Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

112 Atheism & Humanism News Articles
for August 2017
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source

8-19-17 Boston braces for rival protests week after Charlottesville
Boston braces for rival protests week after Charlottesville
Officials in Boston, Massachusetts, are bracing for possible confrontations as rival protests converge on the city centre. The organisers of the conservative "Free Speech Rally" said they would not offer a platform to racism or bigotry. (Webmaster's comment: THIS IS A OUTRIGHT LIE!) A counter-protest is also planned, with some 11,000 people saying on Facebook they plan to attend. Tensions are high after violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend turned deadly. Police were investigating reports that some radical counter-protesters might plan to throw acid at rallygoers and even police, a law enforcement official told the Boston Globe. The city police commissioner said he had never seen so many people "almost looking for confrontation" ahead of the competing demonstrations. "I just think the rhetoric has really brought this to a different level, and that's what we're worried about," Commissioner William Evans told a news conference on Friday. The organisers of the "Free Speech Rally" said that "misinformation in the media" was "likening our organisation to those that ran the Charlottesville rally". "While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry," the group wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to the event. "We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence." The list of speakers for Saturday's free speech event has changed multiple times in previous days. At times it has included speakers that some have associated with the far-right. (Webmaster's comment: When Conservatives talk about about Free Speech they mean one thing! The freedom to speak out in support of racism, bigotry, white supremacy and hatred!)

8-19-17 Trumps to skip Kennedy honours to avoid 'distraction'
Trumps to skip Kennedy honours to avoid 'distraction'
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are to skip an arts awards ceremony to allow those taking part "to celebrate without political distraction", the White House says. Some of those due to take part in the Kennedy Center Honors had said they would boycott the White House reception held before the awards ceremony. The honours recognise the lifetime contributions of performing artists. Many artists have been angered by Mr Trump's plans to scrap funding. In his budget outline in March, he pushed for the end of federal support for public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. President Trump is also mired in controversy over his response to recent violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia. Republicans and Democrats alike have criticised him for insisting that anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for the violence that ended in the death of a woman. The White House said in a statement: "The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year's [Kennedy Center Honors] activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.

8-19-17 Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences.
Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences.
There are two main theories on how it might work, and each presents its own moral challenges. Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it's now the subject of serious investment — both intellectual and financial — by philosophers, scientists, and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be "cryopreserved" in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative "solutions" being mooted? Of course, we don't currently have the means of achieving human immortality, nor is it clear that we ever will. But two hypothetical options have so far attracted the most interest and attention: rejuvenation technology, and mind uploading. Like a futuristic fountain of youth, rejuvenation promises to remove and reverse the damage of aging at the cellular level. Gerontologists such as Aubrey de Grey argue that growing old is a disease that we can circumvent by having our cells replaced or repaired at regular intervals. Practically speaking, this might mean that every few years, you would visit a rejuvenation clinic. Doctors would not only remove infected, cancerous, or otherwise unhealthy cells, but also induce healthy ones to regenerate more effectively and remove accumulated waste products. This deep makeover would "turn back the clock" on your body, leaving you physiologically younger than your actual age. You would, however, remain just as vulnerable to death from acute trauma — that is, from injury and poisoning, whether accidental or not — as you were before. (Webmaster's comment: I'm signed up for cryopreservation. See you in 200-300 years.)

8-18-17 Should Washington and Jefferson monuments come down?
Should Washington and Jefferson monuments come down?
President Donald Trump's argument that the removal of Confederate statues is a slippery slope to changing history has recharged the perennial debate about America's tormented racial legacy. "So this week it's Robert E Lee," he said on Tuesday of the rebel general's monument that was a flashpoint for last Saturday's violent rally in Virginia. "I wonder, is it George Washington next week?" he asked journalists at Trump Tower. "And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" Let's put aside for a moment the irony that Lee may well have supported Charlottesville's plans to remove his bronze likeness, given that he urged the country to "obliterate the marks of civil strife" and refrain from erecting such monuments. As President Trump pointed out, George Washington was a slaveholder. So might the stone obelisk dedicated to the father of the nation, looming over the heart of his eponymous capital city, be the next battleground in the US culture wars? Or even Mount Rushmore? Washington conceded the system of human bondage that underpinned the economy of 18th Century Virginia was a "wicked, cruel and unnatural trade". He was the only founding father and commander-in-chief to liberate his slaves - he owned more than 300 - when he died. (Webmaster's comment: The truth is much worse than in this article! Washington didn't free his slaves in his will until after his wife's death which was after his. It was a belief at the time that male owners of slaves should impregnate their black slaves to "improve the stock." Since it was also believed it was important to beat black men to impregnating the black women, to get the "best first child" stock improvement, black girl children were RAPED starting at the age of 10, 11, or 12 by their white owners until they became pregnant. Since masturbation was considered a sin it was also said black women were "handy receptacles for their seed." Think of the slave system as one GIANT SEX FEST FOR WHITE MEN! Many of them got syphilis and spread it to their other slaves as well as to their wives. Some of these men were the founders of our country and syphilis is why they didn't and couldn't have children! Of course none of this is taught to even high school students, EXPECT in the rest of the world!)

8-18-17 Trump scraps infrastructure council plan
Trump scraps infrastructure council plan
President Trump is dropping plans to create an advisory group on infrastructure, a day after two other business panels were dissolved. The president has faced a backlash from business leaders over his remarks this week on white supremacists. A White House official said the infrastructure council, which was still being formed, "will not move forward". Mr Trump signed an executive order last month to create the group as he looks to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. He has made updating US roads, bridges and airports a key part of his legislative agenda. However, on Wednesday he was forced to disband two other White House business panels amid an exodus of chief executives. Business leaders quit over Mr Trump's response to a far-right rally in Virginia, which left a woman dead and dozens hurt.

8-18-17 Trump pushes debunked 'pig's blood' myth, hours after Barcelona attack
Trump pushes debunked 'pig's blood' myth, hours after Barcelona attack
US President Donald Trump has invoked a debunked myth about a general who fought Islamist militants by using pig's blood to commit mass executions. The president's tweet came hours after a driver crashed a van into a crowd of people in Barcelona, leaving many dead or injured. "Study what General Pershing... did to terrorists when caught," Mr Trump said, referring to the discredited story. Historians and fact checkers say there is no truth to it. The myth, which has circulated online, refers to General John Pershing's actions during the US war in the Philippines in the early 1900s. He is said to have rounded up 50 terrorists and then ordered his men to shoot 49 of them, using bullets dipped in pig's blood. The survivor was told to go back and tell his people what happened. Pigs are considered ritually unclean in Islam, and in his tweet the president said the general's actions acted as a deterrent to further acts of terror. His comments came shortly after more than a dozen people were killed on Thursday in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona. Police say it was clearly a terrorist attack and they have arrested two people but not yet located the driver. On the campaign trail, Mr Trump once told the same story, but that time he said there was no Islamist insurgency for 25 years, rather than 35.

8-18-17 Charlottesville victim's mum rebukes Trump
Charlottesville victim's mum rebukes Trump
The mother of a woman killed in violent clashes at a white supremacist rally has said she has "no interest" in speaking with President Donald Trump. Susan Bro said she refuses to speak to Mr Trump after hearing him equate demonstrators, like her daughter, with white supremacists. Her daughter, Heather Heyer, was killed on Saturday after a car ploughed through a crowd of counter-protesters. She said she did not "want to be used for political agendas". Mrs Bro told ABC New's Good Morning America television programme she missed a call from the White House, which appeared to have been made during her daughter's public memorial on Wednesday. She added that she received three more "frantic messages" from Mr Trump's press team later in the day but was too exhausted from the funeral to talk. It was when she saw a news clip of Mr Trump again blaming both sides for the violence that she changed her mind about speaking to the president. "It's not that I saw somebody else's tweets about him, I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters... with the [Ku Klux Klan] and the white supremacists," she said on Friday. "You can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, 'I'm sorry.' I'm not forgiving that." When asked if there was anything she wanted to say to Mr Trump, she added: "Think before you speak".

8-18-17 How America forgot the true history of the Civil War
How America forgot the true history of the Civil War
The Lost Cause was the most successful propaganda campaign in American history. After the clashes and white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, the latest dimension of our unfolding national meltdown is over monuments to the Confederacy. In retaliation for the violence in Charlottesville, demonstrators pulled down a Confederate statue in Durham, several cities in the North quickly yanked theirs down, and several other places are considering the same thing. President Trump in turn complained about the "history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments." Confederate statues are generally not very aesthetically memorable. They are far more important for what they represent: a bill still being paid for over a century of deliberate forgetting and rewriting of the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Let me start with one important fact: The American Civil War was fought over slavery. Southern states seceded (and later started the war) in furious outrage over Abraham Lincoln being elected on a platform of restricting slavery's extent to the places in which it already existed. Rather than accept the result of the democratic process, secessionists decided to break the country apart and start a war to keep it that way. Preserving and extending slavery — which was the sole foundation of the Confederacy's political economy — was the objective of this war. After the war came Reconstruction. Disgruntled ex-Confederates, assisted by the deeply racist President Andrew Johnson, attempted to return their states to a condition as close to slavery as possible — in essence overturning the result of the war (in which some 200,000 black Union soldiers had constituted one key to victory) through terrorism.

8-17-17 Why the fuss over Confederate statues?
Why the fuss over Confederate statues?
Its been over 150 years since the last shots were fired in the US Civil War, but a debate still rages over how history will remember the losing side. Hundreds of statues dedicated to the Confederacy - the southern states which revolted against the US government - exist all throughout the United States, and often serve as an offensive reminder of America's history of slavery and racial oppression. Recent decisions by local governments to remove those memorials has triggered a backlash from a vocal group of Americans who see their removal as an attempt to subvert US history and southern culture. President Donald Trump waded into the debate on Thursday, tweeting that the controversial monuments are "beautiful" and bemoaning that their beauty would be "greatly missed" from cities. Most Confederate monuments were not built until nearly a generation after the war ended in 1865, mostly due to a lack of funds during the Reconstruction era. It was not until the turn of the century, as southern states began to enact so-called Jim Crow laws designed to deprive recently freed slaves of equal rights, that the monuments began to go up in public spaces. (Webmaster's comment: These statues celebrate men that supported and fought for slavery, lynchings, rape of black women and children, and racism at it's worst. They are a disgrace to a country which supposedly supports freedom and liberty for all.)

8-18-17 Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy about the trans movement
Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy about the trans movement
Identifying as neither male nor female, the Khawaja Sira are believed to be God's "chosen people". For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira, or third gender culture. The community, identifying as neither male nor female, are believed by many to be "God's chosen people," with special powers to bless and curse anyone they choose. The acceptance of Khawaja Sira people in Pakistan has been held up internationally as a symbol of tolerance, established long before Europe and America had even the slightest semblance of a transgender rights movement. But the acceptance of people defining their own gender in Pakistan is much more complicated. The term transgender refers to someone whose gender identify differs from their birth sex. This notion is yet to take root in Pakistan and the transgender rights movement is only beginning to assert itself formally. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient third gender culture. Kami Choudary has made international headlines and has been billed as "Pakistan's first transgender supermodel." This year Choudary delivered her first TEDx talk and she makes regular speaking appearances, telling her story and debating transgender rights in university auditoriums. She asserts herself, not as a Khawaja Sira but as a transgender woman. She acknowledges that her experience, as a rising transgender celebrity in Pakistan, is not the norm.

8-18-17 Google's stance on neo-Nazis 'dangerous', says EFF
Google's stance on neo-Nazis 'dangerous', says EFF
Decisions by Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare to eject a neo-Nazi site from their services were "dangerous", a US-based digital rights group has said. The Daily Stormer had denigrated 32-year-old Heather Heyer who died while protesting against a far-right rally in Charlottesville. This led to a backlash in which multiple web firms kicked the site off their platforms. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has now criticised this response. "We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous," the EFF said. "Because internet intermediaries, especially those with few competitors, control so much online speech, the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world." It added that it believed "no-one" - including the government and private companies - should decide who is able to speak or not. "We wholeheartedly agree with the concerns raised by the EFF," said Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince. "They reflect the same concerns we raised in our blog." Mr Prince had said that explained that he made his decision after the Daily Stormer's administrators suggested that Cloudflare supported their cause. Google and GoDaddy said earlier in the week that they were cancelling the Daily Stormer's registration with Google Domains as it had violated the terms of service. (Webmaster's comment: The servers that the EVIL content sat on are private property. If you own a property you have every right to shun and cast off EVIL from it.)

8-17-17 Shutting down neo-Nazi Daily Stormer sets a dangerous precedent
Shutting down neo-Nazi Daily Stormer sets a dangerous precedent
The neo-Nazi website has been booted out by web services for crossing moral lines, but should tech firms decide what we see online? Who is responsible for the content of the internet? Social media companies have long been under fire to protect their users from accounts that spew hate speech. But companies that host websites have been given a free pass, while firms that sell more obscure web services haven’t even been asked to participate in the conversation. That may have changed this week, following violence between white nationalist marchers and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that killed one protester and two police officers. After the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer – which organised the rally – mocked the dead protester and urged its readers to target her funeral, several web hosts refused to carry the site’s content on their servers. Then yesterday, Cloudflare, which provides security services for websites hosted by other firms, did the same. Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, acknowledged that by taking a moral position, he had set what he considered to be a dangerous precedent: in hosting content or merely providing other services, any tech company is now implicitly endorsing the views of their customers. Is this a tenable position? For a long time, web hosts and other technology companies have excused themselves from any responsibility for the “content” other people give them to distribute, saying that they are neutral platforms, and that the free speech of their users is paramount. (Webmaster's comment: Right! Let's provide an audience for Hitler, slavers, and evil. I say anyone that shuns and casts out EVIL has the right to do so.)

8-17-17 Vice News reporter who documented the Charlottesville melee fact-checks Trump's claims about the alt-right
Vice News reporter who documented the Charlottesville melee fact-checks Trump's claims about the alt-right
During the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, Vice News Tonight correspondent Elle Reeve embedded herself with the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other alt-right participants, and her documentary of the melee is pretty intense. On Wednesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper had Reeve on to talk about her documentary and what she saw, in the light of President Trump's less-than-robust criticism of white supremacists on Tuesday. She said the most striking thing about the "Unite the Right" activities was how well-organized they were. "Everyone who was there knew exactly what they were signing up for," Reeve said. So, Cooper asked, "when the president says that there were 'good people' at this march, that they were quietly there to protest a removal of the Robert E. Lee statue, that not all of them were neo-Nazis or white supremacists, what do you think? Is that true?" Reeve laughed. "No," she said. "Everyone who was there knew what they were doing. They were shouting 'Jews will not replace us!' It was very well coordinated, they had an order to the chants. Like, there was no mistaking, there was no innocent person wandering up and accidentally getting involved in this. ... They had a set time, they lined up, everyone got in line, they got their torches, we saw them snake all the way through the field. It was very clear that they had planned this." Cooper asked how Trump's comments are being received by the white nationalists. "They love it," Reeve said. "The president continues to exceed the expectations of white nationalists. One texted me last night, 'My god I love this man. He really has our back.'" They see Trump's condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "for the media, so the media will quiet down, but the real statement is he's okay with them, at least in their interpretation," she added. Reeve and Cooper also discussed the radicalized Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who protect the white nationalists, some of the shocking things the white supremacists told her in the video, their grievances, and how scary it was making the documentary. (Webmaster's comment: WATCH THE VIDEO!)

8-17-17 Could the 25th Amendment really remove Trump from office?
Could the 25th Amendment really remove Trump from office?
Since the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent descent of our country into increasingly unmanageable political and constitutional chaos, Americans have become acquainted with a previously obscure article in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that allows a president's own Cabinet to begin the process of removing him from office. Such a backdoor to removing an incapacitated or malevolent president from office never existed before 1967 — the Constitution's architects made it extraordinarily difficult to remove the chief executive through impeachment. Trump has proven in myriad ways — most recently his inability to unequivocally condemn neo-Nazis for their role in deadly violence — that he is unfit for the presidency and incapable of carrying out his constitutional obligations to all citizens. Not only has he committed a litany of arguably impeachable offenses in his first seven months in office, his erratic, aggressive tweets, rambling public appearances and statements, lack of basic focus, and competence and inability to run a functioning executive branch, all call into question his baseline mental capacity. The president has not aides but babysitters and regents who constantly leak to the press that the president is an unhinged, undisciplined, tyrannical mess harboring racial and personal resentments against everyone from African-Americans to Mika Brzezinski. Elected Republicans, to their eternal shame, first reluctantly capitulated to this monster and then, once he was in office, served as his gleeful office assistants as he took a cudgel to America's social and political norms. With his Gallup approval hitting an astonishing low of 34 percent this week and sure to plunge more after his disgusting neo-Nazi fiasco, and with a rising percentage of Americans favoring the president's immediate impeachment, it is long past time to start gaming out scenarios where Trump is removed. We cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown. But congressional Republicans have given no indication that they are even considering impeachment. Could the 25th Amendment really save us?

8-17-17 Trump and Charlottesville: 'Amoral' president stuns world
Trump and Charlottesville: 'Amoral' president stuns world
Former US defence secretary William Cohen and ex-presidential adviser Ron Christie condemned Mr Trump's reaction to a white supremacist rally. President Trump has made no bones about the fact that when he is criticized he lashes back. This is not so much a political strategy as a core part of his personality. "If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck!" he wrote in a 2007 book. But when Trump receives a flood of criticism over something he has done or said, something else can happen. He doesn't just strike back or dig in to his original position. Instead, he moves to take an even more extreme position. When he's being attacked from the left and center (and even by some in his own party), he retreats to the warm embrace of his most avid supporters, showing them that he's their guy and always will be. So it is that the president of the United States is turning himself into a full-blown neo-Confederate. Let's quickly run through the series of events in the wake of the Charlottesville protests that led us to this extraordinary point. Last Saturday, after confrontations between various shades of white supremacist protesters and those who came to oppose them — as well as the murder of one woman and the injuring of dozens of others in a terrorist attack — Trump said that "many sides" were to blame for the violence. When that statement was widely criticized, Trump's aides prevailed upon him to make a more emphatic statement, this one on Monday, specifically calling out neo-Nazis and the KKK. Apparently resentful at being forced to act like a human being with some sense of morality, Trump reacted by holding another press conference on Tuesday, in which he criticized liberal counter-protesters, said that many "very fine people" were among the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and tossed out some stock arguments about how if we take down statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the next thing you know we'll be tearing down monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

8-17-17 Trump defends ‘beautiful’ Civil War statues
Trump defends ‘beautiful’ Civil War statues
US President Donald Trump has denounced the removal of "beautiful" Confederate statues amid a heated national debate about US race relations. "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," he tweeted. "You can't change history, but you can learn from it," he continued. Mr Trump drew outrage by defending organisers of a white supremacist rally that left a woman dead and dozens hurt. The rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, supported by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, was in protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War. It turned deadly when a driver ploughed into a crowd of counter protesters, inflicting fatal injuries on Heather Heyer. "Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!" Mr Trump continued in a series of tweets on Thursday. "The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!" (Webmaster's comment: Those statues are the statues of what were the enemies of Freedom and Liberty for all our non-white population. Why not just put up statues of Nazi generals instead! The neo-Nazis will love it!)

8-16-17 Business councils disband over Trump remarks
Business councils disband over Trump remarks
President Trump has said he is scrapping two business councils after more bosses quit over his handling of violent clashes in Virginia. Business leaders left the White House manufacturing council after the backlash against how he reacted to the far-right rally last weekend. The clashes culminated in a woman's death and nearly 20 wounded when a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-fascists. Mr Trump's reaction has sparked outrage and generated global headlines. His announcement on Twitter came as the heads of 3M, Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and United Technologies announced their resignations on Wednesday. Mr Trump said: "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both." Before Mr Trump's announcement, the Strategy and Policy Forum announced it was a joint decision to disband the council. Businesses have been under pressure to distance themselves from Mr Trump over his handling of the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

8-16-17 Toronto university cancels 'free speech' event after Charlottesville
Toronto university cancels 'free speech' event after Charlottesville
A Canadian university has cancelled an event on the "stifling of free speech", citing safety concerns following the violent protests in Charlottesville. Featuring controversial speaker Faith Goldy, the event was organised by a visiting Ryerson University tutor. But on Wednesday, the school cancelled the 22 August event because it said it could not guarantee public safety. The clashes in the US claimed one woman's life when a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-fascists. A spokesperson said the university was "prioritising safety" over free speech "in light of recent events". "There is often a tension at universities resulting from our commitment to be a place for free speech and our commitment to be a place that is civil, safe, and welcoming. In light of recent events, Ryerson University is prioritising campus safety," said university spokesperson Michael Forbes in an email. Mr Forbes said a part-time instructor had rented a room on campus to host the event, but that after conducting a standard safety review, the university decided that "Ryerson is not equipped to provide the necessary level of public safety for the event to go forward". The event was to feature controversial speakers Faith Goldy, Jordan Peterson and Gad Saad. Faith Goldy is a journalist and political commentator with Canada's right-wing digital news site Rebel Media. In June, Goldy broadcast a YouTube video arguing that immigration policies were contributing to a "white genocide" in Canada. (Webmaster's comment: Shut down all KKK, neo-Nazi and Nazi, White Supremacist, Anti-Jewish, Anti-Muslim, and other hate group events. They are a clear and present danger to everyone's safety and freedom and liberty.)

8-16-17 US woman confronts her neighbour over Nazi flag
US woman confronts her neighbour over Nazi flag
Page Blaswell couldn't believe her eyes when she drove past a home flying a Nazi flag in North Carolina. She decided to confront her neighbour and told the BBC about her experience.

8-16-17 Anatomy of terror: What makes normal people become extremists?
Anatomy of terror: What makes normal people become extremists?
It takes more than religious fanaticism or hatred to make someone take innocent lives, but recognise the true roots of ISIS-inspired terror and they can be addressed. “The United States does not have a real counter-terrorism strategy,” says Martha Crenshaw. Faced with continued waves of jihadist terror attacks, in the conflict zones of Syria and Iraq but also closer to home, the West seems at a loss to know what to do. Crenshaw is something like the doyenne of terrorism studies, with a half-century career studying the roots of terror behind her. She occupies an office at Stanford University just down the hall from Condoleezza Rice, the former US national security advisor who was an architect of the “global war on terror” declared after the attacks of 11 September 2001. “There is a vast amount of money being thrown into the counter-terrorism system and nobody is in charge,” Crenshaw says. “We do not even know what success might look like. We are playing a dangerous game of whack-a-mole: terrorists pop up. We try to beat them down, hoping they will give up.” In July, al-Abadi was back in Mosul, this time to declare the final liberation of Iraq’s second city. Near-saturation bombardment of the centre by the US Air Force and a casualty-heavy, house-by-house offensive led by Iraqi forces had eliminated most of the fighters holding the city where the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had proclaimed its caliphate in 2014. The liberation came at a huge price. Mosul lies in ruins, and tens of thousands of civilians are dead or wounded. Almost one million residents have been displaced from their homes.

8-16-17 Trump's defense of white supremacists is really a defense of himself
Trump's defense of white supremacists is really a defense of himself
Why the president needs to believe "fine people" can ally with neo-Nazis. President Trump self-immolated yesterday while sticking up for those marching alongside the violent racists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Among several jaw-dropping claims, Trump argued that there were many "fine people" marching with the far-right hate groups that converged upon Charlottesville this weekend. "You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists," he said. "And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly." Trump's defense of these supposed fellow travelers of white supremacy is galling and abysmal. But when viewed through the president's ongoing psychodrama, it makes a good deal of sense. By insisting that it's possible to maintain one's moral innocence while cruising with haters and bigots, Trump is implicitly defending himself. Let's be clear: Trump's unfairly impugned "fine people" are a figment of his imagination. He explicitly pointed to the rally "the night before" where "people protest[ed] very quietly the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee." That's the torch march where protestors chanted "Jews will not replace us" and Nazi slogans in a show of white power through the streets of Charlottesville, pretextually fighting to preserve a commemoration of the military head of a breakaway slave confederacy. Trump is either excusing some of these marchers as good ol' boys, or else concocting something that wasn't there.

8-16-17 Trump is emboldening racists. This will end disastrously.
Trump is emboldening racists. This will end disastrously.
The Trump presidency will end poorly. It's been evident from long before he officially announced his campaign that Donald Trump was catastrophically unfit for any government service, let alone the most powerful elected office in the country. The first seven months of his administration have been a cascading series of failures, scandals, and disasters, most of them self-made, and there's absolutely no reason to believe things will get better. The man has little intelligence, even less empathy, no capacity for self-improvement, and monstrous beliefs. Every action he pursues is motivated by relentless self-interest and greed. He attracts the worst people to his banner, and the few people who've signed on for senior positions out of a high-minded call to service have been corrupted and humiliated. There is no happy ending to all of this. All we're left to wonder at this point is just how bad it will get before it's over. The remarks Trump made on Tuesday afternoon regarding the weekend's deadly neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, provided us a pretty clear answer: It will be extremely bad. To recap: On Saturday, a white supremacist and domestic terrorist plowed his car through a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, killing one and injuring 19 others. Later that day, Trump delivered brief remarks on the attack in which he denounced the violence on "many sides," thus granting the Nazis and neo-Confederates who rampaged through the city the succor of false equivalence. After sustained outcry from the media and politicians of both parties, Trump appeared on camera again on Monday to denounce white supremacists in a statement that felt forced and perfunctory.

8-16-17 Censor white supremacy
Censor white supremacy
One of the most welcome political developments of my lifetime is the growing suspicion with which attempts to cloak even the most detestable utterances under the mantle of "free speech" is regarded. From the misogynistic obscurantism of #GamerGate (years later I still can't find anyone who can tell me what the "-gate" was) and the painfully unfunny parody of stand-up comedy performed on college campuses by the expatriate employer of ghostwriters known as Milo Yiannopoulos to the latter-day phrenology of the so-called alt-right and the unabashed Holocaust denial of Stormfront, there are expressions that most of us consider on their face unacceptable and undeserving of a platform. The difference is that now increasingly it looks as if people have concluded that it is our duty to make sure they are denied one. Thank God for SJWs! This was not always the case. There is a long history in this country of making grandiose blanket defenses of freedom of speech that extend to bigots, frauds, pornographers, genocidal enthusiasts, propagators of terrorism and sedition, and kooks emotionally invested in nonsense and villainy of every conceivable variety. People who make arguments defending, say, the rights of pseudo-historians to argue that the Nazis did not murder millions of European Jews or the ancient liberty of perverts to create simulations of child pornography call themselves "free speech absolutists." Their position has never been tenable, but it has long enjoyed a mainstream currency in the United States, in classrooms, and in the pages of newspapers and magazines — and even on the bench of the Supreme Court. This is because freedom of speech in the way that is usually discussed in this country is a cartoonish fantasy. There has never been a community in which certain ideas have not been considered open for discussion or debate.

8-16-17 Trump stance on Charlottesville violence angers Republicans
Trump stance on Charlottesville violence angers Republicans
Leading figures in Donald Trump's Republican party have reacted angrily to his latest comments blaming both sides for the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. They culminated with a person being killed and many injured when a car hit people opposed to a far-right rally. Many echoed House Speaker Paul Ryan who said: "White supremacy is repulsive.. There can be no moral ambiguity." Mr Trump had condemned white supremacist groups on Monday. But on Tuesday he reverted to his initial reaction. The right-wing march had been organised to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The event drew white supremacy groups. Violence broke out after they were confronted by anti-fascism groups. A BBC correspondent at the scene described how members of the so-called "alt-right" openly carried rifles and were dressed in full tactical gear. Their leftist rivals threw bottles, rocks and paint. Pepper spray was used by both sides. (Webmaster's comment: It's obvious Trump will need the alt-right KKK, neo-Nazis and white male supremacists to be his storm troopers to suppress the civil rights of Americans just like Hitler used his storm troopers in Nazi Germany.)

8-16-17 Philippine drug war sees 'bloodiest night' of deaths
Philippine drug war sees 'bloodiest night' of deaths
Philippine police have killed 32 people in drug raids, thought to be the highest death toll in a single day in the country's war on drugs. The raids took place over 24 hours on Tuesday in Bulacan province, north of the capital Manila. Police said that those killed were suspected drug offenders who were armed and resisted officers. Thousands have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs in 2016. The campaign, aimed at wiping out the drug trade, has attracted intense international criticism over the number of deaths. Mr Duterte has in the past sanctioned extrajudicial killings. Tuesday's operation, which lasted from midnight to midnight, comprised dozens of raids carried out across Bulacan according to local reports. More than 100 people were arrested and officers seized illegal drugs and arms in the raids. (Webmaster's comment: The same thing is coming to America soon authorized by Trump and implimented by Jeff Sessions!)

8-15-17 Nothing about 'blood and soil' is American
Nothing about 'blood and soil' is American
Most of the time, politics in America features passionate debates on public policy from people across the political spectrum who just want to improve their lives and those of others. Slogans from "Yes We Can" to "Make America Great Again" speak to generally patriotic and positive motives, even while providing very little in specifics about the policy agenda attached to them. The slogan voiced this week by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville this weekend, "Blood and Soil," is an entirely different kettle of fish. It describes a racist, determinist point of view entirely antithetical to the American experience, and in complete opposition to the core of American exceptionalism. This phrase originates in Germany in reference to the German people, but it predated the Nazis. It started off as a philosophy of the German peasant as the authentic core of German nationalism, and arose after Otto von Bismarck's 1871 creation of the modern German nation, when the cultural definition of what it meant to be German in an industrializing society became acute. "Blood and soil" advocates insisted that the peasantry held the most pure stock of German ethnicity. Therefore, public policy should protect the bloodlines of Germanic stock by keeping it linked to the land, rather than polluted in the cities. "Blood and soil" directly influenced Hitlerian policies such as the conquest of eastern Europe and Russia for Lebensraum, as well as the grotesque pseudo-Darwinian eugenics programs aimed at producing the "master race," and the horrors Nazis inflicted on the Jews and other peoples.

8-15-17 Why do Confederate statues divide the United States?
Why do Confederate statues divide the United States?
Violent protest began in Charlottesville over plans to remove a statue of a Confederate general. But why is the US divided over the statues? (Webmaster's comment: Hatred runs deep in many white male Americans. They want their slaves back. They want their right to beat and rape black women back. As long as the statues stay up and the Confederate flag still flies they think they can get these rights back!)

8-15-17 Confederate statue pulled down in North Carolina
Confederate statue pulled down in North Carolina
A monument to pro-slavery forces has been destroyed, in the wake of clashes in Charlottesville. The Durham County sheriff said he would seek vandalism charges against those involved. It came as the mayors of Baltimore, Maryland, and Lexington, Kentucky, announced plans to remove Confederate monuments in their cities. (Webmaster's comment: Watch as protestors take down a monument to racism and hate!)

8-15-17 When the police really should use overwhelming force
When the police really should use overwhelming force
Black Lives Matter protests get tanks, but cops in Charlottesville stood aside for armed white supremacists! e nation was transfixed over the weekend by the horrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia. First there was the white supremacist rally on Friday night, where a pack of polo-clad, torch-toting men chanted Nazi slogans and gave the fascist salute; then there was the "Unite the Right" rally on Saturday, which quickly degenerated into brawls between white supremacists and counter-protesters, with cops often standing by mute. The worst was when James Alex Fields Jr., a rally attendee and apparent member of an openly fascist organization, allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protesters at high speed, killing one, Heather Heyer, and wounding 19 others. (He has been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.) That wasn't the end of the awfulness — particularly from President Trump, who refused to directly criticize fascism or white supremacist violence until three days later, when he grudgingly noted that "racism is evil" in a short address Monday. A less-noticed but perhaps even more important comment came from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who argued that because the right-wing militias that attended the rally seriously outgunned the police, the latter were wise not to attempt to intervene immediately. In doing so, McAuliffe demonstrated how American cops are helping enable this surge in right-wing terrorism. In an interview with The New York Times, McAuliffe said: "They had better equipment than our state police had," adding, "It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons." (Webmaster's comment: And one person was murdered. With so many armed evil hate groups in a protest the police should have had a dozen armoured cars at least!)

8-15-17 Web firm fights DoJ on Trump protesters
Web firm fights DoJ on Trump protesters
A US service provider is fighting government demands for it to hand over details of millions of activists. The Department of Justice (DoJ) wants all visitors' IP addresses - some 1.3 million - to a website that helped organise a protest on the day of President Trump's inauguration. DreamHost is currently refusing to comply with the request and is due in court later this month. The DoJ has not yet responded to requests for comment from the BBC. It is unclear why it wants the internet protocol addresses of visitors to website disruptj20.org, which organised a protest against President Trump on 20 January - the day of his inauguration. "The website was used in the development, planning, advertisement and organisation of a violent riot that occurred in Washington DC on January 20, 2017," it wrote in its motion to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which sought to compel DreamHost to hand over the information. It suggested that "a particular customer" was the subject of the warrant, but does not explain why it needed so much information on other visitors. (Webmaster's comment: The Trump administration is preparing for eventual "Enemy of the State" arrests and imprisonment in prison camps and in what will become death camps!)

8-15-17 President Trump and the perils of unchecked executive power
President Trump and the perils of unchecked executive power
How Trump exposes a dangerous problem at the heart of American government.

8-15-17 Charlottesville violence: Trump council sees more CEOs resign
Charlottesville violence: Trump council sees more CEOs resign
Two more chief executives have resigned from Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council over the president's response to violence in Charlottesville at the weekend. Intel's Brian Krzanich and Under Armour head Kevin Plank have followed Merck's Ken Frazier in leaving the council. Mr Trump was criticised for failing to denounce white supremacist groups that held a rally, which ended in bloodshed. A woman was killed when a car rammed into a crowd protesting over the march. Mr Trump was widely rebuked for his initial response for not specifically denouncing the far right, and instead ascribing blame to "both sides". Bowing to pressure, the president issued a statement on Monday calling the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists "repugnant" to everything Americans held dear. "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs," he told reporters. (Webmaster's comment: HE DID NOT WANT TO CONDEMN THE KU KLUX KLAN, THE NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS! HE ONLY DID BECAUSE OF "PRESSURE." WHAT KIND OF MONSTER IS THIS PRESIDENT?)

8-15-17 Confederate statue pulled down in North Carolina
Confederate statue pulled down in North Carolina
A monument to pro-slavery forces is destroyed, in the wake of clashes in Charlottesville. No arrests have been reported in connection with the incident in Durham, North Carolina. It came as the mayors of Baltimore, Maryland, and Lexington, Kentucky, announced plans to remove Confederate monuments in their cities. (Webmaster's comment: REMOVE ALL THE MONUMENTS TO SLAVERY IN AMERICA!)

8-15-17 Dutch porn makers let off for church sex film in Tilburg
Dutch porn makers let off for church sex film in Tilburg
Prosecutors have rejected a complaint from a church in the Dutch city of Tilburg after two actors were filmed having sex in the confessional box. The video was posted on a Dutch porn website earlier this year. Dutch authorities said the pornographic film was offensive but there was no longer a law in the Netherlands against blasphemy. The priest at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, Fr Jan van Noorwegen, said he was unhappy with their decision. Another church official complained that there was something deeply wrong with the legal system. The film appeared on Dutch porn star Kim Holland's website in January. She apologised and said the video had been made by an external producer and would no longer appear on her site, according to local broadcaster Omroep Brabant. Fr Van Noorwegen then held a Sunday Mass seeking forgiveness for the desecration of his church. The church authorities took the case to the public prosecutor, which has now explained its decision not to take the matter further. "We find it offensive and disrespectful, but we had a good look at the legal code and do not really see a criminal offence. Blasphemy is not a crime and there's no question here of anyone trespassing," said a spokesperson. A special Mass took place in January to cleanse Saint Joseph's church.

8-15-17 Swiss hotel's signs for Jews spark row and Israeli complaint
Swiss hotel's signs for Jews spark row and Israeli complaint
The sign in English, at Apartmenthaus Paradies in the mountain resort of Arosa, triggered much criticism. Another sign told Jewish guests to use a refrigerator only at certain times. Israel's deputy foreign minister called it "an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind". Reports say the hotel has now removed the signs. A photo of the shower sign was tweeted, after an Orthodox Jewish guest spoke about it on Israel's Channel 2 TV. The Israeli interviewee told the TV: "The staff were really very nice to us. But one morning I came down and saw this sign. I was shocked!" "To our Jewish Guests, women, men and children, please take a shower before you go swimming," it said, adding that "if you break the rules I'm forced to cloes [sic] the swimming pool for you". (Webmaster's comment: Anti-Semitism is as alive and well in Europe as it is in the United States.)

8-14-17 'It's an act of terror, it's a hate crime'
'It's an act of terror, it's a hate crime'
A friend of Heather Heyer who was killed in the Charlottesville car attack has spoken to the BBC. (Webmaster's comment: It was a hate crime! IT WAS WHITE MALE SUPERMACIST TERRORISM! And we need to come down on the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and white supremacists with total suppression of their groups! They have no rights to be EVIL!)

8-14-17 US 1940s anti-Nazi film makes comeback
US 1940s anti-Nazi film makes comeback
A 1940s US government film warning about the dangers of intolerance has made a comeback following a violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the weekend. (Webmaster's comment: We've been aware of the white supremacist evil for a long time, but we still refuse to do anything about it because of their so-called rights. And again we see the results of that refusal. Innocent people are murdered. DRIVE A STAKE THROUGH THE HEART OF THESE TERRORIST HATE GROUPS! MAKE THEM ILLEGAL!)

8-14-17 Don't praise the GOP for calling out Trump's appalling Charlottesville comments
Don't praise the GOP for calling out Trump's appalling Charlottesville comments
Actions speak louder than words. Depressingly but predictably, a white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly on Saturday. James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters — apparently intentionally — killing a 32-year-old paralegal and activist named Heather Heyer, and injuring more than a dozen others. Unfortunately, this kind of bubbling bigotry sweeping the country will only get worse before it gets better. While President Trump's weak response to the weekend's events represents its own genuinely unique dangers, we also shouldn't forget about some of the more genteel white supremacy that helped put him in the White House in the first place. Trump's brief and poorly delivered speech following the rally was the latest disaster in a presidency that has been a perpetual blimp crash from the day Trump was inaugurated. Coming off as a cross between a Jim Crow-era Southern governor and a centrist pundit who assumes that both parties are equally responsible for any policy failure, Trump initially refused to call out the white supremacists specifically, and instead gave vague criticisms of the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. On many sides. On many sides." Holding everybody and therefore nobody responsible, Trump effectively apologized for the Neo-Nazis who fomented hatred and deadly violence in Charlottesville. This is a president of the United States who is willing to call out specific individuals, often over the most trivial of grudges, yet when a very real enemy of the nation's foundation rears its ugly head, he offers little more than a shrug. This was not an oversight; he refused to call out the white supremacist groups and individuals by name for political and ideological reasons. Indeed, as Simon Maloy put it for The Week, "there's no mystery as to why Trump granted violent white supremacists the protection of false equivalence: Trump's base is angry white voters, and he's unwilling to antagonize a group of political supporters."

8-14-17 Merck chief Ken Frasier resigns from Trump council
Merck chief Ken Frasier resigns from Trump council
The head of drugs giant Merck has said he is resigning from President Trump's American Manufacturing Council following Charlottesville. A woman was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally. Following the death, Mr Trump was criticised for not specifically denouncing the far right. Ken Frazier tweeted: "I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism." "America's leaders must honour our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal." In response, Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Frazier would now have "more time to lower rip off drug prices". (Webmaster's comment: Shun and Cast Out all Alt-right, KKK and Neo-nazi Groups including President Trump who supports them!)

8-14-17 GoDaddy expels neo-Nazi site over article on Charlottesville victim
GoDaddy expels neo-Nazi site over article on Charlottesville victim
Web hosting company GoDaddy has given a US neo-Nazi site 24 hours to find another provider after it disparaged a woman who died in protests in Virginia. The Daily Stormer published a piece denigrating Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday after a car rammed into a crowd protesting at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. GoDaddy had faced calls to remove the white supremacist site as a result. The web host said the Daily Stormer had violated its terms of service. "We informed the Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy said in a statement on Twitter. Previously, some web users had called on GoDaddy to remove the site - including women's rights campaigner Amy Siskind. Violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, after white supremacists organised a controversial far-right march called "Unite the Right". (Webmaster's comment: These evil bastards celebrated in her murder. Shun and Cast Out all Alt-right, KKK and Neo-nazi Groups!)

8-14-17 Charlottesville white nationalist marchers face backlash
Charlottesville white nationalist marchers face backlash
Far-right white nationalists who attended rallies this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, did not cover their faces as they marched around with lit torches, chanting slogans like "you will not replace us". But they are now facing an online backlash, as Twitter users identify and denounce them. Calls have been made to have them kicked out of universities and sacked from their jobs. Cole White, one of those who attended the rally has now reportedly been fired by his employer - the Top Dog hotdog restaurant chain in Berkeley, California. The sacking came after he was identified by Yes, You're Racist, a Twitter user who has been publicly naming and shaming those who attended the rally under the hashtag #ExposetheAltRight. Meanwhile, Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student who was captured in one of the most widely shared photos, has defended his right to attend the "Unite the Right" rally, which centred around opposition to the removal of a statue of Civil War General Robert E Lee. The rally descended into violent street brawls between white supremacists and counter-protesters. (Webmaster's comment: Shun and Cast Out all Alt-right, KKK and Neo-nazi Groups!)

8-14-17 Charlottesville: White House defends Trump response
Charlottesville: White House defends Trump response
The White House has defended President Donald Trump's reaction to deadly violence over a white supremacist rally in Virginia, amid criticism he did not explicitly condemn far-right groups. But a spokesman said his condemnation included white supremacists. A woman was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd protesting against the rally in Charlottesville. Separately, a rally organiser was chased away by protesters as he tried to give a press conference on Sunday. Jason Kessler, who organised the "Unite the Right" march, was heckled and booed as he blamed the police for not preventing the violence, which he also condemned. Nineteen people were injured in the car-ramming incident, and another 15 people were wounded in separate clashes related to the far-right march on Saturday afternoon. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said the deadly violence met "the definition of domestic terrorism", adding that the Justice Department was pursuing a case. "You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack," he said on ABC News' Good Morning America. He told the television programme that FBI agents from the terrorism and civil rights divisions were also investigating the matter. Protests and vigils in support of Charlottesville were held in many US cities on Sunday. In Seattle, police used pepper spray to stop protesters approaching a pro-Trump rally. (Webmaster's comment: The Thugs in the Alt-right movement are central to Trump's future move to an American Dictatorship. They will form the core of his personal army of Storm Troopers just like Hitler had.)

8-14-17 Australia church abuse: Priests 'must report' confessions
Australia church abuse: Priests 'must report' confessions
Catholic clerics should face criminal charges if they do not report sexual abuse disclosed to them during confession, an Australian inquiry has recommended. It is among 85 proposals to emerge from a landmark inquiry into institutional abuse in the nation. The inquiry had heard harrowing tales of abuse, which were never passed on to the relevant authorities. The Church has indicated it will oppose altering the rules around confession. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which began in 2013, was contacted by thousands of victims from both religious and non-religious organisations. On Monday, it proposed wide-ranging changes to Australia's criminal justice system. The recommendations will now be put to legislators. The report recommended that people in institutions who "know, suspect or should have suspected" a child was being abused should face criminal charges. The issue of mandatory reporting was one of the most discussed aspects of the inquiry. In some cases, abusers had made admissions during Church confession in the knowledge that they would not be relayed to police. "We heard evidence that perpetrators who confessed to sexually abusing children went on to reoffend and seek forgiveness again," the report said. (Webmaster's comment: The idea that you can sexually abuse a child, confess to the church, be forgiven, and then go on and sexually abuse another is a the medieval idea promoted by the church to protect its own sexaul abusers.)

8-14-17 Australia church abuse: Why priests can't spill confession secrets
Australia church abuse: Why priests can't spill confession secrets
Priests who suspect child abuse after hearing confession should report it to the authorities - or face criminal charges. That is one of the conclusions reached by Australia's four-year Royal Commission investigating child sex abuse. The proposal applies to the suspicion of child abuse in an institutional context - for example within an organisation which provides services to children or cares for them, such as a church or a children's home. But the Roman Catholic Church in Australia is opposed to the proposal, despite saying that outside of the confession it is "absolutely committed" to reporting all offences against children to the authorities. Surely priests would have a moral duty - if not a legal one - to report any concerns, in order to protect children? Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane appeared to recognise that it can be hard for non-Catholics to understand why this is not the case: The answer lies in the special status of confession in the Roman Catholic Church. Officially known as the Sacrament of Penance, it is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. The penitent (person wishing to confess) talks to the priest or bishop, beginning with the words: "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned." Catholics believe that within the confessional the penitent is talking to God, with the priest serving as an intermediary. The priest is able to absolve the person of their sins. But, crucially, everything which takes place within the confession is secret. This is known as the Seal of the Confessional. (Webmaster's comment: This always has been bullshit. Someone who confesses to sexually abusing a child needs to be reported to the police, including all the priests that confess to sexually abusing a child. It's time we got rid of this medieval protection of evil!)

8-13-17 From Southern Proverty Law Center
President Trump just can’t bring himself to unequivocally condemn and repudiate white supremacy and its modern-day equivalent, the “alt-right.” He can’t bring himself to acknowledge that terrorism committed by white supremacists is, indeed, terrorism. The president’s tepid response yesterday to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, was telling. He denounced the hate and violence but spread the blame to “many sides.” No, Mr. President, there are not “many sides” to what happened in Virginia. Not when we see hundreds of white supremacists marching with torches at night in an American city. Not when we see people killed and injured by a white supremacist using his car as a weapon. Trump’s initial, milquetoast response left racists feeling just fine. Amid its blog posts celebrating the day’s events, the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer wrote that Trump’s comments were “really good,” adding that the president “didn’t attack us … no condemnation at all.” Reacting to the national outrage, the White House issued another statement today – not even attributed to Trump – that said “of course” his condemnation “includes white supremacists, K.K.K. neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” But Trump himself was silent. I’m sure white supremacists remain reassured that they have a friend in the White House. A president who spews vitriol and heaps scorn on his enemies virtually every day – and who has no trouble calling Mexicans killers and “rapists” – still can’t break off the unholy alliance with bigots that he’s been cultivating since he first claimed President Obama’s birth certificate was bogus. And I suspect the alt-righters believe they can count on Trump to continue pursuing the same white nationalist political agenda that’s been so plainly evident throughout the first six months of his administration. And why wouldn’t they think so – with alt-right champion Stephen Bannon whispering in Trump’s ear? No, Mr. Trump, there are not “many sides” to this. There is white supremacy, and there is America. There is good, and there is evil. It’s not a hard choice.

8-13-17 White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?
White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?
The deadly violence on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, comes at a time of a dramatic rise in prominence of far-right movements in the US. The election of Donald Trump to the White House has been cited as a factor in the re-energisation of activists and groups in America that reject both left-wing ideology and mainstream conservatism. Social media is also said to be playing a large part in promoting these ideologies. A prominent US civil rights group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that it is currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups in the country. But who are these groups, how popular have they become, and what do they hope to achieve? Here is a look at the most visible of the white supremacist movements in the US today.

White Hate Groups

  • Alternative right (alt-right): The alternative right (or alt-right) is a disparate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love Mr Trump, although critics say they are bigoted white nationalists.
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK): America's most infamous supremacist group, the initial KKK was formed by ex-Confederate officers in the southern states of the US in the aftermath of the American Civil War in 1865.
  • Neo-Nazi groups: The term neo-Nazi relates to a group of separatist activists who share anti-Semitic ideals and a love for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
  • National Socialist Movement: Founded in 1994, it is one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, with chapters in more than 30 states.
  • Council of Conservative Citizens: Founded 1985, sprung from the pro-segregation movement in the southern states.
  • American Freedom Party: Founded 2009, with origins in California. Has a racist agenda and is against immigration.

(Webmaster's comment: We are not the home of the free. We are a land of hatred for all non-whites and non-Christians and denying all others their rights as human beings is the objective of the above groups. They would establish a White Male Dictatorship and establish death camps just like the Nazis did for all others; Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, Immigrants, LGBTs, and any non-white or non-Christian! They would re-establish salvery and lynchings, and women would become totally subservient to men! We cannot claim to be the land of freedom as long as these groups continue to exist in America. In Europe they are outlawed and imprisioned. Just being a racist there will end with you in prison. The Europeons know full well from the Nazis what kind of evil these groups represent. As long as these groups are tolerated America can not claim any moral superiority over other nations. We are the immoral nation of the age!)

8-13-17 Charlottesville is Trump's worst failure
Charlottesville is Trump's worst failure
His statement that "many sides" were responsible for the "hatred, bigotry, and violence" in Charlottesville was one of the most craven and disgusting utterances delivered by a sitting president. Nazis and neo-Confederates descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and publicly revel in racial hatred. As one would expect from a celebration of fascism, violence attended every moment of the demonstrations, beginning with a tiki-torch recreation of a NSDAP march through the UVA campus on Friday night. White nationalist marchers — howling racial epithets and carrying assault weapons — clashed with counter-protesters in an escalating series of incidents until Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency. On Saturday afternoon, the violence turned deadly as a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. plowed through a counter-protest march, killing at least one person and injuring 19 others. This is the crisis that critics have been fearing ever since Donald Trump took the oath of office. And President Trump's miserable response to the bloodshed and rancor that the far right brought to Virginia this weekend is easily the worst failure of his already irredeemable presidency. Trump failed in this crisis for two interrelated reasons: pathological self-focus and political cowardice. To rise to a moment like this requires an understanding of the forces at play and the long history of racial violence that the far-right demonstrations in Charlottesville emerged from. Trump, as president, is in the position of having to confront the country's deep legacy of racism and provide reassurance at a time when literal Nazis are causing riots in the streets. But Trump can't do either of these things because he seems to neither know nor care about anything that doesn't directly affect him personally. In Trump's statement on Charlottesville, the president said nothing specifically about the anti-Semites, Nazis, and other racist trash who fomented the weekend's violence. Instead he vaguely denounced the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides." The president said nothing about the person who died while protesting against fascism in an American city, but he did make sure to excuse himself of any responsibility: "It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time." (Trump later wrote a tweet offering "condolences" to the family of the victim and "best regards" to all the injured.) After getting those perfunctory remarks out of the way, Trump talked up the economy a bit ("we have record, just absolute record employment") and said "we have so many great things happening in our country," which is why the violence in Charlottesville was "very, very sad." Those brief, detached remarks made it inescapably clear just how badly the moment had outmatched the man tasked with addressing it. Trump has no intellectual or emotional depth; the event's significance registered with him only in terms of how it related to his political interests. And that gets to the cowardice on display by the president. President Trump's statement that "many sides" were responsible for the "hatred, bigotry, and violence" in Charlottesville was one of the most craven and disgusting utterances delivered by a sitting president. And there's no mystery as to why Trump granted violent white supremacists the protection of false equivalence: Trump's base is angry white voters, and he's unwilling to antagonize a group of political supporters.

8-13-17 Charlottesville: Trump criticised over response to far-right
Charlottesville: Trump criticised over response to far-right
US President Donald Trump is facing criticism for his response to the violence at a white supremacist rally. A woman was killed and 19 people injured when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr Trump condemned violence by "many sides" - but stopped short of explicitly condemning the far-right. The White House has since clarified in a statement that his condemnation included white supremacists. "The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," a spokesperson said on Sunday. Several senior Republican figures have voiced criticism of his comments, including Senator Cory Gardner, who said "Mr President - we must call evil by its name." He added: "These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism." Hundreds of white nationalists converged for Saturday's "Unite the Right" march, called to protest against the removal of a statue of a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War. The far-right demonstrators, who included neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, clashed with counter-protesters. People punched and kicked each other, and pepper spray, used by both sides, filled the air. As the rally was dispersed, a car was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters, the force of the crash flinging people into the air. A 32-year-old woman, Heather D Heyer was killed in the crash, Charlottesville Police Department said.(Webmaster's comment: Don't expect Trump to speak about against his KKK and neo-Nazi supporters. He'll need these thugs to establish a Nazi inspired dictatorship!)

8-13-17 A reckoning in Charlottesville
A reckoning in Charlottesville
In the middle of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on Saturday, two young women, one white and one black, took each other's hands and held them tightly, and with their other hands they gripped the steel barrier in front of them. A few feet away, a young white man with a buzzed haircut and sunglasses leaned towards them over a facing barrier. "You'll be on the first f*****g boat home," he screamed at the black woman, before turning to the white woman. "And as for you, you're going straight to hell," he said. Then he gave a Nazi salute. For the third time in a few months, white nationalists had descended on the small, liberal city of Charlottesville in the southern state of Virginia, to protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee. This time they came under the banner of the so-called "alt-right", for a rally they called "Unite the Right". They were a motley crew of militia, racists, and neo-Nazis, and some who said they simply wanted to defend their Southern history. They gathered early in the morning at Emancipation Park - formerly Lee Park - where the statue sits, some dressed in full tactical gear and openly carrying rifles. Others wore black shirts, helmets, and boots. In a column they surged into the park, using sticks and their fists to shove aside anti-fascist counter-protesters. Then they blocked off the entrance with shields. Inside, David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, grinned and waved as the crowd, almost entirely white and male, cheered him on, chanting his name and putting their arms up in Nazi salutes. They had reason to be pleased. They were in the middle of the largest gathering of white nationalists in America for decades. (Webmaster's comment: These are not Americans, they are simply EVIL!)

8-13-17 Charlottesville car attack photographer recounts horror
Charlottesville car attack photographer recounts horror
Photojournalist Ryan M Kelly was covering a protest against white nationalists in Charlottesville in the US state of Virginia, when a car ploughed into the crowd. In an interview with BBC News, Kelly recounted the experience and the horror of the attack that left at least 19 were injured and one killed.

8-13-17 Russia to train female fighter pilots
Russia to train female fighter pilots
Russia is to accept female fighter pilots into its Air Force for the first time since the World War Two. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said women were being accepted after the military received "hundreds of letters" expressing interest in enrolling. There will be 15 women in the first group, which starts training in October, Mr Shoigu said. During WWII, Russian female pilots were known as "Stalin's Falcons". German troops called them "Night Witches". This new generation of fighter pilots will be trained at the Krasnodar military aviation school, in the south of the country. The academy has been accepting women since 2009, the state news agency Tass reported, but not for pilot training. (Webmaster's comment: The Soviet Union accepted 800,000 women volunteers in WWII. Many became fighter pilots and some became fighter aces. They also became fighter-bomber pilots being called the "Black Death" by the Germans. They also became bomber pilots being called the "Night Witches" by the Germans. They killed a lot of the Nazi bastards! See Heroic Women of the Soviet Union. They have had no equals even today.)

8-12-17 Trump does not rule out military response to Venezuela crisis
Trump does not rule out military response to Venezuela crisis
US President Donald Trump has said he is not ruling out a military option in dealing with the crisis in Venezuela. "The people are suffering and they are dying," he said. Venezuela's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said President Trump's suggestion was "an act of craziness". President Nicolas Maduro's new constituent assembly has been widely criticised as anti-democratic. The US recently imposed sanctions on President Maduro, branding him a dictator. "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Mr Trump told reporters on Friday evening. "We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying." The White House later said that President Maduro had requested a phone call with the American president. In response, the White House said Mr Trump would gladly speak to his Venezuelan counterpart, when democracy had been restored in the country. (Webmaster's comment: America's answer to dictatorships. Start killing people! Why don't we start killing people in Turkey which also now has a dictatorship, but which Trump praised its dictator for establishing!)

8-11-17 White nationalist rally at University of Virginia
White nationalist rally at University of Virginia
Hundreds of US white nationalists have rallied at the University of Virginia, protesting against plans to remove a statue of a confederate general. The group waved torches and chanted "Jews will not replace us" and "white lives matter" as they marched through the Charlottesville university. There were clashes with counter-protesters, while the local mayor condemned the march as racist. A larger "Unite the Right" rally is planned in the city on Saturday. The protesters are angered at the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee from Charlottesville. Lee commanded forces of the pro-slavery Confederacy in the US Civil War. Protest organiser Jason Kessler, who has previously accused the town of "anti-white hatred", described the event as an "incredible moment for white people who've had it up to here and aren't going to take it anymore". Demonstrators held lit torches - which some observers described as a reference to the Ku Klux Klan - and chanted "blood and soil" and "one people, one nation, end immigration". The rally was met by a smaller group of counter protesters who had surrounded the university's statue of Thomas Jefferson, holding a banner that read "VA Students Act Against White Supremacy". (Webmaster's comment: Jewish hatred is still alive and well in the United States! Along with hatred for all non-whites and non-Christians!)

8-11-17 California Muslim forced to remove hijab awarded $85k settlement
California Muslim forced to remove hijab awarded $85k settlement
A Muslim woman who was forced to removed her hijab by Californian police has been awarded $85,000 (£65,000). Kirsty Powell filed a lawsuit against Long Beach City Council after she was made to take off her headscarf following her arrest in 2015. Ms Powell's repeated requests to be dealt with by a female officer were ignored, and she spent the night in custody without her headscarf. The department has since changed its policy on religious headwear. Female officers are now required to remove headscarves, away from male officers and inmates, and only "when necessary for officer safety", Long Beach assistant city attorney Monte Machit told the Los Angeles Times. However, Long Beach City Council agreed to settle the suit, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said. CAIR, which launched legal action for Ms Powell, said "police officers forcibly removed her hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates". She later "described the experience as deeply traumatizing," CAIR said in a statement. Local news website ABC7 reported she had three outstanding warrants against her name, which have since been cleared. (Webmaster's comment: As long as her face is not covered she has every right to wear a hijab! It's no different than a hoodie!)

8-11-17 Trump’s credibility problem
Trump’s credibility problem
Donald Trump’s “penchant for lies resembles an incorrigible alcoholic’s thirst for drink,” said Steve Chapman. Out of a desperate need to feel he’s constantly “winning,” he lies about both trivial and important matters. After his inappropriate, bizarrely partisan address to the Boy Scouts got him rebuked, Trump bragged that the organization’s CEO called to say “it was the greatest speech” the Scouts had ever heard. That call never happened, the White House now admits. Trump tweeted that he was banning transgender people from military service “after consultation with my generals.” The Joint Chiefs of Staff knew nothing about it. And consider how Trump is dealing with the Russia investigation: His attorney insisted the president had no role in crafting Don Jr.’s first, deceptive statement about meeting with a Russian lawyer last year; when press reports revealed that Trump had personally dictated the statement, the White House admitted he’d “weighed in.” The Washington Post describes Trump as “the most fact-challenged politician” ever, averaging 4.6 falsehoods a day since becoming president. When Trump inevitably faces a major crisis, such as a terrorist attack or a war, he will badly need credibility. Sadly, “most Americans will assume they are being misled.”

8-11-17 Legal immigration: Time for a new approach?
Legal immigration: Time for a new approach?
“So much for the tired, poor, huddled masses,” said The Washington Post in an editorial. We already knew what Donald Trump thinks of illegal immigrants, but now we know his administration holds the legal variety in almost as much disdain. Last week Trump endorsed the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, a Republican bill that would roughly halve the number of immigrants the U.S. accepts each year and change the criteria by which green cards are awarded. The bill would end so-called chain migration, which lets immigrants bring over their adult children and extended families, and replace it with a merit-based “points” system that rates candidates by academic credentials, English proficiency, and earning potential. Trump wants to make “getting into the United States almost as difficult as getting into an elite college,” said Ruben Navarrette Jr. in USA Today. Our nation has been largely built by desperate immigrants who arrived with little but their hopes for a better life, which is why the Statue of Liberty expressly invites “the wretched refuse” who are “yearning to breathe free.” To shut the door on such people is “profoundly un-American.”

8-11-17 Mosque attack
Mosque attack
A bomb was thrown through the window of a suburban Minneapolis mosque last week as worshippers were preparing for prayers, in what Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called “an act of terrorism.” Witnesses at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington said they saw a device being thrown from a van or truck in the early hours of the morning. None of the worshippers was injured, but the imam’s office was damaged. A preliminary FBI investigation concluded the blast was caused by a homemade explosive device. As calls grew for President Trump to denounce the attack, one of his national security advisers, Sebastian Gorka, told MSNBC that Trump was withholding comment because the bombing could have been a false-flag operation perpetrated “by the Left.” So far this year, 63 mosques have been targeted in publicly reported incidents. During the same time period in 2016, there were 46 incidents.

8-11-17 CNN cuts ties with Jeffrey Lord over 'Sieg Heil' jibe
CNN cuts ties with Jeffrey Lord over 'Sieg Heil' jibe
CNN has parted company with a conservative commentator after he tweeted a Nazi salute at a prominent liberal critic. Jeffrey Lord tweeted "Sieg Heil" in response to an exchange with the head of Media Matters for America. He later said his comment had been misunderstood and that he was mocking fascists. A CNN spokesperson said in a statement: "Nazi salutes are indefensible. Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network." CNN described Mr Lord as one of its best known commentators and the first explicitly pro-Trump commentator to join the network. Mr Lord has regularly sparred with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America. Things came to a head on Thursday when Mr Lord tweeted at Mr Carusone, linking to a column he had written describing the group as "Media Matters Fascists, the anti-free speech bigots".

8-11-17 Police officers fired for misconduct
Police officers fired for misconduct
Nearly 24 percent of the 1,881 police officers fired for misconduct since 2006 have been reinstated after labor arbitrators overruled police chief decisions. One of those 451 officers shot and killed an unarmed man, another was convicted for sexually abusing a woman in his patrol car, and a third challenged a handcuffed man to fight him for the chance tobe released.

8-11-17 Leftists who justify violence
Leftists who justify violence
As President Trump subverts democratic norms, “progressives face a choice,” said Peter Beinart. Do they try to limit the president’s “corrosive effect” through patient application of the checks and balances of our system, or do they try to defeat him and his supporters by any means necessary, including violence? This is not an abstract question: The “antifa,” or antifascist, movement is gaining strength among disaffected, mostly young leftists who consider Trump and his supporters racist and fascist, and believe that “hate speech” must be suppressed. So in Portland, Ore., and other cities, masked activists have tried to break up demonstrations by Trump supporters, creating ugly, bloody confrontations. Eggs, bottles, rocks, and bricks have been thrown; “street warfare” is breaking out. Yet some on the Left are actually cheering on the antifa movement, with The Nation saying that a radical response to “this political moment” is justified. That just fuels the fears of Trump supporters that they’re being silenced and oppressed—raising the likelihood of even more violent confrontations. Antifa activists “may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American Right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.”

8-11-17 The real bias in college admissions
The real bias in college admissions
Affirmative action for black and Hispanic people isn’t keeping white Americans from going to college, said Christine Emba. “Rich people are.” A leaked Justice Department memo indicates that the Trump administration was considering suing colleges that use “race-based discrimination” in admissions. The department said it was focusing only on discrimination against Asians, but the news rekindled the long-standing debate over whether affirmative-action policies unfairly block qualified white applicants from getting into college. The reality is that the playing field is heavily skewed not by race, but by wealth: At 38 top colleges, more students come from the top 1 percent of income earners than from the bottom 60 percent. And who gets the biggest advantage? The children of alumni, who at universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have triple the acceptance rate of ordinary folk. President Trump himself got into the University of Pennsylvania because of family connections, and three of Trump’s children later attended that Ivy League school. Does Trump’s base resent that? Evidently not. What gets his supporters riled up is the message: “Minorities are pushing you out of college!”

8-11-17 How can life-extending treatments be available for all?
How can life-extending treatments be available for all?
Research into biological ageing suggests that humans might one day be able to prolong youth and postpone death. When that time comes, extended youth could become a province of the wealthy, adding another devastating inequity to a world already separating the haves from the have-nots. This healthy lifespan ("healthspan") gap is already starkly present within and between nations. In the United States, the gap between life expectancy in richer and poorer counties is around 15 years; a similar gap in healthy life expectancy at birth exists between London boroughs. The global healthspan gap is even greater. A Japanese person is expected to have around 30 more healthy years than a Sierra Leonean. These gaps appear likely to grow if effective life-extending technologies reach the market. The ability to slow ageing, already demonstrated in animals, likely has contributed to the exceptional healthy longevity of Okinawans, a Japanese population with one of the highest proportions of centenarians in the world. In line with studies on other species, Okinawans appear to maintain a strict low-calorie diet with a healthy intake of nutrients. Some Okinawans studied in the Okinawa Centenarian Study consumed on average around 15 percent fewer calories than an ordinary American of 1971. According to one estimate, extrapolating from studies on mice, calorie restriction (CR) might result in an average lifespan of around 100 and a maximum lifespan of as much as 160 years. Research on CR is sufficiently promising that the Caloric Restriction Society formed in the U.S. to support people engaging in strenuous CR diets that restrict calories by as much as 40 percent.

8-10-17 Wealth inequality is even worse than income inequality
Wealth inequality is even worse than income inequality
If you thought income inequality was bad, wait till you see these numbers. You probably know the numbers on income inequality by now: The share of all income going to the top 1 percent of Americans now stands at around 20 percent, which is a big and disturbing number. But what about wealth inequality? Income is a relatively straightforward matter of wages and compensation. Wealth is more mercurial: It can be a physical asset like a car, house, or land. But it can also be a stock or bond or other financial asset. The effects of wealth also go much deeper: If you own a piece of land, you can decide what uses that land gets put to. Same thing if you own a building. If you own someone else's debt, you have tremendous legal power over their livelihood. If you own shares in a company, you have input into its governance: Where does it invest? Who does it hire? What does it pay? Income decides your standard of living, but wealth gives you control over the shape and future course of the economy. And if you think income inequality is bad, well, you ain't seen nothing yet. As of 2015, the top 1 percent of American households in terms of wealth ownership enjoy 35 percent of the pie all by themselves. The top 10 percent own a staggering 76 percent of all wealth. Furthermore, from 1963 to 2013, families in the bottom 10 percent of wealth ownership went from having no wealth at all on average to being $2,000 in debt. Over the same time period, the average wealth of the top 10 percent grew four times over. For the top 1 percent, it grew six times over. These shifts are far larger than the changes in the distribution of income over the same time frame.

8-10-17 Transgender military personnel in legal bid to block Trump ban
Transgender military personnel in legal bid to block Trump ban
Five transgender people in the US military have launched a legal bid to block a ban announced by President Trump on Twitter last month. The anonymous plaintiffs from the army, air force and coast guard are suing Mr Trump and several officials. They say thousands of transgender troops have declared themselves since the military said they could serve openly and now face uncertain futures. Mr Trump said transgender people would "disrupt" the military. However it is not yet clear whether formal steps to enforce the ban have yet been taken or how it will affect serving personnel. One of the plaintiffs said she had been relieved to be able to come out to her commanding officers following last year's decision to allow transgender personnel to serve openly in the military. "My experience has been positive and I am prouder than ever to continue to serve. I am married and have three children, and the military has been my life. But now, I'm worried about my family's future," she said.

8-10-17 Australia same-sex marriage vote: Why is there talk of a boycott?
Australia same-sex marriage vote: Why is there talk of a boycott?
Australia is preparing for a voluntary and non-binding postal vote on legalising same-sex marriage. It will happen next month unless there is a successful court challenge. The ballot itself would not change the law, but a "yes" result could clear a path towards amending Australia's Marriage Act. But as advocates on each side begin campaigning, debate has intensified over the prospect of a boycott. This idea has been discussed by some same-sex marriage advocates who oppose the plebiscite because they want parliament to vote on the issue directly. The most prominent of these is former High Court judge Michael Kirby, who has been in a same-sex relationship with his partner, Johan van Vloten, for 50 years. Mr Kirby described the vote as a "Mickey Mouse" proposal in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. He told the ABC: "I am not going to take any part in it whatsoever." "I feel as a citizen I'm being treated in a second-class way by interposing an arrangement of this kind between the making of the law in parliament, which is where it should be done," he said.

8-10-17 Canada's migrant crisis: Hundreds crossing US border daily
Canada's migrant crisis: Hundreds crossing US border daily
Hundreds of migrants are crossing the border illegally each day following tips on Facebook and YouTube. (Webmaster's comment: Fleeing from the new and upcoming Authoritarian Dictatorship in the United States.)

8-9-17 Are atheists really morally depraved? The idea defies logic
Are atheists really morally depraved? The idea defies logic
Even in secular countries people are instinctively biased against atheists, a study has found. But the prejudice will hopefully die out soon, says Bob Holmes. Are atheists as moral as religious believers? Surprisingly, even atheists seem to think not. This belief is almost certainly wrong, but it reflects a long-standing bias that morality stems from faith. Fortunately, there is hope this bias can be beaten. The latest evidence of anti-atheist attitudes comes from a study led by Will Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. Gervais polled more than 3000 volunteers to glean views about atheists and believers. They came from 13 countries with a wide range of faiths. Gervais used a trick to get people to reveal what they really think. He told volunteers a story about a man who tortured animals as a child and grew up to become a serial killer. Then he asked half of them whether it was more likely this man was A) a teacher, or B) a teacher who did not believe in a god. For the other half, option B was a teacher who was a religious believer. The correct answer is always A. It is always more likely because, there are always more teachers than teachers who are atheist or who are believers. But Gervais found that people still chose option B when it matched their intuitive notion of how things should be. In almost every country surveyed – Christian, Muslim, Hindu or secular – more people made the error when option B was the atheist rather than the believer, which suggests they found an atheist mass murderer more plausible than a religious one. Remarkably, even responders who said they did not themselves believe in any god showed the same pattern. (Webmaster's comment: Out of the 225 mass shootings in the United States in 2017 so far most have been by white male Christians full of hate for somebody or another.)

8-9-17 Venezuela's new assembly creates 'truth commission'
Venezuela's new assembly creates 'truth commission'
Venezuela's controversial constituent assembly has passed a law creating a "truth commission". The head of the assembly said the law was a "powerful instrument to stifle violence, hatred and intolerance". More than 120 people have been killed in the violence since anti-government protests began sweeping through the country on 1 April. The government blames right-wing "terrorists" but the UN suggests dozens were killed by the security forces. The law was passed unanimously by the constituent assembly, a body convened by President Nicolás Maduro. The assembly has deeply divided Venezuelans, many of whom see it as a way for the president to expand his power and sideline the opposition-controlled legislative. It has also been condemned by international leaders and by the Pope, who urged President Maduro not to inaugurate it. President Maduro said the constituent assembly would promote peace by bringing different sectors of society together to rewrite the constitution. (Webmaster's comment: Another country on it's way to dictatorship! We could be next.)

8-9-17 What we're getting wrong about campus free speech
What we're getting wrong about campus free speech
One fairly common idea that pops up again and again during the endless national conversation about college campuses, free speech, and political correctness is the notion that certain forms of speech do such psychological harm to students that administrators have an obligation to eradicate them — or, failing that, that students have an obligation to step in and do so themselves (as has happened during recent, high-profile episodes involving Charles Murray and Milo Yiannopoulos, which turned violent). Such claims of harm — often summed up as "speech is violence" — aren't typically invoked in response to actual Nazis, or anything like that. Rather, they are used to argue against allowing speakers like Murray and Yiannopoulos — who, for better or worse, do fit in the conservative mainstream — or even significantly more moderate ones like Emily Yoffe, who has expressed skepticism about certain claims pertaining to the prevalence of sexual assault on campus. In one instance students successfully canceled a showing of American Sniper by arguing the film's ostensible Islamophobia would make "students feel unsafe and unwelcome" — though the screening was later uncanceled. Now, given the fog of culture war that has descended on this subject and the tendency of opportunistic (mostly) conservative outlets to hype these kinds of events, it isn't clear how common they actually are — people often forget the polls suggesting that college students, broadly speaking, tend to hold pro-free-speech views. But either way, it is hard to take seriously the idea that an American Sniper showing or an Emily Yoffe appearance, or even a Yiannopoulos talk, is so potentially psychologically harmful that established norms about free expression — which protect both College Republicans and Palestinian students advocating on behalf of their people — should be tossed out the window. (Webmaster's comment: If they advocate hate throw them them out. It's the allowing such creatures free speech rights that has made us one of the most violent countries. They don't tolerate hate speech in civilized countries.)

8-9-17 Tony Abbott and sister's gay marriage row goes public
Tony Abbott and sister's gay marriage row goes public
We have no inside information on Christmas moods at the home of these Australian siblings and party colleagues but we can't imagine the conversation over the prawns and mango stays festive and airy when the topic of same-sex marriage comes up. Their views are as different as chalk and cheese. Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia, Liberal MP for Warringah, tried on Wednesday to rally the vote against same-sex marriage in a forthcoming postal vote. He's pushing attempts to get a public vote on the matter instead of a parliamentary one. Critics call it a delaying tactic. His sister, Christine Forster, Liberal councillor in Sydney, has been engaged to her same-sex partner Virginia Edwards for nearly four years and wants gay marriage across the country. So when Mr Abbott told reporters why a no vote was important, Ms Forster tweeted her take on the matter, line by line:

8-8-17 Should Airbnb ban customers it disagrees with?
Should Airbnb ban customers it disagrees with?
Organisers behind a white nationalist rally in Virginia are outraged after home-sharing company Airbnb kicked off users affiliated with the event. Airbnb confirmed it was quietly cancelling accounts of those travelling to Charlottesville to attend the "Unite the Right" rally on Saturday. The company cited its discrimination policy, but users decried the move as a violation of free speech. The row marks the latest flashpoint in a debate over rights to free speech. Members of the so-called alt-right movement, which includes groups accused of racism and anti-Semitism, are expected to descend on Charlottesville on Saturday for the "Unite the Right" rally, to protest against the city's removal of a Confederate General Robert E Lee statue. The event was scheduled to take place at a park that was also the locale of a raucous Ku Klux Klan rally in May. The park, formerly Lee Park, was renamed as Emancipation Park in June. Speakers at the event include Richard Spencer, a leader of the alt-right movement, while members of the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party and the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website have said they will attend. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said the event could be "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States". However, it is unclear how many people the event is expected to attract. NBC29 reported that the event permit to host the event was for 400 people, but the Washington Post reports police are preparing for as many as 4,000 attendees. " White supremacist Richard Spencer: 'Donald Trump's arrow is pointing in our direction.'(Webmaster's comment: Haters would kill those they hate if they could and would certainly advocate that. Why should such creatures have free speech rights?)

8-8-17 A look at Rwanda’s genocide helps explain why ordinary people kill their neighbors
A look at Rwanda’s genocide helps explain why ordinary people kill their neighbors
Rather than blindly obeying orders, perpetrators felt a sense of duty. Part of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, these photographs of Rwandans killed in a 1994 mass slaughter put human faces on an unimaginable tragedy. Many factors other than obedience to authorities drove some Rwandans to kill others. A string of state-directed, targeted mass killings left a bloody stain on the 20th century. A genocide more recent than the Holocaust is providing new insights into why some people join in such atrocities. Adolf Hitler’s many accomplices in his campaign to exterminate Jews throughout Europe have justifiably attracted the attention of historians and social scientists. But a 100-day spasm of unprecedented violence in 1994 that wiped out about three-quarters of the ethnic Tutsi population in the African nation of Rwanda has the potential to reveal much about how mass killings unfold at ground level. There is no guarantee that a better, although inevitably incomplete, understanding of why certain members of Rwanda’s majority Hutu population nearly eliminated a Tutsi minority will prevent future large-scale slaughters. The research is worth the effort, though, especially in a 21st century already marked by massacres of hundreds of thousands of people in western Sudan’s Darfur region and in Syria.

8-8-17 The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes. Full stop!
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes. Full stop!
There is no justification for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians! Seventy-two years ago this week the United States committed war crimes against the Japanese people on a scale that was previously unimaginable in human history. It is almost impossible to utter this truism in public without being subjected to a chorus of tediously well-rehearsed, half-understood objections learned from high-school classrooms, pop history, and talk radio. The most common form these replies take is that, so far from being acts of state-sponsored mass murder, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were humanitarian missions meant primarily to save lives: Had it not been for the instantaneous slaughter of some 220,000 people (a conservative estimate), mainly civilians, the war would have been unnecessarily prolonged. It was far better, assuming those projected casualty figures, which since at least 1947 have routinely been estimated upward after the fact, to kill a few hundred thousand civilians rather than risk an equal or greater number of dead American and Japanese soldiers. If this would-be lofty motive were behind the bombings, it would certainly have come as a surprise to President Harry Truman and the American people at the time. Nothing could be more grimly clarifying than the words with which Truman broke the news of Hiroshima to the American people, an address worthy of a Star Wars villain in which he made it clear that he considered the attack, and its forthcoming sequel, a mission of revenge and spoke rapturously of the "marvel" he had unleashed upon the Japanese and the "achievement of scientific brains" that had made it possible. (Webmaster's comment: The American military wanted to test their new mass killing weapon on targets that had little bombing damage so far (because they had little military value) to see their effects on unspoiled targets. So goodby to 220,000 mostly innocent lives thanks to the American military! One of the worst war crimes ever! And we hold our nuclear power over the rest of the world. And we will probably be the first to do it again!)

8-8-17 Swastika T-shirt backlash forces company to U-turn on campaign
Swastika T-shirt backlash forces company to U-turn on campaign
A US clothing company has come under fire after T-shirts appeared online featuring swastikas in a move aimed at reclaiming the symbol as one of "love". The attempt to rebrand the Nazi emblem as a symbol of "peace" was criticised on social media as the public refused to support the campaign. Days after the design appeared, it was replaced with an "anti-swastika" print. The swastika is an ancient symbol said to have represented good fortune in almost every culture in the world. It was adopted by Adolf Hitler, thousands of years after it was first used, transforming it into a symbol of hate associated with the Third Reich. As a fashion symbol, it was likely to prove difficult to persuade the public to get behind this clothing company's vision in working to change these perceptions. But does this latest backlash prove that there is a line that should not be crossed - even in the publicity hungry world marketing? Or does the fact that the campaign has made the news make it a success? (Webmaster's comment: 55 million died in Europe-Russia (35 million were civilians) because of the Nazis led by Hitler. Give the symbol thousands of more years to recover.)

8-8-17 Toronto police officer buys shoplifter suit he tried to steal
Toronto police officer buys shoplifter suit he tried to steal
A shoplifter in Toronto who was caught stealing an outfit for a job interview was given a second chance by the police officer who came to arrest him. Constable Niran Jeyanesan told CP24 that Walmart staff apprehended an 18-year-old for attempting to steal a dress shirt, tie and socks. He said when he arrived at the scene he realised the offender had been stealing the items for a job interview. He then decided to release him and purchase the items for him. "This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job," Mr Jeyanesan said. "This individual didn't have any resources. "He wanted to go get that job. That was in his mind. I think he truly made a mistake." Speaking to the BBC, his staff sergeant Paul Bois praised Mr Jeyanesan's actions. "Arresting him wouldn't have been in the best interests of anyone," he said. "I reacted very positively to the news; all issues were resolved by the action the officer took. "It reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community." (Webmaster's comment: Maybe our police in America should take lessons from the Canadian police.)

8-8-17 White House defends its silence on mosque bomb
White House defends its silence on mosque bomb
The White House has said it would comment on an explosion that rocked a Minnesota mosque when it has "some kind of finalised investigation". Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said the White House would "wait and see" in case the blast turned out to be a hoax. The FBI is investigating what Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called "a criminal act of terrorism". Critics pointed out Mr Trump quickly responded after London's terror attack. Congregants were arriving for prayer early on Saturday when the explosion went off at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in a Minneapolis suburb. No one was injured in the attack, but the imam's office was heavily damaged and windows were shattered. FBI officials said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device. Mr Trump has yet to issue a statement on the attack, but Mr Gorka defended his boss during an MSNBC interview on Tuesday, saying the administration would wait for a full investigation. When MSBNC's Stephanie Ruhle pressed Mr Gorka, noting that the president had taken to Twitter in previous attacks before full details were available, he said: "Sometimes an attack is unequivocally clear for what it is. "When somebody shouts, 'Allahu Akbar', as they're stabbing a police officer, it's pretty clear it's not a case of the mafia robbing a bank, wouldn't you say so?" He also said "fake hate crimes" have occurred before and the White House should wait for more information. "Hold your horses, count to 10 and the president will do what he deems fit," Mr Gorka said. But the president's silence on the attack has drawn criticism from groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (Webmaster's comment: Trump was elected in part because of his pandering to Muslim hate groups. He definitely doesn't want to be seen as being against attacks on Muslims!)

8-7-17 Minnesota mosque bombing 'act of terror'
Minnesota mosque bombing 'act of terror'
An explosive that shattered windows and damaged a room at a Minnesota mosque was "a criminal act of terrorism", the state's governor Mark Dayton has said. Congregants were arriving for prayer early on Saturday when the explosion went off at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in a Minneapolis suburb. The FBI are investigating what Mr Dayton called "a terrible, dastardly, cowardly" act. They said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device. No one was injured in Saturday's attack at 0500 local time (0900 GMT), but the imam's office was heavily damaged. As many as 20 people were inside at the time of the explosion. Mohamed Omar, the executive director of the mosque, told CBS News a member of the congregation saw a truck flee the centre's car park at high speed after the blast. The office's windows were shattered either by an explosive or another object was thrown inside, authorities said. "The destruction done to this sacred site is just unthinkable, unforgivable. I hope and pray the perpetrator will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Mr Dayton said at a news conference outside the mosque, located in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Webmaster's comment: Get get elected Trump pandered to Muslim hate groups. Why should anyone be surprised when they now feel empowered to attack and kill Muslims?)

8-7-17 Fleeing Trump: Couple leaving the Carolinas for Canada
Fleeing Trump: Couple leaving the Carolinas for Canada
It started as a joke on the night Donald Trump was elected US president. Now Heather and Robin Vargas are getting ready to emigrate to Canada.

8-7-17 The Berlin mosque breaking Islamic taboos
The Berlin mosque breaking Islamic taboos
With its red-brick spire and stained-glass windows, St Johannes looks like any other 19th-Century Protestant church. Go around the back, however, head up a few flights of stairs and you come to a simple white room, with shoes neatly laid out at the entrance and patterned prayer rugs folded away in a corner. That is because this is a mosque. The room is being rented from the parish, while the church remains active. But the mosque is not unusual because of its location. Rather, because of the people who come here. At Berlin's newest mosque, men and women pray together, women are allowed to lead Friday prayers, and gay, lesbian and transgender people are welcome. "Our mosque is open for everybody," says mosque founder Seyran Ates, a German Turkish-born lawyer and women's rights activist. "And we mean that really seriously: everybody, every lifestyle. We are not God. We don't decide who's a good or a bad Muslim. Anybody can come through this door - whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, we don't care, it's not our right to ask."

8-7-17 Turkey coup suspects to wear brown uniforms, Erdogan says
Turkey coup suspects to wear brown uniforms, Erdogan says
Turkey's president says all suspected coup plotters and "terrorists" will have to wear an almond-brown uniform when they appear in court. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said jumpsuits would be worn by those accused of involvement in the July 2016 coup plot. Other "terrorists" would wear jackets and trousers. That term is used for followers of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and for Kurdish rebels. Last month a defendant wearing a "Hero" T-shirt appeared before a judge. Police later detained nearly 30 people for wearing T-shirts with the word "hero" on them, the CNNTurk news channel reported. "There will be no more coming into court wearing whatever they want," Mr Erdogan said in a speech in the eastern town of Malatya. On the 15 July anniversary of the coup attempt, he demanded a prisoner uniform "like in Guantanamo". The US prison for alleged jihadists makes inmates wear bright orange jumpsuits. (Webmaster's comment: Mass arrests and mass convictions. Turkey's new dictator is exercising his power. The new dictator has been congradulated by Trump!)

8-6-17 Opioid crisis: Five ways to tackle the US drug epidemic
Opioid crisis: Five ways to tackle the US drug epidemic
The opioid epidemic has been called the worst ever drug crisis to hit the US. Former US Health Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy G Thompson, and Aspen Health Strategy Group director Alan Weil, look at what could be done to help bring it to an end. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die from opioid overdoses, devastating families and communities along the way. The number of deaths involving opioids - a class of drug covering everything from heroin, to legal painkillers - has quadrupled since 1999, a White House commission said in a draft report, urging President Trump to declare a national emergency. The Health Strategy Group which we jointly chair at the non-partisan think tank the Aspen Institute, has also been looking at the options for tackling a problem which shows no signs of abating.

These are its five key ideas.

  1. Stop overprescribing
  2. Provide access to treatment
  3. Stop unnecessary deaths
  4. Treat opioid addiction as a health issue
  5. Invest in data and knowledge

The US opioids epidemic

  • Opioid overdoses killed 33,000 people in 2015, with 2016 figures expected to be worse
  • The epidemic started with legally prescribed painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin
  • It intensified as these were diverted to the black market
  • There has also been a sharp rise in the use of illegal opioids, including heroin
  • Many street drugs are laced with powerful opioids like Fentanyl, increasing the risk of overdose
  • The use of injectable opioids has contributed to hepatitis C cases doubling

8-6-17 Chinese tourists arrested for Hitler salute in Germany
Chinese tourists arrested for Hitler salute in Germany
Two Chinese tourists were arrested in Berlin for making Hitler salutes outside the German parliament on Saturday. Criminal proceedings have been started against the middle-aged men for using symbols from a banned organisation. The pair have been released on bail of €500 (£450; $600) each. Germany has strict laws on hate speech and symbols linked to Hitler and the Nazis. The men - aged 36 and 49 - could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years, according to police. The same charges are most commonly used to prosecute members of the far right. A police spokeswoman told AFP news agency that the men could leave the country during the investigation and that if a fine is handed down, the bail money they had already paid would probably cover it. The visitors were seen taking pictures of each other with their mobile phones outside the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament. (Webmaster's comment: We need the same laws against hate speech and hate crime in America! This "freedom" to advocate hate is partly to blame for the violence in America. It's a cancer and if allowed to grow will consume the entire society in daily acts of extreme violence.)

8-6-17 Israel to close Al-Jazeera offices, take network off-air
Israel to close Al-Jazeera offices, take network off-air
Israel wants to close broadcaster Al-Jazeera's local offices and revoke its journalists' press credentials, the communications minister has said. Ayoub Kara alleged that the channel supported "terrorism", and said both its Arabic and English-language channels would be taken off air. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently accused the broadcaster of incitement. Al-Jazeera has fiercely defended its reputation and says it is independent. It has come under attack from several governments in the region. Saudi Arabia and Jordan both shut bureaus of the Qatari-funded broadcaster as part of their diplomatic campaign against the tiny Gulf state. Qatar's Arabic-language news channel first launched in 1996, and shook up the media landscape in the Middle East. (Webmaster's comment: The only problem with Al-Jazeera is that it is totally objective and tells the truth. Objective news media is always consider to be an enemy of the state. Just as it is being done in America.)

8-5-17 US Blackwater guard's murder conviction overturned
US Blackwater guard's murder conviction overturned
A US appeals court has overturned a murder conviction for a former Blackwater security guard over the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. The court ordered a retrial for Nicholas Slatten, saying he should not have been tried alongside three others. It also ruled that his convicted former colleagues Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty be resentenced. They were all jailed for 30 years. The killings in Baghdad's Nisoor Square sparked international outrage. All four men were convicted in 2014 and sentenced the following year. Slatten received a life sentence for murder while the other three were jailed for multiple counts of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and using firearms while committing a felony. "The court concludes that the district court abused its discretion in denying Slatten's motion to sever his trial from that of his co-defendants and therefore vacates his conviction and remands for a new trial," the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Friday. The ruling said that at a retrial Slatten would be able to introduce evidence alleging he did not fire the first shots. Separately, the court said Slough, Heard and Liberty should be re-sentenced because their 30-year prison terms were too long. It overturned one of Liberty's convictions for attempted manslaughter. (Webmaster's comment: Protecting our own so they will not be afraid to kill innocent men, women and children anytime.)

8-4-17 Trump’s Russia cover-up
Trump’s Russia cover-up
“The Russia scandal has now reached all the way to the president himself,” said Paul Waldman. The Washington Post reported this week that President Trump personally intervened to dictate a misleading statement about the purpose of a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a group of Russians with connections to Vladimir Putin’s regime. A few weeks ago, when the administration learned that the meeting was about to be publicly reported, Trump’s advisers and Kushner’s legal team recommended admitting the truth: Donald Jr. took the meeting after the Russians promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. But President Trump overruled everyone and personally dictated a statement saying the meeting was about “the adoption of Russian children” by Americans—and nothing more. How do we know this? His own aides leaked the story to the Post. This is a very big deal. Trump is now implicated in an effort to “mislead the public” about a key meeting with Russians. This cover-up will become part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. And if Trump’s aides are implicating him now, what will they do when they’re under oath, facing jail time?

8-4-17 Grand jury used in Trump-Russia investigation
Grand jury used in Trump-Russia investigation
The special counsel investigating claims of Russian meddling in the US election has begun using a grand jury in Washington, reports say. The move suggests Robert Mueller may be taking a more aggressive approach to gathering data on possible collusion with Donald Trump's campaign team. Grand juries are used to issue subpoenas to compel people to testify. The president has again poured scorn on the inquiry, telling a rally in West Virginia it was a "total fabrication". In the US, grand juries are composed of members of the public who hear evidence in secret. Prosecutors use them to gather evidence, as they can compel people to testify or hand over documentation. They consider whether evidence is strong enough to issue indictments for a criminal trial. The juries do not decide the innocence or guilt of a potential defendant.Prosecutors have for months been using a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, which had issued some subpoenas in the case, reports say.

8-4-17 Police push back
Police push back
Law enforcement officials across the country roundly rebuked President Trump this week, after he told police officers that they shouldn’t be “too nice” when handling suspected gang members. Speaking to a room full of police recruits at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, Trump called on officers to be “rough” with “thugs” and “animals,” suggesting they let suspects’ heads hit the doors of police vehicles when they are placed under arrest. “Please don’t be too nice,” Trump said to applause. Police departments from Boston to Los Angeles released statements condemning the remarks and suggested that the president was sending the wrong message to officers. The country’s top anti-drug official, acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, issued an agencywide memo instructing agents to “always act honorably” and to disregard Trump’s remarks.

8-4-17 Transgender troops: Is Trump’s ban for real?
Transgender troops: Is Trump’s ban for real?
The timing couldn’t have been more telling, said Phillip Carter and Amy Schafer in Slate.com. Last week, “on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman’s order to desegregate the armed forces,” President Trump suddenly tweeted that he was banning transgender Americans from serving “in any capacity” in the military. The commander in chief claimed the estimated 15,500 serving transgender troops cause “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” But even if the military agrees to foot the bill for trans-related surgeries—an Obama-era edict currently under Defense Department review—it would still cost only up to $8.4 million a year. That’s just 0.1 percent of the military’s total health budget, and 10 times less than its allocation for erectile dysfunction drugs. The Pentagon, caught off guard by Trump’s impulse-driven tweets, said it did not take them as an official directive and would continue to let transgender people serve, for now. Nonetheless, the president has betrayed the LGBT community and delivered a cruel slap in the face to thousands of people loyally serving their country.

8-4-17 Justice Dept. to target affirmative action
Justice Dept. to target affirmative action
The Trump administration is planning to investigate whether affirmative action policies at U.S. colleges and universities discriminate against white applicants, The New York Times reported this week. The Justice Department’s civil rights division is currently advertising for lawyers interested in working on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination” in college admissions, according to an internal department announcement—a sign that the administration intends to target programs designed to give minority applicants an edge over other applicants with comparable test scores. The project will reportedly operate out of the civil rights division’s front office, which is staffed by political appointees, rather than by career civil servants.

8-4-17 64% support Obamacare
64% support Obamacare
After several Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, 64% of Americans want to keep Obamacare either “entirely as is” or keep it after fixing “problem areas.” That’s up from 54% in January.

8-4-17 Gun Deaths up 12%
Gun Deaths up 12%
In the first 200 days of 2017, U.S. gun deaths were up more than 12 percent over last year, with 8,539 people dying of gun wounds (excluding suicides). Firearms injuries were up nearly 8 percent, to 17,043, and the number of children under age 12 shot by a gun increased by 16 percent to 394.

8-4-17 Forced Religion
Forced Religion
A Louisiana municipal court judge has been ordering drug offenders to enroll in a Christian-themed rehabilitation course at a church. The course requires the offenders to do homework on biblical passages. When one attendee objected to Judge Charles Schrumpf’s order, saying he’s an atheist, his parole officer responded, “We’ll see how you feel after eight weeks.”

8-4-17 Mass trial
Mass trial
Nearly 500 people went on trial this week on charges of planning or participating in last year’s failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As the accused were marched into a large, specially built courthouse, pro-Erdogan demonstrators chanted “We want the death penalty!” The defendants face a raft of charges, including homicide and trying to assassinate the president; among those indicted are generals who allegedly oversaw the plot. Nearly 250 people were killed in the July coup attempt, which Erdogan blamed, with no evidence, on the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Since then, the government has arrested more than 50,000 teachers, lawyers, soldiers, and bureaucrats it accuses of being Gulen followers.

8-4-17 A long engagement: Weddings waiting for marriage equality
A long engagement: Weddings waiting for marriage equality
During his late teens, Richard Steer was well aware it was illegal to be intimate with another man. "When I was an 18-year-old boy, exploring what it was to be a gay man, you could be arrested for having sex with another man in Queensland," he said. The 47-year-old, who still lives in Brisbane, says although that law is now gone and the Australian state recognises his relationship with his long term partner, it won't let them marry. It has been a long engagement for Australian same-sex couples as it remains unclear if they will ever have the chance to legally wed. Here are some of the weddings in waiting as the marriage equality debate returns again to the political agenda.

8-4-17 Charity kicked out
Charity kicked out
A U.S. Christian charity was ordered to leave Cambodia this week for highlighting the sex trafficking of young girls. CNN ran a segment last week on Agape International Missions (AIM) and interviewed several women and girls it had rescued from the village of Svay Pak, an infamous center of child prostitution throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was outraged by the report, even though AIM said the local situation is improving. Hun Sen said AIM and CNN had implied the girls being sold by their mothers were Cambodian, when in fact they were ethnic Vietnamese. “You cannot insult our people,” he said. “President Trump is right: U.S. media is very tricky.”

8-4-17 Marijuana company buys entire US town to create 'cannabis-friendly municipality'
Marijuana company buys entire US town to create 'cannabis-friendly municipality'
A company which makes cannabis products has bought an entire town in California and plans to turn it into a "destination" for marijuana. American Green has agreed a deal to buy the town of Nipton for $5m (£3.8m). The company will own 120 acres of land, which includes a school building, a hotel, mineral baths and a general store. They also want to power the town with renewable energy. "We are excited to lead the charge for a true green rush," American Green's president David Gwyther said in a statement to Time. "The cannabis revolution that's going on here in the US has the power to completely revitalise communities in the same way gold did during the 19th Century." Nipton was originally founded during the gold rush in the early 20th Century when the precious metal was found nearby. California is one of eight US states where recreational marijuana is legal.

8-3-17 It's white nationalism week in the Trump administration
It's white nationalism week in the Trump administration
President Trump has not assembled a stellar record when it comes to keeping the promises he made as a candidate. A wall on the southern border, and Mexico's going to pay for it? No. Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with "something terrific"? Sorry. Drain the Washington swamp? Surely you jest. "So much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning"? Well ... not exactly. But that doesn't mean he isn't trying. And this week, we saw dramatic movement on policies that honor the white nationalist campaign Trump ran. On Tuesday, The New York Times revealed that "the Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department's civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants." Then on Wednesday, the president announced his support for a bill that would severely curtain legal immigration, cutting the number of immigrants allowed in to the U.S. in half, restricting the family members who would be able to sponsor an immigrant's application, capping the number of refugees, and ending the "diversity lottery" that grants visas to applicants from countries with fewer immigrants. That bill may not pass, and there's no way to tell how successful the government's suits on behalf of oppressed white students will be. But the practical effects aren't really the point. Instead, Trump is symbolically fulfilling what were symbolic promises to begin with. The power of Trump's campaign for so many of his voters was that it wasn't couched in euphemism and it didn't apologize for its appeal to racial, ethnic, and religious identity. His most ardent supporters thrilled to the permission Trump gave them to cast off the chains of "political correctness" and tell people what they really thought of them — Immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, WOMEN, all of them.

8-3-17 Trump backs proposal to curb legal immigration
Trump backs proposal to curb legal immigration
President Donald Trump has backed an immigration overhaul that would reduce the number of permanent, legal migrants allowed in the US each year. He joins Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who in February proposed a bill to cut legal immigration by 50% over 10 years. The Raise Act would end diversity lottery visas and curb the number of refugees offered permanent residency. Immigration reform was a centrepiece of Mr Trump's presidential campaign. But the bill has a long way to go before becoming law and would be likely to face resistance in Congress from members of both parties. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that the bill would have a "devastating" impact on the economy in South Carolina - the state he represents.

8-3-17 Statue of Liberty caught in White House immigration row
Statue of Liberty caught in White House immigration row
The Statue of Liberty was the focus of a monumental exchange between a White House adviser and a reporter after Donald Trump backed an immigration policy favouring the better-educated. "The Statue of Liberty says, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'," CNN's Jim Acosta told Stephen Miller. "It doesn't say anything about speaking English," Mr Acosta added. Mr Miller said the poem on the iconic American statue was "added later". The immigration overhaul, backed by Mr Trump on Wednesday, would curb the number of permanent, legal migrants allowed in the US each year and prioritise those who can speak English or are highly skilled. Mr Trump's senior policy adviser at the White House, Mr Miller, said at a press briefing that the policy was "compassionate". The question-and-answer session turned into a fiery row as Mr Miller and Mr Acosta clashed on the issue. The pair verbally sparred over the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom and what it represents in relation to US immigration policy. In response to Mr Acosta's point about the famous poem, Mr Miller countered by saying that it was "not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty". "The poem that you're referring to was added later," he told Mr Acosta.

Engraved on the Statue of Liberty. This will make America Great, Not Donald Trump!

8-3-17 Canada opens Montreal Olympic Stadium for migrants from US
Canada opens Montreal Olympic Stadium for migrants from US
Montreal is temporarily opening its Olympic Stadium as a shelter to host a sudden increase in asylum seekers arriving from the US. More than 4,300 people have crossed into Canada seeking refugee status since January. The majority have crossed into the province of Quebec, straining government and community resources. Many of them have been denied asylum in the US and are hoping for a second chance on the other side of the border. The stadium received the request for space last Friday. Asylum seekers began to be moved into the building, one of Montreal's most well-known landmarks, on Wednesday morning. More than 3,300 people crossed into Quebec between 1 January and 30 June. Francine Dupuis, of Praida, a provincial programme for the reception and integration of asylum seekers, told the BBC that another 1,200 people crossed into the province in July, about 90% of them from Haiti. She is worried the numbers will not level off. (Webmaster's comment: Can't imagine why anyone would want to immigrate to anti-Muslim, anti-Jew, anti-Hispanic, anti-Immigrant, anti-Black, Racist America!)

8-3-17 Affirmative action: Do white American students really get a bad deal?
Affirmative action: Do white American students really get a bad deal?
Affirmative action - a touchstone of the US culture wars - is back in the headlines after a claim the justice department was considering a plan to sue campuses with race-conscious admissions programmes. The federal agency denied reports that it might file lawsuits against any colleges and universities perceived to discriminate against white applicants. The justice department said it was actually trying to resolve a complaint - left unresolved by the Obama administration - alleging bias against Asian-Americans in higher education admissions. The story reopened the debate over allegations that a policy designed to increase diversity in academia has been unfair to certain students. A US Supreme Court ruling in 2016 gave universities latitude in considering race as one of the many factors in a "holistic" evaluation of an applicant, but rejected the notion of fulfilling a racial quota. Do white American students really lose out to minority students? Here are two opposing views, from former justice department official Roger Clegg and civil rights lawyer Brenda Shum.

8-3-17 Why are so many Americans okay with corporations bowing to Chinese censorship?
Why are so many Americans okay with corporations bowing to Chinese censorship?
If the American people actually believed that censorship was bad, they would throw away their iPhones, stop buying shampoo on Amazon, and quit going to the movies. Why is it not a cause for concern that the world's wealthiest corporations are cooperating with the Chinese government, employing their considerable technological resources to prevent Chinese citizens from circumventing firewalls or accessing private networks designed to restrict access to information and opinions of which the authorities disapprove? Why do only nerd parodists on YouTube complain about the absurd lengths to which film producers go to appease Chinese censors — doing everything from removing same-sex kissing scenes and other sequences considered vulgar or too violent to inserting brand-new characters to appease nationalist sentiment? Why is the pursuit of obscene levels of profit and record-breaking box office numbers a sufficient justification for these pathetic — and, in cinematic terms, banal — concessions? The answer is simple: We don't really think censorship is wrong. Or rather, we vaguely think censorship is wrong — except when it gets in the way of profits. (Webmaster's comment: It's always about money for most Americans. We've bought into the capitalist dream that only money matters! All other values are secondary.)

8-2-17 How Canada became an education superpower
How Canada became an education superpower
When there are debates about the world's top performing education systems, the names that usually get mentioned are the Asian powerhouses such as Singapore and South Korea or the Nordic know-alls, such as Finland or Norway. But with much less recognition, Canada has climbed into the top tier of international rankings. In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a handful of countries to appear in the top 10 for maths, science and reading. The tests, run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are a major study of educational performance and show Canada's teenagers as among the best educated in the world. They are far ahead of geographical neighbours such as the US and European countries with strong cultural ties like the UK and France. At university level, Canada has the world's highest proportion of working-age adults who have been through higher education - 55% compared with an average in OECD countries of 35%. (Webmaster's comment: Canada ranks 6th in education and United States ranks 29th. United States has masses of ignorant people. We'll never be Great Again until we educate our children pass the 6-8th grade level which is where they are at mentally today.)

8-2-17 Trump to back proposal to curb legal immigration
Trump to back proposal to curb legal immigration
President Donald Trump has backed an immigration overhaul that would reduce the number of permanent, legal migrants allowed in the US each year. He joins Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who in February proposed a bill to cut legal immigration by 50% over 10 years. That bill would end diversity lottery visas and curb the number of refugees offered permanent residency in the US. Immigration reform was a centrepiece of Mr Trump's presidential campaign. He said at the White House that a switch to a merit-based immigration system - from the current family-based one - would help American workers. The pair's proposal would reduce the number of refugees admitted each year to 50,000 from the 110,000 that former President Barack Obama said he would welcome last year. The bill also would eliminate the State Department's Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a lottery programme that allows about 50,000 people to live in the US permanently each year. It has a long way to go before becoming law and could face resistance in Congress from members of both parties. (Webmaster's comment: Many Americans are so ignorant that corporatiions and businesses will not hire them because they are usless for anything but unskilled labor. We need the legal immigrants to do the jobs that the masses of ignorant Americans can not do.)

8-2-17 The 'long, hot summer of 1967'
The 'long, hot summer of 1967'
Fifty years ago, a wave of violent riots exposed the dark reality of America's race problem. The summer of 1967 was a season divided by emotion. For the bohemians in San Francisco, it was the Summer of Love: an embrace of free love, psychedelics, and rock 'n' roll. But for many black people across the country, the summer of 1967 was something else entirely: a release of pent-up resentment over institutionalized unemployment, abusive policing, and shoddy housing. In the first nine months of the year, the federal government recorded 164 "civil disorders" in 34 states. But tensions peaked during the sweltering summer months, fueling a wave of violent protests in more than 150 cities. It would become known as the "long, hot summer of 1967." The National Guard was deployed in at least a dozen states; news networks broadcast footage of troops descending upon the chaotic streets of Detroit alongside scenes from the Vietnam War. "No one is safe on the streets, in his home, or on his property," Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) said early that summer. "We are rapidly approaching a state of anarchy." By the time the smoke cleared in September, the tally of destruction was staggering — at least 83 dead, thousands injured, and tens of millions of dollars in property damage, with entire neighborhoods burned to the ground. (Webmaster's comment: And we still have racism. And we're expanding it to include Muslims, Jews and all immigrants.)

8-2-17 My Lesbian Mums: What it was like for me, my mums, and my siblings when our mums came out
My Lesbian Mums: What it was like for me, my mums, and my siblings when our mums came out
Twenty years ago my mum came out as a lesbian. I was only four at the time so it wasn't such a big deal for me. I've learnt from my parents that it was a bit more difficult for some of my older siblings, so I wanted to speak to them about what it was like. And I also wanted to find out if it's any easier now for parents to come out. My mums [Susan and Gerrie] made history in 2014, becoming the first lesbians to marry in Scotland. It was "the perfect moment in history", but it wasn't always easy for them to get down the aisle. For my mum, having such young children [when she came out], it would have been really hard, and I think she was quite scared. Although my grandparents knew, none of their friends knew and they were so worried about what their friends' reaction was going to be. I remember my mum sitting me and brother Jamie down, asking if we were embarrassed by her. We both said "don't be so stupid" and that "of course" we weren't embarrassed.

8-1-17 One in three U.S. adults takes opioids, and many misuse them
One in three U.S. adults takes opioids, and many misuse them
Nearly 92 million U.S. adults used prescription opioids in 2015, a new study estimates. More than 11 million people misused the painkillers and almost 2 million people had opioid dependence or abuse. Nearly 5 percent of U.S. adults misused prescription opioids in 2015, a new study shows. Based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an in-person survey of more than 50,000 people, researchers estimated that 91.8 million, or 37.8 percent, of adults used prescription opioids in 2015. Some 11.5 million people misused the painkillers and 1.9 million people reported opioid dependence or abuse, Beth Han of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Md., and colleagues report online August 1 in Annals of Internal Medicine. Among people reporting opioid misuse, nearly 60 percent used the painkillers without a prescription, 22 percent took a bigger dose than prescribed, about 15 percent used them more frequently than directed, and 13 percent of people used them for longer than directed. Relieving pain was the most commonly cited reason for misusing opioids — for 66 percent of people reporting misuse and nearly 49 percent of those with opioid dependence or abuse. These results underscore the urgent need for better approaches to pain management, the authors conclude. (Webmaster's comment: Made into addicts by our drug companies. They have a license to sell addiction.)

8-1-17 Trump urged to declare national emergency over opioid crisis
Trump urged to declare national emergency over opioid crisis
President Donald Trump's commission to tackle opioid drug abuse is urging him to declare a national emergency. In a draft report, the cross-party group of lawmakers argue that doing so would force officials to prioritise attention and funding to the issue. "With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks", the authors write. One third of Americans were prescribed opioids in 2015, the group found. President Trump made addressing drug abuse a central campaign promise. The report also recommends that doctors curb excessive prescriptions of opioid medications, and improve access to pain management treatment techniques. The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis referenced the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 to describe how the entire government subsequently rallied around the common cause of protecting American lives. (Webmaster's comment: Banning opioids will leave 92 million Americans in unbelievable pain! We must have an alternative pain killer before banning opioids!)

8-1-17 Venezuela key opposition leaders seized after poll
Venezuela key opposition leaders seized after poll
Two Venezuelan opposition leaders, Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, have been re-arrested, relatives of the pair say. They were under house arrest after accusations of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014. The two have been taken to Ramo Verde military jail, family members say. The Supreme Court, which critics say is dominated by government loyalists, said it had received intelligence reports alleging the two were trying to flee. The court also said that it had revoked Mr Ledezma's and Mr López's house arrest because they had made political statements. The move comes just two days after a controversial vote for a constitutional assembly saw violence on the streets, with at least 10 people killed. President Nicolás Maduro convened the assembly to rewrite Venezuela's constitution amid spiralling anti-government protests on 1 May. He argued that the move would create peace and foster dialogue by bringing together different sectors of Venezuela's polarised society. But the opposition accused the president of trying to rewrite the constitution in order to maximise his power and sideline the opposition-controlled legislature. They boycotted the vote and called on Venezuelans to take to the streets in protest. The election was condemned by Latin American leaders, the European Union and the US. (Webmaster's comment: Another country collapses into dictatorship. Is the United States next?)

8-1-17 Republicans are starting to flee Trump's carnival of crazy
Republicans are starting to flee Trump's carnival of crazy
Enough elected Republicans now criticize and contradict the president that it no longer seems surprising when one of them does it. That's important. Since the time he secured the Republican nomination for president, people have been asking, "When are Republicans going to finally distance themselves from Donald Trump?" Now, after one of the worst weeks ever experienced by an American president who wasn't assassinated, we're getting an answer. Sort of. Don't worry — we haven't seen any grand profiles in courage, at least not yet. But for the first time, we're seeing enough elected Republicans criticize and contradict the president that it no longer seems surprising when one of them does it. The most dramatic instance of a Republican standing up to Trump was of course that of John McCain, who cast the deciding vote to kill (for now) the GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. With less glowing attention from the media, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski held firm against it, too; Murkowski had to withstand the secretary of the interior calling to threaten that if she didn't get in line, the administration would punish Alaska for her intransigence. (Webmaster's comment: Next we can expect dirty tricks and arrests for not obeying Trump! He is a budding dictator to the core!)

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