Dutch racist party wants Koran ban


Geert Wilders speech in New York City, cartoon

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saturday 27th August 2016

NETHERLANDS: The far-right Freedom Party (PVV), leading the polls ahead of next year’s general election, has vowed to close mosques and “ban the Koran,” in its manifesto.

PVV leader Geert Wilders tweeted: “All mosques and Islamic schools closed, a ban on the Koran,” on Thursday. The PVV claims it would reverse the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands with measures including barring migrants from Islamic countries and banning the hijab.

Child abuse in the Church of England, update


This video from Britain says about itself:

Church Inquiry Into Bishop Peter Ball Abuse Cover Up

6 October 2015

The Church of England has announced an independent inquiry into allegations of a cover up of sexual abuse in the church, looking at whether the behaviour of a former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, was overlooked because of his connections within the church and the establishment.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

No end to the Church of England‘s cover-ups

Wednesday 10th August 2015

Covering up historic child abuse is now a permanent feature of the Church of England, says PETER FROST

IN ITS latest cynical attempt to bury bad news, The Church of England published a damning report on the horrific abuse of youngsters at a Church of England children’s home on the same day Theresa May became Prime Minister.

This latest of so many cases of child abuse by bishops, clergy and senior lay staff employed by the church concerns physical and sexual abuse at Kendall House in Gravesend, Kent over a 20-year period.

Vulnerable girls were regularly overmedicated on antipsychotic drugs, locked in isolation rooms, physically abused and even raped.

The Church of England has now issued a “wholehearted apology” following the investigation, which found the response of the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury “woeful and inadequate.”

“Only the naive will believe this is not an attempt to bury bad news, especially as the Church has form on this,” said Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the National Secular Society.

He is just one of the critics who argue the Church should have delayed the publication of such a serious report until after former Home Secretary Theresa May was officially made Prime Minister.

The Church’s concern remains protecting its reputation and pocket, rather than the many victims whose lives have been ruined,” Mr Porteous Wood continued.

This cynical attempt to manage the media echoes the disgraceful attitude of Baroness Butler-Sloss, the retired judge appointed by Theresa May in 2014 to lead a major review of previous child sex abuse allegations. Baroness Butler-Sloss admitted she kept allegations about a bishop out of a report on a paedophile scandal because she “cared about the church.” She once told a victim of alleged abuse by Bishop Peter Ball that she did not want to include the claims because “the press would love a bishop.”

During a meeting at the House of Lords, Lady Butler-Sloss stated that she would “prefer not to refer to him” because he was “very old now” and she wanted the focus of any press coverage to highlight two priests who were prolific abusers – one of whom is dead and the other is in prison.

Only last year, at the age of 83, Bishop Ball dramatically pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office between 1977 and 1992.

In 1993, Bishop Ball failed to get the case thrown out after claiming he accepted a caution for gross indecency on the understanding that he would face no further action.

The then archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey called an official at the Crown Prosecution Service saying: “I was told quite categorically that the other allegations would not be taken further as far as we are concerned.”

This pressure meant that no criminal charges were brought despite two other abuse complaints at the time and warnings that there was sufficient admissible, substantial and reliable evidence for a trial.

One of his alleged victims said: “The Church and the Establishment has colluded in covering up Bishop Ball’s offending at the highest level over very many years.”

Ball — the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester and a friend of Prince Charles. After Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester following the caution, the Prince of Wales invited him to live in a house owned by the Duchy of Cornwall in Aller, Somerset.

Now the latest damning abuse report on Kendall House has again taken decades to finally come to public attention.

Medicine was distributed by consultant psychiatrist Dr Marenthiran Perinpanayagam, known as Dr Peri, whose drug regime had an “experimental element,” according to the report. Both [supervisor] Law and Perinpanayagam are now dead. The review described Kendall House as “a place where control, containment and sometimes cruelty was normalised.”

“Girls as young as 11 were routinely, and often without any initial medical assessment, given anti­depressants, sedatives and anti­psychotic medication,” the report said.

“Often these drugs were given in dosages which exceeded usual prescribed adult levels.

“This served to control their behaviour, placing them in a constant stupor, restricting their ability to communicate or to learn, or have any personal autonomy.

“These drugs put them at risk of numerous side effects, many of which were distressing. The effects of the drugs also increased their vulnerability to emotional, physical and, in a smaller number of cases, sexual abuse.

“Those that resisted, challenged or overcame the effects of these routinely administered drugs faced sanctions. These included being locked in a room for long periods, and receiving emotionally abusive threats and actions.

“In a number of cases, even the slightest misdemeanours, the typical features of teenagers’ behaviour, were dealt with by physical restraint, sometimes violent, and intramuscular injections of powerfully sedating medication.”

Over the years several Kendall House victims have come forward to complain to the Church, but amazingly numerous clergies up to bishop level have had convenient lapses of memory.

As so often the church has waited until the offending Christians have died or are long retired before issuing belated admissions of guilt and grudging apologies.

Real birds in Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastic paintings


Little owl, Bosch, Garden of earthly delights

This picture shows a little owl, by famous painter Hieronymus Bosch. It is in his painting The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Little owl, Hieronymus Bosch

This photo shows a little owl as well. In Bosch’s painting The Wayfarer.

Hieronymus Bosch, The Wayfarer

That little owl, like many other animals in Bosch’s work, is a little detail in a painting full of little details.

We saw these owls on 8 July 2016, when we were in the natural history museum in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

The Tilburg exhibition on animals in Bosch’s works did not show the original works of art. These had been earlier this year in the exhibition in Den Bosch; and are now in the exhibition in the Prado museum in Madrid.

The Tilburg exhibition had reproductions of Bosch’s paintings. And also many stuffed animals of species shown by Bosch. I think there was a mistake in these stuffed animals: they included a North American black bear. A species not known to Bosch as far as I know. The bears in Bosch’s work are European brown bears; not present among the stuffed animals in the exhibition.

Why did Bosch depict so many animals? We cannot be sure. As far as we know, Bosch never wrote about his work. Many animals in Bosch’ age were used as symbols, eg of sinful or good human qualities: eg, peacocks for vanity. The catalogue of the exhibition says that many of these late medieval-early Renaissance symbolic meanings have become lost and are unclear now.

Did Bosch agree 100% with what his contemporaries thought about symbolic meanings of animals? Maybe he did not agree 100%. His works show signs of non-conformism. In west European medieval social thought, the clergy were the first estate. The nobility was the second estate. Town-dwelling bourgeois, like Bosch in Den Bosch town, were the third estate.

Tradition said that bourgeois had to mind that they did not have as many rights as clergymen, kings, counts or barons (though more than peasant serfs). However, in his The Haywain, Bosch depicted the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the pope as sinners who might end up in hell. He depicted a nun as a money-grabbing half pig, half human in The Garden of Earthly Delights. He depicted an armoured knight as a partly human, partly other mammal, partly bird being in hell in the same painting.

Art historian Marrigje Rikken recently wrote about images of animals between 1550 and 1630 becoming an art genre in themselves. In the dominant medieval view on art, artists worked mainly for the Roman Catholic church. They made art with religious subjects. Depicting animals could be a part of that, if it fitted in religious frameworks like the Garden of Eden or Noah’s Ark. In the sixteenth and seventeenth countries, certainly in the Low Countries, the link between artists, the Catholic church and the nobility became looser. According to Ms Rikken, there was a gradual change from earlier emblematic, symbolic depictions of animals in a religious framework to more scientific depictions; in which religion faded more and more into the background.

According to Rikken, the number of animals featured in works of art gradually increased. More and more, animals became subjects in themselves, not minor parts of religious depictions.

Was Hieronymus Bosch an early pioneer of this evolution, at least in some respects? Maybe; we don’t know for sure. He did depict many hundreds of animals. The emblematic-religious framework was still there. We may never know whether Bosch was a true believer in it. Or whether it was convenient for him as a pretext for painting or drawing animals which he loved for its own sake.

There are four types of animals in Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings. Autochthonous west European animals which Bosch knew well. Exotic animals new for west Europeans; like giraffes. And two kinds of fantasy animals. Animals which traditionally were supposed to exist, like unicorns and griffons. And animals which were products of Bosch’s own imagination; often half one animal species, half another species.

In the rest of this blog post we will confine ourselves to real animals; especially non-exotic birds; in The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Spoonbills, Hieronymus Bosch

Like these real spoonbills behind the bathing women.

Spoonbills on goat, Hieronymus Bosch

And these two real spoonbills on the back of a real goat, walking behind fantastic animals.

White storks and barn owl, Hieronymus Bosch

And these two white storks on a pig’s back. With above them, a real barn owl sitting on an ‘unreal’ unicorn’s horn. Another proof that Bosch knew the differences between various owl species.

Hooded crow, Hieronymus Bosch

And finally, this hooded crow. A species which used to be common in the Netherlands in winter; but is rare there now.

There will be more on this blog about that Hieronymus Bosch exhibition. So, stay tuned!

United States Democratic chair resigns in anti-Sanders sabotage scandal


This video from the USA says about itself:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns, Sanders Fans React

Cenk Uygur announces that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned as the head of the Democratic National Committee at a TYT meet up in Philadelphia.

From United States Representative Alan Grayson from Florida:

Weaponizing religion

A couple of weeks ago, my Communications Director asked me whether I had dual citizenship with Israel. I told him no. And I well recalled that a few months ago, Democratic Party operatives spread the same rumor about Bernie Sanders – and had it sprung on Sen. Sanders, without warning, on national TV.

Your party dollars, at work. Those flaks and hacks have no clue about how to defeat Republicans, but they sure do love that blue-on-blue action.

Blue is the colour of the Democratic party.

They even go so far as to weaponize religion. Like asking whether Bernie Sanders and I are dual citizens with Israel, because we are Jewish. Or planting a question to try to make it seem that Sanders is an atheist, as we found out that they did from WikiLeaks yesterday.

Oy gevalt. God forbid that we should ever have a debate on what’s best for the American people.

Don’t let these scummy party flaks and hacks get away with it. Contribute to our campaign so that we can blow past these cheap attacks, and put another good progressive in the US Senate.

Here’s another example from Wikileaks: Democratic Party operatives tried to plant the story that the Sanders campaign was falling apart. And – lo and behold! – we had exactly the same story planted against us last year, because two campaign staffers left the campaign and one shifted to part-time – over the course of four months!

One reporter told me that he was getting five calls a day from my “Democratic” opponent’s staff, dishing dirt on me. Starting a year ago. (The word “Democratic” is in scare quotes because my primary opponent is really a Republican masquerading as a Democrat – a fact that our corrupt party Establishment actually embraces.)

Of course, the party’s brutal interference in our race isn’t limited to disseminating lies. They’re spending a cool million dollars to try to defeat us – even though we’re doing better in the November polls than the callow tool who they’re desperately trying to drag across the finish line.

It comes down to this – whose party is it? I say that it’s Ours, not Theirs. Are you with me?

Our primary is barely a month away. Please contribute to our “It’s Our Party” fund, and help us to victory.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

Gay Pride and homophobia in Israel


This video says about itself:

Murdered Shira Banki, 16, Plays Piano During Concert

3 August 2015

Israeli girl Shira Banki dies of stabbing at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Girl, 16, who was stabbed at Jerusalem Gay Pride march dies from her wounds

High school student Shira Banki, 16, was one of six people wounded in the assault on Thursday. Lost her fight for life at Hadassah hospital, spokesman Hadar Elboim said. Hadar Elboim of Hadassah hospital said she succumbed to her wounds on Sunday and that her organs will be donated.

Suspect Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, was arrested at the scene. Stabbed three people at the same event in 2005 and was recently released from jail.

Police have come under fire for not keeping him under surveillance as he had been released from prison only weeks earlier.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Jerusalem, an estimated 25,000 people from the gay community and their supporters march for the annual Gay Pride. Because of the attack last year in which a 16-year-old girl was murdered, the security measures are enormous. Thus, 2000 cops have been deployed and all participants, journalists and even security guards were checked.

Gay Pride is partly dedicated to Shira Banki, who was stabbed to death last year by an ultra-orthodox homophobe. He also injured then seven other persons. Banki’s parents have encouraged people to come to the march, and to lay flowers in memory of their daughter.

The LGBT parade also wants people to reflect on the diminishing tolerance for non-heterosexuals in Israel. Especially in Jerusalem homosexuals have difficult lives because the Orthodox Jewish community grows there. Mayor Nir Barkat is therefore not present at the parade; he says that would be too much against “sensitivities” in orthodox and right-wing groups in his city. …

A number of rabbis from Jerusalem do support the protesters, though the bulk of the clergy turned against the Gay Pride in a livid way.

Two gay men demonstratively exchanged marriage vows at the start of the Gay Pride. Hundreds of people cheered and photographed the men.

Another attack prevented?

Police in Jerusalem yesterday and today arrested twelve people who may have violent plans against the Gay Pride. Two detainees had knives on them, Israeli media report.

The homophobe of last year’s attack is said to have planned another attack. He will be questioned about that at the prison where he is serving a life sentence. The man’s brother was arrested; possibly the plan was that he would carry out the attack.