Sunday 23rd of January 2022

an opinion about beliefs...

politics and religion...

A fourth argument holds that women wear the burqa only because they are coerced.  This is a rather implausible argument to make across the board, and it is typically made by people who have no idea what the circumstances of this or that individual woman are.   We should reply that of course all forms of violence and physical coercion in the home are illegal already, and laws against domestic violence and abuse should be enforced much more zealously than they are.


Suppose there were evidence that the burqa was strongly associated, statistically, with violence against women.  Could government could legitimately ban it on those grounds?  The U. S. Supreme Court has held that nude dancing may be banned on account of its contingent association with crime, including crimes against women, but it is not clear that this holding was correct.  College fraternities are very strongly associated with violence against women, and some universities have banned all or some fraternities as a result.  But private institutions are entitled to make such regulations; a total governmental ban on the male drinking club (or on other places where men get drunk, such as soccer matches) would certainly be a bizarre restriction of associational liberty.  What is most important, however, is that anyone proposing to ban the burqa must consider it together with these other cases, weigh the evidence, and take the consequences for their own cherished hobbies.

Societies are certainly entitled to insist that all women have a decent education and employment opportunities that give them exit options from any home situation they may dislike If people think that women only wear the burqa because of coercive pressure, let them create ample opportunities for them, at the same time enforce laws making primary and secondary education compulsory, and then see what women actually do.

Finally, I’ve heard the argument that the burqa is per se unhealthy, because it is hot and uncomfortable.  (Not surprisingly, this argument is made in Spain.)  This is perhaps the silliest of the arguments.  Clothing that covers the body can be comfortable or uncomfortable, depending on the fabric.   In India I typically wear a full salwaar kameez of cotton, because it is superbly comfortable, and full covering keeps dust off one’s limbs and at least diminishes the risk of skin cancer.  It is surely far from clear that the amount of skin displayed in typical Spanish female dress would meet with a dermatologist’s approval.  But more pointedly, would the arguer really seek to ban all uncomfortable and possibly unhealthy female clothing?  Wouldn’t we have to begin with high heels, delicious as they are?  But no, high heels are associated with majority norms (and are a major Spanish export), so they draw no ire.

All five arguments are discriminatory.  We don’t even need to reach the delicate issue of religiously grounded accommodation to see that they are utterly unacceptable in a society committed to equal liberty.  Equal respect for conscience requires us to reject them.

From Martha Nussbaum. She teaches in Law, Philosophy, and Divinity at The University of Chicago. She is the author of several books, including “Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality”


Meanwhile at ABC Central:


Gus: under these conditions of acceptance, real science is going to die... We don't want to understand... we just want to be entertained and illusioned... We don't want to be curious, we just want to be caught in a rapture of belief.

Mixing religion and ethics is like mixing oil and water. This blurring process is designed to deny humanity's animality by whatever means...

To me this is a betrayal of being.


1001 nights of debauchery...

How come the Muslim world – at its moments of greatest crisis – will invariably manage to deflect its energies into the most preposterous cultural, historical or religious questions?

Egyptian Islamists have said they want to censor "salacious" passages from the One Thousand and One Nights, one of the Muslim world's priceless literary works. This is the same country whose prelates once ordered a university professor to divorce his wife because he had dared to suggest a reinterpretation of the Koran.

Ayman Abdel Hakeem, a member of the "Islamist Lawyers without Shackles" group, wants to censor the tales told in the Arabian Nights because the epic "contains profanities which cannot be acceptable in Egyptian society." The very idea of an insatiable woman offends him. "We understand that this kind of literature is acceptable in the West, but here we have a different culture" he is reported as saying.


In Beirut, some swastikas and Hitler pictures are flying in an Armenian district where the local population are descendants of victims of the 1915 Turkish genocide – which Hitler admitted was his inspiration. Egypt, it should be remembered, also recently broadcast a version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the old tsarist forgery which was responsible for so much anti-Semitism in Europe.

At a time when many suspect there will be a new war between the Lebanese Hizbollah and Israel next year, it seems almost incomprehensible that a people will fritter away their energies on this nonsense.


reality losing market share on the god market...

a relative poem...


God is an idiot

If you were god, would you make the world the way it is,
Full of idiotic crap and stupid contradictions?...

Sure, one could believe that god made this piddly corner of the universe —
The size of an underachieving pin-head
In an unfathomable cosmos —
Just for a few chosen people to play in a Wipeout series...

It does not make sense. God does not make sense.

She is a raving lunatic idiot.

Oh... So you think god gave you a challenge...
And that god acts in mysterious ways...
And that god will give you a lollipop for blowing yourself up...

If you were god, would you make the world the way it is,
Full of pain and death?
Full of lies and illusions?
Full of boredom and sadists?
Full of things and animals that are totally irrelevant to humanity's existence?
Full of dangers and despair...
Just to give humans a lesson in sin?

That would be sinister...

It does not make sense. God does not make sense...

Our rectitude is our own dog to create.
And we shall minimise the pain,
Especially the one we won't inflict on others —
Not because of god, but because we can love. 

That makes more sense — relatively.

when philosophers agree to have no opinion...


Philosophy and Faith



This line of thought ignores the fact that when philosophers’ disagree it is only about specific aspects of the most subtle and sophisticated versions of arguments for and against God’s existence (for example, my colleague Alvin Plantinga’s modal-logic formulation of St. Anselm’s ontological argument or William Rowe’s complex version of a probabilistic argument from evil). There is no disagreement among philosophers about the more popular arguments to which theists and atheists typically appeal: as formulated, they do not prove (that is, logically derive from uncontroversial premises) what they claim to prove. They are clearly inadequate in the judgment of qualified professionals.  Further, there are no more sophisticated formulations that theists or atheists can accept — the way we do scientific claims — on the authority of expert consensus.

In these popular debates about God’s existence, the winners are neither theists nor atheists, but agnostics — the neglected step-children of religious controversy, who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case.   This is the position supported by the consensus of expert philosophical opinion.


Gus: agnostics are no winners. They just sit on the fence... "Consensus of expert philosophical opinion"? Rubbish, that's a feeble way out... See toon at top and read poem above...

and there too...


she works in mysterious ways...


from letters at the SMH 03/08/10)


Saint misbehaving, God unimpressed

Referring to damage done to the Penola schoolhouse where Mary MacKillop set up her school, one resident says: ''When you see the damage, and then that no one was hurt … she was looking out for us'' (''Wind storm wreaks havoc in town Mary MacKillop made famous'', August 2).

The religious believe their God is omniscient. Therefore, God brought the destructive wind. The wind, in short, was God's will. Therefore for MacKillop to ''look out for us'' means she was acting against the will of God. What arrogance. Hardly the behaviour of a saint.

Those of a religious inclination could just as easily argue that by selecting that schoolhouse to be damaged when the town was ''getting ready for the big [canonisation] celebrations'' and had recently moved exhibition displays in there, that their God was sending a message.

Perhaps it doesn't agree that Mary was saintly.

And anyway, what sort of capricious, lazy and indifferent God needs saints to clean up the inconsistencies, inequities, inequalities and injustices in its creation?

What nonsense.

Chris McKimm Karangi



IMHO and still trying to justify any religion of cruelty.

Once upon a time, according to the "scholars" of the various blossoming religions, their God created the world and he (now she too) did it in a particular way so that it was at last very clear how we all came to be.  It was all, IMHO, originally intended to eliminate fear and, I guess the wealth gained by these "witch doctors" evolved to make them record their beliefs and doctrines? 

Then, a "reformer" in one religion had a different point of view and was eventually the idol of the uneducated peasantry just as were the witch doctors who, by the way, are apparently just as powerful by the use of fear even to this day, as indeed are the Christians, even though educated.

Some religions are still as they were when they first began but, the original Christians, as an off shoot of Judaism since their idol was a Rabbi, preached a different and peaceful existence created by a "forgiving" God and his "Son on Earth" Jesus of Nazareth.  As this particular religion flourished and expanded it decided to add many penalties (as well as heaven and hell) to its uneducated peasants to keep them in line and we had the examples of say -the Spanish inquisition - that could hardly be perpetrated by the believers in a forgiving God?  Nor in the “Born again Christians”.

I have no personal doubt that, along with the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was created by a breakaway from Judaism, even as so many other Christian faiths have broken with her.  However, I am not totally convinced that the original believer in just one God was Judaism but does it matter?

If tomorrow, the great majority of un-educated people could be convinced that ONLY with a certain religion could they expect “he who believeth in me shall never die” that would swallow up all others.  Sorry if that is incorrect in wording but the intent is clear.

Conversely, there are religions that foster pilgrims to enjoy their religion and do not mitigate its wealth by describing a horrific alternative.  Hell as a description of an eternal existence of pain I cannot believe especially with the inconsistent and political application that pollutes that policy now.

The relatively late arrival of Scientific research on the Planet’s peoples has, IMHO, all but removed the “bogey man” from my bedroom and, while it may not show, I believe that my God is in me and I shall enjoy or not my existence now depending on my behavior to fellow man and “he” with me – all else is heresay (not heresy).  Malcolm Fraser once stated, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.  Amen. Meanwhile, think reason and use logic.

May all Gods bless Australia and vote Labor and may the spirit of the entire Australian people throw off the burden of the uneducated. NE OUBLIE.




culture wars...

Senate candidate for Family First Wendy Francis today stood by comments she made then deleted on social networking website Twitter, on which she compared legitimising gay marriage to "legalising child abuse".

She went even further in an interview today, comparing children from same-sex families with the stolen generations.

Ms Francis, Family First's lead Senate candidate in Queensland, said in a Twitter message yesterday: "Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse."


Meanwhile at the belief funny farm...:


Unfortunately, many leave Christianity altogether. But others, like me, simply undergo a change. 

At the heart of this change is a shift in allegiance. For so long, evangelical Christianity demanded our allegiance to range of causes--from young earth creationism, to religious nationalism, to Republican politics. Somehow the radical teachings of a first century rabbi got all tangled up with modern political platforms and theological positions that were never essential to Christianity to begin with. 

Young evangelicals are in the process of picking apart and deconstructing this tangled mess of ideas in order to get back to the most basic teachings of Jesus. So you shouldn't be surprised to bump into more and more and more oddities like me--a young evangelical Christian who votes for Democrats, has gay friends, and believes in evolution. 

But don't be fooled into thinking this shift in allegiance means we're simply jumping from one political platform to another. At its best this change signals an allegiance first and foremost to the Kingdom of God, which knows no political party or geographic boundary, but instead grows outside of these confines through acts of love, humility, and peace. Instead of protesting outside abortion clinics, for example, we're championing adoption and supporting single moms. Instead of reducing our Christian service to a duty at the ballot box, we're looking for practical ways to address hunger, human trafficking, and homelessness. 

The bad news for the Religious Right is that young evangelicals are tired of the culture wars. The good news for everyone else is that we're ready to make peace.


Gus: yes, this does not make sense... But peace to all, including the confused and the self-contradicted, and may the best atheist woman win... and a happy married life to my gay friends...

Tribalism - how do we deal with that?

Well done Gus, your post is very logical and could use a lot more advocates.

I vaguely remember a book (when I was in the Navy) from a Journalist whose family name was Snow and his take on the long, long and painful march of the Chinese Communists.

I was serving in China at the time that Mao Tse Tung (is that right?) were on one side of the Yangtze River and the Chinese Nationalists on the other. The HMS “Amethyst” was hit when it was going up to relieve the HMS “Consort” in Nanking.  All of this is on memory Gus.

The HMS London, HMS Consort, HMS Amethyst, and including the HMS Black Swan, which was moored alongside my ship the HMAS “Shoalhaven” were involved.

The point I am trying to make here is that this American Journalist who endured the “Long March” against all odds, merely concluded his book with “I am human and nothing human is alien to me.”  I have never forgotten it.

While I believe that we are back to the days of “might is right” I also consider that the US is the most dangerous country in the world today and, flying as their “wingmen” are the Brits and the Zionists.

There is an old saying in the RAN and that is the “meek will inherent the Earth but, only six feet of it”.

I believe that, commensurate with your post, the existence and beliefs of all citizens should not be interfered with by religion of any type.  It is surely the right of every individual to practice what they believe in, whatever that may be.  And the same applies to the Judiciary.

For these reasons I am sympathetic to the so-called dictator in Fiji.

With great difficulty, I understand that the massive influx of Afro/Asians (Indians) created a situation where the Fijians were out populated to be able to elect a government of their own Nationality.

So, do the Fijians have a special right to own their nation or, does the immigration of foreigners decide who runs the government?  This is a situation caused by loyalties which go back to places of birth.  And they only create divisions.

Probably unenforceable is that only born Fijians can vote but, that is Apartheid.

Over to you Gus.  NE OUBLIE.





life is beautiful...

Good question Ernest... How do we deal with that?

Modern tribalism is not just this group versus this other group exclusively anymore. The boundaries of tribes are now blurred within us, especially for those who manage to think beyond their long-acquired brainwashing in a species that communicates at world speed — and for those whose mind has been opened to natural and social curiosity... Even within ourselves there are many contradictions... Some we bury, some we dismiss. "Individual" brainwashing is strong and powerful in a society in which we long to belong — for the necessity of survival and by reinforced habit. Thus anything that does not fit a particular dogma is dismissed as infidel, as gentile, as idolatry — or is not even looked at. It is a simple way to extinguish internal personal conflicts using a particular restricted social code —ignoring others or trying to eliminate others, in wars at a certain level.

As I wrote once in another project:


The meaning of life: the grandmother of all conflicts.

The meaning of life is the black hole of our stylistic interpretations.
We only can propose hypothesis and various narrow-minded beliefs to plug the gap. Yet we can live successfully and experience enlightened happiness without absolute meaning, through caring, naturally (instinctive) and stylistically (by choice).

As Harrisson, a dead gangster’s former butler, says to his new employer in a lousy play:
    “... not knowing is the strange destiny of our lives, Sir... When we are born we know nothing and when we die we know nothing then... In between birth and death, one spends an awful long time trying to know about nothing...” (As Sir looks puzzled, the old butler adds): “Sir still really wants to know?... Sure... but it depends on the matter of the subject of nothing Sir wants to know about...”

Our ability to formulate stylistic interpretations leads us to many conflicting points of view. On the meaning of life, I suggest we choose whichever we wish as long as we do not restrict our natural potential to survive, nor restrict that of others, nor restrict our ability to generate style and curiosity, and do not restrict our management of happiness.
The necessity of the "unneccessary"
[style] can not be defined on this subject if we do not accept a direct relationship with the natural environment. Our imagination can be unleashed beyond what we can touch or feel, yet our primary necessity is to feel and act in order to exist. We owe to ourselves the feeling of happiness in our environment, but we won't choose it necessarily.

Back to now.

Brainwashing mostly does the trick to make us fit the social accepted gamut. Most of us are raised under the fear of god, the presies from santa and we sleep on the pillow of a tooth fairy... Some of these illusions are soon demolished by reality. The other one is bolted onto us with stronger rituals maintained by powerful lobbies in our societies... in which the social code and the religious code have been mixed to reinforced the illusion of legitimacy.

I will venture to say that most of us are thus presently deliberately confusing three major lines of understanding to avoid uncertainty.
These are religion, science and technology. In religion I include all the paranormal illusions such as astrology and witchery, and the political constructs.

Religion and science do not and cannot mix.

Religion is a point blank explanation of the world we live in, designed to rule our behaviour. All of the story lines of this dogmatic explanation — in all religions — is proven erroneous by science.

Science is the repeatable process of measuring the world we live in. In the last one hundred years science has opened our eyes to the reality of atoms, molecules, quarks, relativity, etc. Science really started way back with the "discovery" of fire, but religion did not let it be — mostly because the "discovery" of fire was "a technology" rather than a scientific understanding.
The crumbling of religious beliefs started in the days of Galileo Galilei... Kepler, Copernicus, reviving some ancient ideas did the hard yards on celestial mechanics — which threw many religious premises out of the window — including our position in the universe. Religion does not make sense when looked through a microscope. Science makes sense. The Kepler equation on celestial mechanics was a giant step of understanding. It still is, but many people don't know it except any space travellers, sputnik and moonwalkers that had to follow this relatively precise principle to get there.

Technology is the application of science — an intent of purpose using selected scientific knowledge — but technology does not include the maximum expressed challenge of science — philosophically. Thus technology can be "mixed" with religion: god gave us "the bomb" so to speak... Easy but idiotic.

"Creationists" try hard to mix religion and science. They have had to "rewrite" science in order to make their dogma fit. It does not work. Their "science" is a deliberate botch-up where the interpretations are entirely unscientific, thus not valid... Even in the 1920s when science was still a bit iffy about some evolutionary timelines, it was estimated "the dinosaurs became extinct about 6 millions years ago". Since then the timelines have been worked out with much greater precision due to radio-activity decay scientific study and other precise verifiable measurements. In the creationists mixed-up crap, the world was created 6,000 years ago. Silly. Scientifically, we should accept the present timeframe of 15 billion years for the universe and 4.6 billion years for the earth.

Knowing they could not make their case stick, some creationists went on to develop the idea of "intelligent design", somehow not mixing pure science with religion but mixing technology — which, as mentioned earlier, is an intent using selected scientific knowledge — with religion...
The structural observations of the universe and of this little planet tell us religion is a crock. Thus intelligent design is only an illusion of meaning.

There are of course relative complexities, in regard to behaviour, our imagination and our natural evolution. In the end the meaning is relative, but many of us wish for an absolute to satisfy our angst derived from being then gone. In fact, there is no other meaning than being and gone.
That is the frightening truth if we do not accept it.
It is extraordinarily enlightening and liberating if we accept it, existentially.
Then "our life" can be for us to make the most of being with whatever mechanisms of science and behaviour to minimise pain and maximise our comfort as long as possible.

Stylistically, emerging from and living in a social framework, we depend of the framework for our survival, but we also depend on nature for our personal timeline... It is preferable for our social frameworks to be as stable as possible, and contradictorily, the framework has to push a lot of crap in our head for us to submit to it. It does not have to be this way. We can and should rewrite "our social contract" so to speak. but there are too many tribes, some exclusively madly religious (the US, Iran etc), to be too clever about it at this point in time.

As mentioned before, an absolute cannot exist in a relative world. In an absolute world there is no flexibility, no possible contraction nor any expansion — no change possible. The concept of god thus does not make sense in a relative world where change is measurable. The relative universe in which we live does not make sense with an absolute god.

There is no absolute meaning.
Purpose is our relative stylistic choice in a "natural" world, once our survival is assured — a world in which we can decide to care as much as possible, for our self, for others and for the environment (social and natural) — or act in various grades of caring, right to the other side of the scale in which we can choose to be utterly self-centred — not forgetting the stage of non-caring, which, in a sneaky way, is highly depressive. Depression is a physical manifestation of the abandonment of caring, for various reasons — including recognising our inability to fight whatever. Our body and mind "give up".

Moral purpose is only relative to our desire to live in a group. Moral purpose dips deep into our natural make up as well: if one cuts one self, one bleeds. If can be painful. If you cut someone else, that someone else bleeds, can be in pain and won't be happy about it... Someone had to codify the way we can make ourself and someone else bleed. Morality was born. An eye for an eye is very basic, albeit savage.

Within the tribes there are many stations at which we individually accept fully or begrudgingly what is happening to us. We create new illusions or accept the illusions of the tribe (culture and traditions) in order to survive in the flux of what is our own live amongst others on a pebble that created us accidentally — in which our luck is to live and be gone...
Life is beautiful, as relative as it is.

Peace and enlightenment to all.


find the fish .....

[the End Of The Film]

Lady Presenter:        Well, that's the end of the film. Now, here's the meaning of life.

[Receives an envelope]

Lady Presenter:        Thank you, Brigitte.

[Opens envelope, reads what's inside]

Lady Presenter:        M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try & be nice to people; avoid eating fat; read a good book every now & then; get some walking in, & try & live together in peace & harmony with people of all creeds & nations.

Finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors & to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which, it seems, is the only way, these days, to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses & back in the sodding cinema.

Family entertainment? Bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties; babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates; vigilante groups strangling chickens; armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats. Where's the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here's the theme music. Goodnight.

Simply fantastic John - some levity at last.

For you to write this in the manner you have and at this time, it is an attitude that I can really understand and appreciate.

I would be surprised John, if you and Gus were not aware of my total objection to any government being elected on the say-so of an evil media empire that has obvious objectives of its own.

Control the information and you control the people.  In my school days our government and in fact all Allied governments, abhorred the propaganda of the National Socialists in Germany - and rightly so.

Now, the Americans have built their own empire on that same principle and even made it more deceptive.

We Australians are now seeing and suffering from the evil power that Howard gave Murdoch by removing the Keating Cross Media Ownership laws.

The supreme irony is there in the omission by the lying and biased Murdoch flag bearer today – no mention of the Julia Gillard's appearance on the Tony Jones Q & A show last night. Why would that be?

One of Howard’s dictatorial legislations has already been challenged and defeated by the courage of GETUP in going to the High Court and giving back the rights to enroll to vote to some hundreds of thousands of mainly young Australians in the coming election, up to the day of the closure.  Well done GETUP.

While it is as clear as crystal that the Murdochracy has a conflict of interests with the current Australian Labor Government, it should not give them the unregulated right to take sides. Especially   in such a dictatorial manner during a greed inspired global uncertainty that only Labor correctly handled economically before and with a plan for the future.

IMHO, the Corporation’s plan is to get the most incompetent and bungling thug into the highest Office in the land where they will control him ad infinitum. Meanwhile he continues to avoid a debate face on with Julia Gillard.  Already claiming that Murdoch has elected him?

If only to warn Australians, and in particular the young voters that Howard’s unconstitutional laws again tried to disenfranchise - like the Afro/Americans in Florida to elect Bush – and the whole world has suffered because of it.

Yes John, as a disabled war veteran with enormous support from my Wife, we personally fought the Howard government for recognition of some Navy Personnel. (My younger days of course). We lost the battle but, won the war when those veterans were finally recognized.  To his credit the DVA military General could have sued us for a lot of money, but he chose not to do so.  I hope I haven’t dobbed him in.

May all of the Gods assist us in our need for truth?  No jealous God can hurt Julia (except of course the Abbott confidant Cardinal Pell) and religion is who her citizens are, no matter what.  NE OUBLIE.



Fear as a political weapon in America since 1770? Red Coats?

"Religion and science do not and cannot mix."

"Religion is a point blank explanation of the world we live in, designed to rule our behaviour. All of the story lines of this dogmatic explanation — in all religions — is proven erroneous by science."


Excellent article Gus - if I stray off subject just ignore.

I have had limited education compared with today, but even I can appreciate the decadent history of, in particular, the Roman Catholic Church.  I agree that most religions have blotted their copy books at some time or other - IMHO the most outstanding example is the brutal application of the Papists since the fall of the Roman Empire.  Their power was excused and even encouraged by the very people they were persecuting.

The exploitation of fear has been used by the Catholics for many centuries and the slow but constant education of the majority poor in South American nations, was brutally crushed, we are told, by Communists.  Fair dinkum.

It is only now that some of them have tried to throw off the American substitution for the Spanish dictators whose demand for military bases was enforced by killing or arresting the non-compliant Leaders.

Fear seems to have even replaced the "might is right" principle in many areas and yet, with the devoted Muslims, the American invasions of the world, whether financially or militarily - usually the latter - continues unabated for the almighty dollar.

It goes without saying surely that the Muslims all over the world are afraid of the terrorism of the US/Zionist partnership in the Middle East. I tried to give reason to attacks by “home grown” Muslim idealists against the nations in which they were born and come to the conclusion that it is their way of retaliating against the desecration of their religion and the unjustified killings and occupation of their otherwise peaceful citizens.

How many times during my lifetime have I heard the expression that our war dead "have sacrificed themselves so that we may be free"?  Does that also apply to the Japanese Kamikazies and the Muslim suicide bombers?  Or does the sacrifices of our young men and women mean more on the scale of ...... what?

If we can call their origins as products of their societies, as are most people, would the Brits allow them to raise money (like the US did against England re the Catholic Belfast terrorists) to fight the illegal activities of the UK army of their chosen nation?

Multi-nationalities do not resolve problems which are religiously based – what it is seen to be achieving is the concentration of power to an ever smaller and smaller minority of the rich Military/Corporate.

I truly believe that the atheist stand of our current Prime Minister Julia Gillard, is a step in the direction of eliminating bigoted religions from exploiting the religious fear of so many of our citizens.

My doctor was a student in a Catholic school when I coached him and his brother in soccer nearly fifty years ago.  I have been a Freemason for 60 years. But, Religion does not in any way, interfere with the mutual respect we have for each other.

He has his religion – I have my beliefs, and while we all want a long life and the right to be free and independent of thought police – we have allowed ourselves to be exploited by the indecent bias of the Howard/Murdoch media in Australia.

This is the only forum in which I am allowed to express my opinion – while the Murdochracy has such a strangle-hold on the lies and misinformation of a “profit above all else” attitude, I am as bitter as those subjects in Afghanistan and Iraq – without the constant fear of being murdered.

Now we have the Murdoch ordained Abbott and his motley and unsure bevy of Howard “New Order” dregs.  Now that does frighten me.

May all of the religions favor the Australian citizens who vote for Labor and freedom at the August 21 elections?  NE OUBLIE.



please do not smoke or pray...

Since then there have been two dramatic changes in his circumstances. The first was the international bestselling success of his 2007 anti-theist tome God is Not Great. After decades of acclaimed but essentially confined labour, Hitchens suddenly broke out to a mass audience, becoming arguably the global figurehead of the so-called New Atheists. Almost overnight he was upgraded from intellectual notoriety, as an outspoken supporter of the invasion of Iraq, to the business end of mainstream fame. In America, in particular, he has reached that rare position for a journalist of becoming a news story himself.

Unfortunately the news, which provided the second personal transformation, was that in June he was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, a malignancy whose survival ratings do not make soothing bedtime reading. As restraint is a quality for which neither Hitchens nor his critics are known, the ironies proved irresistible to many commentators. For the religiously zealous, the arch atheist suffering a mortal illness spoke of divine retribution – the unacknowledged irony being that belief in such a vindictive god served only to endorse Hitchens's thesis.

For more secular moralists, a different kind of cosmic accountancy was at work. The celebrated drinker and smoker who once claimed that "booze and fags are happiness" had succumbed to a cancer most often associated with drinking and smoking. Having previously gone so far as to promote the benefits of teenage smoking, he offered a public recantation of sorts. "I might as well say to anyone watching," he announced in a TV interview, "if you can hold it down on the smokes and the cocktails you may be well advised to do so."

aged imperial apologist...

From Chris Floyd

One hates to kick a man when he’s down – and Christopher Hitchens, facing an almost certain doom from cancer, is certainly down. But as he has lived his life pulling no punches against those whom he felt (by whatever standards he held at the time) to be spewing murderous bullshit, let us honor this cherished principle of his by applying it to his own words.

Hitchens was given a lavish and almost entirely adulatory spread in The Observer this weekend, holding forth in his usual “young trendy leftist turned aged imperial apologist” manner. There is not much of interest in the interview, and I would have passed over it in silence if not for one extraordinary passage, in which Hitchens demonstrates to perfection the wilful self-blindness of all those who end up worshipping at the altar of the militarist Moloch.

In defending his advocacy for the unprovoked, illegal invasion of Iraq – and reiterating his still-staunch support and glowing approval of this ongoing war crime, Hitchens makes this statement:
I'm glad we're not having an inquest now, as we would be [if there had been no invasion], into why we allowed a Rwanda or a Congo to develop on the Gulf, an imploding Iraq right in front of our eyes, a vortex of violence and meltdown, a whole society beggared and fractured and traumatised, waiting to fall to pieces.

Of course what Hitchens is doing here -- as even his sycophantic interviewer realizes -- is describing exactly what has happened in Iraq because of the invasion. It is in fact an excellent description of the conquered nation's fate at the hands of the monstrous assault that he has championed.


Homelessness and

Homelessness and joblessness, these are only two of the problems that we have been facing. Add up the war that affects the economic stability. The Iraq and Afghan wars have created a brand new generation of returning vets, and several of them have severe issues to cope with upon coming back from service. An increasing number of them are returning and dealing with homelessness and high unemployment after re-entering civilian life. The proof is here: Homelessness and unemployment plague new veterans.

hidden under the burqa...

KABUL — Just before she leapt from her roof into the streets of Kabul, Farima thought of the wedding that would never happen and the man she would never marry. Her fiance would be pleased to see her die, she later recalled thinking. It would offer relief to them both.

Farima, 17, had resisted her engagement to Zabiullah since it was ordained by her grandfather when she was 9. In post-Taliban Kabul, where she walked to school and dreamed of becoming a doctor, she still clawed against a fate dictated by ritual.

After 11 years of Western intervention in Afghanistan, a woman’s right to study and work had long since been codified by the U.S.-backed government. Modernity had crept into Afghanistan’s capital, Farima thought, but not far enough to save her from a forced marriage to a man she despised.

Farima’s father, Mohammed, was eating breakfast when he heard her body hit the dirt like a tiny explosion. He ran outside. His daughter’s torso was contorted. Her back was broken, but she was still alive.

In a quick burst of consciousness, Farima recognized that she had survived. It was God’s providence, she thought. It was a miracle she hadn’t prayed for. But it left her without an escape. Suddenly, she was a mangled version of herself, still desperate to avoid the marriage her family had ordered.

She didn’t know it yet, but her survival meant that she would become a test case in one of her country’s newest and most troubled experiments in modernity: a divorce court guided by Afghanistan’s version of Islamic sharia law. Could a disabled teenager navigate a legal system still stacked against women?

“We still must get married,” Zabiullah told his brother when he heard about Farima’s suicide attempt. “The engagement must remain.”

Her father agreed that Farima’s pursuit of a formal separation was unwise.

“We are not a liberal family,” Mohammed said. “This is not how we handle our problems.”



Kunduz, Afghanistan: Two men have been arrested for slitting the throat of a 15-year-old Afghan girl after her family refused a marriage proposal, police say.The girl was carrying water from a river to her village home in northern Kunduz province on Wednesday when she was murdered, police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini said.
"The two men attacked her and slit her throat with a knife," he said. "They were arrested and are in police custody."
Mr Hussaini said one of the suspects had proposed marriage to the girl, but her family had rejected the offer.

Extreme violence against women and girls remains a major problem in the conservative Muslim nation more than a decade after US-led troops brought down the notoriously brutal Taliban Islamist regime.
According to figures by British charity Oxfam, 87 per cent of Afghan women report having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage.

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