Contact Me

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loss of Religious Liberty? Or Something Else?

In my area, a lot of Democrats were unseated by Republicans in the recent elections. Among reasons cited for why conservatives were especially driven to vote was of course the health care law and various other things they see as Obama failures. One of the most unlikely, yet emotional, issues is the perceived threat to religious liberty.

There is a Houston, TX incident where the city demanded all sermons and communications of certain preachers. In a certain light, namely that of Fox News, this almost looks like news. The linked article uses terms like  bullying, intimidation, abuse of authority, making an example or and shaming pastors. If you dig a little deeper, however, you get a few other details and realize the city isn't actually limiting religious liberty. but enforcing a tax issue that prevents non profits receiving a tax exemption from endorsing candidates and campaigning. It's kind of an epidemic or trend to hint at the most godly choice already, but the active political organizing from the tax free pulpit is a violation of law.

And then of course there was the whole Hobby Lobby situation. People cheering on this company for deciding for people what is the right birth control option, deciding things in an area of the employee's life that is none of their business. Besides the fact that women use contraception for things other than pregnancy prevention, preventing implantation is far from abortion. The science just doesn't support many of these complaints against IUDs and the ruling opens the door for people to chuck out any government regulation if they can put forward an argument, it doesn't even have to be that compelling.

The Idaho ministers. Again, it sounds like - oh my, they are forcing Christians to marry same sex couples, just like the thought this gay rights activism would come to! But actually, the issue is the non-profit vs for-profit and equal rights vs. religious objection. The business in question is not a church or religious organization, but a for-profit business, a wedding chapel. I wonder if an exception of some sort like the Hobby Lobby loophole will be made for wedding chapels or will we see the end of the wedding chapel, leaving religious ceremonies to religious organizations who are tax exempt and free to marry people according to their particular religions stipulations.

Monday, November 3, 2014

In West Bank, Israeli troops still escort Palestinian children to school

Now if Palestinians had an illegal settlement, they would all be hauled off to jail where they'd be beaten and held indefinitely. They get chased and bombed out of their legitimately owned homes and have been since the 30's. No, that's wrong, they wouldn't be jailed, they'd be bombed into oblivion. So, there's your solution, Israeli army, bombs! Call them up (or don't, whatever you are feeling like that day) and tell them they have 5 minutes to gather belongings, evacuate children, elderly and handicapped or else they will be bombed off the face of the planet.

The Israeli army claims the settlers are crazy and they can't do anything about the attacks on Palestinian farmers, children and everyone else. It's good they recognize the settlers are wrong, but it's not that they CAN'T do anything, they simply WON'T.

If Palestinians throw rocks (or if an Israeli undercover throws rocks to instigate) at settlers or any other Israeli, they are beat, hauled in to prison, beat up and left to rot there. Every incident is counted and there are statistics, some 3000 times. Since Israelis are allowed to do whatever they want without so much as a harsh word, curfew, closure, beating, bombing, prison, there are no statistics except by humanitarian groups who can occasionally catch some of these incidents and record them.

There is a more than 99% conviction rate for Palestinians and they get actual sentences and hauled back in if released, so it is clear that they have the resources and procedures in place to so something, they just refuse to equally arrest and prosecute Israeli Jews. Israeli settlers throwing rocks or painting racist graffiti and threats on mosques or murdering Palestinians get nothing- no jail time, not trial, not even a chase through the street or arrest.

From a settler:

The Palestinians “don’t want us here, and we don’t want them here,” Tor said. “That’s the problem.”In general, “the Muslims, they like blood,” Tor said. “Even if we give them Tel Aviv, they will continue to attack us. The leaders can say they want peace, but it’s not the truth.”
The stream of lies never ends. They make up things like the Arabs pushing Jews into the sea myth and they are just violent, it's in their genetics and stick to it as fact and as though it doesn't go both ways. Not to mention when you're sitting Palestinian land and even ISRAEL says you're there illegally, you kinda deserve what you get. You're asking for some kind of consequence. You have NO right to be there. They don't hate you, that's not it. If the Israeli army would do its job and remove these people, other people would not feel the need to defend their rights and land.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Those Closed Minded Liberals, Why Don't They Just Watch Fox Like Us?

This is most likely an ultra conservative publication, but I happened to see it and had quite a few thoughts on the suspect logic of the thing.

Liberals Will Defriend You and Seek Variety; Conservatives Will Forgive and Stay in Theor Own Little Bubble

This little article was no doubt written (using an actual study, mind you) to say liberals are more likely to unfriend and end personal friendships over political differences and conservatives are naturally so much more open minded even though liberals say they are open minded.

Never mind that I didn't get how much more likely are liberals to end friendships than conservatives, like 1% (I apologize if that comparable figure is actually in there). Is it significant? Is it only slightly more? And if unfriending is equal to ending a personal real life friendship, I have serious doubts that it was actually a friendship. So you don't want to see their political screeds or constant reposts of some conservative talking head or a barrage of racial slur memes from a group calling itself Patriot something or other. Does that mean you aren't friends? They don't talk like that in person after all.

What really stuck out to me, rather than the statistic about unfriending, was 47% of conservatives listen to Fox News and liberals were "splintered," meaning they listen to several sources. The language here obviously meant to demean, as though conservatives are unified and so Fox News is more right because the masses say so. Logically, though, listening to a variety of sources is of course the way to sort out what is actually happening when you hear about a headline which is generally meant to conceal info to get you to read the story.

Conservatives are more likely to (from study/article):Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

And perhaps liberals unfriend conservatives because they only listen to and parrot Fox News (see the graphic in the article, showing the 47% Fox News) and we already heard that point of view and they annoyingly stick only to that source and take on the facts they chose to recognize like it is a fresh revelation from God which stops them from actually discussing anything. And when you are more likely to have friends who share your political views and you all watch Fox News, it doesn't mean you are more open minded or forgiving or virtuous because you don't unfriend said friends for political posts!

On the Facebook post comments section for this article (possibly a Heritage Foundation group post?), there is some truly wonderful boastful self- aggrandizement there for your amusement. I'll try and grab some and put it here later.


This is just the beginning of the hilarity. Penises are on loan and God made women so His penis would have a home?!?! 
The first thing to know about your penis is, that despite the way it may seem, it is not your penis. Ultimately, God created you and it is his penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.
The article goes on to address masturbation and homosexuality further burdening the already stressed real estate analogy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Local politics, not a liberal strong point, but look at this nonsense

Odd political attack ad- youtube link

So this is supposed to be an attack ad of our liberal candidate for the Senate. I guess it could be an ad FOR the conservative guy, but it's really just about premature birth or something. She CHOSE to have the baby when she thought she was miscarrying. Good for her. And great for science! Look how far we've come and don't you want to go out and fund some more? No, that's not what they want you to take away from this. You get the idea it's anti-abortion when she describes seeing her 24 week old baby and wondering at the fully formed body and individual fingers and toes. . . not exactly real first thoughts when you see your beloved infant you thought could have been dead- those are talking points. There is a rather hilarious sentence about the fetus WANTING to be born.And then at the end we get Kay Hagan's cartoonish exaggerated and probably misquoted position and Tom Tillis' CORRECT position.

 This woman chose to have the baby despite complications. Fantastic. I fail to see how this is an effective argument against giving others the right to choose what to do for their situation and with their bodies. Many conservatives will try and say that the fact that safe abortions are legal or that marriages between two people of the same sex is legal infringes on their rights and / or affect them in some way. This is absurd. If we start mandating that you have to get an abortion or that you have to be gay (or straight?!) to get married, we have something to talk about. Until then, these issues shouldn't even be issues.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer 2014 Israeli Gaza invasion recap

These are posts from August I did on Facebook and should have put here on the blog instead . .

This is an Israeli soldier who is refusing to serve, his illustration of the conflict, rather good, if graphic, but that's genocide too, ugly:

"And forgive me for using this hard language, but when you have a group of people raping someone, and this person that is being raped starting to scratch, the first thing you want to do in order to stop the scratches is to stop the rape. And what Israel, official Israel, is trying to do is to continue the rape and deal with the scratches. And I say, stop the rape, stop the occupation, stop the apartheid, stop this inhumane ghettoization of Palestinians, and then—then—we can start talking, and we can reach peace agreements and all these beautiful words that now don’t mean anything for us."


Just like spring break! Yay! Except with war crimes... Right to defend themselves. Ha! Never again (to us).

Bob Schieffer?!?! I had thought of him as a pretty reasonable guy. He's joined the dark side, the majority, the Israeli propaganda machine, those who want the rape victim to stop scratching rather than the rape to stop.

List of op-eds calling for the elimination of Gaza

I think  this was prompted by someone asking me to prove Israel was stealing land, THEY want to push Israel into the sea, Israelis only want peace, or one of the other Israel-can-do-no-wrong lines of "reasoning."

Collective Punishment In Gaza

One of the best I've read lately. Facts are hard to come by in this conflict as we are blindly and recklessly supporting the oppressor. Rashid Khalidi, thank you!

U.S. Jewish Leader Henry Siegman to Israel: Stop Killing Palestinians and End the Occupation

HENRY SIEGMAN: ... And this is why I say there are several reasons for the Israeli action. A primary one is to prevent this new government from actually succeeding. It’s an attempt to break up the new unity government set up by the Palestinians.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Why would they do that? Why would they want to do that?

HENRY SIEGMAN: They want to do that, for the first time—for years, I have been suggesting and arguing that they want to do that because they are intent on preventing the development of a Palestinian state. To put it bluntly, they want all of it. They want all of Palestine.

Now, this is something that Netanyahu said openly and without any reservations when he was not in government. He wrote about it, published a book about it, his opposition to a Palestinian state, that Israel couldn’t allow that. The difference between the time that he—and he, incidentally, opposed not just Palestinian statehood. He opposed peace agreements with Egypt. He opposed peace agreements with Jordan. Any positive step towards a stabilization and a more peaceful region, Netanyahu has been on record as opposing.

My over 6 foot sunflower. Maybe I'll rename the blog sunflowers and genocide.

The shoe doesn't go on the other foot in Palestine

As always,  a great show for Democracy Now, great points made by the guest, Henry Siegman. Here are two:

What if the situation were reversed, and the Jewish population were locked into, were told, "Here, you have less than 2 percent of Palestine, so now behave. No more resistance. And let us deal with the rest"? Is there any Jew who would have said this is a reasonable proposition, that we cease our resistance, we cease our effort to establish a Jewish state, at least on one-half of Palestine, which is authorized by the U.N.? Nobody would agree to that.

He quoted a Hebrew saying in the Talmud here about putting oneself in another person's shoes. A proposition like his gets you called anti-semitic- or in his case, a self-hating Jew no doubt. I've proposed similar scenarios or tried to describe the land grabs in other terms and have been called some things.

Why hasn’t our government or anyone said, "Like Hamas, if you have parties like that in your government, you are not a peace partner, and you are a terrorist group, if in fact you use violence to implement your policy, as Hamas does"? So the hypocrisy in the discussion that is taking place publicly is just mind-boggling.

Such a good question! One we all want to know the answer to. He was talking about parties in Israel's government, mainstream ones, not on the fringe, whose platform does not allow for a Palestinian state anywhere in Palestine.

Defending Men's Rights ?!

Ok, I talked about the overblown rage in the rape nail polish affair, but I think this one deserves a bit of rage. Men's rights. That's right. In the rush to help women get a fair shot, equal pay, catch up after decades of being pushed to the back, we have forgotten men's rights to rule over everything and own everything. How dare us. (Roll your eyes here)

Not that they don't have issues. Some valid problems were mentioned like unfairness in custody hearings and higher suicide rates. Sure, these are things that need addressed, though probably not at the top of the list when you think of men's rights or likely when those men get together. I expect more what goes on to be blaming women for things, saying they are ok with helping women get equal pay and other things, but they need to be afforded the same breaks and "opportunities" (so they can stay ahead I guess).

When I read the complaint on not having a White House council on men and boys and having Womens' Studies, but not Mens' Studies, I felt like I was listening to white supremacists talk about white rights being violated by affirmative action or some other absurd argument.

Rape Nail Polish

Everyone's talking about this, so I'll say something too.

Most of the links when I searched this were very critical of this new product, accusing the creators of putting the blame on the victims, how dare them, etc. I definitely agree the victims of rape are not to be blamed. No question there. The perpetrators are criminals and something should be done to change that attitude or culture that makes men think rape is ok or that women ask for it in the way they dress and things like that.

I think some things are being overlooked in this aggressive opposition though. We aren't going to eradicate rape. That's as silly as a war or drugs or terrorism. It will always be the case that people 
do bad things, break the law, violate the rights of others. And, yes, we should work to stop that from happening, but during that rather slow process, we shouldn't make it seem like any attempt by a potential victim to protect themselves is wrong. The nail polish is just one more thing to put more power in the hands of the victims- at least that's how I looked at it- like learning self defense or carrying pepper spray. 

We can talk about how impractical it is- just let me stir my drink with my finger vigorously for approximately 30 seconds (or whatever the instructions happen to be) and then I can accept this drink you bought me- or I can check your drink for roofees, just let me stick my finger in your drink and stir it around some, of course I washed my hands after using the bathroom. But I don't think inventing things women can do to try and stay safe while they wait on the culture to change or all criminals to stop committing crimes is putting the blame on them.

Not to mention these are 4 college kids, undergrads maybe, so the fact that they did this is actually pretty cool. Just the fact that they invented it is newsworthy. And it's my alma mater. In the article I reference above, they even say

“We hope this future product will be able to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators, creating a risk that they might actually start to get caught,” co-founder Tyler Confrey-Maloney explained on Wednesday in a Facebook post.

So I don't really think a charge of victim blaming is really warranted. Anything that women can do to try and prevent this from happening to them I see as a good thing. The effectiveness and practicality are another matter. . . Some will say my cautious approval of this new tool is similar to me saying women should be paranoid about how they walk and dress lest they bring rape on themselves. That is going to the extreme, reductio ad absurdum. I'm saying use common sense, use the tools available to you and crime will always exist. The fault is always the rapists', yes, but if I see a possibility to do something to stop that from happening, I'll try it. It doesn't mean it's my fault if my effort fails or if I can't do anything about it.

That said, I probably wouldn't use it- it seems rather clunky and awkward, but if people want to, go for it. I think it would be fantastic if rapists were more afraid of being caught. If the nail polish helps with that, awesome. The laws really aren't doing that effectively either.

And I should mention again that these are college kids who designed something to use their new chemistry skills to try and solve a real world problem, something generally advocated in colleges. Maybe it solves nothing, but you have to at least try different things before you create something useful.

Note: My computer is possessed currently and insists on deleting furiously when I edit. I think I fixed this post, but am not sure if I found everything.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Turkish coffee and Freedom Fries

Some Israelis find the name 'Turkish coffee' too bitter to swallow

Not that there aren't more important things to talk about, but this struck me as extremely funny. Their solutions to this "problem" might give you déjà vu.
They want to BOYCOTT the drink because of the NAME and because they hate Turkey for supporting Palestinians in some actions  against their genocide and collective punishment by Israel. Israel wants to boycott. They who consider Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against THEM tantamount to anti-semitism. Very similar to their stance on collective punishment and genocide- never again TO US, totally acceptable for someone else. 

Another solution? Change the name! Call it Israeli coffee! They've never done that before. Eye roll. Judea and Samaria. Falaffel is Israel's national food. An Eastern European favorite no doubt. Ethnic cleansing is transfer. Targeting civilians is collateral damage from hitting a military target surgically. Oh and a more comprehensive list was in a Counterpunch article here.

Of course, Israeli coffee companies are panicked, saying oh, but the beans aren't Turkish, Turks don't even drink it like this anymore. 

The last paragraph mentions Israelis' high consumption of turkey meat and the fact that the Hebrew word for turkey is also the word for India and those relations are fine. A perfect reflection of the absurdity of this Turkish coffee outrage.

Funny article.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A little break

I've been using Facebook to comment on recent events in the Middle East. I'll probably try and come back here :) It's why I made the thing in the first place. Please stand by..........