's been in the spotlight, the real cause for concern are the ramifications for the country as a whole.

New Rules

Bill Maher had some fun in this Friday's edition of New Rules with everyone from the wingnuts who doubted Nate Sliver's math, to Sean Hannity, to Ted Nugent and Victoria Jackson, to Fox News and their fearmongering about the New Black Panther Party.

Is pampered humanity getting steadily less intelligent?

Since modern humans emerged from the evolutionary brambles of our ancient ancestry, our bodies and minds have been transforming under the pressures of natural and sexual selection. But what of human intelligence? Has our cognitive ability risen steadily since our forebears knapped the first stone tools? Or are our smartest days behind us?

Dumb-And-Dumber

Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford University in California, bets on the latter. He believes that if an average Greek from 1,000 BC were transported to modern times, he or she would be one of the brightest among us. Our intellectual prowess has probably been sliding south since the invention of farming and the rise of high-density living that it allowed, he claims.

The Guardian

12 Nov 2012

All-star jam

Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley's - All-star jam (1985)

Petraeus scandal timeline scrutinised as Congressional hearing looms

The dramatic downfall of CIA chief David Petraeus has given rise to political intrigue in Washington as a drip-feed of details concerning his clandestine affair mixes with serious questions over the timing of the resignation.

paula_broadwell_david_petraeus

Over the weekend it emerged that his relationship with biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by FBI agents while they investigated harassing emails she allegedly sent to a second woman, who was named on Sunday by the Associated Press as Jill Kelley, a state department military liaison.

The scandal comes at a particularly sensitive time. Petraeus had been due to give evidence before a Congressional body this coming Thursday concerning the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans were killed, including America's ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. It is now thought that Petraeus will not attend the session, robbing politicians of the opportunity to question an "absolutely necessary witness", according to Peter King, chairman of the House homeland security committee.

The Guardian

Why Did CIA Director Petraeus Suddenly Resign … And Why Was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Murdered? (InfoWars)

11 Nov 2012

Christian Conservatives Failed

Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them.

They are reeling not only from the loss of the presidency, but from what many of them see as a rejection of their agenda. They lost fights against same-sex marriage in all four states where it was on the ballot, and saw anti-abortion-rights Senate candidates defeated and two states vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Mourn Romney

It is not as though they did not put up a fight; they went all out as never before: The Rev. Billy Graham dropped any pretense of nonpartisanship and all but endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Roman Catholic bishops denounced President Obama’s policies as a threat to life, religious liberty and the traditional nuclear family. Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition distributed more voter guides in churches and contacted more homes by mail and phone than ever before.

faith and freedom

“Millions of American evangelicals are absolutely shocked by not just the presidential election, but by the entire avalanche of results that came in,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Ky., said in an interview. “It’s not that our message — we think abortion is wrong, we think same-sex marriage is wrong — didn’t get out. It did get out.

“It’s that the entire moral landscape has changed,” he said. “An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.”

NY Times