Monthly Archives: March, 2006

University of Michigan: Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority

American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn’t extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

[Sure, that makes sense. Atheists have done nothing to improve their reputation as immoral and evil. Whether it be atheists from the USA shooting doctors or atheists from the Middle East flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, everybody knows atheists are out to destroy us all. Tens of thousands of children, mainly young boys, were molested by atheists and the crimes were hidden by an atheist leader in Italy. But no further proof is needed than to note that prisons in the USA are full beyond capacity with atheists. Clearly the United States needs to get rid of atheists and atheism, the sooner the better.]

Manuel Garcia Jr.: God’s Torturers: From Torquemada to Opus Dei

Yes indeed, with a Sky-God whose power on earth is mediated by a male hierarchy there is always an excess of fatal love for those who do not fit into the divinely attributed social structure, and our mullahs and inquisitors and South Dakota legislators and priests must exert full control over the frightening power of unrestrained woman, birthing, life and thought, or “all” will be lost to “the devil” and “Marxism.” Better YOU (never they) die and “go directly to heaven” — guaranteed even better than the lifetime of your car’s tires — than to upset this finely honed hierarchy of domination and denial. GOD IS MURDER.

Torture exists because some people are “better” than others by virtue of their power, which they invariably declare a right descending from a Divinity that favors them as Its agent, Its “disciple,” Its “servant.” They are merely “soldiers in the Army of Christ,” men who humbly submit to Allah and man His jihad, all to bring you into alignment — defined by your betters — with the “will of God.” Priests are the executioners of the human soul, the headsmen of human intellect, stunting and poisoning the growth of human potential. Camus describes how Catholic priests blessed the barrels of the rifles of Falangist firing squads executing Republican prisoners during Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939) and the following dictatorship.

Objectively, there is no compelling reason why a person of any religious or non-religious view should be more or less likely to be a torturer. But, as one looks at the sweep of history it is clear that torture follows religion, because torture is cruelty practiced by fear and ignorance. As one moves to social groups more firmly based on the Enlightenment (post-Renaissance humanism and socialism) and Buddhism (as a philosophy and psychology more than a devotional religious practice and sectarian division) one moves away from the likelihood of torture. And don’t tell me about Communist torture until after you have read Camus’s book “The Rebel” and understand that Stalinism was just another man-made religion — as they all are.

[see link for full article]

FEMA Camp footage – Google Video

Civilian Inmate Labor Program?

Bush/NeoCon Priorities Revealed

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.

Why would Mr Bush not take out this “terrorist mastermind”?

‘People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of pre-emption against terrorists.’

— Roger Cressey, Terrorism expert

Read the article

Scott Thill: True Believers Will Kill Us All

Sure, I wasn’t the only journo calling out America’s post-9/11 anti-terrorism campaign back in 2001 as one that would begin to resemble “a cultural and religious obsession” the longer it wore on, but I wasn’t exactly being squeezed out of my box by a din of assent. Since that time, we’ve done everything from move the bullseye from Osama bin Laden’s back and slap in onto Saddam Hussein to more or less strip United States citizens of their rights without apology.

I mean, it was only days ago that a woman in Atlanta was handed a $100 ticket by a cop from DeKalb County’s not-so-finest for a bumper sticker with the word “Bushit” on it. Anyone remember Brandon Mayfield? Stop lying. Even if you did, those stories hew to the sensational, as did our push-button war in Iraq, a misadventure that will cost us all one day, according to Scott Ritter and everyone else with any sense in their skulls. But those clashes are nothing compared to the true elephant in the room, and I’m not talking about WMD, Valerie Plame, Guantanamo or Katrina’s racial politics.

I’m talking about religion, and the imaginary world it foists upon our lonely planet as we jockey for power. It is the true root of all of our present evils, and it must be eradicated. One way or another.

[article continues at link]

Robert Parry: time to talk war crimes

In a March 26 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rice offered a different rationale for invading Iraq. She agreed that Hussein was not implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks nor did she assert that he was conspiring with al-Qaeda on another assault.

Instead, Rice justified invading Iraq and ousting Hussein because he was part of the “old Middle East,” which she said had engendered hatreds that led indirectly to 9/11.

“If you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11,” Rice said. “We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer.”

Rice’s argument – that Bush has the right to invade any country that he feels is part of a culture that might show hostility toward the United States – represents the most expansive justification to date for launching the Iraq War.

It goes well beyond waging “preemptive” or even “predictive” war. Rice is asserting a U.S. right to inflict death and destruction on Muslim countries as part of a social-engineering experiment to eradicate their perceived cultural and political tendencies toward hatred.

Despite the extraordinary implications of Rice’s declaration, her comment passed almost unnoticed by the U.S. news media, which gave much more attention to her demurring on the possibility of becoming the next National Football League commissioner.

Yet Rice’s new war rationale, combined with the British memo on Bush’s determination to invade Iraq regardless of the facts, should be more than enough evidence to put Bush, Rice, Blair and other U.S. and British officials before a war crimes tribunal.

stunningly, they open their mouths and these things come out.

like (a) they have no idea of the monstrousness of what they are saying and/or (b) they know or believe they have perfect immunity.

No more Google cache?

What gives? I’m not seeing any cache in google searches.

Google’s cache causes copyright concern
Stefanie Olsen, CNET News.com
CNET News.com
July 10, 2003, 08:54 BST

Online publishers are expressing reservations about Google’s caching service, which records snapshots of Web pages

Like other online publishers, The New York Times charges readers to access articles on its Web site. But why pay when you can use Google instead?

Through a caching feature on the popular Google search site, people can sometimes call up snapshots of archived stories at NYTimes.com and other registration-only sites. The practice has proved a boon for readers hoping to track down Web pages that are no longer accessible at the original source, for whatever reason. But the feature has recently been putting Google at odds with some unhappy publishers.

“We are working with Google to fix that problem — we’re going to close it so when you click on a link it will take you to a registration page,” said Christine Mohan, a spokeswoman at New York Times Digital, the publisher of NYTimes.com. “We have established these archived links and want to maintain consistency across all these access points.”

Google offers publishers a simple way to opt out of its temporary archive, and scuffles have yet to erupt into open warfare or lawsuits. Still, Google’s cache links illustrate a slippery side of innovation on the Web, where cool new features that seem benign on the surface often carry unintended consequences.

I’ve been noticing this slowly going away, and on a lot of sites that have no corporate sponsorship. No more google cache, or a significanlty changed one, could make scrubbing the web a whole lot easier.

GOP Senators distort record in Supreme Court brief

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the Hamdan case. One key issue is whether the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act (“DTA”) divests the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear Hamdan’s challenge to his detention. In support of the Bush administration’s position, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John Kyl (R-AZ) submitted an amicus brief, in which they contend that Congress intended the DTA to do just that. In that brief, Graham and Kyl cite what they claim was their colloquy during debate on the Senate floor.

However, it appears that the alleged Graham-Kyl “colloquy” is a fiction — something they concocted and inserted into the Congressional Record after the fact. There’s actually nothing improper about that in itself. Members of Congress commonly ask for, and are granted, permission to “revise and extend” their remarks to include things they never actually say in debate. What is entirely improper is misleading the U.S. Supreme Court about the genesis of this “colloquy”, and using this manufactured “evidence” in support of a strained construction, wholly unsupported by the statutory text.

Senators Graham and Kyl are both lawyers, and as such are subject to the ethical standards of the legal profession. These include a duty of candor toward the tribunal before which a lawyer appears. See Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.3(a)(1) (“A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer.”).

If, as seems to be the case, Graham and Kyl knowingly misrepresented the nature of their supposed “colloquy”, they should be subject to disciplinary action by the bar. Let’s see Graham — who served as one of the lead figures in the Clinton impeachment — explain why lying to the U.S. Supreme Court about legislative business is OK, but lying about a blowjob is a high crime or misdemeanor.

(Cross-posted from Reports from Poisonville.)

Douglas Rushkoff: Godless

Okay, so let’s get into this god game. I think it’s time to get serious about the role God plays in human affairs, and evaluate whether it’s appropriate to let everyone in on the bad news: God doesn’t exist, never did, and the closest thing we’ll ever see to God will emerge from our own collective efforts at making meaning.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but I no longer see the real value in being tolerant of other people’s beliefs. Sure, when beliefs are relegated to the realm of pure entertainment, they pose no real danger. So, a kid believes U2 is really a supergroup on par with The Beatles or The Who. That’s his problem, and it doesn’t really do a lot of harm to anyone except those of us who still stop by MTV occasionally to see what might be playing.

When religions are practiced, as they are by a majority of those in developed nations, today, as a kind of nostalgic little ritual – a community event or an excuse to get together and not work – it doesn’t really screw anything up too badly. But when they radically alter our ability to contend with reality, cope with difference, or implement the most basic ethical provisions, they must be stopped.

Like any other public health crisis, the belief in religion must now be treated as a sickness. It is an epidemic, paralyzing our nation’s ability to behave in a rational way, and – given our weapons capabilities – posing an increasingly grave threat to the rest of the world.

[See full article in Arthur magazine via PDF or HTML. Thanks to KLINTRON for the tip.]

L.A. lucha continua

I spent Monday and Tuesday in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I missed the massive demonstration over the weekend, when half a million people turned out to protest the latest outbreak of anti-immigrant fervor. But I did get to see a large group of school kids massed outside City Hall, part of a two-day walkout that has stopped traffic on various freeways and generally captured everyone’s attention. For these kids, I dedicate this Sham 69 classic.

The LA Times (which has become my favorite mainstream newspaper) had some good coverage, including an interesting article about how DJs on Spanish-language radio stations helped boost the turnout for the weekend’s huge march. Meanwhile, on the letters-to-the-editor page, petulant Anglos write in to bemoan the arrogance of uppity brown-skinned people daring to assert their humanity. This letter, from one Judy Herbst of Beverly Hills, really takes the biscuit:

I am appalled at the demonstrations in downtown L.A. protesting the federal government’s plan to finally do something about stopping illegal immigration. It is time that people understood what “illegal” means; stop using the word “undocumented.” I have nothing against immigrants; my ancestors were immigrants. But they came here legally.

Illegal immigrants are like people who would come to your house and say, “I am a nice person, I want to live here, and you have more stuff than I do. By the way, you have to pay for my medical care and to school my children.”

It is time to start enforcing our laws.

Great idea. Then maybe Ms. Herbst can maintain her lovely Beverly Hills lawn all by herself. Someone should send Ms. Herbst as copy of this movie. Perhaps then she’d realize that “illegal immigrants” are like people who would come to your house and keep it tidy for sub-minimum wage with no benefits.

(Cross-posted from Reports from Poisonville.)

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