Sunday, 30 June 2013

Anna Bligh & her cancer

Strip away the stigma associated with HIV and it's simply another serious disease we face as human beings on the planet. 

Anna Bligh, the last Premier of our northern state Queensland, has been diagnosed with a serious cancer; non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She's opened up about it. talking frankly about the disease and her reactions and feelings about it.
Ms Bligh had no obvious symptoms. 

"While medicine does know a lot about (cancer), when you're the person experiencing it, it still feels like you are in completely uncharted waters and I never felt like that in politics," Ms Bligh told The Courier Mail. 

"But still nothing really prepares you for confronting your own mortality." more
I know how you feel darling.

How many Iraqis died in our war?

Far out......


Violence at Russian gay rally

I was amazed at this little 10 minute video of the violence that just happened in Russia during a gay rally. Whoever thinks gay people are scared weaklings should perhaps broaden their view of gays by watching this. 

For example, I'd be pretty scared taking a stand in front of this mob of nationalists, complete with the statutory priest of course in the front of the thugs (although I am wondering what happened to his stool?). 


Here's the video.



And a report about it: 
“After the complaints of local residents, representatives of the local administration and the police warned the protestors that their protest was illegal and asked them to leave,” a police spokesperson said. Police officers then broke up the protest and arrested dozens of gay rights activists, the spokesman added. 

The Russian LGBT network said on its Facebook page Saturday that several activists were beaten up by their opponents during the event, and more than 50 were held by the police. Eight of the anti-gay activists were detained as well, the police said. One of the police officers was injured while trying to detain an anti-gay activist, local Fonatanka.Ru news website reported. The Field of Mars is the city’s 

“Hyde Park” where demonstrations are allowed without special sanctions. more

Felix takes a bath

Daughter gave Felix a bath. He's a long haired cat so getting wet has quite an effect.

Before:


After:


Saturday, 29 June 2013

Recovering

Feeling somewhat better today. Still a sore stomach through the night, but I was very careful with what I ate and didn't have too much. Took a couple of acid pills through the night and they worked OK this time. Couldn't wake up in the morning, fell back to sleep all the time. Ended up getting up about 10am I think. Wandered out to the loungeroom and David says "He's up!". I guess the sleep was after feeling quite weak at the end of yesterday from it all.

The worst was the night before. The pain in my stomach went through to my back, making my head and shoulders ache, along with my legs that have taken on a different ache all of their very own. Felt like my whole body was hurting.

David was tired too. He worked yesterday and was a touch short tempered in the evening. Wasn't the best of days overall, but we survived ok :)

Got to go up the road for a prescription later and a bit of shopping. Is still raining, cold, dark and depressing weather here in Sydney......

Union add for a ute

Remember the add for the ute on the telly? This is the union version of it, pretty funny man.


 
There's more here. I see Greg Norman has left a comment there.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Bloody sick today

Had a bad night last night. Woke up middle of the night and my stomach was going completely bananas. Tried all the usual things, Eno and acid pills, which sort of helped a bit but not much at all really. Lay there for about 2 hours burping and trying not to throw up (I fuckin hate spewing). Have only just managed to get up and stumble around the place. In the shower felt short of breath for some reason unknown to man. Went back to bed for half an hour after it just to lie there and calm down a bit. Every time I got up I felt really dizzy and went back to bed again.

David's been spewing a bit too. Fuck knows why we're sick. It's just horrible feeling this way. Am gonna stay home today I think. Is another cold, raining, dark and depressing sort of day in Sydney again today....

Anonymous declares war on NSA

Thursday, 27 June 2013

NSA and non-US citizens

This pisses me off.

To start off with, it looks like if you try and hide your identity on the net, then it puts up some red flag at the NSA and they start monitoring you somehow. OK that's bad enough, but I was pretty bloody annoyed in reading this about it:
While the documents make clear that data collection and interception must cease immediately once it's determined a target is within the US, they still provide analysts with a fair amount of leeway. And that leeway seems to work to the disadvantage of people who take steps to protect their Internet communications from prying eyes. For instance, a person whose physical location is unknown—which more often than not is the case when someone uses anonymity software from the Tor Project—"will not be treated as a United States person, unless such person can be positively identified as such, or the nature or circumstances of the person's communications give rise to a reasonable belief that such person is a United States person," the secret document stated. 
And in the event that an intercepted communication is later deemed to be from a US person, the requirement to promptly destroy the material may be suspended in a variety of circumstances. Among the exceptions are "communications that are enciphered or reasonably believed to contain secret meaning, and sufficient duration may consist of any period of time during which encrypted material is subject to, or of use in, cryptanalysis." more
So am I getting the wrong message here? It looks like to me that the US doesn't give a fuck if foreigners get monitored by the NSA, it's only when it's US citizens that it's a problem? How arrogant. Are US citizens therefore deemed more important than anyone else?

Felix and Natasha - cat love

Queue love music......

The sly touch.




Finally, both on the chair!



Gillard gov ends, Rudd reborn



''I simply do not have it in my nature to stand idly by and to allow an Abbott government to come to power in this country by default,' Read more
It had to happen.

Australia's first female Prime Minister, after 3 years in office, has been booted out as leader of the Labor party. She will not contest her safe seat and will retire from politics.

Kevin Rudd has been returned as leader, again taking the Prime Ministership 3 years after he was extracted from office. He now has a very short time to prepare for the coming federal election against Abbott. The Sept date for the election is now in doubt as Rudd can, as Prime Minister, call the election when he sees fit and the best chance for the party.

The reasons behind the switch to Rudd, the machinations of the Labor party, and all the goings on in Canberra that led up to this will no doubt be gone over with a fine tooth comb in coming weeks and months. However a big difference I can see immediately is that Kevin Rudd is now a proponent of marriage equality, after he wrote a rather long winded but well thought out opinion piece on why he changed his mind. That in itself is far more representative of Australians than the Gillard position of being against it.

Doubts remain about the Rudd leadership. Last time he got chucked out was pretty much because he was an arrogant prick that nobody could work with. Already a few of the Labor front bench ministers who supported Gillard have quit the front bench. Rudd will now have a major front bench reshuffle on his hands.

Can Rudd win? Given enough time he'd clobber Abbott into the political dirt. Rudd is extremely intelligent and could run circles around that clown Abbott. But he's got very little time now and whether he can take this election remains to be seen. If he can capture the people's imagination as he did in 2007 then I think he's in with a long shot, a very long shot. The Labor party has been trailing the opposition for years.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Hair Tutorial Gone Wrong :s

US gov chucks a hissy fit over Snowden

Must say I'm thoroughly enjoying the unfolding saga of Edward Snowden, as he rebels against the Empire, avoiding the most powerful country in the world seemingly with ease with the help of Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

The latest as I write this is that Snowden has in fact arrived in Moscow, albeit in the transit lounge and therefore not technically in Russia, as Putin has said. 
Clearly the Russian leader thought he could indulge in such colourful language because for the benefit of the international throngs following the story, he had just answered the ‘where’s Wally’ question – indeed, Mr Snowden was still at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport; though in the transit area which, technically, meant he was not in the country.
And showing he was not to be cowed by the American bullyboys, Mr Putin vowed that Russian authorities would not comply with American demands that Mr Snowden be snatched and handed over to them. Read more
Meanwhile, the US gov is all a fluster, ranting off threats and innuendo like a spoilt brat who can't get his way. They've even had a go at China as well as Russia. Seriously. And they're crapping on like Snowden has been brainwashed by the Chinese or Russians to hand over secrets, rather than actually admitting that Snowden has a very legitimate cause to do what he's doing. They're not doing themselves any favours by behaving like this for all the world to see.

Assange, throwing fuel on the fire, almost taunting Obama, has this to say:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told reporters in a 75-minute telephone conference call on Monday that Edward Snowden is “healthy and safe.” Assange also made clear he is relishing Snowden’s defiance of the U.S. “I have personal sympathy with Snowden, having gone through similar personal experiences,” he said. Read more
Wikileaks also put this on their site on Sunday:
Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.

Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.

Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:

"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people". more
Cripes, would love to have been a fly on the wall when they heard all that in the US. Indeed there seems to be a distinct lack of negotiation skills on the part of the US:
Also on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden a “traitor.” And he warned Russia and China that their apparent support for Snowden could imperil relations with the U.S. “There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship” with both countries, Kerry said while traveling in New Delhi. “There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong and, if there was adequate notice … It would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result … With respect to Russia, likewise.” Read more
Of which of course the Superpowders of Russia and China have taken exception too. 
“We consider the attempts to accuse Russia of violations of US laws and even some sort of conspiracy which, on top of all that, are accompanied by threats, as absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable,” Mr Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. 

“There are no legal grounds for such conduct [by] US officials.” Read more
Update:

An hilarious bit of commentary about it: 
Whatever the reason for Washington’s blather, it certainly is not doing the US government any good. Far more interesting than Snowden’s revelations is the decision by governments of other countries to protect a truth-teller from the Stasi in Washington.

Hong Kong kept Snowden’s whereabouts secret so that an amerikan black-op strike or a drone could not be sent to murder him. Hong Kong told Washington that its extradition papers for Snowden were not in order and permitted Snowden to leave for Moscow.

The Chinese government did not interfere with Snowden’s departure. The Russian government says it has no objection to Snowden having a connecting flight in Moscow.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino responded to Washington’s threats with a statement that the Ecuadorian government puts human rights above Washington’s interests. Foreign Minister Patino said that Snowden served humanity by revealing that the Washington Stasi was violating the rights of “every citizen in the world.” Snowden merely betrayed “some elites that are in power in a certain country,” whereas Washington betrayed the entire world.

With Hong Kong, China, Russia, Ecuador, and Cuba refusing to obey the Stasi’s orders, Washington is flailing around making a total fool of itself and its media prostitutes. - See more
Update 2:

Germany has really spit the dummy about this, with it's important publication Spiegel putting the boot right in:
What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.

Those who believed that drone attacks in Pakistan or the camp at Guantanamo were merely regrettable events at the end of the world should stop to reflect. Those who still believed that the torture at Abu Ghraib or that the waterboarding in CIA prisons had nothing to do with them, are now changing their views. Those who thought that we are on the good side and that it is others who are stomping all over human rights are now opening their eyes. A regime is ruling in the United States today that acts in totalitarian ways when it comes to its claim to total control. Soft totalitarianism is still totalitarianism. more

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

WTF? - Car catapulted 30m in air for charity

Survey - LGBT & religion

The Pew Research Centre in the US has done a very interesting study about religion and the LGBT community. It's findings aren't at all surprising given the amount of shit we continually have to cop regularly from religion. I mean seriously, it can be a long struggle for many LGBT's against depression, rejection, even sheer hatred directed squarely at them simply because of who they are. It's not easy, and the gay community has not only had to deal with mental health issues arising from this treatment, but seeing members of their communities end their lives because of what religion has told them. 

In such an environment, to hear the Christian catch cry "We love you"  reeks of insincerity and falls on angry ears. We push back.....

Now the attitudes and thinking of LGBT people on religion has been thoroughly researched by the Pew Centre. These are some of the results. 
The new Pew Research survey asked LGBT respondents to rate six religions or religious institutions as friendly, neutral or unfriendly toward the LGBT population. By overwhelming margins, most rate all six as more unfriendly than friendly. About eight-in-ten LGBT respondents say the Muslim religion, the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church are unfriendly toward them, while one-in-ten or fewer say each of these religious institutions is friendly toward them. Similarly, about three-quarters of LGBT adults (73%) say that evangelical churches are unfriendly toward them, about a fifth (21%) consider these churches neutral and just 3% say evangelical churches are friendly toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. By comparison, fewer LGBT adults see the Jewish religion and non-evangelical (mainline) Protestant churches as unfriendly toward them, but more say each is unfriendly rather than friendly by a large margin. And about three-in-ten LGBT adults (29%) say they personally have “been made to feel unwelcome at a place of worship or religious organization,” as detailed in Chapter 2 on social acceptance. more

........................... 

Many LBGT adults see major religious institutions as unfriendly toward them. And as shown in Chapter 2 on social acceptance, about three-in-ten LGBT adults (29%) say they personally have been made to feel unwelcome in a church or religious organization. 
More than eight-in-ten LGBT adults surveyed say the Muslim religion (84%) is unfriendly to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, while less than 1% say the Muslim religion is friendly and 13% consider it neutral. Perceptions of the Mormon Church are similar, with 83% of LGBT respondents saying the Mormon Church is unfriendly toward them. About eight-in-ten (79%) consider the Catholic Church unfriendly, and 73% say the same about evangelical churches. By comparison, the Jewish religion and non-evangelical (mainline) Protestant churches are seen as less hostile, although many more LGBT adults consider these institutions to be unfriendly than friendly toward them. Roughly half of the LGBT adults surveyed say the Jewish religion (47%) is unfriendly toward the LGBT population, just one-in-ten say the Jewish religion is friendly and about four-in-ten (41%) say it is neutral. Perceptions of non-evangelical Protestant churches are similar; 44% of LGBT adults say these churches are unfriendly, 10% say they are friendly and 43% say they are neutral. more
No shit Sherlock. 

Apart from simply driving people away from their so called message of love about a fairy tail (ie. Jesus and god), it's also making the churches increasingly irrelevant in the modern world. Slapping your hands over your ears and Bible thumping isn't a recipe for a lasting relationship with gay people, to put it mildly.

Or perhaps I could quote Alan Chambers in an interview about his closing of the Exodus gay reparative therapy organisation:
I don't know many pastors or leaders who have sat and listened to people who have been hurt. Many of them shared stories about Exodus. Many of them, people that I had never met, who went through a various ministry or worked with a counselor or people who had been hurt by the church. And I don't know many Christians who sit down and listen to that and really own the burden of the hurt that we have caused through words we've used or things we've believed or things like that. And I think it really is time for the church to turn around and listen to the people who are screaming with fever pitch about the things that the church has done to hurt them, because there are those things, and we must own them. If we're ever going to be credible, if we're ever going to be taken seriously, if we're ever going to compel people toward the good news of the Gospel we have to be willing to make amends and say we're sorry and listen to people scream at us without screaming back. more

Cat ritual?

Felix:



Natasha: 


Monday, 24 June 2013

Edward Snowden flees to Ecuador

Edward Snowden, the man responsible for leaking the fact that the NSA is seeking to monitor the worlds conversations and internet habits, has left his hiding place in Hong Kong and is heading to Ecuador (via Moscow) to have his asylum application processed there.

Julian Assange the other day had a meeting where he's holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy, with officials from there about Snowden. Given Assanges close involvement in the case I'd expect asylum to be granted to Snowden in Ecuador.

Reaction has been swift. From the US:
General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency attacked Mr Snowden as “an individual who is not acting, in my opinion, with noble intent".

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham earlier told Fox News: “I hope we'll chase him to the ends of the earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there will be consequences if they harbor this guy.”

Congressman and member of the US House of Representatives intelligence committee Peter King said: “I think it is important for the American people to realize that this guy is a traitor, a defector, he’s not a hero.” Read more
From Assange:
In a statement issued last night WikiLeaks said Mr Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks”.

“Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.

“Owing to our own circumstances, WikiLeaks has developed significant expertise in international asylum and extradition law, associated diplomacy and the practicalities in these matters,” Mr Assange told Fairfax Media.

“I have great personal sympathy for Ed Snowden’s position. WikiLeaks absolutely supports his decision to blow the whistle on the mass surveillance of the world’s population by the US government.” Read more
And finally from RootsAction, a petition to sign (anyone in the world can) to President Obama stating:
I urge you in the strongest terms to do nothing to interfere with the travels or political asylum process of Edward Snowden. The U.S. government must not engage in abduction or any other form of foul play against Mr. Snowden. sign here
I of course am completely in agreement with Snowden and Assange. The days where the US can do whatever the fuck it likes to people are starting to look sort of numbered. I sincerely hope that the conversation started by Snowden around the world will further dictate the direction the world takes from here in regard to gov secrecy. Indeed a noble cause.

Unfortunately all the US seems to be about with all this is to demonise the messenger.

Awesome Marriage Equality Ad in Ireland

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Betty White Sings - "I'm Still Hot"

Gay priest dating site - from Vatican

How bizarre.....  Here's the link:
http://venerabilis-fraternity-chat.blogspot.com.au/

It states
HomoSensible Roman Catholic Priests Fraternity
Here's the story about it.

Foreign gay marriage recognition - dies in Senate

It was bound to fail as once again the opposition didn't allow a conscience vote, all of them except for Sue Boyce who crossed the floor, voting no. Not only was the recognition of foreign same sex marriages killed, but also the bill to protect aged LGBT people from discrimination in nursing homes.

How fuckin stupid. I imagine it's not only LGBT people scratching their heads at this one. For example, what possible harm could be caused from old gays not being allowed to be discriminated against in nursing homes? Even straight people would be hard pressed to come up with an argument against that.

I suspected it may well have simply been more of the politicking that we've come to hate so much from Canberra. When they use an issue to try and gain points in the electorate, even though the decisions they're making affect people's lives. 

Turns out I'm not the only one that thinks this way. From Marion Dalton:
This is a shameful day for Australia. Extending our recognition of marriages made overseas would be such a simple thing. It would hurt no one; in fact, it would only increase both happiness and social stability. It would show us to be a nation that is both compassionate and fair-minded, able to extend our congratulations to even more of our citizens for choosing to formalise their loving commitment to each other.

Instead, our elected representatives showed themselves – yet again – to be narrow-minded, prejudiced, manipulative and hard-hearted.

Australia falls further and further behind the rest of the world every day when it comes to social justice. Today was one more example.

What happened in the Senate today probably won’t even make the evening news broadcasts, which in itself is disgraceful. And the majority of those who voted to deny same-sex couples even this most basic of recognition probably won’t have any trouble sleeping tonight.

They should. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. And they should be made aware of just how badly their blithe politicking affects the very people they claim to represent. more

Winter cold

It's a cold and dark day in Sydney. The rain is pelting down on the eastern suburbs, and even though it's day is dark and dingy. We've had to have the heaters on the last few days. Felix is slowly moving himself closer and closer to Natasha in front of one. We think he's in love with her.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

US Christians declare war

Not that they haven't been at war with us, but this certainly looks like a declaration of war to me. About 200 or so Christians from various organisations have come together to condemn marriage equality and draw a line in the sand. That the Supreme Court has no right to make any rulings of marriage and they don't recognise it's power to do so.

Some of it:
As Christian citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love. The Sacred Scriptures and unbroken teaching of the Church confirm that marriage is between one man and one woman. We stand together in solidarity to defend marriage and the family and society founded upon them. The effort to redefine marriage threatens the proper mediating role of the Church in society.

 ............................... 
As Christians united together in defense of marriage, we pray that this will not happen. But,make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefiningmarriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line wemust draw and one we cannot and will not cross. more
Not only is this hatred of the LGBT community rather unchristian, it goes right outside the fact that their religious freedom comes from the very secular society that they rail against.

Who the hell are these people anyway? They've not been elected to govern over the US population have they? They have no right what so ever in a democracy to demand the entire population adheres to their world view.

Well, as secular citizens, I trust LGBT Americans united together, will not stand by while the destruction of lives continues at the hands of the churches.

LGBT reaction of the Exodus apology

Not many seem to think the apology of the Exodus gay cure organisation is good enough. This one puts some real perspective on how little and too late this apology comes. There's a lot of anger out there and for very good reason. Listen up Christians, maybe some of you can join Exodus and turn your back on your hatred of us:
You have to be careful what you speak or put into the world, because one day it will manifest itself into a monster to bite you in the ass. Mr. Alan Chambers, is now full of remorse, with those that have taken their lives on his hands and has given his “apology to the LGBTQ community” a few ruined lives too late, but welcomed by all none the less. 

We in the LGBTQ community, Mr. Alan Chambers, will show you the true mercy of God and forgive, cause we know those lives will hang over your head and many others within your organization for the rest of your lives and one day you will have to explain to OUR God why. 

The result of so many organizations and evangelicals preaching hate towards LGBTQ people has only pushed them away and have not done what Jesus has called on preachers to do. Personally I remember very well as I sat watching my grandmother's favortie evangelical preacher, Jimmy Swaggert, at the time. I was nine years old. In my heart I knew I was different and probably in the LGBT group that Swaggert spoke against as he pointed his finger into the camera and said, you homosexuals, God hates you and there's nothing you can do from burning in hell, nothing. God hates you. I wish Swaggert could know the pain of that nine year old child, on bended knees, crying at the top of my lungs begging God not to hate me? What had I done so that he would hate me. A couple of years later when he was found with a ten dollar prostitue it finally hit me, no man is without sin. 

Yes this is a Victory, but a solemn one, as we can only imagine the countless lives ruined by bigots holding the Bible and using God’s name in vain. more

Kiera's new chair

Kiera has discovered a new comfy chair. It just happens to be my computer chair. I now have to move her when computering. 

God loves you, unless...........

Daughter sent me this.


Ha ha ha.......... Apparently you have to do what the Bible says to be a moral person, well at least if you can agree on a 2,000 year old society making up the rules for today. And if you reckon the Bible today was what they were actually saying back then too.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Human Rights Watch writes to IOC - Russian Olympics

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, has written an open letter to the International Olympic Committee citing increasing concerns over Russia's new discriminatory anti-gay laws and the ability of Russia to hold the Olympic games itself. This thing is starting to snowball.....

Here is the letter in it's entirety, and here's a bit of it:
In this letter I would like to raise Human Rights Watch’s concerns about the homophobic draft law that is expected to pass in the Russian parliament’s upper chamber in the coming weeks. 

This draft law is clearly incompatible with the Olympic Charter’s promotion of “human dignity,” as well as a blatant violation of Russia’s international legal obligations to guarantee non-discrimination and respect for freedom of expression. 

We note in particular that under the Olympic Charter any form of discrimination against a person is deemed “incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement” (Fundamental Principle of Olympism no. 6)and that the IOC’s role is explicitly “to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement” (article 2(6) of the Charter). 

This letter sets out our detailed concerns and proposed action for the IOC. 

...................................... 

Both the pernicious legislation that is moving forward and the refusal by the authorities to register the organization “Olympic Pride House Sochi” are forms of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement and sharply at odds with commitments to non-discrimination under the Olympic Charter. They are also incompatible with Russia’s responsibilities to the Olympic Movement and the IOC as host of the Games. Although news reports this week quoted a spokesman saying that the IOC is “concerned” about the draft law being passed and reiterated the IOC’s “long commitment to non-discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games,” we urge the IOC to take additional steps to send a clear signal to the Russian authorities that discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is at sharply at odds with Russia’s human rights and Olympic commitments. 

We also encourage you to obtain guarantees from the Russian authorities that no homophobic legislation will be adopted or implemented and that the authorities will refrain from any additional discriminatory legislative initiatives or policies that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender people. We also urge you to press the authorities to state publicly that, as Olympic Host, Russia will ensure, without distinction, the safety and the freedom of expression and association of all athletes, coaches, fans, and others who will attend the Sochi Games. 

Finally, we feel that a press release or other clear public statement from the IOC itself regarding the IOC’s support for LGBT rights and calling on Olympic hosts, including Russia, to demonstrate equal and unequivocal support in word and in practice would be key in pressing Russia to reverse its discriminatory course. 

In light of these serious developments, we also reiterate our recommendation that the IOC establish a standing mechanism to establish human rights benchmarks among Olympic host countries and monitor human rights in the preparations for and during the Olympic Games. more  
That's pretty tough talk man.

An apology from a Christian

There are so very few apologies that come from Christians over the way they've treated people over many decades. This is one of them.

Exodus International is one of those horrifying gay repairative therapy organisations that does terrible damage to LGBT people by trying to "cure" them of being gay. It is now closing down with it's director Alan Chambers posting a sincere apology on it's site a day later to the LGBT people affected by it. 

Although the apology makes no mention of setting up another ministry to address the damage done to LGBT people over the years by it and similar organisations, it is never the less a heart felt apology. This is something that all Christians should read.

Some of it, and the link:
Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God. 

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself. 

You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good. more
At the very least, this is a Christian acknowledgement of the danger of gay "cure" therapy.Obviously the sorry is encased in his god view of the world, which is fine. I haven't rejected god, I just don't believe he exists.

Update:

Comedic analysis of the apology.

Children moved from Manus Island!

Received an email today from GetUp with what appears to be some very good news:


Dear Peter,

Today, on World Refugee Day, I received the best message – the news I've been waiting to hear every day now for almost a year: "My family is finally getting off Manus Island!" my young friend told me.


Overjoyed, she asked me to pass this on to you: "Thank you to all the Australians who haven’t abandoned us on the forgotten Island.”


She is the young asylum seeker who earlier this year revealed the appalling conditions in the Manus Island detention centre during an exclusive recorded interview with us. Thanks to GetUp members, her message reached millions all over the country.


In that interview she shared her grief for the very young children who felt like they were being punished for something, but couldn't figure out what. She recounted the heartbreaking story of a young boy, only 8 years old, who would lie down next to the fence and stare off into the distance, wishing he was a dove so he could fly away. She feared for his mental health. I feared for hers.


But today, I've heard news that my friend was one of the sixty-five asylum seekers who were removed from the notoriously inhumane facilities on Manus Island detention centre. It's because of you – and refugee advocates everywhere - that Manus is no longer 'the forgotten Island'. Our movement rallied together - sending postcards, emailed MPs, and ran TV ads – sharing the stories of the children on Manus in order to ensure that these families would not remain out of sight, out of mind. We did it.


You might remember the moment in the campaign, back in March, when the children saw their drawings on this website and learned their stories were being told on TV. She contacted me on that day and through tears of happiness said the children were literally dancing with joy. They were dancing because they felt that if we could hear their stories, they wouldn't be forgotten. We'd have to help them. They were right.


Today, on World Refugee Day, we should all take a moment to feel proud about what our movement's actions have done to bring about the release of the most vulnerable people out of the shameful and inhumane facilities that make up the Manus Island detention centre. It's a hard fought and long overdue victory.


This is a big step, but it's not yet over for the kids and families we've fought so hard to free. There are still some families – including children – who will need to wait until June 30 before they are released from Manus. Most of those whom have been released were transferred to Christmas Island, where the facilities are so overcrowded that we've heard families are crammed into the dining room. Processing has been stalled so numbers continue to rise.


But for now, we should congratulate those who made it happen. Today would not have happened without the sustained and tireless campaigning from amazing people and groups in the refugee space including, but not limited to, ChilOut, Amnesty International, Sarah Hanson-Young and the Greens, retiring Liberal MP Judi Moylan and the countless other refugee advocacy groups. A big thank you!


Today is a moment on the Manus campaign we can all be proud of, but the fight for a more humane system for processing asylum seekers and refugees who flee to Australia – including no child in detention – is one that we'll continue to fight and continue to update you on.


Thank you,

Leila, for the GetUp team
Along with the email was this picture:


Thanks to anyone who followed the links from here and took action through GetUp to let our ignorant politicians know that we thought it wasn't OK to lock up children and families in jail.

If anyone hasn't seen them yet, these were some of the pictures coming out of Manus Island from the children:




This will not be forgotten and is a very black mark on Australia's reputation and it's commitment to uphold human rights. We should also remember that Manus Island isn't the only place where the Australian gov locks up children either.

Update:

An email from Amnesty International has arrived putting a more realistic picture of the situation in Australia with children in jail:
Dear Peter

We've just heard the news that kids are being taken out of Manus Island detention centre, for now. This is great news for those 22 kids and their families, but they will likely join more than 1,600 other children locked up in detention centres across Australia.

The government is sending more children to detention centres than ever before. With regular reports of children committing self-harm, this only shows how urgently we need to get kids out of detention - NOW.

Generous Amnesty supporters have already helped raise over $32,000 for our Save A Childhood appeal. Peter, can you help us continue our vital work with a donation of $50?

-- Hannah.  
1,600? Fuck, didn't realise there was that many.

Cat feast

All three cats are now eating together. Kiera the 17 year old matriarch, Natasha the 10 year old experienced one with clout, and Felix the one year old clobbering overgrown kitten, all eating off the same thing.


Had a bit of a problem earlier as the bowls we had weren't big enough for three cats to eat at one time. Actually they were only big enough for one cat mouth really, as Kiera and Natasha would eat together but have to take turns sticking their nose into the bowl. It was quite cute. In the end I tried just a big plastic lid and there's enough clearance around it for all three cats. 

Looks like Felix, although he's an annoying clobbering shit sometimes, has been accepted.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Coalition member will cross the floor

Perhaps some of the frustration in the community is finally seeping through to our so call representatives in Canberra?

Soon there will be a vote on recognising the marriages of same sex couples entering the country, and one on discrimination for older gay people. Senator Boyce of the Coalition says she will cross the floor if Abbott doesn't allow a conscience vote on the issues.
Liberal senator Sue Boyce is preparing to defy her party twice to support legislation that protects the rights of gay and lesbian Australians. 

Senator Boyce told Fairfax Media on Thursday that she was prepared to ''cross the floor'' to back two bills – one which recognises the marriages of gay and lesbian Australians who wed overseas, and another that bans discrimination against gay and transgender residents of Commonwealth-funded aged care homes. 

While the Coalition will reject both bills, Senator Boyce said ''in both cases I support the proposed legislation''. 
The Greens' bill to recognise in Australia same-sex marriages performed overseas is being debated in the Senate on Thursday. Read more
Why the fuck something so innocuous as those two bills would be opposed by the Coalition party is beyond me. Is this the sort of LGBT obstructionist bullshit we're going to have to cop when Abbott becomes our glorious leader?

Anyway good on Sue Boyce. At least there's someone in the Coalition with a back bone.

Married at last

Moving story, about a French couple together since 1976, finally get married.


 
This is what those opposing same sex marriage are trying to stop; the love of two people for each other.

Excellent psychologist visit

Had a very productive meeting with the psychologist yesterday. We talked about the anxiety I'd been feeling and all the emotions that that can lead to (depression, fear, unhelpful thoughts). 

Actually it fits into the book I'm still slowly reading through, The Happiness Trap. I gave him the spare copy I got of it (after Australia Post lost it and the Book company sent another one, only for both of them to turn up at the local Post Office). He can lend that out to other clients if they need it, or use it for reference. He was the one that recommended it to me. Better he have it than it just sits here gathering dust.

Much of what he said was where I was heading with it in my head. That thoughts from my head are simply that; thoughts from my head. They can be affected by my emotions, past experiences, or even (as I mentioned already) simply cognitive thoughts based on past experience. In all cases, these are just thoughts and it's only when I give too much importance to said thoughts that anxiety beyond reasonable levels can happen.

He used a very good prop during the discussion. Held up a book right in front of his nose and said the book was like my thoughts. That all I could see like that was my thoughts directly in front of me, and nothing else. In effect, to be in such a situation is to be blinded by your own thoughts, and not being able to see through them to the reality of the world around us. It is to give my thoughts too much importance.

For example, thinking that David and I may soon encounter some kind of drama where David will leave (or me) is making a prediction about the future that not only can't be predicted but is also a future based on my own head's thoughts without evidence to back it up. The fact is that David has moved in, everything's gone marvellously so far and there's no reason why it shouldn't do so in the future. My head may be subject to my fears and influenced by my past experiences, but it's no good as a bloody crystal ball predicting the future simply because I'm scared of what might happen.

Another picture we talked about is one on the sidebar of the blog:


The picture cam into my head and we started discussing it. I said I think I've actually left the harbour after some time in there for repairs. He agreed. For some years I've been in there as the world crashed around me, huddled and defensive against the onslaught of life. Surviving, but going nowhere. To leave harbour is a risk, as it is with David too. Hence it's to be expected that after going through hell I may very well be fearful of it all turning to shit anytime soon. These thoughts are simply the product of who I am; the past that has shaped me and the evolution of humanity. They're not a prediction of the future, rather an expression of myself.

Anxiety, fear, depression, all these emotions have had a function during our evolution. It's not "bad" to feel these emotions, any more than it's bad to feel happy. It's only when they take over that they become a problem. In essence, I can't expect not to feel what are normal human emotions. To do so would be either not to be human or not alive. It's how we deal with those emotions and thoughts that is the key. 

Do I give huge importance and credence to my thoughts/emotions? Or do I simply recognise these things for what they are? That being thoughts and emotions from a human being, shaped by evolution and life experience. 

I felt a lot better coming out of that meeting. Like a weight lifted off me.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Anxiety discussions

As luck would have it, I'm seeing the psychologist this morning. For some reason he had to reschedule from last week to this, and by chance it's worked out pretty good timing.

I discussed how I'd been feeling with David. I know it's my head having these anxiety thoughts, and just because my head is saying that it doesn't mean it's true. He keeps telling me that nothing was going to happen and no disaster is going to fall. We're together and that's it.That helps a lot, as even though I remind myself it's much more of a thing to hear it directly from him.

So I'll talk with the psychologist today about this too. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Fear of failure

I have been racking my brains the last week or so. Have been having bad anxiety and fear, leading into depression and thoughts that are to say the least, unhelpful. Suicide thoughts, even though I'm not thinking of doing so, seem to be at the ready when the depression comes along. 

Today I finally figured it out. The old fear of failure  thing. This is an interesting way to put it:
It is generally believed that phobias arise from a combination of heredity, genetics, brain chemistry, and life-experience.[3] Demeaning parents or family members, traumatic and embarrassing events that arise from minor failure early in life, or when an individual experiences a significant failure and is ill-equipped to effectively cope with the resulting feelings, are all thought to produce the fear of failure in the long term........... more
I think it's because although there have been the odd occasions in life of actually feeling happy for more than a few months (well one occasion at least) that I honestly find it hard to think that this time I may in fact experience happiness for more than just a few months. It's never happened before for more than that.

No wonder, after about 8 months of being genuinely happy with David, much of my head simply assumes this will end shortly. Something will happen, a fast or long drawn out thing, that will see this happiness end.

I don't believe in luck, or that things happen for some meaning for an imaginary sky man, but FFS surely if it's a game of chance then surely it's about time I got one? One that's at least good enough to remain happy for longer than a few months before disaster falls? 

I laugh when I hear shit like "God/the universe/fate/bla will never give you more than you can handle. My response is "Well WTF happened with me then?"

I'm sure I'd not be the only one.

Cheney: Snowden a 'traitor'

Edward Snowden, latest leaker of the US Empire/journalist, is taking it in his stride as the US rhetoric pumps up. From here it's all rather predictable, the right wing nuts over there will demonise Snowden, telling all that he deserves to be punished for blowing the whistle on their dying Empire. They haven't called for his head yet/death penalty, but I think this is getting pretty close:



Snowden seems quite amused. This was his reaction to Cheney:
“This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead,” Snowden said. “Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American.” Read more
Cheney must be livid. 


Find Your Understanding

This little video is about a father's journey as he comes to terms with his daughter getting married to a woman. Certainly a person with an open mind and heart.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Can gays and religion coexist?

No prizes for guessing my views on this. Religion, and particularly in the West Christianity, has been against gays all the time. It's always been the churches that've come out with all the bullshit and hatred towards us, and has stood in the way of us mere gays actually being equal to the rest of society. It's like they think their world will come crashing down if we actually have rights and exist openly.

And why? Because of a book written 2,000 years ago (or is that 1,900 years.....) from a group of people that knew nothing about human sexuality apart from their own delusions. Where God apparently spoke directly to them and nobody else. A god supposedly of love, that supposedly will burn us all in an imaginary hell if we don't do what he says. A definition of "purity" that involves a long list of does and don'ts, obedience to which is considered as "morality".

In my view morality is about how you treat people. That's it. I'd compare the morality of secular gays over the religious anyday.

Same Same has a bit on this today. Two gays giving their views on the subject, Jack and Chris. Chris is against and Jack is for. I agree with Chris, and I think he says it quite eloquently:
I understand the need for religion in some people’s lives, but the very notion of it I find a little… silly. It would come as no surprise, then, that I am on the side of suggesting religion and homosexuality cannot coexist. 

I find the concept of them doing so to be a little like a vegetarian eating meat. They are mutually exclusive. Religion and homosexuality are like a Kardashian wedding or an open relationship; they just don’t work. 

I am, of course, talking about mainstream religion. I am sure there’s a string of Kabalah that Madonna has carved out that allows men to love one another the way her Girls Gone Wild video depicts, but for the most part, religion has openly said there’s no room at the inn for Adam and Steve. Why you’d want to be part of a club that wouldn’t want you as a member is beyond me, and I find the gay guys fighting to suggest the two can go hand in hand a little unfortunate. 

I’ve also heard the various arguments that the bible can be interpreted in different ways and that, in fact, psalm 69 can actually be understood as condoning men laying side by side (or one on top of the other). This battle over interpretation I also find unfortunate. 

Religion is our enemy. Sad but true. Religion is the last leg that people against marriage equality have to stand on. Why any gay person would want to humour religion is beyond me. The sooner you come into the age of enlightenment and realise the only person you need to believe in is yourself, the better off you’ll be. 

Religious people hate the notion of evolution because that’s what we represent. We’ve evolved beyond the picket fence and 2.5 kids. We are the future. You heard it here first. more