Thursday, 5 March 2015

Albinos Murdered In Tanzania Due To Superstition

From the grab bag of barking mad superstitious ignorance, I give you Tanzania's baby murdering witch doctoring.
Hard to believe that this savage(*) f#ck nuttiness still happens in the 21st century.
Let's face it, this is an insult to actual savages, many of whom would never imagine anything this perverted.
It is important to note that Tanzania is not completely untouched by civilisation, indeed they've had exposure to Christian ministry for centuries, and in a 2010 Pew survey 61.4% self identified as Christian. Still this obscene atrocity remains. Why? perhaps because ignorance is more profitable than wisdom.
Clearly education is the key to wiping out such backward behaviour,  and there has been plenty of opportunity to make that happen. If Christianity were the force for good that Christians claim it is, then surely educating people out of this nonsense would be a high priority. But instead, especially well publicised are West and Central African nations where we find churches promoting witch persecution, often directed at children while there preachers live lifestyles that many would envy in developed nations, but clearly East Africa is not immune to the glamour of destroying children for the sake of salacious ill founded fantasies about good and evil and so doing becoming a greater evil than harms with which they are they are faced by virtue of living in a world vastly more complex than the understanding that they have been given by their culture, their religious prelates, and what ever the education system has made available to the Tanzanian population. Many have been denied education in Tanzania but poverty a school fees (fees were waved in 2001) leaving many dangerlously ill educated.

Ignorant behaviour which harms children is far from exclusive to Africa of of course. Idaho, Oregon and other American states have considerable problems with religious exemptions allowing parents to medically neglect their children health problems, result child mortality 26 times the national average for faith health families. Here the ignorance is wilful, more than it is consequential to poverty and lack of opportunities for learning. And of then there is the anti vaccine hysteria and the measles epidemic.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Something is rotten in the disunited states of America

Grab the popcorn, the sugar free soda, buckle up, this will be a ride Stephen King never wrote - he hasn't got the imagination for this kind of horror.
A little while ago I saw this little bit on the the history of American foreign policy, often appauling it includes chainsaws, I kid you not.

But then, My facebook feed pointed me to the 1933 plot to take over the White House leading FDR to declare "I welcome their hatred". No one was ever prosecuted, But FDR, bargained them down to accepting the New Deal, and by them I mean executives of major corporates including Colgate, GM, General Foods, and GW's grand-daddy - Prescott Bush.

The BBC4 documented this plot.(Audio only)

Here is a US produced documentary of the incident.

This leads me to this documentary mostly drawn from hard news reports but includes segments from far right pontificators, Sheds light on a disturbing history of terrorist incidents in the US and the proliferation of ideas that drive it.

Fascism never disappeared. It just laid low, until it could get control and freedom for corporate press. The Powell Memo foreshadowed this, advocating that business interests seek political involvement beyond their direct interests, become more vociferous in the media for their interest. Few years later the SCOTUS delivered Buckley v Valeo declaring money is speech. In 2010 Citizens United declared corporation are people - which is against the documented intent of the framers of the constitution who would have said Corporations legal fictions and property, and accountable to the community before their bottom lines.

America has within it very dangerous elements, and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck et al fan the flames of hate and barbarity, scaring the crap out of anyone who will listen long enough. And for what? the peace of mind of a few out of touch over indulged cry baby billionaires who have already too good for too long. Even the G20 has officially said income inequality is hurting economic growth. So at this point it can't be just to keep thing running, or even for there own good. Noises are coming out of the financial sector of another crash in the near future.

While WW II was haled as a war against fascism, it seems the world for all the noise and horrific spectacle only dealt with one arm of this angry beast and sidestepped having to deal with the rest of it. So now this generation is face with a broader more coordinated attack, through trade agreement, a surveillance industrial complex, endless wars. There are strong voices against this tyranny, but to make the song of freedom they need the the chorus of the informed public and the gusto of the angry citizen behind them to fix this mess.

I usually defend myself from the horror of this insanity with fiction that it is like a circus, or a poe. It is not working today. I need me some crazy Bryan Fischer.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

John Key's #1 rejected State of the Nation speech for 2015

John key explains magic behind housing fix
John Key delivered his State of the National speech Wednesday last week. And it appears, the beehive still hasn't plugged all the leaks, because we can now present the #1 reject draft of the speech he delivered.

Ladies and gentlemen.
New Zealand is in good shape and getting better for our richest income earners.

We are making great strides in building a strong more prosperous country for overseas investors to buy from New Zealanders. A country where you can have a great life style after buying your share to exclude the nasty looking natives and earn a good income overcharging them on their rent. That progress is due to the hard work of New Zealanders who thanks to my mesmerizing smile don't know how much Our leadership has them tied up in obscurantist fantasy.

It is because of the rigid, shackling and delusion designed by Edward Bernays, over the last six years, Iron fisted and inflexible control. New Zealand is doing well compared to Greece, Kiribati, and Yemen.

The economy is growing, despite our best efforts. Employment is increasing which is good 'cause it keeps the serfs from paying us too much attention, but wages are rising and our plutocrat overlords don't like that. We thought crushing the unions more what put a damper on it but it wasn't enough.

Consumers are benefiting from low inflation, so the takers are getting more without having to work harder for it, damn we have to stop that. I'll tell you we have a long period of low interest rates, Please ignore Westpac bumping up Credit Card rates 0.5% last month.

We are growing new industries like ICT(which has been around for years) and manufacturing, despite us doing little to protect or encourage them. Especially in zero-carbon energy systems. We've made it illegal for the surfs to compete with our food industry, and we have expanded international education while cutting education for our serfs. We're making good progress in area like Welfare – finding new ways to deny help to our poor, Soon, we'll be able to deny them shelter, education – we've already halved the number of Post-grad students. And law and order, we still lock up lots of, well, not white people, for consumption of substance less toxic than alcohol.

New Zealanders, were so confused by our media spin, dirty politics and yellow journalism most of the either voted against their own self interest, or didn't vote at all. And those that understood how we are screwing them over were out numbered by the apathetic the credulous and my favourite - grin worshippers. I'm relieve to have successfully BSed my way into another three years of this nicely overpaid gig.
The election result allows New Zealanders to be exposed to a more fascist third term government than has been the case in the past. We have a fake mandate and a strong arm to achieve further steady devolution that delivers better results for share holders and serfdom to everyday New Zealanders. And there is much to do. I can tell you, there will be no slackening in pace. We have three busy years ahead of us. We must conquer Asia, Australia and the United States with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, it's hard work even with Tim Grosser's Jedi Mind trick. We must also manage the many global risks, Union's seem to be onto us, Wikileaks keeps say embarrassingly true things about what we're doing with our overseas plutocrat friends. But worst of all Greece has figured out my bankster friends are the source of Europe's debt problem's, and many are arguing that if Germany can have its debts forgiven after that whole Nazi thing, then Greece should be let out of its crushing debts too. Worst still, it appears there is only so much stuff consumers can buy from China. We should look at buying the People's Republic of China, while the market price is low.

These and other factors, make it all the more important to continue improving our feudal economy, boosting our rapaciousness, and encouraging overseas investors to buy us out, so we can build an insecure and weaker New Zealand vulnerable to outside economic forces over which e have no control.

The Government's focus this term will be on our four priorities:

  • Irresponsibility mismanaging the government finances
  • building a more unproductive false economy
  • delivering better public services for the deserving wealthy(American Express accepted)
  • And continuing to sandbag the rebuilding of Christchurch

I want to talk to you today about housing, which is an important part of all these four priorities.

After the election, I appointed three minions to housing related portfolios.

Pulla Benefit is the Minion for Antisocial Housing, in charge of denying New Zealanders with the highest housing needs.

Shill “taxes pay for my houses” English is Minion irresponsible for Housing New Zealand which owns or leases 68000 properties.

And Slick “she's just a friend” Sith, Minion for Building and Housing.

So you can see that housing policy is important to this Government because we hate social responsibility and just giving people the stuff they need offends us like name calling us Tories, having poor people living next to us, or having it pointed out that we are putting profit above people.

One of the biggest long standing issues is the supply of new housing, particularly in Auckland. Partly driven by the decline and our neglect of regional New Zealand. Check out how we stuffed Napier Gisborne on that washed out railway, a fine piece of work.
Previous Governments have put this in the too hard basket.

We're actually doing something about it. Our Government is bringing one of the worst possible options we're just getting our rich friends in real-estate speculation to pocket the value of what we have lined up for sale.

We're waving magic wands so that houses plop out of thin air and directing the Adam Smith's “invisible hand” to squeeze them out of Carpenters and bricklayers.

We've passed new decrees, and made six councils swear blood oaths, including Auckland, to fast track tin sheds and shanty towns, and release more industrial waste sites for residential development.

Last Week, Slick Sith, announced his evil plan to modify the Resource Mismanagement Act to improve the supply and affordability of slum housing.

Already, we've created the illusion that our approach is working.

Residential construction increased 21% last year because the escalating housing market, funds building but has little to do with us. 24,000 more building consents were issued Auckland knew it had a problem and they didn't need us to tell them to fix it. This is the highest number since 2008, Yay housing bubble, Yay, speculators.

This growth is set to continue as industrial waste sites accelerate land availability and appropriations.

That will help ease the pressure on house prices, because we spend two hours every night before bed time praying to our money god to make sure it happens.

But we should also recognise that housing includes more than just prices.

Incomes have been rising faster than inflation despite our best efforts, and the serfs are feeling too confident about the future.
Interest rates are low, too low, which makes servicing a mortgage to easy.

These factors are actually supporting the growth in house prices in some areas, and a few of my bankster friends couldn't be happier. Serfs are assessing there own ability to pay, and bidding on that basis, as always.

It's often hard for serfs to save for a first home.

That's where the Government's new Home Shaft programme for first home buyers comes in.

It begins in April this year and we estimate it will hinder 90,000 people into their first tin shacks over the next 5 years.
On top of that we're improving the quality of Housing New Zealand Stock, to remind tenants they are in these “shit-holes” because being lazy takers they don't deserve better, if they want better, they have get to some of those new jobs that will magically vanish in the next recession or depression crushing any hope of real stability.

Nearly 300,000 homes are warmer drier, and healthier, thanks to the Greens, Labour and Mana making it politically impossible to ignore the problem of homes that were insufficient for meeting the UN's basic standard, We were fine with the black mould in the Housing New Zealand stock. We're rather peeved they made us take reasonable steps to address it.

For land lords with tenants on low incomes, the Government subsidises housing the rent they charge from a budget of $1.9 billion.

Around $1.2 billion of that is for the accommodation supplement, which helps private landlords. And a few mortgagees.

The other $700 million is to help the bottom line of HNZ and other antisocial housing institutions.


Antisocial-housing tenants have personal circumstances or financial circumstance that make private renting or home ownership impossible, but we'll call it “difficult” because we don't want then to have any idea of how much we've screwed them over before we do it some more.

They could be a sole parent, for example, an older person, or someone with mental health issues, all of whom we can write off as having made poor choices, so we can avoid responsibility for what we're about to do to them.

Often, they are receiving other assistance, like a benefit or disability support, more fool them they should have asked for an exploratory drilling tax break, worth $40m, instead they go for the chump change. Like I said, poor choices.

This issue – antisocial housing – is what I want to dissemble about today.

Until last year Only HNZ could get the most lavish assistance from the Government for its investment in housing stock, it wasn't fair, and private landlords were locked out, and had to settle for a pittance. For example, a measly $100pw, if they housed a single job seeker in Wellington.

But this is not the case any more, now they can fill in some paper work and get rubber stamped as an “approved community housing provider”, and get the much needed support previously only available to Housing New Zealand.

This level of support is exactly the same as the deal with Housing New Zealand so we believe it is completely fair that we are giving tax payers money to do what governments can do better unless people like us decide to sandbag it to get elected again.

The change took effect last April.

That is why we talk about “antisocial housing” rather than “state housing”. Because your housing no longer have to be state owned to get a highest level highest tax rebate on your real estate property.

It's an important change, that will fill the pockets of millionaires with change, mostly notes, but some change too.

Locally based providers can surveillance their tenant more closely, as the search and surveillance laws only go so far.

Providers that have a particular penchant for hassling certain types of tenants can integrate their style of persecution with other services.
Non-government housing providers can also bring new approaches and access to new sources of funding. For example, Water boarding, Deli products like roast-leg-of-tenant.

I'll distract you with a heart warming example of how we fool this credulous nitwit into thinking he's getting a better deal.

The DomPost had a story last month about Pulla Benefit opening new housing units in Wellington for people with disabilities.

He's obviously delighted to be moving into one of eight brand new and specially designed units that are owned by Accessible Properties, a community housing provider.

It bought the units with help from the Government Antisocial Housing Fund, which we established in 2011 to syphon tax dollars to the well off.

Its enforcers, er tenancy managers specialise in working over the people with disabilities.

Access Properties is getting the subsidy for some of its tenants paying income related rents.

Quite apart from the antisocial housing units of the development there are also 10 other units for sale in the general market so there will always be neighbours to act superior towards them.

As the article says this is the changing face of antisocial housing, I feel like we've done enough at this point, property developers are free to make off like bandits, but I'm told there's more.

It's not change for changes sake, there are rich people out there seriously addicted to tax money and there no tell what they'll do to us if we don't give it to them, they might even withhold campaign donate in the run up to an election.

And that is part of our wider approach, delivering more cash to people who could not possibly spend it all in a lifetime.

Currently only a small number of landlords are getting this special deal because of course we never solve problems, we only create an illusion that we are working on solutions, if we solve problems, it would be all over for us we wouldn't be needed. And being needed in this gig pays too well paid.

We want the number to grow over the next few years maybe to a few dozen.

We want a better range of providers to choose from, the richer the better. They're more grateful come election time.

In the meantime, we want Housing New Zealand to do the best job it can, We were impressed with the way they sat on a black mould report for months, we'd like to see that grow, we think they could get it up to years with some considered effort.

It will continue to be the biggest provider of antisocial housing in New Zealand until we can atrophy it by selling it off in parcels.

We're doing it partly because it is the trendy thing to do just look at Australia and United Kingdom. Of course, New Zealand has never imported policy from either of these countries the blew up in our faces. No body mention Novopay or Thatchernomics. Also selling state assets is some we do out of habit.

That's just one part of the Government's overall package of antisocial housing reforms, which has five objectives.

We are going to ensure that more people get into housing over the next three years, whether that is tun by Housing new Zealand or a community provider who will dedicate themselves to participating in bleeding the taxpayer dry, and demanding more in subsidies, neglecting maintenance and pushing out income related renters in favour of more affluent prospects.

The antisocial housing budget provides for around 62,000 income related rent subsidies per year.

We are committed to increasing that to a whopping 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40m per year. Yes, we're cheap.
In particular there will be an increase in antisocial housing in Auckland and Christchurch. But housing for working people in Christchurch will be left up to magic invisible hand of the market because those people have perfectly adequate tents in winter.

We're also concerned about people sleeping rough or in substandard accommodation. It makes us look bad like we don't care. We don't care, but we don't want people knowing that.

Pulla Benefit has given Ministry of Societal Disintegration, a big programme of work to help reduce pressure on organisations working the homeless, to help hide them, so people don't see we are neglecting our responsibilities.

This includes a paltry $500,000 cash injection for the emergency housing sector, a wider review of funding and the introduction of an emergency housing database, to keep track of the bodies in Auckland. We found the old scholastic note pad just wasn't up to the job any more.

MSD will work more intensively with people on the antisocial housing register who have less urgent needs, to help them into private rentals where possible at least until they fall too far behind on the rent because the accommodation supplement wont be enough.

And by increasing the number of antisocial housing places we'll be able to funnel more tax dollars to private renters and “antisocial housing providers” while they take the homeless of our hands and absolving us of our responsibility.

Our second objective is to help antisocial housing tenants independence, as appropriate argument can be used to swindle them into walking the risky tight rope of their lives without a net.

We want people to move out of antisocial housing, because the dislocation screws with their kids' education. We're really proud of schools with 25% pupil turnover rate, but we think the number can and should be higher. The best options are for them to move into unaffordable private rental, or to try for home ownership so we can accuse them of fraud, if they draw on private financing to obtain a deposit. We've done it before, it worked pretty well in discouraging state house renters from buy HNZ houses, we don't want poor people buying, only the deservingly wealthy.

Currently 3,300 are living in HNZ properties, but are earning too much to get an income related rent subsidy. The market renters could in many case go into private accommodation which will be more expensive than the market rents HNZ has been charging them, and these people may be better off out of work and back in an HNZ properties. Not much of an incentive to keep working, but at least some free market landlords will get something out of these people.

The Government has decided that an additional 3,000 tenancy reviews will begin over this year and the next, focusing on those we can bully into taking private rentals.

This will take the total number of persecutions to almost 5,000 over this two year period.

People will be hassled and cajoled to move into other housing if they are able to squeeze their four kids into a boarding house bedroom.

That frees up a place for Slick Sith, Crusher Collins, Shill English and my self to put up our couch surfing friends from Europe, Asia, and America. What? We own these houses too – they are publicly owned.

The third objective in this reform programme is to ensure that properties used for antisocial housing are the right size and configuration and in the right areas. Some we will have chop bits of, other will extend with Lego. If they're in the wrong place we just flatten them, and build new ones, sure it's more expensive. We just can't be arsed calling in the house trucks. Besides, at least now we can used modern dodgy building techniques, make like we're in a rush and build new leaky homes.

Around one of third HNZ homes are in the wrong, place. Often next to wealthy neighbours who can't stand the sight of the people who live in them.

Thirty percent of people waiting for antisocial housing need a one bedroom place but these places only make up nine percent of Housing New Zealand properties.

More houses are required in the bigger cities – Auckland in particular – and fewer in some other parts of the country. Of course we'd never suggest the people move to these places or develop economic policy that would make it desirable to live in these locations, because we are still neoliberals.

And many state houses are showing their age, because we wouldn't let HNZ have the money to maintain them properly, because we want the public to think we mismanage them and someone else can do it better for a profit.

Housing New Zealand is already working on its portfolio of properties – disposing of houses that are no longer required, or in the wrong place, and building new ones where they are needed. The in-sink-erator is really handy for much of this work.

We want to accelerate the process, to get the location and size of Housing new Zealand properties lined up with where people need them – well away from wealthy neighbours, investors and tourists.

The Government has decided to commission a strategic review of Housing New Zealand in the first half of this year. If we're lucky, some properties could be turned into for-profit-prisons.

Its asset management plans will be part of this review so we can ensure its properties are right for tenants, given Housing New Zealand's ongoing role as the biggest landlord in the country.

We will give more details when the strategic review is completed, until then deliberations will take place with greater secrecy afforded to operations of the CIA, NSA, GCSB, SIS, and TPPA negotiations.

Our fourth objective is to help increase the supply of affordable housing for people to buy, especially in Remuera, but only for those who can afford a million for a deposit.

How we manage antisocial housing can help with that.

Housing New Zealand is the biggest residential landowner in the country and could free up more land for housing development. One favoured option is move all the antisocial housing out of Auckland city into rural areas, leaving free space after demolitions to build multi million dollar mansions for American and Chinese buyers.

On a larger scale, there are opportunities to redevelop and revitalise whole state housing suburbs. These redevelopments could result in a mix of Housing New Zealand properties, other antisocial housing, affordable housing and higher cost homes.

Large and small redevelopments are under way.

In Auckland, for example, the Tamaki Redevelopment Company – a partnership between the Government and Auckland Council – is shafting existing tenants and gentrifying the suburb. It's delivering new antisocial housing along side affordable housing and other homes as a major “renewal” project. Where are the existing tenants? Who cares. We so laughed when Hone got arrested for dodgy parking while defending them.

We want to accelerate evicting tenants, and gentrifying whole suburbs, sleeping rough bronchitis and pneumonia will be good for them.

The government is still considering how this might happen. We want to be quick about it because we don't want the current pace to get ahead of us only to find evicted tenants can find places to live. We want them out on the street while there is still a housing shortage.

We could simply flog off large chunks of HNZ properties to housing development entities. They wont be in public ownership any more but oh joy for the lucky rich buggers who get a hold of those sweet assets.

But I want to emphasise again that the number of antisocial housing places across Auckland will increase as a result of what we are doing. Whether it will be enough is anyone's guess, we hope not, otherwise we'll be in the poo with the speculators.

And existing tenants will be marshalled like chess pieces, further disrupted their children's education as we can guarantee upto two extra relocations.

Out fifth and final objective, is to encourage and develop more diverse ownership of antisocial housing.

To some extent we can do that by involving community housing providers in redevelopment of crown land.

However, the overwhelming dominance of housing New Zealand leaves little room at the moment for non-governmental organisation to play a significant role – leaving my rich friends out in the cold.

But we can change that if community housing providers take ownership or management of some existing Housing New Zealand properties, so my rich friends can have an in. Sure, the tenants can stay, if they can tolerate slum lords.

The government is prepared to take cash, cheques, money orders, wire transfers or Paypal. As long as buyers are willing to give pinky swears that they will be nice landlords and property managers and deny profiting from misery. But, if the wodge of cash is big enough we may not hold them to that.

We may do that where there is a steady stream of tenants, and investors are keen to exploit them.

We'll look to selling 1000 to 2000 Housing New Zealand home over the following year, sure we're breaking a promise here, but I totally had my fingers crossed behind my back the whole time when I made them, so it is totally fine.

ROFLCOPTER! Free market Rulz!

Community housing providers may want to buy properties on their own, OK sure it's laughable, they don't have that kind of money lying around, so they can borrow from banksters, or pay day loan companies. Or other organisations providing equity or other services.

Properties will have to stay antisocial housing unless the government agrees, otherwise, and existing tenants will be housed for the duration of their need. Keep in mid though, we're easy to convince, just help us out come election time, or come have dinner with us for a mere $5000.

Selling properties in this way doesn't immediately reduce antisocial housing places, at least until our palms are crossed. It just means more of the tenancies will be precariously managed by non-governmental organisations who don't have the expertise. And may have ulterior motives or agendas counter to antisocial housing goals. Including discrimination against some minority groups. Especially some NGOs that wave booklet claiming members of these minorities are how did they put it? Oh, yeah “deserving of death”. Doesn't bother me too much.

We are very conscious that the sale of properties has to work for tax payers, least in the short term, because we are totally screwing them over in the long term.

We're looking to get a fair and reasonable sounding price, as we sell New Zealanders their own stuff, so they can flick it on to management companies which may be owned or bought by overseas conglomerates. Because it looks bad if we sell them to foreigners, but if we the let public do it for us, we don't get as much flack for it.

Sure, we'll pretend we're not selling them as private home or rentals, and we may not get book value, there might not even be much of a market at for them, so we might have consider changing how we market them. We understand North Dakota needs a fracking sock drawer.

Cabinet will review progress in November.

Property sales and large redevelopments will reduce the size of the Housing New Zealand portfolio. Yay – small government.

But it will continue to be by far the biggest provider of social housing in New Zealand (dag nab it), and we will ensure that in 2017 it'll provide at least 60,000 properties. It may have more than that, depending on how quickly transactions and redevelopments proceed.

Initially we will free up capital from these sales, which we'll use for housing and other capital projects (RoNS?) needed across government. But we'll be spending more each year on income related rent, subsidies. In summary, the package I've outlined today will help more people and families get social housing and we wont have to deal with them, of course they may have a harder time finding contacts for less well known providers. But that wont be our problem, hehe. Of course our opponents will say we should maintain our responsibility to develop social housing, because it's more efficient and cost effective, and while that's true it doesn't fit with our neo liberal vibe, nor does it allow us to gift wealthy acquaintances a piece of the commons from which everyone benefits, and now just our wealthy acquaintances. Especially, Shill's frocked friends with the dodgy bank in Rome. If we are to divest government of it social responsibility for long standing social problems we need to engage NGOs and corporations, They may help solve these problems, but one thing is for sure they better not do it al a loss, because profit is god. We're taking a different approach, we've seen models succeed only to be swept away by vested interests. We're chucking the problem straight at vested interests to save time. It's just one of many areas in which we will be working over New Zealanders hard over the next three years. Our programme is laying the foundations for a stronger economy and new Reich, unsustainable jobs erratic incomes vulnerable to the unstable neoliberal freemarket boom-bust economics. And we're making real progress in delivering better public services to moneyed New Zealanders. That takes constant hard work, they are so over-entitled, needy, and rapaciously greedy.

It takes a team working together and all heading the same direction to keep those moneyed snooty buggers happy.

And it takes a government without principle, empathy or conscience.

That's what I can promise New Zealand.

Thank you.
See Also
   Officially ratified speech delivery to weary nation.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

On banning offensive racist publications

Many calls have been made in in recent times to ban publications for racist or offensive content. The highest profile target among  these is Charlie Hebdo. Such calls have been wrong for reasons not the least of which because Charlie Hebdo is has a pro-immigrant political position.

If we are to ban publications for racist or offensive content, then to be consistent, we must also ban The Bible and the Quran.  Woah! That's a big claim there!  And if you're offended, you're welcome, let us be united in our offence, because there is plenty to go around. Let's take a look at some of the worst ideas in human history.

Bible: Foreigners are chattel

The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock, furniture or equipment.

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)
Source

Bible: human trafficking and sex slavery.

The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery.  How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave? Additionally, it is not really improved much by the restraint against slave trading with foreigners.

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.  (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
- Source
    Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp.  But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle.  "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded.  "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor.  They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people.  Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man.  Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.Source

Bible: Stone Women for extra marital sex

Sex is a natural and human act, fulfilling psycho-social needs and supporting healthy states of mind. yet this backwards text offers one of the most barbaric practices available to the human species in order to put an end to it.

    If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her ... and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel's father shall say ... these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. ... But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.(Deuteronomy 22:13-21)

Bible: The mark of Cain

This meme referring to Genesis 4:16 points to black/brown people being excessively violent, or at least that annoying them could have severe consequences. A meme that today for some, associates ethnic minorities with a propensity to violence. It is basically nonsense, but if one powerful ethnic group puts enough energy into disempowering another ethnic group, there will be blow back in the midst of the genocide. This is a human response it has little to do with ethnicity, or religion, except for what the oppressor group chooses to make of it. Just as American Christian settlers liabled indigenous "red skins" and "savages" for "manifest destiny", or as the Nazis liabled the Jews for the "The Creator" and "father land", and now as the far right wing liable Muslims for "racial purity", "Sovereignty" or "cultural preservation".

Koran: Jews are pigs, Christians are monkeys:

In Chapter five the Koran discusses the relationship Muslims should have with Christians and Jews, and goes on to use pejoratively compare them to other species. Demonstrating a version of the arrogant "chosen people" meme which earlier appeared in Judaic texts.

    O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.  (5:51)
    Shall I tell thee of a worse (case) than theirs for retribution with Allah ? (Worse is the case of him) whom Allah hath cursed, him on whom His wrath hath fallen and of whose sort Allah hath turned some to apes and swine, and who serveth idols. Such are in worse plight and further astray from the plain road.  (5:60)
- Source

Koran: Beat your wives

It does not matter that the associated haddiths say to beat her lightly, and to not leave a mark, the fact is, at the very least, this is psychological abuse, if we ignore the physical behaviour. This comes from the ideas like "Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will"(2:223) (ploughable land), chattel and to be managed and cajoled like children.


    "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great." 
- Source

Conclusion

These much venerated texts certainly contain content that is racially and religiously charged as well as misogynistic and the above is just a miniscule sample of the horrors available to the easily offended. So these texts must also be excised from the public square if we are to avoid hypocrisy as we seek to ban cartoons dealing with issues of race religion or even their relationship to women.  It is likely critics will moan "Oh, you're cherry picking verses" or "you are taking it out of context". Even if this is so, presenting certain Charlie Hebdo Cartoons like the four Boko Haram sex slaves chanting "hands off our allowances" without the context of Marine Le Pen's comments that immigrants were having babies to get welfare benefits is also "taking it out of context". If you want to live in a society where ideas can be censored simply by having them misrepresented, you can, if you will stride into a functionally illiterate society ruled by near total ignorance, resembling  the 7th Century.

The plain fact of the matter is that in the centuries since these texts were written, many have learned to protect people and not ideas, but not everyone has caught up. Even the Pope has talked about giving his good friend a beat down for talking smack about his mother. It may be hard for anyone to hear "your mother is a whore", but if she is getting paid to entertain customers in a bordello, it is a fair call, and it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything wrong with her chosen profession, and if the person hearing these words is a borderline geriatric virgin in a frock, it about time they grew up and their mother is an impressive woman.  The debate over "offensive" cartoons is a distraction, one that extremist groups would perhaps like to paint as a clash of civilizations, whether this is wholly true is debatable, yes there is a clash of values, and of ideas, but censorship is no way to address these, such calls for censorship are like the calls of the child who says "shut up, stop saying Darth Vader is Luke father, it can't be true." (I knew that child a long time ago, he grew up and wrote this blog). I was recently asked about the anti-Semitic cartoons of the Nazi era. The answer I gave at the was not the best answer to be offered, I spoke out of my preference, which is to not have lies, liable, fabrications publish for the generation of hysteria, however my considered position is essentially "publish and be damned", and damned the Nazis would have been by an incredulous, more sceptical populace such that we see in France today. The Nazi regime was seeking to control it population by emotional manipulation. This is something a sceptic culture would be more immune to, when we examine issues of free expression, we cannot ignore freethought they go hand in hand. Credulity, as we say, is not a virtue and this is where the Nazis "lost it" so enthusiastic were they in anti-Semitic dogma of the church and their "Aryan" pseudo-science that failed to understand the real enemy was fascism and bigotry - left over from WW I and codified in the war reparations.

Let us entertain the notion of perspective. No one is saying satirical cartoons represent truth, meanwhile billions claims these holy books represent truth on a daily basis, with some willing to kill and die for that "truthiness"(sic). Satire is merely a tool to expose truth behind comments and opinions of the day, with many such comment frequently lies in service to ignominious agendas, such exposure serves a vital function. This function is of course despised by authoritarians. Regardless of the historicity of the Bible and the Quran, about which there are some serious questions to be asked, or even of their relative truth value, there are things of greater concern to humanity as a whole. How do we learn to live side by side in a globally connected world? How do we stop neoliberal fascism from extracting the wealth of the many only to be concentrated in the hands of the few(as Oxfam tells us this week, by next year, to world's wealthiest 1% own over half of all wealth). How do we stop poverty acting a recruiting tool for violent extremist ideologies? Not just that followed by Al Qaeda or ISIS, but also Stormfront, US patriot militias, KKK.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Author Karima Bennoune: Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here (Secular Conferen...

Legal professor, Karima Bennoune, Spoke The International Conference Religious right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London on October 11th-12th.

Friday, 9 January 2015

For Charlie

While some blame the victims, calling them arrogant and saying they had to know there would be consequences and their deaths are their own fault. Such comment ignore the arrogance of those who defend or employ the use of violence in response to offence taken from the ideas or critiques of those the disagree with.  Such sentiment violate the human right to freedoms from fear and violence.


They did know and they accepted that there may be consonances, and they accepted those consequence because the freedom to "speak your mind" was more important to them than the tyranny of unquestionable ideas. Europe had unquestionable ideas for which it considered "the right thing to do" to murder and torture in the defence of those ideas. Elements of French culture, have not forgotten this. and the can proud of the fact they have grabbed on to the value of free expression and held on like a bulldog.

Needless to say, conversations around the beer volcano will be filled with even more raucous laughter for now into the future.  Blasphemy is not only a human right, it is a moral obligation. Je Suis Charlie. The talent of the staff of Charlie Hebdo will surely be missed, I wish for those injured in the attack strong and speedy recoveries. Thanks indeed go to the medical professionals who skill and dedication give the victims the best chance at a return to health.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

10 questions for atheists

I can play this game too.  Theists often ask questions that they think are show stoppers for atheist, or perhaps just conversation stoppers, hard to tell which, not that it matters much.  So Today Christian post 10 interrogatives, here are my answers, for what they are worth.

How Did You Become an Atheist?

1. I read about astronomy, then I read three chapters of Genesis. By then I knew cultures had many creation myths. And the first instruction the biblical god gives to Adam was justified by a lie, the serpent told the truth, and early modern English (kjv) was almost impenetrable to a 9 year old reader.

What happens when we die?

2. 130lbs of ape meat goes bad. What was it like not yet being conceived, they're a lot alike, probably.

What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

3. Free Beer, Lectures from Carl Sagan, classes with Bertrand Russell. Speeches, essays and articles from Christopher Hitchens.
Hell is borrowed and corrupted from earlier cultures which maintained a traditional underworld concept, and of course the Greeks had Hades. In order to develop and maintain the superiority of the new religion, the under world was cast as a terrifying place, a religious libel of sorts. so early Christians could our say "religion good the old religions is bad". It was marketing really, does your old can opener drive you nuts, does opening canned spagehtti require 911 on speed dial - Try the all new automatic Can-Reaper from K-Tel - only $99.99.

Without God, where do you get your morality from?

4. From the instincts naturally selected in social species. such instincts offer advantages to the species by creating greater opportunities to receive required resources and reproduce. Otherwise they come at the suggestion of the flying Spaghetti Monster.

If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

5. You can do what you want but some actions will reduce reputation while others enhance reputation. Some actions will lead to legal consequences. How ever there is also an instinct for altruism, so people tend to do good most of the time, an expectation of reward or punishment is not required, empathy helps a lot though. Bonus jugs at the beer volcano.

If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

6. My life has the meaning I choose. right now that means helping people understand things, including why fascism is not good for anyone. and why living a life in a fairy tale has hugely negative consequences. But I'm repeating myself.

Where did the universe come from?

7. No one knows, therefore the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it.

What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

8. Miracles as in rare poorly understood events, these happen from time to time, and when we do examine events and find an explanation, every time it's not magic. See also the Templeton study on heart by-pass patients . Anyone can get all hot and sweaty with a Ben Affleck or J Lo poster, just the same way that Julia Sweeney did with the Jesus portrait on her bedroom wall. The brain maintains models of people and characters, and under the right circumstance can induce perceptual experiences that feel very real. Google god helmet.

What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

9. I don't always agree with everything they say, but they are, or were (Hitchen's is sorely missed for his way with words) great consciousness raisers. It is better to listen carefully to an opponents arguments directly rather than take second hand a few quoted words from an intermediary with little motivation for an accurate rendering of their thoughts. If you listen carefully the arguments Reza Aslan presented on behalf of Sam Harris, wasn't actually Harris' argument. such errors are common, it has much to do with the way humans unconsciously filter information in accordance with our preconceived notions.

If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

10. Not all societies are Human. It is unlikely that many of the non-human societies  have religion, Do buffalo pray? Religion is a cultural phenomenon, and not all societies have religion, the Piraha People of the Brazilian jungle have a strong sceptics culture. UK is Mostly agnostics, and mostly antitheist, even though
it is officially Anglican. However cognitive neuroscience points to a cluster of cognitive mechanisms that lend themselves to religious behaviour(disembodied cognition - thinking of how others might think, agency detection - part of threat detection and leads to false positives, Moral inferencing - how we guess at the best action, Theory of mind - how we model the thoughts of others). Each of these mechanism offer survival advantages, but can lead people away from understanding what is known. Agnosticism and atheism is growing, and it grows fastest where religious fundamentalist right is gaining or holding power. Faced with the prospect the fundamentalists could be in control people tend to find affinity for the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his free beer volcano. And since he created all the gods, they are his children, he knows how to talk to them to make them play nice, or at least he tries his best, but some of them don't take their meds.

See Also 
  Today Christian 10 Questions for Atheists.
  Today's image from Funny Atheism - Because religion is a joke