97 Atheism & Humanism News Articles
from 4th Quarter of 2015
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
12-31-15 Death for Bangladesh blogger killers
Death for Bangladesh blogger killers
Two students have been sentenced to death in Bangladesh for the killing of an atheist blogger there in 2013. Six others were convicted of involvement in the murder of Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death as he was returning home from a rally in the capital, Dhaka. A five-year sentence was given to the head of Ansarullah Bangla, the group suspected of carrying out the attack. Five more secular bloggers and writers were killed in Bangladesh in 2015.
12-28-15 Can right-wing populism be stopped?
Can right-wing populism be stopped?
All of them agree on three points: First, that Trump's campaign is a populist reaction to the economic decline of the white working class. Second, that Trump is exploiting the anger sparked by this decline for his own purposes. Third, that a more conscientious response would involve the Republican Party proposing a series of policies to address the interests and anxieties of these angry white working-class voters.
12-26-15 Searching for Vadim Kozin, the Soviet tango king
Searching for Vadim Kozin, the Soviet tango king
The Tragic Life of a Gay Superstar Singer.Vadim Kozin was one of the most famous singers in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, but in 1944 he disappeared - banished to Siberia. Half a century later the British singer, Marc Almond, heard some surviving recordings and became a devoted fan. Together, he and I set out to discover the story of Kozin's long and strange life.
12-24-15 Iran hostage crisis: Victims 'to be compensated' 36 years later
Iran hostage crisis: Victims 'to be compensated' 36 years later
The US victims of the Iran hostage crisis are to receive compensation 36 years after their ordeal, reports say. Each of the 53 hostages or their estates will receive up to $4.4m (£3m), according to a US spending bill passed last Friday. (Webmaster's comment: Yet America refuses to compensate the Japanese-American citizens imprisoned in American prison camps during WWII, the victims of American Government and Military run medical experiments, the American victims of forced sterlization against their will, the American victims of forced genital mutilation against their will, the victims of American torture programs; the list of American attrocities against the innocent and violations of Human Rights is very long and hardly anyone is ever compensated, and no one is ever punished.)
12-23-15 US relatives seek answers over UK family's travel ban
US relatives seek answers over UK family's travel ban
A Californian relative of a British family which was refused entry to the United States for a holiday has told the BBC the US government must explain its actions. Mr Mahmood, a US citizen who runs an auto repair shop in San Bernardino, said he could think of no reason why his relatives would represent a threat to the country and called on his government to explain its actions. "They can get away with anything by saying national security… and you cannot even challenge that," he told BBC News, adding, "there is no check and balance."
12-23-15 Muslim family's halted Disneyland trip is raised with PM
Muslim family's halted Disneyland trip is raised with PM
Labour MP Stella Creasy has called on the prime minister to challenge the US after a UK Muslim family was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles. The family of 11, from Ms Creasy's Walthamstow constituency, had planned a holiday to Disneyland but were stopped at Gatwick Airport on 15 December. Mohammad Zahid Mahmood said his family was given no reason why US officials had refused to allow them to board. Ms Creasy has written to the prime minister urging him to press the US authorities on what she said was "a growing problem" of British Muslims being barred from the US without explanation. She said she had "hit a brick wall" in her own attempts to get answers from the US embassy. "It is not just the family themselves who are livid. The vacuum created by a refusal to provide any context for these decisions is fuelling resentment and debate," she said. (Webmaster's comment: The American Anti-Muslim sickness is increasing. Freedom and Liberty? Not for Muslims it seems!)
12-22-15 What happens when a lesbian reporter covers a pray-the-gay-away convention
What happens when a lesbian reporter covers a pray-the-gay-away convention
How writing about a conversion-therapy minister from Texas and his I-swear-I’m-cured-of-it young son taught me about compassion. I was driving to work when I saw the first billboard assuring me I could change. It was winter on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and the wetlands buffeting the highway sparkled every so often with the fall of another cast net capturing bait. Just beyond the McDonald’s, where the drive-thru was already aglow with the headlights of morning breakfast orders, was the blown-up photo of an Adonic man with a confident smile beside the message: “I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How.” I spotted another billboard, nearly identical to the first, just past Texas City’s mini-metropolis of petrochemical plants. Only this time it was a smiling woman. Both listed a website called Love Won Out.At my desk that morning, rather than shifting through emails from sources or story assignments from my editors, I went to the billboards' website. Love Won Out, I learned, was a conference run by Focus on the Family that tours the country every year teaching "the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable." I read that phrase out loud to my coworker. “Just because I am a lesbian doesn’t mean I can’t cover this fairly and objectively. I’m a Democrat and that’s never an issue when I cover a story about the Republican Party.”
12-21-15 Can drug courts stop overdose deaths in heroin epidemic?
Can drug courts stop overdose deaths in heroin epidemic?
New Hampshire's court system and emergency services are being overwhelmed by a heroin epidemic - but is locking up addicts the answer? In the second part of the BBC's series on the epidemic, Franz Strasser visits a so-called drug court where non-violent offenders are put into treatment programmes rather than sent to prison. These courts exist in just half of the state's counties, however, and the treatment services can only help a fraction of those who are addicted to either heroin or legal painkillers.
12-21-15 Does behavioral economics show people are altruistic or just confused?
Does behavioral economics show people are altruistic or just confused?
Behavioral economists have revolutionized the standard view of human nature. No longer are people presumed to be purely selfish, only acting in their own interest. Hundreds of experiments appear to show that most people are pro-social, preferring to sacrifice their own success in order to benefit others. That's altruism. If the interpretations of these experiments are true, then we have to rip up the textbooks for both economics and evolutionary biology! Economic and evolutionary models assume that individuals only act unselfishly when they stand to benefit some way. Yet humans appear to be unique in the animal kingdom as experiments suggest they willingly sacrifice their own success on behalf of strangers they will never meet. These results have led researchers to look for the evolutionary precursors of such exceptional altruism by also running these kinds of experiments with non-human primates. But are these altruism experiments really evidence of humans being special? Our new study says probably not.
12-22-15 US FDA partially lifts gay men blood donation ban
US FDA partially lifts gay men blood donation ban
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow gay men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year - lifting a 30-year ban. Some gay activists called the one-year rule discriminatory, but it matches policies in other counties including the UK, Australia and Japan. The ban was put in place at the start of the Aids crisis during the 1980s. Groups that handle blood donations lobbied for the change, calling the ban on gay donors "medically unwarranted".
12-22-15 US drops lifetime ban on gay men donating blood
US drops lifetime ban on gay men donating blood
Men who have sex with men can now give blood – as long as they haven't had sex within the last year. Blood donation guidelines in the US are becoming more inclusive. On 21 December, the US Food and Drug Administration recommended that gay and bisexual men should be permitted to donate blood – provided they haven’t had sex in over a year. Although clinics can still decide whether to follow the recommendations, the change brings the FDA into line with regulatory bodies in the UK and Australia. Men who have sex with men have been “indefinitely deferred” from donating blood in the US since 1983. Despite blood banks screening all donations, the controversial policy was brought in as a response to the risk of HIV transmission via transfusions. The FDA cited recent epidemiological data as the motivation for the change.
12-21-15 Unlikely face of heroin epidemic in small town America
Unlikely face of heroin epidemic in small town America
Drug-related deaths have soared in New Hampshire, where an influx of cheap heroin has claimed victims from every section of society. The state is facing an epidemic of addiction and overdoses. Voters in the state, which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in February, say drugs are now their biggest concern. In the first of a two-part series, the BBC's Franz Strasser explores the origins of the epidemic and the devastating impact it's having on families and communities.
12-21-15 Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack
Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack
A group of Kenyan Muslims travelling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups, according to eyewitnesses. They told the militants "to kill them together or leave them alone", a local governor told Kenyan media. At least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border. (Webmaster's comment: Muslims can be just as good as any Christian.)
12-21-15 Malawi 'suspends' anti-homosexual laws
Malawi 'suspends' anti-homosexual laws
Malawi has imposed a moratorium on anti-homosexual laws pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu has said. A review of all colonial-area sodomy laws will be launched in consultation with the people of Malawi, he added. Mr Tembenu also ordered the release of two men charged with having sex "against the order of nature". One human rights activist describes the move as a step in the right direction. However, many Malawians are not happy with the decision and religious leaders have asked the government not to relent to pressure from Western donors by allowing same-sex relationships.
12-18-15 Victims of U.S. Experimentation
Victims of U.S. Experimentation
The syphilis experiments in Guatemala were United States-led human experiments conducted in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948, during the administration of President Truman and President Juan José Arévalo with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. Doctors infected soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, without the informed consent of the subjects, and treated most subjects with antibiotics. This resulted in at least 83 deaths. In October 2010, the U.S. formally apologized to Guatemala for conducting these experiments.(Webmaster's comment: Guatemala wants to compensate the families of the victims, but the U.S hasn't offered anything. Nor has it ever charged the U.S. officials and doctors involved with any crime. We'll do these crimes again too, just like Germany did them to the Jews.)
12-18-15 Praying not right for anyone but Christians
Praying not right for anyone but Christians
A group of Wisconsin parents claim that a schoolbook about an Afghan girl’s fight against the Taliban is indoctrinating their kids into Islam. Nasreen’s Secret School tells the true story of a girl who defied the Taliban by going to school. But parents object to a passage describing her praying to Allah. “These things shouldn’t be brought up,” said district PTA president Sherri Keene. (Webmaster's comment: A girl shows remarkable courage and Christian extremists full of hate attack her for praying!)
12-18-15 The great American middle class has become an anxious class
The great American middle class has become an anxious class
“The great American middle class has become an anxious class—and it’s in revolt. The odds of falling into poverty are frighteningly high, especially for the majority without college degrees. Two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most could lose their jobs at any time.The anxious class feels vulnerable to forces over which they have no control. They’d support a strongman who’d promise to protect them from all the chaos. Who’d save jobs from being shipped abroad, slam Wall Street, stick it to China, get rid of people here illegally, and block terrorists from getting into America. A strongman who’d make America great again—which really means make average working people safe again. If not Donald Trump, then it will be someone else posing as a strongman.” (Webmaster's comment: To Hell with human rights, they want another Hitler.)
12-18-15 When facts no longer matter
When facts no longer matter
What is true and what is not? Thanks to the explosive growth of “the ‘alternative’ information ecosystem,” fringe views have gone mainstream, and the truth is whatever you prefer to believe. Do you believe that vaccines cause autism? That the elementary school massacre at Sandy Hook was “a false flag” operation staged by the government to promote gun control? That sharia law will soon be imposed in the U.S.?You can find “proof” of these nutty notions on hundreds of websites, blogs, newsletters, talk-radio shows, and partisan cable networks. A bogus video, erroneous chart, or phony story “passed from peer to peer on Facebook” often has more credibility than the mainstream media’s attempts to correct the record. No one has exploited the post-factual era more expertly than Donald Trump, who routinely recycles crackpot information from the web’s most feverish swamps. When caught in a lie, he shouts, “Media bias!” He recently even claimed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the Obama administration. Robert Mason, a University of Washington professor who has studied false information, sums up our new reality this way: “If you say it loud enough or long enough, people will believe it.” (Webmaster's comment: The people that don't believe in reality are mentally ill and should be institutionalised in a mental hospital for their own safety as well as ours.)
12-18-15 The ugliness of Trump’s Muslim ban
The ugliness of Trump’s Muslim ban
Donald Trump is ISIS’s best friend in America, said Mohamad Bazzi in The Straits Times (Singapore). In the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., the Republican front-runner last week called for a “total and complete” ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., saying Muslims have a hatred for America that is “beyond comprehension.” This reprehensible proposal is “part of a growing trend of Islamophobia that is making life difficult for the 3 million Muslims in the U.S.” All Muslims are now seen as potential terrorists and inherent enemies of America. That’s a propaganda victory for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, “confirming the group’s message that the West is an evil, hostile land where Muslims are unsafe and where they will be persecuted simply for being Muslim.” To date, American Muslims have been much less likely than European Muslims to radicalize, because they have been much better integrated into society. Isolate them in an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust, though, and that could change.
12-18-15 Affirmative action: Should blacks go to ‘lesser’ colleges?
Affirmative action: Should blacks go to ‘lesser’ colleges?
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his acerbic wit and his commitment to an “originalist” reading of the Constitution, said Peniel Joseph in Newsweek. But we now know that he also harbors “the kind of bold-faced belief in white supremacy thought to have ended with formal racial segregation.” While hearing arguments in the case of a white applicant suing the University of Texas for its affirmative action policies, Scalia wondered aloud if UT “ought to have fewer” black students, and if blacks are better off at a “slower-track school where they do well.” Scalia’s bigoted remarks are “simply astonishing,” said Steve Nelson in HuffingtonPost.com, and echo the “separate but equal” standard established by his 19th-century predecessors on the court. As Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor: “It is deeply disturbing to hear a Supreme Court justice endorse racist ideas from the bench.”
12-18-15 US President Barack Obama makes Guantanamo closure plan
US President Barack Obama makes Guantanamo closure plan
President Obama is delivering a year-end address before heading to San Bernardino to visit families bereaved by the terror attacks. The speech and the trip to California are his last scheduled appearances before going to Hawaii for holiday until the new year. Mr Obama said it was his expectation by early next year to have reduced the prison population at the camp in Cuba to below 100. He said he will present a plan to Congress to close it, keeping back the threat of using his executive powers if Congress rejects it. "Guantanamo continues to be one of the key magnets for jihadi recruitment." (Webmaster's comment: Close this example of American prison camps and torture atrocities!)
12-18-15 Is it fair to punish prisoners with horrible food?
Is it fair to punish prisoners with horrible food?
New York prisons are to stop punishing inmates with a type of food known as "nutraloaf" or "the loaf", in a change to the state's solitary confinement policy. But what's in a loaf, and is it ever fair to punish prisoners by downgrading their food? Nutraloaf. Disciplinary loaf. Prison loaf. Special management meal. The loaf. The blended and often baked block of food, served in some US prisons as a punishment for bad behaviour, comes in a number of guises. There is no single recipe. (Webmaster's comment: Americans do everything they can to assure that criminals that go into prisions will come out of prisons again as criminals!)
12-18-15 Trump's Image Didn't Take a Hit After Muslim Ban Proposal
Trump's Image Didn't Take a Hit After Muslim Ban Proposal
Donald Trump's image among the overall U.S. population has trended up, not down, after his Dec. 7 recommendation that the U.S. prevent Muslims from coming into the country. The statement was met with extraordinary controversy -- even for Trump -- and most of his fellow Republican candidates, along with Democratic leaders, denounced it. Clearly, it would not have surprised many observers if Trump's image had taken a hit as a result. But we can reject that hypothesis, at least based on data we have collected so far. Trump had a negative image among American adults to begin with, but it became slightly less so after his pronouncement, rather than more so. In the two weeks leading up to and including Dec. 7, Trump had a net favorable score among national adults of -27, based on a favorable percentage of 32% and an unfavorable percentage of 59%. That improved slightly to a net favorable of -22 (34% favorable, 56% unfavorable) for the nine days from Dec. 8 to Dec. 16. (Webmaster's comment: We need to take down the Statue of Liberty. 1/3 of Americans no longer support the values it represents. They no longer believe in what it stands for: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." 1/3 of Americans now hate without reason all non-whites and all non-christians. A perfect power base for Fascism!)
12-16-15 US Muslims reel at Trump supporters' hostility
US Muslims reel at Trump supporters' hostility
Surrounded by banners proclaiming Islam's respect for America and promotion of tolerance, freedom and democracy, they talked about the violence, the backlash and about Donald Trump. The Republican presidential candidate responded to the killings in San Bernardino by proposing the suspension of all Muslim immigration to the US, a statement that sent chills up Muslim spines. Such language, he argued, would "fan the flames of hate and lead us down the very path that our enemies want to see us go". There is a weary feeling here about the cycle of events; a violent attack followed by an expectation that the Islamic community will publicly restate a commitment to peace. "It is just inconsistent," he says, "we're not mentioning it when people are being gunned down by white supremacists, by people with distorted ideologies in this country who go into the theatres, who go into the schools, who go into the abortion clinic, who went into the church." In other words, why are such killers rarely referred to as Christian extremists, even when they claim to be driven by Biblical teachings?"We would be safe if we just referred to criminals as criminals, murderers as murderers without putting religious titles on them," says Mr Seifullah who argues that Mr Trump's response to San Bernardino has "given people approval" to be racist and bigoted, "to think that it's OK to discriminate against one group of people over another." Half a century after "intense civil rights struggles," he warns, "we can go back to that. There are people who are embracing his rhetoric and that's frightening."
12-16-15 Americans More Worried About Terrorism Than Mass Shootings
Americans More Worried About Terrorism Than Mass Shootings
More Americans are "very" or "somewhat" worried that they or a family member will become a victim of an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack (47%) than they are about becoming a victim of a mass shooting (38%). But a majority of Americans say they are not worried about either potential event. Republicans are more worried than Democrats about mass shootings and terrorism. (Webmaster's comment: Mass shootings by angry white males have killed 50 times what the few attacks by terrorists have in the last 10 years. Americans are worried about the wrong group of people. Their odds of being killed by a white male with some stupid grudge against someone else are much greater.)
12-16-15 How Donald Trump channeled doom and gloom to win the GOP debate
How Donald Trump channeled doom and gloom to win the GOP debate
The Republican candidates are in a sour, gloomy mood. At Tuesday night's debate, the contenders promised increasingly extreme responses to ISIS-related terror, draining the evening of all levity. And Donald Trump's persistent lead in the polls this deep into December has the whole field restless. The debate saw Ted Cruz and Rand Paul attacking Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush attacking Trump. The mood of the event was something like this: It's midnight in America. At the debate: There was Donald Trump's promise to kill innocent family members. There was the moderator Hugh Hewitt's bizarre question to Ben Carson about whether he had the ability to give orders that would kill not just scores, but thousands of innocent children as collateral damage. Carson himself implied that a refusal to fight ISIS in the Levant would mean ISIS may one day fight us in America. Ted Cruz, who had recently implied he would nuke ISIS and see if the sand glows, said he would enact "targeted carpet-bombing," which is rather like calling for a pin-prick bazooka. (Webmaster's comment: Raw and naked evil proposals by fascists. They would turn us into monsters just as Hitler turned the German people.)
(Webmaster's comment: Nuking the ISIS controlled cities is a totally INSANE idea. There are over 30 cities under ISIS control. Millions, if not tens of millions, of absolutely innocent men, women and children would die. Millions more innocents would die the slow horrible death of radiation poisoning afterwards. We would also be killing the very people that are fighting ISIS, the good people. And ISIS is not a group that will just "surrender" because we kill a lot of them. They are a broad-based ideological movement. They would still be entrenched in the rural areas and small towns. And we would have given ISIS the greatest recruiting tool imaginable. The world would now rightfully hate us. We would never be able to wash the blood off our hands. We would have become even more evil than them.)
12-16-15 Family portraits of a 'transitional generation'
Family portraits of a 'transitional generation'
This year, the US Supreme Court made the landmark decision to legalise same-sex marriage across the US. But residents of Massachusetts had already been given marriage rights in 2004 - though without any of the federal benefits they received after the Supreme Court decision. Photographer Jeannie Sims revisited many of the families who first married in Massachusetts 11 years ago, along with other gay couples who had married since then. The result is a collection of family portraits that offer a look at gay marriage in the US today.
12-16-15 Locked up for 23 years - when the real killer had already been jailed
Locked up for 23 years - when the real killer had already been jailed
DAmerica imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than anywhere else in the world, and Louisiana more than anywhere else in America. It is estimated that 14 out of every 1,000 adults in the state are in prison. This is the story of one of them, Robert Jones, who was jailed in the 1990s for killing a young British tourist in New Orleans. It was a crime another man had already been convicted of, but he was prosecuted anyway. The JUDGE who sentenced the young father to life in prison now says his skin colour sealed his fate.But even today, more than 23 years after he was arrested, Robert Jones is still not a free man. (Webmaster's comment: Land of the free? Not if you're not white!)
12-15-15 Life Behind Bars
Life Behind Bars
The padlocked, yet often productive, lives of prisoners in America. America has a prison problem. The land of the free is not only the world's largest jailer, but also dishes out sentencing lengths significantly longer than those in other developed nations. What happens between the time prisoners surrender their independence and take their next breath of freedom? Here, a look behind the bars and into the lives of America's inmates. (Webmaster's comment: Pretty pictures are not the truth. The sheer brutality of life in the American prison system is not in these pictures. Prison gangs, beatings, and rapes are not shown. Rehabilitation such as successfully used in Europe is almost unheard of. Revenge and Retaliation does not cure the crime problem, it only creates more dedicated criminals.)
12-14-15 The twilight years of an ancient fraternity
The twilight years of an ancient fraternity
Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest fraternal organization. While the group has roots in medieval Europe, it has a long history in America, too. The fraternity, generally speaking, is built around bettering men and women. Members gather in Masonic Temples (lodges and meeting halls) all over the world. But what goes on there isn't usually privy to outsiders. There was a time when young men eagerly tried to join this illustrious group. But today, the fraternity struggles to attract new members. The historic secrecy may be part of the problem.
12-12-15 US strike on Afghan Kunduz clinic 'killed 42', MSF says
US strike on Afghan Kunduz clinic 'killed 42', MSF says
Much of the clinic was destroyed after being struck by more than 200 shells in less than an hour. Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) says a US attack on its clinic in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 42 people - far more than first reported. The medical charity had earlier said at least 30 people died in the 3 October attack by a US military gunship. MSF said the figure was revised after a detailed investigation, complicated by the extensive damage to the clinic. A US military inquiry said the attack was the result of "human error" but MSF has called it a war crime. (Webmaster's comment: Terrorizing the civilian population by killing the innocent is a favorite United States military tactic used when they have not been able to defeat the enemy in combat.)
12-11-15 How they see us: When Muslims are mass shooters
How they see us: When Muslims are mass shooters
It would have been just another American mass shooting, said The Express Tribune (Pakistan) in an editorial, except the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin. Yet Muslim terrorists remain an anomaly in the U.S., said The Nation (Pakistan). White men have “committed the vast majority of mass attacks on U.S. soil” since 9/11. Why, then, has the U.S. political and policing response to terrorism “disproportionately focused on Muslim communities”? Such a reaction is both unfair and dangerous. America should direct its “anti-terror and counter-radicalization programs toward the proliferating homegrown white terrorism”—and not at innocent Muslim Americans. A backlash in the U.S. is now inevitable, said Elmaz Abinader in AlJazeera.com. America was already experiencing a surge in Islamophobia before this attack, thanks to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is “ramping up suspicion and hatred of all things Muslim.” In Fredericksburg, Va., a Muslim citizen recently presented a proposal to expand the Islamic center there, only to be shouted down with cries of “You are all terrorists.” Gun shops are declaring themselves to be “Muslim-free zones,” in a “kind of discrimination that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since the ‘white-only’ signs of the mid-20th century.” After San Bernardino, things will surely get worse. American Muslims can only wait and brace themselves. They “know what is to come.” (Webmaster's comment: History has shown what happened to the Jews due to Christian hatred. The Muslims are Next!)
12-11-15 Citadel: US college suspends cadets over 'KKK' hoods
Citadel: US college suspends cadets over 'KKK' hoods
A top US military college says it has suspended eight cadets seen in photos wearing pillowcases resembling hoods worn by the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. John Rosa, president of the Citadel college, said he found the images "offensive and disturbing". The cadets wore the hoods and all-white clothing as part of a Christmas skit. The Citadel Minority Alumni Association shared one of the photos on its Facebook page, calling it a "disgrace". In it, seven cadets are seen wearing the pillowcases. Another cadet is also seen with them. Founded in the aftermath of the US Civil War, the KKK is notorious for targeting black people with lynchings and cross burnings. "These images are not consistent with our core values of honour, duty and respect," said Mr Rosa in a statement. An investigation is underway.(Webmaster's comment: Thanks to Trump: THEY'RE BACK!)
12-11-15 Gun rights are not absolute
Gun rights are not absolute
Lots of Americans believe that “regulating guns in virtually any way violates the Second Amendment,” said Sonja West. They are unquestionably wrong. “Constitutional rights are not absolute,” and all are subject to numerous restrictions. Take the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech. Your speech is not protected if it contains a threat of violence, is deemed to be obscene, reveals classified or military secrets, plagiarizes, or falsely damages someone’s reputation. In its 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court held that individuals have a right to possess firearms, but in his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “The right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and said the ruling should not “cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms” or laws that impose “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Despite NRA propaganda, in other words, nothing in Heller or the Constitution stops the government from adopting “sensible gun regulations,” such as universal background checks, bans on military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, or laws prohibiting the sale of guns to violent offenders, the mentally ill, or terrorists. Those decisions are up to us.
12-11-15 Road map of awareness could help us rouse unconscious people
Road map of awareness could help us rouse unconscious people
We now know exactly which brain pathways control whether someone is awake or unconscious. The road map of conscious awareness has been deciphered. Now that we know which brain pathways control whether someone is awake or unconscious, we may be able to rouse people from a vegetative or minimally conscious state. In 2007, researchers used deep brain stimulation to wake a man from a minimally conscious state. It was quite remarkable, says Jin Lee at Stanford University in California. The 38-year-old had suffered a severe brain injury in a street mugging six years earlier. Before his treatment he was unable to communicate and had no voluntary control over his limbs. When doctors stimulated his thalamus – a central hub that sends signals all around the brain – his speech and movement gradually returned. However, attempts to treat other people in a similar way have failed. The problem lies with the crudeness of the technique. “Deep brain stimulation is done without much knowledge of how it actually alters the circuits in the brain,” says Lin. The technique involves attaching electrodes to the brain and using them to stimulate the tissue beneath. Unfortunately, the electrodes can also stimulate unintended areas, which means it is hard to work out exactly what is happening in people’s brains.
12-10-15 *Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer
*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer
Apologies to self-help authors. A huge study suggests there is no link between being happy and living longer. Call it the optimism fallacy. It’s widely thought that staying happy and stress-free helps keep you healthy. But a massive study on the link between mood and mortality suggests that happiness actually has no effect on death rates. Other research that has found the opposite must have been mixing up cause and effect, says epidemiologist Richard Peto of the University of Oxford. “It’s likely that being ill makes you unhappy, rather than the other way round.” The power of positive thinking has passed into folklore, helping to fuel a large self-help industry – not to mention people who like to post “inspirational” quotes on social media. Some cancer bloggers complain that common advice to “fight” their illness by staying cheerful can be unhelpful. “Forcing optimism may have its own negative consequences,” says Gayle Sulik, who writes the “Pink Ribbon Blues” blog. “The emotional work to display optimism when a person does not feel it may add to stress.
12-4-15 Trump: Has he descended into fascism?
Trump: Has he descended into fascism?
Hyperbolic cries of “Fascist!” have been part of the rough-and-tumble of American politics for generations, said Jamelle Bouie in Slate.com, but let me say it plainly: “Donald Trump is a fascist.” From the very start of his unlikely campaign, Trump has been offering up the noxious blend of nationalism, belligerence, xenophobia, and authoritarianism that defined the fascist movements of the 20th century. With instinctive brilliance, he has tapped into the keen sense of humiliation and emasculation felt by so many Americans, thrilling them with promises to mass-deport illegal immigrants and “Make America Great Again” through the sheer force of his personality. With growing arrogance, he’s suggested he might require the mass registration of Muslims, tripled down on the utterly false assertion that he watched TV footage of traitorous Muslim-Americans celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and gleefully called for terrorist detainees to be tortured, even “if it doesn’t work.” The charge of fascism isn’t just coming from Democrats, said Heather Parton in Salon.com. Republican presidential candidates John Kasich, Jim Gilmore, and (through a spokesman) Jeb Bush have also started “using the F word” about their party’s possible nominee. So are conservative columnists such as Max Boot. Fascist is “not a term I use loosely,” Boot tweeted. “But he’s earned it.”
Republicans now have a real dilemma, said Michael Tomasky in TheDailyBeast.com. If party leaders and other candidates join together to denounce Trump, they’ll essentially be “calling one third of their voters fascist”—losing their support in the general election. So they’re paralyzed. But the GOP isn’t alone in its anguish. We’ve actually reached the point in American history where we’re seriously debating whether one of the major parties’ leading presidential candidates “is or is not objectively a fascist.” That’s a big problem, and it should worry all of us.
12-4-15 Mass Shootings This Year
Mass Shootings This Year
There have been at least 351 mass shootings in the U.S. in the first 334 days of this year, defined as incidents in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire. There were at least 12 in the previous week alone, including the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. Having access to a firearm almost doubles one’s chances of becoming the victim of a homicide, and triple’s one’s likelihood of killing him or herself. And we know that states with the highest rates of gun ownership have the highest rates of gun murders. The same is true of countries—more guns equal more gun deaths. The incidence of mass shootings has tripled over the past four years, a period that coincided with 37 states’ loosening their restrictions on owning and carrying guns. Of the 372 mass shootings this year (final FBI total) less than 2% involved shooters with Muslim beliefs and less that 4% involved women shooters. More than 80% of the shooters were white males. At least 60% of those were Christians.
12-1-15 US marine guilty of Filipina transgender killing
US marine guilty of Filipina transgender killing
A court in the Philippines has found a US marine guilty of killing a transgender woman. Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of killing Jennifer Laude in a hotel room in Olongapo city, north-west of Manila, last year. Pemberton will face between six and 12 years imprisonment. The case has strained ties between the US and the Philippines, a former US colony where the Americans have a significant military presence.
12-1-15 Planned Parenthood shooting: Who are the victims?
Planned Parenthood shooting: Who are the victims?
Planned Parenthood shooting: Who are the victims? This case is tragic but it is also controversial, having provoked debate across the US, not least among candidates for the presidency, about Planned Parenthood's controversial role in providing foetal tissue for research. This was not the first attack on one of its clinics and the group says poisonous political rhetoric is inciting domestic terrorism, a charge rejected by its critics. (Webmaster's comment: It is White Christian Terrorism Pure and Simple. Where's the so-called Love and Forgiveness in these terrorist acts? It's time Christians stopped remaining silent and CONDEMN these acts. These are acts like one would expect of ISIS.)
11-30-15 Republicans bristle at criticism of Planned Parenthood rhetoric
Republicans bristle at criticism of Planned Parenthood rhetoric
Republican presidential hopefuls have denounced the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting, but they dismiss allegations from the left that their recent condemnations of the nation's largest abortion provider may have provoked the attack.
11-28-15 Planned Parenthood: Three die in shooting at Colorado clinic
Planned Parenthood: Three die in shooting at Colorado clinic
A shooting at a family planning clinic in Colorado Springs has left two civilians and a police officer dead, with the suspected gunman under arrest. Nine other people were injured during the standoff at the Planned Parenthood clinic, which lasted five hours before the suspect surrendered. A number of people were trapped inside the building as shots were exchanged. The motive remains unclear. The Planned Parenthood group has drawn anti-abortion protests in the past. (Webmaster's comment: Please note that this was not a terrorist attack by a Muslim. This was another mass shooting attack by an American white male.)
11-27-15 A new clue in the psychology of a terrorist
A new clue in the psychology of a terrorist
How belief in God makes a fighter's adversaries seem less menacing. The psychology of a terrorist is, needless to say, complex, sometimes baffling. But a new study may provide an important clue to the violent fanatic's mindset. It finds people perceive threatening adversaries as less formidable when they have God or other supernatural forces on their mind.Presuming that's true of Islamic terrorists, this perception could make the fighters more confident in their ability to fend off anyone who might get between them and their targets. These results support "the growing literature that religious cognition can potentiate aggression by attenuating the perceived threat that enemies pose," writes a research team led by University of California–Los Angeles anthropologist Colin Holbrook. Spirituality, the researchers note, can inspire "both belligerence and peaceful coexistence." This appears to be one way it promotes aggression.
11-27-15 Trump’s escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric
Trump’s escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric
House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates took strong stands this week against allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S., with Donald Trump making a series of incendiary anti-Muslim statements that provoked outrage from both liberals and conservatives. The real estate mogul, who remains far ahead in Republican presidential polls, said that to prevent a Paris-style Islamist attack on American soil he’d consider closing mosques and creating a database to track the country’s Muslims. “We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago,” he said. Trump later backtracked, insisting he’d been talking about keeping mosques under surveillance, and creating a database of Syrian refugees. The billionaire businessman also said that, as president, he’d order security services to waterboard captured terrorists, and repeated the disproved rumor that crowds of Arab-Americans in New Jersey openly celebrated the felling of the twin towers on 9/11. “It was on television, I saw it,” he told ABC’s This Week. “I know it might not be politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as those buildings came down.” No such TV images ever existed.The rhetoric out of the U.S. is positively frightening, said Jorge Camil in El Universal (Mexico). The front-runner for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump, had already revealed his “racist hatred for Mexicans” with his plan to round up and deport 11 million undocumented people, including children, with a new “Gestapo-like” immigration police force. Now he is railing against Syrian refugees and claiming that thousands of Muslim-Americans publicly celebrated the 9/11 attacks—an outright lie. Is America giving itself over completely to xenophobia? Reality checks, after an analysis by political polling guru Nate Silver concluded that the number of Republican voters who support Donald Trump represents just 6 to 8 percent of the overall electorate. That’s roughly the same number of Americans who believe that the Apollo moon landings were faked. Of the 68 people who have been indicted in the U.S. in connection with ISIS, three were refugees or asylum seekers; none came from Syria. About 80 percent were U.S. citizens.(Webmaster's comment: America has become a nation of FEAR. But it's not the Muslims or Syrian refugees they should fear, but the white Christians with guns behind 90% of the mass shootings in just the last two years which have killed over 500 people, many of which have been school children. We are fearing the wrong group.)
11-27-15 The troubling violence at Trump rallies
The troubling violence at Trump rallies
When a Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked at a Donald Trump rally in Alabama last weekend, the GOP front-runner’s response was typically unapologetic, said Dara Lind. “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump told Fox News. “Maybe he deserved to get roughed up.” Even for Trump, it was a shocking statement: In a nation where free speech is the cornerstone of the Constitution, no one should be assaulted for protesting at a political rally. But Trump’s fans have a nasty habit of getting “physical with protesters,” with his overt or tacit approval. Trump’s security goons dragged one Latino protester out of a rally in Miami, and “sucker-punched” another protester in New York City. This summer, a Boston man beat a homeless Hispanic man nearly to death with a metal pole, and then told cops he’d been inspired by the billionaire businessman’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Trump’s response? His supporters, he said, are “very passionate.” In keeping with its authoritarian mindset, the Trump campaign has now taken to penning in journalists at rallies, to keep them from mixing with his supporters. Apparently, Trump doesn’t want reporters to witness those who disagree with him getting beaten into silence.
11-25-15 America's foreign policy God complex
America's foreign policy God complex
Yet Clinton's speech and Kagan's essay manage to inspire very little confidence. Both are deeply mired in a delusion that began to spread through the American foreign policy establishment at the end of the Cold War and has risen to complete dominance since 9/11. This is the delusion that the United States can and should act as the world's "indispensable nation," leading not just the "free world" but the entire world, using "smart power" to get numerous powerful, independent nations to do exactly what we think must be done to enforce global order as we conceive it. The really astonishing thing about this delusion is its persistence — its capacity to withstand abundant evidence that it is wildly unrealistic. Even after the messy conclusion of the Gulf War. And the endlessly forestalled and ultimately indecisive outcome in Afghanistan. And the long, hard, bloody slog in Iraq. And the mess of the Arab Spring. And the anarchy in Libya. And the rise of ISIS from the chaos of the Syrian civil war. Even after all of that, the most intelligent and accomplished candidate for president and the most thoughtful neoconservative analyst continue to believe it's possible for the United States to treat the world as its personal plaything. If this isn't a God complex, then I don't know what is.
11-24-15 Donald Trump's alarming skid toward outright fascism
Donald Trump's alarming skid toward outright fascism
As of August, Trump had most of the ingredients for a fascist movement: the victim complex, the fervent nationalism, the obsession with national purity and cleansing purges, and the cult of personality. He was missing the organized violence, a left-wing challenge strong enough to push traditional conservative elites into his camp, support for wars of aggression, and a full-bore attack on democracy itself. He's made much progress on all but the last one. Conditions are clearly fertile to start organizing a Trumpist paramilitary wing, a key fascist institution. A pack of heavily armed white nationalist militants recently popped up at a mosque in Irving, Texas, announcing their intention to intimidate local Muslims. Trump's personal security squad is already made up of goons, assaulting people and threatening reporters. With an incomprehensible number of guns floating around the country, all Trump needs is a Röhm to get the organizing started — except probably with Carhartts and camouflage instead of imitation military uniforms. Yet the seeds he is sowing are poisonous indeed. Violent white nationalism has not been so effectively mainstreamed since the 1920s. If Trump wins the nomination and the economy turns down next year, I'd give him a decent chance of victory. Even if he is only a sort of "fascist idiot savant" without much true organizing ability or program, he clearly has a good instinct for the basic psychological impulses underlying previous fascist success. It's time to start taking this seriously.
11-24-15 Why nuclear Armageddon is a very real danger
Why nuclear Armageddon is a very real danger
Since the end of the Cold War, the world has largely forgotten about nuclear weapons. Yet the United States still has 1,597 nuclear weapons deployed on submarines, aircraft, and missiles, the majority of them pointed at Russia. Russia has 1,582 nuclear weapons deployed — the majority aimed at the United States. Tensions between the United States and Russia are the highest they've been in more than 20 years. Differences over Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, intervention on behalf of Syria's Assad regime, and support for other unpopular, authoritarian governments have pushed the two countries farther apart than they've been in decades. Is the flurry of nuclear tests linked? Almost undoubtedly. Russia advertised that it was ready for nuclear war, and then the United States did the same. If tensions between the two continue to rise, we'll almost certainly see a renewed interest in keeping a larger proportion of missiles in both countries on regular alert — ready to fire. Instead, accidental nuclear war — particularly in times of crisis — has always been the most likely way a nuclear war would start. Under intense pressure to use nuclear weapons before they are destroyed by an enemy's first strike, a country may "launch on warning" — a warning that could turn out to be phony.
11-22-15 George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
This week, one US mayor lauded the Japanese internment camps which imprisoned US citizens and residents during World War 2. A family that lived in such a camp responds. Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, Virginia, doesn't want any Syrians resettled in his community. He even lauded the internment camps many Japanese Americans were confined to during World War 2. "President Franklin D Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real," he wrote in a statement. Numerous people have decried the mayor for his words - including the fact that the Japanese interred in camps were US citizens, not foreign nationals. On Friday, Mr Bowers apologised. (Webmaster's comment: Just as I said only two days ago. Identified, labeled, and IMPRISONED, and all that follows. We have already moved from identifying and labeling to discussing putting innocent men, women and children in prisons based on their country of origin, race or religious beliefs. This is right out of the Nazi playbook. The Neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan, and other white supremacist hate groups must be getting ready to dance in the streets and start the killing. Many Americans seem to have no concept of human rights whatsoever.)
11-20-15 College protesters aren't the real threat to America's liberal values. Rabid Islamophobes are.
College protesters aren't the real threat to America's liberal values. Rabid Islamophobes are.
Reality check: America's insane debate over Syrian refugees this week really ought to put these complaints about liberal students in perspective. Since the attacks in Paris, America has broken into a frenzy of Islamophobic political hysteria. The leading Republican presidential candidate has proposed a raft of literally Nazi-esque policies, and tiptoed up to even more. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill ordering a "pause" in the admittance of new refugees. (President Obama has promised a veto.) Donald Trump is the worst offender, of course. Mainstream pundits have been predicting his demise for months now. But as Greg Sargent points out, it's pretty clear what's driving his support: anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry. And in the last couple days, he has wildly ratcheted up the proposals for political repression of refugees and American Muslims, and simultaneously increased his lead in the polls: What's really striking is how the ante keeps getting increased with abandon. First Trump said he would "strongly consider" closing some mosques in America in response to the attacks. Then that morphed into the suggestion that we would have "absolutely no choice" but to take such steps.Trump continues to say that President Obama wants to bring 250,000 Syrian refugees to the United States, and when pressed to justify this claim, he brushes off such queries by attributing the number to a "pretty good source." Trump also says Republicans should be willing to stage a government shutdown fight to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees here. Yahoo's Hunter Walker published an interview with Trump in which the candidate promised to deport any Syrian refugees currently in-country (about 2,000, mostly children and elderly people), and would not rule out the idea of forcing all American Muslims to wear special identification or be registered in a nationwide database.(Webmaster's comment: This is right out of the 1941 Nazi requirements for Jews.) "[S]ecurity is going to rule...we're going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago." That would be violently unconstitutional.And it's reminiscent of some very dark times. Close their religious institutions, force them to wear special identification? I think I've heard of that before somewhere. (Webmaster's comment: This is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. We are moving towards a Religious-Nazi State where members of disapproved belief systems are identified, labled, imprisoned, and soon enough tortured and even worse. Atheists would probably be next. YES, it can happen here! Just listen to the hysteria on social media!)
11-20-15 Trans man: 'Learning to love my body'
Trans man: 'Learning to love my body'
Growing up near Boston, Massachusetts, Tony Zosherafatain was raised as a girl named Antoinette. "I was assigned female at birth, but that's not the gender that I ever identified with," Tony says of his childhood when Antoinette played ice hockey and was considered a tomboy. He struggled for years with his gender identity, but didn't learn the word transgender until leaving home for university. He came out as a trans man to his family and friends when he was 22, the same year he began to physically transition. "It's not a choice," Tony says. "It's really a matter of survival to change your body."
11-18-15 Bolivian President Evo Morales apologises for lesbian jibe
Bolivian President Evo Morales apologises for lesbian jibe
Bolivian President Evo Morales has apologised for joking about the possibility of Health Minister Ariana Campero being a lesbian. He said he had no intention of offending anyone and respected sexual diversity. Ms Campero, a 29-year-old doctor, has been the subject of similar comments by other senior Bolivian politicians. Mr Morales made the comments during an official ceremony in the northern province of Beni. He noticed Ms Campero was talking to another woman and was not paying attention to his speech. Mr Morales interrupted his speech and said: "I don't want to think that you're a lesbian. Listen to me."
11-17-15 Earth has enough groundwater to raise sea levels by 52 metres
Earth has enough groundwater to raise sea levels by 52 metres
But only small proportion of this, perhaps as little as 1.5 per cent, is renewable and available for human use. (Webmaster's comment: That's only 170 feet. So much for Noah's flood. It needed to be at least 14,400 feet to put the Ark on Mount Ararat. 170 feet is only 1.2% of what's needed. )
11-17-15 Australia's first Muslim Party aims for senate seats
Australia's first Muslim Party aims for senate seats
Australia's first party representing Muslims intends to contest senate seats at the next federal election. Launching the party in Sydney, founder Diaa Mohamed told Fairfax he wanted a louder voice for Muslims. "There are a lot of parties out there to specifically oppose Islam and Muslims, yet Muslims don't have any official representation," he said. Australia has a number of anti-Islam parties, including one backed by Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
11-13-15 Mormons plan 'mass resignation' over policies for gay people
Mormons plan 'mass resignation' over policies for gay people
A group of Mormons have planned a "mass resignation" after leaders changed church policies regarding gay people. The rules, which were not meant to be made public, say children living with a gay parent cannot be baptised until they are 18 and only when they renounce homosexuality. The new rules also say members can be expelled from the church if they enter into a gay marriage. Both liberal and conservatives Mormon groups have criticised the the changes.
11-13-15 Utah judge reverses his ruling on lesbian parents
Utah judge reverses his ruling on lesbian parents
A Utah judge has reversed his decision to move a baby from its lesbian foster parents and place it with a heterosexual couple. Judge Scott Johansen had said it was for the eight-month-old girl's "well-being" that she be with heterosexual parents. Officials from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services had said they would fight Mr Johansen's ruling. His prior decision spurred criticism across the country.
11-13-15 Sixteen of the 31 ministers in new Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s first cabinet chose to swear in without the religious oath “so help me God.”
11-13-1545% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans living with a same-sex partner are now married, up from 38% who reported being married in June. That means that approximately 972,000 Americans are currently in a same-sex marriage. Gallup
11-12-15 Utah judge orders child removed from care of lesbian couple
Utah judge orders child removed from care of lesbian couple
A judge in the US state of Utah has ordered that a foster child be removed from the care of a lesbian couple and placed with a heterosexual family. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services is searching for ways to challenge Tuesday's decision. In an interview with a local television news station, the couple said that the judge referred to research that children are better off when they are raised by heterosexual parents. The two are part of a group of same-sex married couples whom the state of Utah has allowed to become foster parents in the wake of last summer's US Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the US.
11-12-15 Meet the Peruvian Rasta behind a landmark case for the right to grow weed
Meet the Peruvian Rasta behind a landmark case for the right to grow weed
Paz, 29, is one of around 100 practicing Rastafarians in Peru. Smoking marijuana is a sacred ritual for him, his way of communing with Jah, as the religion of black liberation founded in Jamaica calls God. He is taking a landmark case to Peru's Supreme Court, one that could establish the right of Rastas and other cannabis users here to grow their own pot. That would be a significant step for Peru, an avid fighter in the United States-backed global drug war. It would follow this month's stunning pot news in Mexico, whose Supreme Court ruled one group has the right to grow and use marijuana. But it also touches on a huge problem. Mass incarceration for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses has increased across Latin America, and studies show it's doing zero to stop the drug trade.
11-11-15 Could an atheist win the White House? It's not as crazy as you might think.
Could an atheist win the White House? It's not as crazy as you might think.
These are pretty good times for non-believers. Our ranks are growing rapidly, with nearly a quarter of Americans now claiming no religious identification. Even if most of those don't emphatically declare themselves atheist, but say their religion is "nothing in particular," there are surely plenty of people who call themselves Catholics or Jews or something else but whose belief in an all-knowing, all-seeing god is tenuous at best. The number will keep growing, because religiosity and age are strongly correlated today, with older people being the most religious while a full third of millennials claim no religion. It's no longer considered scandalous in many, if not most, places to say that you aren't a believer.
11-10-15 South Dakota tribe burns marijuana crop over raid fears
South Dakota tribe burns marijuana crop over raid fears
Fearing a federal raid, a South Dakota Native American tribe is burning its marijuana crop, which it had planned to sell in a resort on its land. The "marijuana resort" would have been the first of its kind, but concerns that the stockpile could be confiscated led tribe leaders to incinerate it. The tribe says it wants to show cooperation with federal officials for future negotiations. Whether the tribe can sell marijuana to non-Indians has come under question.
11-10-15 Smoking weed is now a human right in Mexico
Smoking weed is now a human right in Mexico
Mexico has ruled that banning personal use of cannabis violates the human right to free development of one's personality. Will other countries follow suit? Is smoking weed a human right? Days after voters in the US state of Ohio rejected a proposal to legalise cannabis for recreational use, Mexico has ruled that smoking pot is a fundamental human right. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled by 4 to 1 that banning the consumption and cultivation of cannabis for personal use violates the human right to free development of one’s personality. “This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons,” says Hannah Hetzer of the US Drug Policy Alliance, which campaigns for the relaxation of drug laws. “First, it’s being argued on human-rights grounds, and secondly, it’s taking place in one of the countries that has suffered most from the war on drugs,” she says.
11-9-15 The US inmates charged per night in jail
The US inmates charged per night in jail
A widespread practice in the US known as "pay to stay" charges jail inmates a daily fee while they are incarcerated. For those who are in and out of the local county or city lock-ups - particularly those struggling with addiction - that can lead to sky-high debts. (Webmaster's comment: Outrageous! This is a FINE charged to a person without a court order or even necessarily being found guilty. Outrageous!)
11-6-15 Americans are becoming less religious
Americans are becoming less religious
Americans are becoming less religious. 77% of Americans say they’re “religiously affiliated,” down from 83% in 2007. 63% of Americans say they’re “absolutely certain” that God exists, down from 71% in 2007. These trends are most pronounced among Millennials. Pew Research Center
11-6-15 Even heard of the separation of Church and State?
Even heard of the separation of Church and State?
A Louisiana public school is insisting it has a legal right to promote Christianity. Students at Airline High School are drilled in Bible verses, warned against contraception, and taught Creationism in science class. Despite a formal complaint from the ACLU, the school board vowed to maintain its practices, saying, “Our history and traditions respect the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion.”
11-6-15 An atheist for president? God, no.
An atheist for president? God, no.
New research finds Republicans and Democrats both link morality with religiosity in political candidates. When they're not slinging mud at one another, political candidates love making references to religion. Overt or subtle professions of faith are not limited to Republicans courting evangelical voters; both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama skillfully incorporated religious allusions into their campaign speeches. Why all this talk of God? New research suggests it reflects Americans' widespread prejudice against atheists, and belief that the non-religious are less than trustworthy. (Webamster's comment: You mean trustworthy like the Word of Life church beating its members to death? Or like the Christian based KKK lynching and shooting blacks and blowing up thier churches with black children in them? Is that what American people see as being TRUSTWORTHY?)
11-6-15 Anonymous posts Ku Klux Klan alleged sympathisers list
Anonymous posts Ku Klux Klan alleged sympathisers list
The hackers' collective Anonymous has shared details of hundreds of alleged sympathisers of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan (KKK) on the internet. Anonymous said the data was "a form of resistance" against racial violence. The KKK last year threatened to use "deadly force" against those protesting over the killing of a black youth in Ferguson, Missouri. A list of alleged KKK members published earlier in the week appears to have been fake. That list had incorrectly outed several US politicians as KKK members and was quickly followed by a denial from Anonymous's official Twitter account. (Webmaster's comment: The KKK is a Christian terrorist organization and it's members should be imprisoned. BUT if you're going to report their names YOU GOT TO GET IT RIGHT! Many innocent people could be hurt by being included on such a list.)
11-5-15 Here's the nightmare scenario for pot legalization
Here's the nightmare scenario for pot legalization
Mark my words: Pot will be legal. Mark my words: We're going to be completely boneheaded about it. I think the first proposition is, at this point, uncontroversial. The progress of the cause of pot legalization in the polls is striking. More states are considering some form of it. And there is indeed a lot to be said for the idea: Pot doesn't seem obviously worse than liquor, and the drug war, which has destroyed countless lives over non-violent crimes, does seem excessive. Plus, it's corrosive to the rule of law when something widely practiced, including by future presidents, is formally illegal. The second proposition is not at the forefront of people's minds, but it's actually very important. And, obviously, our public policy process is not exactly known for competence, so we should be worried. Pot might not be as harmful as crack cocaine, or the bubonic plague, but it is not completely harmless. Yes, pot is not as dangerous as 1980s PSAs would have had you believe, and yes, the "gateway drug" notion is probably false. But while most pot users remain casual smokers and aren't harmed by it, a small minority of users really do become addicted, and really do damage their bodies and their brains for the long term. We all know That Guy.
11-5-15 Same-Sex Marriages Up After Supreme Court Ruling
Same-Sex Marriages Up After Supreme Court Ruling
More lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Americans living with a same-sex partner now report being married (45%) than did so prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 decision to make same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states (38%). Share of married same-sex cohabiting couples up from 38% to 45%. Increases in both states where it had previously been legal or illegal.
11-5-15 Japan same-sex couples recognised in two Tokyo districts
Japan same-sex couples recognised in two Tokyo districts
Two districts of Japan's capital Tokyo have started issuing certificates recognising same-sex partnerships. They are designed to encourage landlords and hospitals to treat gay couples the same way as married ones. However, the documents do not provide the same legal status as marriage.
11-4-15 Ohio marijuana: Voters reject plans to make drug legal
Ohio marijuana: Voters reject plans to make drug legal
Voters in the US state of Ohio have rejected proposals to make marijuana legal, according to local media projections. The measure, known as Issue 3, would have amended the state constitution to legalise the personal and medical use of marijuana for anyone over 21. But it was defeated by nearly a two-to-one margin, the projections said. Pro-legalisation campaigners spent about $12m in advertising in the run-up to Tuesday's vote. Issue 3 would have granted rights for marijuana to be grown commercially at 10 sites across Ohio, which critics said could have created a monopoly.
11-3-15 Houston's bathroom bill: Waging another battle for LGBT rights
Houston's bathroom bill: Waging another battle for LGBT rights
Houston's mayoral election has turned into a national battleground for LGBT rights after a non-discrimination ordinance was added to the ballot. The city is the fourth-largest in the US and the biggest not to have such an ordinance. Conservative activists and pastors came out against the ordinance when it was first passed last year and a court ruled that it had to be placed on a ballot or repealed.
10-29-15 How the marijuana legalization movement went corporate
How the marijuana legalization movement went corporate
Next week, Ohio voters will cast ballots on the Responsible Ohio marijuana legalization initiative. If it passes, the initiative will be historic not only for removing the prohibition against recreational marijuana use in the Buckeye State, but also for advancing the control of corporate interests over what was once an entirely grassroots movement to legalize pot. The Ohio initiative, pushed by wealthy investors with no prior connection to marijuana activism, would grant its backers a permanent, lucrative oligopoly on marijuana cultivation in the state. The campaign ads for the initiative have offered the usual social justice-oriented arguments for legalization, but many long-term legalization proponents charge that the initiative's true purpose is to enrich its sponsors.
10-28-15 Gay priest decries 'inhuman' treatment of homosexual Catholics
Gay priest decries 'inhuman' treatment of homosexual Catholics
A senior Vatican priest, stripped of his post after admitting being in a gay relationship, has launched a scathing attack on the Roman Catholic Church. In a letter to Pope Francis this month, Krzysztof Charamsa accused the Church of making the lives of millions of gay Catholics globally "a hell". He criticised what he called the Vatican's hypocrisy in banning gay priests, even though he said the clergy was "full of homosexuals".
10-28-15 How Pope Francis is stealthily reforming the most conservative institution on Earth
How Pope Francis is stealthily reforming the most conservative institution on Earth
The Roman Catholic Church is hands down the most conservative institution in the world. By this I don't merely mean that it upholds a set of conservative religious ideas, although it most certainly does. I'm talking about the institution itself and the way it interacts with those ideas. With 2,000 years of tradition weighing on its shoulders, a theological commitment to defer to that tradition, an ecclesial habit of "thinking in terms of centuries," and a baroque structure of governance headed exclusively by appointees, run by often-corrupt, back-scratching bureaucrats, and lacking in even the slightest semblance of democratic accountability, the Catholic Church is one of the most sluggish, inertia-prone institutions imaginable.
10-23-15 Could paganism make a comeback? It's not as crazy as it sounds.
Could paganism make a comeback? It's not as crazy as it sounds.
live in a post-Christian era, we're told. But being defined by what you're after doesn't tell us what you're about. Spiritual longings go deep in the human heart — the New Atheists remain much less popular than the self-consciously spiritual Oprah Winfrey — and it remains to be seen to what spiritual calling the current era will respond. Maybe... paganism? Every once in a while you see a trend story about pagan revivals. This time, it seems to be going on in Iceland. Ironically, the idea of time going in cycles is a venerable pagan doctrine.
10-23-15 St Louis police suspect arson in series of church fires
St Louis police suspect arson in series of church fires
Police in the US state of Missouri are searching for arsonist who set fire to seven churches in the St Louis area in the past two weeks. Most of the churches affected had predominantly African-American congregations. "We believe that this fire-setting activity is meant to send a message," said John Ham of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
10-23-15 Indonesia's Aceh introduces strict anti-gay law
Indonesia's Aceh introduces strict anti-gay law
Strict laws against homosexuality have come into effect in the conservative Indonesian province of Aceh. Gay sex between Muslim men or women, both locals and foreigners, can now be punished with 100 strokes of the cane. The law, passed in 2014 but only now being enforced, has faced opposition by rights groups. The strictly Muslim province has become increasingly conservative in recent years and is the only one in Indonesia allowed to implement Sharia law. Under the new laws, adultery also carries a possible penalty of 100 strokes. Those who accuse someone of adultery without proof could themselves face 80 lashes.
10-21-15 In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use
In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use
A majority of Americans continue to say marijuana use should be legal in the United States, with 58% holding that view, tying the high point in Gallup's 46-year trend. Majority favors legal marijuana for third consecutive year. Younger generations more supportive than older generations. Older generations more supportive than they were in the past.
10-21-15 Could Pope Francis break apart the Catholic Church?
Could Pope Francis break apart the Catholic Church?
Probably — but that doesn't mean he will. (Webmaster's comment: This article shows the Catholic dark ages philosophy that needs radical change to be considered even remotely humane and forgiving of normal human behavior. Making almost everything a sin means giving power to the priesthood over all who believe. In fact it is the priesthood who are some of the worst humans of all. Unbelievably they forgive priests for child sexual abuse. All they have to do is pray and "repent." Then the sexual predator priests are hidden by sending them to another church where they are free to sexually abuse more children, no punishment or prison time. They need to be arrested, convicted and do 20 years hard time.)
10-20-15 Is the UN about to recommend decriminalisation of all drugs?
Is the UN about to recommend decriminalisation of all drugs?
A document apparently recommending that governments decriminalise all illegal drugs is under review at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The war on drugs has taken an interesting turn. In a blog post published on Monday, businessman Richard Branson said that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was planning to release a statement at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Malaysia recommending that governments decriminalise all illegal drugs. A long-time advocate of changing drug policies, Branson wrote that he “could not be more delighted” with this apparent development. The UNODC has since published a statement saying that the briefing paper mentioned by Branson isn’t a final or formal document and that there has been an “unfortunate misunderstanding” regarding the intention of the document. It does, however, state that a document is under review. So, if such a recommendation were to be released in the future, governments across the globe would need to decide whether to follow Portugal’s example. The country “de-penalised” the use of all drugs in 2001. David Nutt, chair of the UK’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs and former UK government advisor, says that he would fully support such a move from the UNODC. “For recreational drug users criminalisation will do more harm than the drugs they use, and for addicts they need to be treated for the illness they suffer, not persecuted,” he says. Alex Stevens, professor of criminal justice at the University of Kent, UK, also supports such a potential move. He notes the many drawbacks of criminalisation, including discouraging “people who need treatment for drug dependence from seeking it”.
10-20-15 France: Marine Le Pen goes on trial over Muslim remarks
France: Marine Le Pen goes on trial over Muslim remarks
French National Front leader Marine Le Pen has appeared in court in Lyon, to answer charges of inciting racial hatred, for comparing Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation. She made the comments at a rally in the city in 2010 when she was fighting for the leadership of the party. Ms Le Pen's anti-immigration and anti-EU message is attracting increasing support in France.
10-16-15 Killed teenager in New York 'wanted to leave church'
Killed teenager in New York 'wanted to leave church'
Church members accused of beating to death a 19-year-old have told police they had been discussing his desire to leave the Word of Life church New York congregation. Lucas Leonard died and his younger brother was seriously injured after both were beaten for hours on Sunday. New Hartford's police chief said the six church members arrested over the death said the meeting was called to talk about Leonard's plans to leave. Police have described as a "spiritual counselling sessionto urge [the boys] to confess sins and seek forgiveness". (Webmaster's comment: Should be called the Word of Death church.)
10-16-15 Mother 'helpless' to stop fatal church beating of son
Mother 'helpless' to stop fatal church beating of son
A woman charged with beating her son to death in a church has said she "felt helpless" to prevent the violence committed by other church members. Deborah Leonard did not feel she could stand up to other members of the Word of Life churchin New York state, said her lawyer, Devin Garramone. Her son Lucas, 19, died from the attack and his brother is in hospital. Police say they were beaten by Mrs Leonard, her husband and five others in order for them to confess their sins.The boys were repeatedly kicked and punched on Sunday but it's not clear why. Police have described the beating as a "spiritual counselling session to urge [the boys] to confess sins and seek forgiveness".
10-15-15 Parents hope Thailand's 'frozen' child will live again
Parents hope Thailand's 'frozen' child will live again
Earlier this year, two-year-old Thai girl Matheryn Naovaratpong became the youngest person to be cryogenically frozen, her brain being preserved at the point of death. Her parents say they are "100% convinced" future medical advances mean she will one day be restored to life. They told the BBC's Jonathan Head it was their love for their daughter that drove them to seek this route. (Webmaster's comment: I've signed up for this too. The only person in the 4 states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado, but only one of over 2,600 in the world of which about 10% are already cryogenically preserved. And why? Why accept death? Beat it if you can. Do not go quietly into the night.)
10-15-15 Christianity 'extinct in a generation' says charity
Christianity 'extinct in a generation' says charity
The past two years have been 'catastrophic' for many Christians in the Middle East and parts of Africa, says a new report to be launched in Aberdeen. A report by the Aid to the Church in Need charity describes what it calls "levels of persecution" in 22 countries and concludes that Christianity is on course for extinction in some areas within a generation.
10-15-15 Challenge to Pope as 'gay lobby' talk fills Vatican
Challenge to Pope as 'gay lobby' talk fills Vatican
At the midway point of one of the most significant Vatican meetings since the Second Vatican Council half a century ago uncertainty reigns among the nearly 300 participants - most of them celibate male clerics - about what it will or can accomplish. Pope Francis is being challenged by some powerful cardinals holding key posts inside the Vatican who fear for their careers, as a smaller group of clerics who support his reforms are pushing for change. The Pope has been warning darkly against unspecified "conspiracies" and "scandals" by lobbies who are playing a new role in Church politics. The existence of a so called "gay lobby" inside the Vatican has been confirmed by the outing of a gay priest who decided to go public on the eve of the opening of the Synod, causing shock and embarrassment to the organisers. Pope Francis is the first Pope ever to utter the word "gay" in public.
10-15-15 Argentina transgender killings spark outcry
Argentina transgender killings spark outcry
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and Amnesty International have called for justice after the violent death of a transgender activist. Diana Sacayan, a well-known activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, was found dead in Buenos Aires on Tuesday. It is the third violent transgender death in the country in the past month. Latin America accounts for most transgender murders worldwide, rights groups say.
10-14-15 Do secular Americans secretly pine for religion?
Do secular Americans secretly pine for religion?
For much of the 20th century, sociologists and other scholars assumed that modernity leads invariably to secularism. A generation ago, this consensus began to be shaken by the persistence of religiosity in the United States. Might there actually be two or more forms of modern life — the secular European model and an American variation that remains much more accommodating to and encouraging of faith? But within the past few years, polling data showing rapidly declining religious belief and practice in the United States has led some to wonder whether secularism might be the modern fate after all, with American disenchantment merely taking place somewhat more slowly than one finds on the other side of the Atlantic.
10-12-15 Cardiff University study on the science of hallucinations
Cardiff University study on the science of hallucinations
Scientists at Cardiff University believe they can help explain why some people are prone to hallucinations. Researchers worked with colleagues at the University of Cambridge to study the predictive nature of the brain. They looked at the idea that hallucinations happen due to the brain's tendency to interpret the world using prior knowledge and predictions. The study examined whether the brain creating this image of the world contributes to people's psychosis.
10-12-15 How Christopher Columbus became a hate figure for many online
How Christopher Columbus became a hate figure for many online
In 1492, Columbus was the only savage in America. Most people in the United States celebrate a national holiday today, in memory of Christopher Columbus, the man often credited with "discovering" America. Many believe he doesn't deserve the honour, however, and on social media, the campaign to re-write his legacy is getting louder every year. The holiday is seen as a celebration of colonialism, and offensive to the continent's indigenous people. Some claim he was responsible for murder and enslavement, and was a brutal viceroy and governor of the territories under his control. (Webmaster's comment: He'd crucifie 13 indians at a time for not giving him enough gold. "Twelve for the apostles and one for his lord, Jesus Christ.")
10-8-15 Gay or straight? Saliva test can predict male sexual orientation
Gay or straight? Saliva test can predict male sexual orientation
The test, based on epigenetic tags on the genome, claims 67 per cent accuracy, but concerns over eugenics and misuse have led lead researcher to quit his job. Gay or straight? A saliva test can predict the answer, and get it right 67 per cent of the time – for male identical twins at least. The test, which uses clues from tiny modifications to a person’s genome, is the first that claims to detect sexual orientation. Many scientists have expressed caution over the results, while concerns over potential misuse of the test have led the study’s lead researcher to quit the project entirely.
10-7-15 In praise of California's new assisted-suicide law
In praise of California's new assisted-suicide law
On Monday, California became the fifth state in the country topermit physician-assisted suicide. Forgive me for failing to feel much if any dread or concern about this development. Not only does the End of Life Option Act strike me as a good and moral law, but I have a hard time grasping why anyone would be especially concerned about it.
10-4-15 Pope Francis opens Roman Catholic synod amid gay row
Pope Francis opens Roman Catholic synod amid gay row
Pope Francis is celebrating Mass at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, at the start of a synod of Roman Catholic bishops focusing on family issues. The run-up was dominated by a row over a Vatican priest who on Saturday announced he was in a gay relationship. Poland-born Krzysztof Charamsa said he wanted to challenge the Church's "backward" attitude to homosexuality. He was later dismissed from his post at the Vatican's office in charge of guarding Roman Catholic doctrine.
10-3-15 Vatican acts after Polish priest reveals homosexuality
Vatican acts after Polish priest reveals homosexuality
A senior priest at the Vatican has revealed he is gay, on the eve of a major meeting that will define the Catholic Church's teaching on family. Poland-born Krysztof Charamsa, 43, said he wanted to challenge the Church's "backwards" attitude to homosexuality. Msgr Charamsa said he was in a relationship and was "happy and proud" of his identity. The Vatican called his actions "very serious and irresponsible" and stripped him of doctrinal responsibilities.
10-2-15 Pope's meeting with Kim Davis not an endorsement - Vatican
Pope's meeting with Kim Davis not an endorsement - Vatican
The Vatican has defended the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis, a Kentucky official jailed for refusing to issue licences for same sex marriages. In a statement, it said the exchange should not be seen as an endorsement of her position. (Webmaster's comment: Such a high-ranking church official meeting with such a creature lends support to her cause. She should have been rebuked, and people like her should be shunned by all.)
10-1-15 'Ku Klux Klan infiltrated US police'
'Ku Klux Klan infiltrated US police'
Ron Davis on 'racism in US police force'. Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old unarmed black teenager who was shot dead at a Florida gas station in 2012 by a white middle aged man called Michael Dunn. Speaking to Today about racism in the United States, Mr Davis said: “Right now we have pockets of Klu Klux Klan members that… instead of wearing hoods like they did in the 1940s and 1950s as white supremists, now they have badges and guns in the United States and they’ve become infiltrated into the police department.” (Webmaster's comment: The KKK is a white Christian protestant terrorist organization. It hates jews, communists, catholics and especially blacks. It is responsible for lynching and murdering black men, women, and children since the Civil war. Also for burning and blowing up black christian protestant churches even while black children are in them.)
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