Monday, 30 September 2013

Vatican censors gays kissing

I would like to thank the Vatican for it's hissy fit about these photos, as otherwise I'd never have heard of them and not seen them. They're quite interesting and perhaps confronting? I'm speaking of a group of photos that were to be exhibited in an art gallery in Italy. Until the Vatican threatened legal action that is and the photos were covered up thus:


But the artist has made them available to view online, this is one I snipped:


You can find the rest here.

The reasons given for stopping the display was because of the "religious sensibilities" of those who may find it offensive. How this is offensive is beyond me, particularly after the Popes alleged new found love for us gays......  Oh yeah, the Pope is full of shit......
“Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual’s religious feeling and the function of places of worship. Therefore photos that are not suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith.” more

A religious encounter

Yesterday at The Oxford :)    Just with my phone.


Women driving "affects ovaries" - Sheikh

This is a perfect example of religious stupidity affecting people's lives. 

I didn't know this, but Saudi women aren't allowed to drive. I don't know why, but I'd imagine it'd have something to do with the medieval religious views of men in that country and not letting women have any power. Not that I can see how driving is giving women power.

Anyway, as with marriage equality, the religious nut bags over there are going slightly bananas at the thought of women getting behind the wheel, and as with marriage equality the reasons for not letting women drive are patently stupid and nonsensical. Women there have been signing some petition like mad to be able to drive, prompting this reaction from "a judicial and psychological consultant."
Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, told Saudi news website sabq.org. 

Driving “could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said. more
Needless to say he's looking pretty stupid at the moment.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Dying With Dignity member passes

I missed this story in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday and only came across it via an email from Dying With Dignity pointing it out. Aina (who passed away) was one of the Dying With Dignity members. The video there is supplied by DWD.


 
The story tells of the difficulty dying in today's Australian healthcare system. The email states:
Peter,

Have you seen today's Sydney Morning Herald? There is a very interesting article about the death of one of our DWDnsw members - Aina Ranke.
Aina had suffered from a degenerative and debilitating neuromuscular condition for nearly four years and decided that she was ready to die on Thursday 19th September, as she could not endure the pain and suffering any longer. Sadly, our current laws in Australia do not make it easy for a person to end their own suffering.
She was visited by DWD members the day before she died, this from the SMH article:
Earlier that last afternoon Ms Ranke had made arrangements for two members of Dying with Dignity NSW to visit her in her small flat in Ashtonfield, a suburb of Maitland, in the Hunter region. Psychologist Sarah Edelman and actor and ABC Advisory Council member Gideon Cordover made the trip. Both were upset as they drove away.

"It is an awful thing to die alone," said Dr Edelman. For Mr Cordover, 24, memories came flooding back of his father's death in June 2009. Robert Cordover was a marine biologist who spoke seven languages. He was also stricken by motor neurone disease and ended his life with Nembutal. Mr Cordover was anxious for Ms Ranke.
"The fact that she was alone really kept me awake all night. It really felt unfair, unjust, that somebody who deserves such a good passing at the most vulnerable time of their life should be denied it against her will." Read more
Unfortunately the community nurse turned up early and found her still alive and she was taken to hospital. Dying in hospital isn't as bad as it could be, with doctors generally obeying the wishes of someone near death not to be revived if they have something happen. It's not that way for attempted suicide though as any aid in an attempted suicide is against the law here. 
"He [the doctor] repeatedly said that if they switched off the respirator they would be aiding her suicide and therefore breaking the law," said Dr Edelman. Dr Edelman pointed out that keeping Ms Ranke on life support was inconsistent with her wishes and her Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD). But the AHCD document was not there and, even if it had been, the staff said it had no legal status. And because she had attempted suicide, the AHCD did not apply. 
 "If a patient has a terminal illness and asks for no intervention during hospitalisation they would respect that request, but they are not obliged to do so in the case of an attempted suicide," said Dr Edelman of the conversation. Read more
She was eventually pronounced brain dead, giving the hospital the legal means to pull the plug. She died 12 hours later. 

There's a NSW parliamentary forum about "The ethics of voluntary assisted dying" on Nov. 4th if anyone is interested attending. Hmmmm, thinking of going myself. Is hosted by Alex Greenwich, gay independent. I didn't know he was a member of Dying with Dignity. I suppose being in the gay world and the HIV that's existed in it over the years, there may well be many HIV+ people thinking about having the right to chose the time of their own death.

Silk worms

Daughter bought home some silk worms, well actually a lot of silk worms, in two shoe boxes from the child care centre where she works. The teachers are taking turns on the weekends to look after them, and because we have a mulberry tree out the back (which is evidently the only thing they eat) she got the short straw this weekend.

They munch through the leaves like there's no tomorrow. Here's a shot after just putting some leaves in there.


This is only about half an hour later. The dark stuff is their crap. You can hear them munching away if you put your ear over the top. They're very loud. She had to put them in the lounge room as in the night with them in her room all she could hear was this munching coming from the shoe boxes.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Abbott's anti-green madness

The latest thing to cause huge concern from the manufacturing unions is the Abbott gov's intent to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). This is no pissy little thing as it's currently involved in $billions of investment and manufacturing jobs. To get rid of such a integral part of the economy, simply because it's green is complete madness, economically incompetent, short sighted, and will see more manufacturing jobs go offshore. Thankfully, it requires legislation through the parliament to disband it, something that Abbott may find rather hard in the senate.

This from the AMWU:
The AMWU has endorsed calls for the new Federal Government to re-think abolishing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation after the green energy bank revealed it has 50 projects worth at least $4.5 billion advanced in the finance pipeline. 

The union joined businesses and environmental groups concerned that these projects expected to generate thousands of new manufacturing jobs could fall at the final hurdle if the Government axes the CEFC, as it did the Climate Commission last week. 

On top of that 50, the corporation is considering a further 120 clean-energy project proposals. 

Climate Minister Greg Hunt has vowed to legislate to disband the Corporation, which has a legal obligation to keep operating until Parliament terminates it. 

The CEFC is obligated under existing law to allocate $2 billion a year over five years for final seed funding to allow commercially-viable, large renewable energy projects to go ahead. 

AMWU National secretary Paul Bastian endorsed calls from the Wind Tower Manufacturing Alliance and the Climate Institute for the new Government to consider the costs to business of axing the CEFC. 

“The threat to the Corporation is another example of this Government taking a wrecking ball to sensible, innovative environmental initiatives. The CEFC has worked with major banks the Commonwealth and NAB in making seed funding easier and faster for the emerging clean energy industry,” he said. 

“There are jobs for AMWU members in the wind tower industry which would have gone to China and Korea if the CEFC had not arranged the final loans to get local companies over the line. 

“Knocking down this avenue of funding would put Australia back behind the rest of the world in alternative energy, it would cut this country out of an emerging $7 trillion global industry.” more

Stephen Fry "evil" - Russian lawmaker

Hot on the heals of the IOC declaring that the Russian anti-gay laws are not a violation of the IOC charter, we have this completely vitriolic rant by the Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov. I'd probably not have heard about it that readily but for it being in the main stream media smack in the middle of my home page.

Apart from the rant, the article is interesting for me as it gives a background to what's lead up to all of this, explaining about the anti-gay laws right back when it started in St Petersburg. It must be that more and more people are finding out about this as time goes by.

The rant itself is pretty shocking, especially coming from a lawmaker in a country hosting the Olympic winter games. The IOC must be fuckin banging it's head against the wall by now. They only just announced it's all OK for Sochi, then this fuckwit comes out with this:
But Milonov remains defiant in the face of the furore and makes no secret of his views about Fry who has called for Russia to be stripped of its right to host the Games and led an increasingly visible Internet campaign. 

"For me Stephen Fry is a bringer of evil, as he expresses ideas which are evil," Milonov told AFP in an interview in Saint Petersburg.

 ................................ 

"It's a declaration of our values, our response to the challenges of the present time." 

"Thank God that we have Putin, who defends the basic interests of Russia, for defending its values," said Milonov, saying that Russia "needs to resist the wave of degradation that has seized the Western world." 

"I do not know why we have to apologise in front of Westerners. The preaching tone that they adopted in this area does not suit us." more
I think you'd be hard pressed to find something more hateful than that anywhere. Oh yeah, he's also a Christian.

I laughed at his accusation of "preaching" when he's doing exactly that.

Friday, 27 September 2013

PUT(T)IN OUT

IOC approval of Sochi.

Why am I not surprised. Yes folks, it's official. The IOC has put it's stamp of approval on Russia saying that it's laws don't violate the IOC charter :s  Yes folks, the IOC doesn't give a shit about human rights. Today it's a money making juggernaut, that's it, period.



Barilla boycott

When I heard of this yesterday I didn't think too much of it. Looked then like a bit of a slip of the tongue. But honestly the more this guy opens his mouth the worse he makes it.

It started with it's chairman Guido Barilla on the radio where he said this:
“We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta. Everyone is free to do what they want, provided it doesn’t bother anyone else.” more
Um, well I'm not going around demanding gays be in every add that comes out, but still that's a bit rough isn't it saying straight out that you won't put any  gays in an add? Why single gays out? Why not say there won't be any black people in an add then? Same thing. But oh well the gay outrage seemed a touch over the top on this one.

But the next day he said this:
“With reference to statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they have hurt the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family.” more
The idiot doesn't know when to shut his mouth. His damage control has made it worse. I wonder how women feel being classified as as being the central role in the kitchen family? 

Well that's enough for me. I'm accepting the Barilla invitation to eat someone else's brand of pasta. They can take their traditional pasta and keep it in their "traditional" bigotry. 

Needless to say there has been a boycott of Barilla started in Italy. Even the politicians over there are getting on the bandwagon:
Italian activists and politicians launched a boycott of products from Barilla, the world's largest pasta producer, shortly after company president Guido Barilla said Thursday he would never show gay families in advertisements. "We accept his invitation to not eat his pasta," said Aurelio Mancuso, president of gay-rights group Equality Italia, in response to Barilla's remarks that gays could eat another pasta if they didn't like his message. Barilla made his statements on the Italian morning radio program La Zanzara. By midday, the hashtag #boicottabarilla (boycottbarilla) was trending on Twitter, thanks in part to outrage voiced by some Italian politicians. "Here we have another example of homophobia, Italian style," said Alessandro Zan, an MP with the left-wing SEL party. more
Yeah, it may look to some a bit over the top, but FFS, but what else have we got? Hit the bigots where it counts; the hip pocket nerve. Imagine if it was any other minority, like Jews, blacks, whatever, there'd be an outcry from all. But because it's just us gays then they think it's OK to discriminate.



Edit:

It just got worse. This is the entire quote from Mr Barilla: 
"We have a slightly different culture," Barilla said, per a Huffington Post translation of the interview. "For us, the 'sacral family' remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this."

Barilla said he respects people's right to do what they want without disturbing others, but that he does not agree with gay adoption.
"I respect same-sex marriage because that concerns people who want to contract marriage, but I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families, because that concerns a person who is not the people who decide," he added. more
He doesn't agree with gay adoption either.

Again, what if this was any other minority? This from GLAAD in the same article:
"These insulting anti-gay comments will not only lead to LGBT people skipping Barilla in favor of more inclusive brands like Bertolli, but their family members, friends and co-workers as well. Homophobia is bad for business - plain and simple. Mr. Barilla's opinion is ill informed, and he will soon learn that the new traditional family accepts gay and lesbian families and does not support companies that promote discrimination." more

The thundering silence

Sometimes it feels like I've had enough of the day rather early at night. I went off to bed last night and lay there watching telly for a bit. Whether it's just me or it genuinely is the case, to me it was about 20 channels of digital free to air shit and I wasn't interested. I stuff around on the PC for a bit. It's interactive, not like sitting there like a vegetable watching shit. My head is going too fast for such banality and the mundane. Eventually I turn off the light and start going to sleep. 

David is still at work and will be home in about an hour or so. My daughter has gone to sleep already as she's doing the early shift at her work in the morning. All three cats are sleeping in the lounge room. The house is quiet. The heavy curtains block out the  street light outside and the room is dark. I close my eyes.......

I'm feeling uncomfortable, not physically but mentally. I ask myself why is this, and notice anxiety. My mind drifts back to the past. Flashes of pain, I skip from memory to memory. Starting to doubt that things will ever be better than what's already happened, the anxiety increases. Doubts swirl in my head; doubts that life will ever be more than lurching from one crisis to the next and dealing with more pain. That's the way it's always been for me so far, why should the future be any different? My self esteem shudders. I take a deep breath and tears well up.

The house is still dark and quiet.

I see what's happening and set about using the coping mechanisms I've been learning about. My mind is doing what it's evolved to do; think of the worst and prepare for it. Humans as a species have survived  because of this (and others things); be prepared for the worst, expect danger. Survival. My mind is simply the product of evolution, I can't change what it does. I can however recognise that in preparing  for the worst my mind isn't predicting  the worst. I stand back from my thoughts and realise that they're just thoughts, not truth.

Remembering what I've learnt, I start to bring myself back to the present. The past in gone, the future is unpredictable. The only true reality is the present. Listening, I hear myself breathing, become conscious of the way the air fills my lungs and is expelled. The traffic, unnoticeable until now, softly whisking past outside. I notice the gaps in the traffic as the traffic lights change down the road. The gusting winds have dropped off a bit from earlier. I feel my head on the pillow, noticing how it feels. Slowly I come back to the present reality. My mind's cacophony fades. I breath deeply, Relief. 

I'm still feeling doubtful and a bit anxious, but I've avoided the worst. This happens to me a lot, almost regularly. It's the worst if it happens in those times of quiet. When there's nothing else to fill my head, that silence can become a thundering waking nightmare. 

It's over now, for the moment.

 photo think6_zps9751d843.gif
Thanks to Rob's blog for this picture.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Abbott vs Indonesia

At the moment I'm just lost for words. What an embarissment.
 


9/11 doubters possible terrorists :s

The US dept of justice has sent instructions to local police, saying that doubting 9/11 means you're a potential terrorist. Here's a screen shot of the memo. Note the attitude indicaters on the right:



Really?

I note also it's not just the 9/11 thing. According to that the US cops may well lock me up and send me to Gitmo if I lived over there.

Just a note if anyone in the CIA is looking at this now; violence is never excusable in my opinion, but it can be understandable. Um, I'm not furious at the west but we've certainly fucked things up in the last 30 years or so. I'm not even going to get started on 9/11.

It's worrying though this sort of thing. The wests strength lies in it's ability to self criticise and self correct. If we take that away then we're fucked.

Elton John a "sodomite" - Russian parents

Sir Elton John is booked to perform in Russia this December, saying that he has to go to show support for the gay community there. This has raised the ire of a parents committee who has written to Putin asking him to cancel the concert. They claim:
“The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children.” more
Now this may get very interesting. Sir Elton isn't just one of the latest stars to happen on the scene. He's been around for decades and has a huge following in the west. I like some of his music myself. 

He's also been openly flamboyantly gay from the start. I don't see how he couldn't be accused of gay propaganda in Russia; all he has to do is simply be himself. In a sense, the stage is set for a showdown baby.

Will Putin back up his gay hate laws and ban him? Such a legend with a huge reputation. So much he's contributed over the years to music and the LGBT community. Being banned by Russia will be headline news I suspect in the west, especially as we're so close now to Sochi. Or will Putin try and suck up to the west ("please come to Sochi") and let him in? If he does I can't imagine Elton doing anything other than showing his support for the gay community there.

The Pope is full of shit

If there's any LGBT feeling over the moon about the Pope's new rhetoric about gays and all, it may be time for a dose of reality. His actions aren't consistent with that rhetoric after he's excommunicated a Melbourne priest over his stance on gays and women. So what gives?

My estimation is this, as someone who's had experience with churches before and their changing rhetoric. He's stretching the truth as far as he can take it, without actually saying that it's OK to be gay. I've seen this before. It's a political move. With ongoing busts on paedophile priests in the world media (they just don't stop do they) the churches reputation as any kind of moral authority is in tatters for a lot of people. Membership is falling fast, and you know what that means; less money, power, and influence for the church. So what's the solution?

I'd guess that high on the list of possible solutions is to change the image of the church, or as the new buzzword is now, to "modernise". This means media management, and a toning down of the hateful abuse directed at us constantly from the church. This would please many of the "modern" Catholics who may well be on their way back to mass right now, after not going for a while being disillusioned with the medieval beliefs the church still craps on about.

Or, to put it more bluntly, the Pope is full of crap. 

He refuses to say he agrees with being gay. In this case it's more about what he doesn't say  that's telling. That in itself is a dog whistle to the homophobes in the Catholic church.

He has left in place an Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who's at war with gays and women it appears, as well as media management of paedophile abuse.
In another important decision, Francis left Archbishop Gerhard Mueller in the powerful role of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Mueller, originally appointed by Benedict XVI, directs the Holy See's crackdown on nuns suspected of undermining Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality. His office also shapes policy dealing with clergy who sexually abuse minors.

Under Mueller's tenure, critics of the Vatican's strategy have so far been frustrated in their lobbying for Vatican and other church hierarchy to be held accountable for policy that for decades left pedophile priests in their ministry, merely shuffling them from parish to parish when complaints emerged. more
But there's more! It was just three years ago, not long before he became the Pope, that he sent a letter to nuns about legislation in Argentina to do with gay marriage. In it he describes same sex marriage equality as discrimination against children and an effort by Satan to destroy the plan of god.
Dear Sisters, 

I write this letter to each one of you in the four Monasteries of Buenos Aires. The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. 

The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. 
A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy. I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth. Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a "move" of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God. more
Lovely.....

So don't break out the Champaign yet darlings. It would be really great if a person so influential as the Pope would come out in support of the LGBT, particularly given the gay hate spawned by the church over centuries. But alas it's not to be. This is all simply an effort to attract people and money back to the church, nothing more.  A political exercise in damage control. Pffft.

Coming out stories

It's your life. Live it authentically.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

O'Farrell drags the chain on cops

I dunno WTF it's going to take for that stupid bloody Barry O'Farrell (NSW Premier) to actually get it into his thick fuckin head. The NSW public (you know, the ones who pay the wages of both the premier and the cops) don't want the police to investigate themselves when there's a complaint.  There should be an independent body set up that does that. It's not fuckin rocket science. We are sick to death of the cops behaving like thugs, injuring and killing people, and nothing can be done because their internal investigation makes them all come up smelling like bloody roses. 

We don't want to hear any bullshit about not wanting to expand gov or crap like that, bla bla the budget and all. We are a fuckin rich country with little debt (despite the voices of doom from the Abbott brigade). We can afford to have a police force that are not a law unto themselves.

O'Farrell has announced an investigation into police conduct. Fuck! An investigation  FFS! Surely the police actions, plastered all over the media not only here but overseas (in the case of Curti from Brazil) are evidence enough? WTF do you need to bloody investigate? Read the fuckin coroners report on Curti; that alone should be enough to stop the cops investigating themselves. O'Farrell has the nerve to come out with this crap:
“The NSW government believes it’s important police continue to investigate critical incidents because they have the unique skills and expertise to look into these matters,” O’Farrell said. more
OMFG. "Unique skills"? "Expertise"? How the hell could he say that with a straight face? The only unique skills the NSW police have is to give a very unique version of events, including cases where people have been injured or died. Yeah, fuckin experts at that.

Well on the positive side, the wheels are sort of slowly moving. Perhaps our screaming anger from the streets have actually pierced the echelons of power up in that rarified atmosphere of the NSW parliament. This is the result so far under the current system:
The PIC’s Operation Calyx recommended that criminal charges should be considered against four NSW police officers in relation to the fatal 2009 shooting of a mentally ill Sydney man, Adam Salter.

An Ombudsman investigation recommended the consideration of charges against officers involved in the death of Brazilian student Laudisio-Curti, who died after being tased multiple times in Sydney’s CBD last March while in a panicked state after taking a small amount of LSD. more
Criminal charges should be "considered"? Considered?  WTF? That's it? And where are the cops now who, for example, were involved in the Curti death? Last I heard one of them had been promoted by the time the case got to the coroners court.

Seriously, that's just not good enough. Seriously, we're talking about people's lives here.....  Perhaps the only sane voice in all of this is coming from the public, in this case from the gay community and the Greens:
Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who has long campaigned for a review into how police investigate critical incidents and complaints, said the current system did not work and that there was widespread dissatisfaction amongst the public. 

“The failings are most obvious in the police handling of critical incidents where flawed internal investigations consistently vindicate police actions, even in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary,” Shoebridge said. 

“The flaws of the system were recently highlighted following the deaths of Adam Salter and Roberto Curti with subsequent investigations demonstrating the inherent flaws of a system where police investigate police.” 

The Star Observer understands that more than 100 complaints about police behaviour at this year’s Mardi Gras have been made. It is believed that none of the officers involved in either of the two Mardi Gras incidents under investigation by the Professional Standards Command are yet to be questioned. more
Fuck! Not even questioned about it yet? OMFG............

For all those in love

"This is my pledge, dearest one, I will stand by you ... and no matter whether the wine be bitter or sweet we will share it together and find happiness in the comradeship."
-Edith Bowling Galt (1872-1961)

 

Has been ten months now with David and we love each other more than ever.

Oh look, asylum seekers arriving.....

Does Abbott really think that he can keep boat arrivals secret from us? It's like he's dared the media that he can.


 
Them there are fighting words! I'm wondering if this will actually backfire on Abbott and the news outlets are going to make it a big deal to get an exclusive on any boat coming.

Priest excommunicated over gays and women

Looks like my not trusting the Pope with his new rhetoric on gays was exactly right. Now we have a Melbourne priest chucked out of the church because of his views on gays and women. Here he is holding the letter of his excommunication.


A PRIEST excommunicated from the Catholic Church due to his views on homosexuality and women’s ordination, believes more than half the Australian clergy would agree with his views.

Father Greg Reynolds received a letter stating his ex-communication from the church just days ago after his resignation as a priest in the Melbourne Arch Diocese in 2011.

He believes fellow priests and members of the Catholic congregation are too afraid to express their opinions for fear of repercussions from the church.
The excommunication document - written in Latin and giving no reason - was dated May 31, meaning it comes under the authority of Pope Francis who made headlines on Thursday calling for a less rule-obsessed church. more
Well so much for the new way of the Catholic church then. Same old same old, bla......

Myself I think he's better off as far away from that crazy church as he can be, but that's just my opinion. Probably the most insulting thing in my opinion too is the fact that the only other Melbourne priests to be excommunicated have been paedophiles. To me that's a veiled insinuation that gays are paedophiles. Lovely. 
Fairfax Media understands that the only other Melbourne priests laicised against their will have been notorious paedophiles. more

US nearly nuked N.Carolina - 1961

This story absolutely blows my mind. In a Star Trek sort of way. History would have been completely changed from 1961 onwards if not for a small highly vulnerable low voltage switch not clicking on.  If it had of, North Carolina would have copped a bomb 260 times more powerful than Hiroshima. I believe the term is "the butterfly effect", when simply the flapping of a butterfly's wings can snowball into events that change the whole course of history.

US author Eric Schlosser, in researching for a new book of his has come across declassified documents telling of this incredible story. This happened despite assurances from the US gov that the US public has never been in danger from it's nuclear arsenal.

It happened when a B-52 carrying two bombs had trouble and fell to bits, sending the bombs plummeting to earth. One of the bombs went into bomb mode (I guess that's what they're supposed to do when they're plummeting to earth out of a plane) and it was only that one low voltage switch that kept the bomb from detonating after all the other fail safes, well, failed
A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.
Each bomb carried a payload of 4 megatons – the equivalent of 4 million tons of TNT explosive. Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York city – putting millions of lives at risk.
 ................................................................
Jones found that of the four safety mechanisms in the Faro bomb, designed to prevent unintended detonation, three failed to operate properly. When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device, and it was only that final, highly vulnerable switch that averted calamity. "The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52," Jones concludes. more
Being a Kiwi I of course am against nuclear bombs and nuclear power (including those pesky nuclear powered warships). In Australia they have a small reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney for cancer treatments but I can live with that. Not exactly the same as a nuclear bomb flying overhead that'd destroy half the bloody state.

The declassified documents have also been published online by The Guardian. Here's one of the pages:


I just can't help thinking how different history would have been, had it not been for that one tiny little switch. New York may well have ended up irradiated or uninhabitable. Would the US have been able to be what it's been for the last 50 years? Or would the devastation have been too great, crippling the country for decades? Would the Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan wars have even happened? In Star Trek terms, it would've created a whole different time line.

The butterfly effect indeed.

Captain Pickard solidarity :)


GetUp responds to an Abbott gag

GetUp is not happy. They have wasted no time in responding to a prospective Abbott gag, including in their response other laws that Abbott wants to change. Even though the environmental protections federally were bought in by the Howard gov. They've also come out with an add. You can donate to get it on air if you so desire here.



Help get this ad on TV screens around the country. 

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has promised to fast-track plans for future development of major coal, iron ore and gas regions surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, in a bid to cut what he calls "green tape".[1] 

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is already agitating the Federal Government in favour of a faster approvals process. In his first phone call with Mr Newman since winning the election, Prime Minister Abbott was told to "get out of the way" in the Galilee Basin, where plans to construct the biggest coal mining expansion in Australian history, are in the works.[2] 

In a blatant attempt to stamp out environmental campaigning, the Government is seeking to introduce new laws, which could see environmental conservation groups sued for boycotting companies linked with damaging environmental practices. 

As reported by The Australian, the move "could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!"[3] 

The Government is scared. They know just how powerful our movement can be when we act together and they want to stop us. Let's show them exactly who they're dealing with and get this ad on the air. Donate

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

US opinion sours on Putin & Russia

For the first time in 15 years, the US public has shifted it's views on Putin's Russia, with more than half now looking at Russia as an enemy, according to new polling.

The reasons for this boil down to just two issues, and they don't include Putin's Syrian success. One is Snowden being granted temporary asylum in Russia, and the other is the collapse of human rights for LGBT people there.
The increasing negativity toward Russia suggests that matters such as the Snowden asylum case and Russian policy toward gays and lesbians may weigh more heavily on Americans' minds than Russia's recent role in the negotiations on Syria. 

The same poll finds that 64% of Americans who have heard of Russia's granting asylum to Snowden disapprove of the move, while 25% approve of its actions. 
Also in June, the government passed a law that would restrict "propaganda" relating to gays and lesbians in Russia and has led to the arrest of gay activists in the nation. While 45% of Americans have not yet heard of these developments, of those who said they were aware, 69% disapprove of Russia's policies toward gays and lesbians, while 13% approve. more
The Snowden thing is to be expected I guess given how many in the US view the rest of the world anyway; "you're either with us or against us". Although outside the US Snowden is regarded as a hero and patriot, it may well be too much of an ask for some in the US to agree with that given the constant war mentality being thrown at them in the media.

The LGBT thing is different though. Standing up for a persecuted minority in Russia isn't going to gain the US any sort of military advantage. Indeed the same LGBT minority exists within the US itself and is treated entirely differently there. To me this suggests that the US public cares about us as fellow human beings and don't like seeing the LGBT being treated badly as they are in Russia. 

In any case this is a big turnaround. It's not every day that a country of 300million people changes their collective mind.

Abbott wants to gag green info

Looks like the asylum seeker boats not being reported are just the tip of the iceberg, as the Abbott gov sets about it's agenda. If you think it's bad that we're going to be spoon feed gov crap about the boats instead of actual reporting in the media, then you're going to be bloody horrified at this one.

Take this as an example, Greenpeace's canned tuna guide telling consumers which ones are better to buy if you're concerned about the environment. Here's a snip from the link:



Abbott wants to make this illegal. Yes, seriously. He wants to gag green groups from targeting companies who don't behave very greenly in the production of their products. This would affect all groups of course who let consumers know the business practices of companies who trash the environment, such as GetUp and the like. In other words, he wants to make it illegal to tell consumers such information. Think I'm joking?
CONSERVATION groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law.

The move, which could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!, is to be pursued by the Abbott government.

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets.
"We'll be looking at the way some of the environmental groups work because we are very concerned about some of the activities they conduct in the markets," Senator Colbeck said. "They have exemptions for secondary boycott activities under the Consumer and Competition Act. We are going to have a complete review of the act. - See more
This gov is starting to look like hard core economic extremists. It is the right of consumers surely to make informed decisions about what they buy. I myself have used the Greenpeace tuna guide when buying it at the supermarket, to get the most sustainable food possible. Why should I not be informed? Or are we simply to become corporate drones under Abbott? Kept in ignorance as we bow to corporations? 

Personally I doubt he has a hope in hell of getting this draconian legislation through the senate, so at the moment I'm not so concerned. What does concern me about it is  it's a clear indication of the intent of the Abbott gov; mainly that climate change is bullshit, fuck the greenies, companies need to be able to make a profit even when they're killing the environment, and like the boats don't tell anyone when they do. 

On the other side we have The Wilderness Society, one of the green groups that would be targeted by Abbott's legislation. They've wasted no time and have already put up a response online. Here it is in it's entirety:
Gagging free information will hurt business 

The Federal Government’s proposal to silence non-government organisations from briefing consumers about environmental credentials of companies and products will be counterproductive, the Wilderness Society said today. 

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck announced moves yesterday to try to stop groups from being active in the marketplace. 

“It’s an odd move by a pro-free market government to try to protect businesses from consumers receiving credible information about their products,” said Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders. 

“Companies should not be operating in a free market if they need government protection from credible information. 

“Government can’t protect companies who don’t have a social licence, as was witnessed with the spectacular collapse of one-time logging giant Gunns Limited in Tasmania. 

“Markets for a whole host of products have wised up to unethical and unsustainable production practices and make their own decisions in relation to purchases and the preferences of consumers. 

“Discerning markets care about their purchases and often rely on third-party assessment and commentary to make their decisions - whether its demands are sweat-shop free, cruelty free, fair trade, non-genetically modified or environmentally sustainable.
 

“This is a wrong-headed action by the new government and will not benefit the private sector. Instead it will make martyrs out of advocates and pariahs out of companies seeking to cover up the true environmental footprint of their products. 

“Environment groups play an important role in informing markets and in some cases, such as with the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, have an explicit obligation to keep customers of Tasmanian forest products updated with information. 
“Markets expect high environmental standards and free and fair flows of information and will be increasingly sceptical of governments that impose new laws that constrain communications.” link

Abbott's asylum policy: media management

Our great conquering unrepresentative swill Abbott has come up with a new policy on Asylum seekers; just stop telling us when another boat comes. Seriously.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office has clamped down on information about asylum-seekers issued by his department and border protection agencies. 

Previously, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has issued statements whenever an asylum-seeker boat arrived and the Immigration Department provided collated figures each month, which they made publicly available. 
But inquiries to both the department and border protection service on boat arrivals are now being directed to the minister's office. Mr Morrison's spokesman is declining to provide any information. Read more
I didn't think it could get any worse the way this country treats these people. But it just did. These people aren't "illegal", they desperate people who need our help. Now Abbott doesn't even want us to see what's happening to them in the news. All we have is a media blackout and all information controlled by the Abbott gov. This is democracy? What's he afraid of? We have every right to know exactly what's going on without being spoon feed bullshit by the gov. This is 2013, the age of the internet and information. Why does the gov think it has to be so secretive? Why can't we see what happens to these people?


Edit: 
Just have a go at this bullshit. Particularly the bit at the end. He's absolutely full of shit man.

 

What?

ID scanners for Kings Cross

This is just a coincidence but it's a bit related to the previous post about the cops and having no ID. 

The state gov is amending the liquor act in regards to Kings Cross in an effort to curb the violence that's been going on there. This will involve banning people involved in serious incidents for 12 months, or people who've been banned for 48 hours 3 times. To do this will require all people arriving after 7pm to have to present ID at the door to be scanned. That includes all local residents. 

This to me is nothing less than an invasion of privacy and an attack on civil liberties. Surely there must be a better way to weed out violent drunks without turning the whole local area into a Big Brother set? And what happens to all that info?

Independent MP Alex Greenwich isn't quite so up in arms about it, but is still concerned about the privacy issues and has said so in a speech in parliament: 
I have concerns about patron privacy, particularly for my constituents who live in the area and will be subject to regular scans when they go out to dinner during the week and to lunch on weekends. While the bill will require privacy training of staff and security who operate identification scanners and require licensees to have a privacy management plan or policy, it is not clear whether there is opportunity for personal information to be misused. Most operators abide by the law, but some nightclubs are known to be linked to criminal activity that can involve security and staff. I agree with the Kings Cross Liquor Accord and local residents that identification scanners should not be required at times when there are few risks of violence and antisocial behaviour. I note that fine dining restaurants will be excluded. Identification scanners will operate every night after 7.00 p.m. and during the day on weekends—the times when locals use venues for dinner and lunch. 

Kings Cross, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Potts Point, Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst residents wanting to eat at venues in their neighbourhood during the week and during the day on weekends will have their data regularly scanned and stored. This is an invasion of their privacy and I hope that this will be one of the issues looked at during the review of this legislation, which will occur within the first 12 months. It will be a huge impost on venues because they will have to hire additional staff at times when there are few risks and they will have to turn away dining customers if they do not have identification. The Bourbon, for example, has three entrances, all of which will require staff to operate identification scanners at 7.00 p.m., which is their dinner time, and on weekends during their lunch time. High-risk venues such as nightclubs are not open outside of the times when problems arise and will not oppose this legislation, but other venues that are used by the local community will suffer. The bill should target high-risk peak times based on Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data when violence and antisocial behaviour occurs. Imposing scanners on the local community outside these times is going over the top. - See more

NSW cops being sued - assault

The disgraceful state of the New South Wales thugs police has once again become painfully apparent, especially to a young lady in the news today who got a broken leg from them. She is therefore suing the cops for $750,000. Meet Rachel Gardner:

The story reads similar to mine some time back when I ended up with two broken ribs. This lady was at a train station when the transit cops had some kind of problem with her over a train ticket and bought in the actual cops. What followed, until recently, was it seems the police's word against hers. Until that is, Gardner's legal representation came up with CCTV footage of the incident. The cops had initially denied kicking her and breaking her leg, saying she was screaming and kicking. Now they are changing their story.
Ms Gardner, 36, was at the station with two tourist friends just before midnight when they were approached by transit officers and found to be without tickets. 

An altercation ensued when the tourists couldn't produce identification and police attended. Ms Gardner claims that when she protested that one of the tourists was being pinned to the ground by a transit officer, Acting Sergeant Craig Sands kicked both her legs out from under her, breaking her right leg. 

In her statement of claim, it is alleged Sergeant Sands then directed a transit officer to sit on her while she was lying face down on the platform before she was handcuffed, told she was under arrest and put in a paddy wagon. 

When she objected to what she believed was an unlawful arrest, an officer said ''we don't care if this is legal'', the statement said. Ms Gardner was not taken to a police station and charged. Instead, she was driven to Sutherland railway station and ''left to fend for herself in a seriously injured condition''. 
She is seeking damages of up to $750,000 for the injuries as well as the humiliation, disgrace, mental suffering, emotional distress, fear and anxiety, loss of social status and inconvenience caused by assault, false arrest and false imprisonment. A doctor's report says she will likely develop osteoarthritis within five to 10 years. Read more
What a fucked up advertisement for Sydney FFS! WTF must the tourists have been thinking about all of this? All that for not having ID? Talk about a fuckin police state.

This is a police force that's out of control. Although the actual incident happened over two years ago, what exactly has changed? We still have the police investigating themselves every time they get a complaint, and even when the ombudsman gets involved they seem to know how to get around that. Since this incident we've had Curti killed over a biscuit packet, and those cases still before the courts from Mardi gras, not to mention whatever else has happened.

I'm just glad that Gardner has the money to go ahead and sue them. If I'd of had the money when I was assaulted by them I'd have done the same. In the end I couldn't go any further with it. I hope she gets every cent she's seeking. Who knows, maybe the only thing that will get through to the state gov is the hip pocket nerve.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Staging the Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

Like I said, the Syrian rebels are being supplied weapons by the US. Looks like they were trained by the western allies. Now we have them kidnapping people to use them in the August chemical weapons attack: yes, the one currently being used by Obama and the west to justify going in to Syria.

The buildings where the bodies were found were already destroyed and no one lived there. Did the rebels truck their kidnap victims there to use in a staged attack for the west? Blaming it on Assad? A staged war crime to draw us into another stupid war?


"Post antibiotic era" soon - US CDC

A disturbing report from the US Centre for Disease Control. This has been in the wings for a while but looks like the pace of change is increasing, regarding the amount of resistance that now exists with all of our current antibiotics. Some conditions are becoming very hard to treat, if at all. Although the main cause for concern seems to be in hospitals and nursing homes rather than the general community. It's still bad though. Last year I spent a month in hospital as well as two months on dialysis. When I was weakest I'd have been very vulnerable if I'd have caught such a thing.

So I was surprised to see antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea second on the list of dangers. That's not something you'd normally catch in a hospital is it. I don't think it's here yet in Australia, but it's certainly well on it's way. 
“If we are not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era,” Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC’s director, said in a media briefing. “And for some patients and for some microbes, we are already there.” 

The report marks the first time the agency has provided hard numbers for the incidence, deaths and cost of all the major resistant organisms. (It had previously estimated illnesses and deaths from some families of organisms or types of drug resistance, but those numbers were never gathered in one place.) It also represents the first time the CDC has ranked resistant organisms by how much and how imminent a threat they pose, using seven criteria: health impact, economic impact, how common the infection is, how easily it spreads, how much further it might spread in the next 10 years, whether there are antibiotics that still work against it, and whether things other than administering antibiotics can be done to curb its spread. 

Out of that matrix, their top three “urgent” threats: 

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, a set of ICU germs that are resistant to almost all antibiotics: 9,000 infections per year, 600 deaths 

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, which currently responds to only one drug: 246,000 infections per year 

Clostridium difficile, which is growing in resistance to one class of drugs, but more important, serves as a marker for the use of other antibiotics: 250,000 illnesses, 14,000 deaths. more