Climate change, Pope Francis, United States Republicans, animated cartoon


This animated cartoon video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

The Gospel of Denial

26 June 2015

Now that Pope Francis has come out on the side of acknowledging human-caused global warming, Republican presidential contenders are suddenly on the side of “science” not religion. Where does this pope guy get off on mixing religion and politics, sheesh! You can read more here.

British Conservatives help ISIS


This 12 May 2015 video from Britain says about itself:

Russell Brand, Abby Martin: David Cameron: Islamophobia to Control You, Part 1.

This video is the sequel.

Since 2002, Right-wing White Terrorists have Killed More Americans Than Muslim Extremists: here.

By Seumas Milne in daily The Guardian in Britain:

By scapegoating Muslims, Cameron fuels radicalisation

Ministers foster terror with their wars. Now they attack liberties at home in the name of British values

Wednesday 24 June 2015 20.54 BST

The anti-Muslim drumbeat has become deafening across the western world. As images of atrocities by the jihadi terror group Isis multiply online, and a steady trickle of young Europeans and North Americans head to Syria and Iraq to join them, Muslim communities are under siege. Last week David Cameron accused British Muslims of “quietly condoning” the ideology that drives Isis sectarian brutality, normalising hatred of “British values”, and blaming the authorities for the “radicalisation” of those who go to fight for it.

It was too much for Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative party chair, who condemned the prime minister’s “misguided emphasis” on “Muslim community complicity”. He risked “further alienating” the large majority of Muslims fighting the influence of such groups, she warned. Even Charles Farr, the hawkish counter-terrorism mandarin at the Home Office, balked. Perhaps fewer than 100 Britons were currently fighting with Isis, he said, and “we risk labelling Muslim communities as somehow intrinsically extremist”.

But Cameron and his neoconservative allies are preparing the ground for the government’s next onslaught. The target will not be terrorism, but “non-violent extremism”. Next month, from nursery schools to optometrists, health services to universities, all will be legally obliged to monitor students and patients for any sign of “extremism” or “radicalisation”.

The new powers represent a level of embedded security surveillance in public life unprecedented in peacetime. We already know from the government’s Prevent programme the chilling impact of such mass spying on schools, where Muslim pupils have been reported for speaking out in favour of Palestinian rights or against the role of British troops in Afghanistan.

But the “counter-extremism” bill announced in the Queen’s Speech is about to take the anti-Muslim clampdown a whole stage further. The plans include banning orders for non-violent individuals and organisations whose politics are considered unacceptable; physical restriction orders for non-violent individuals deemed “harmful”; powers to close mosques; and vetting controls on broadcasters accused of airing extremist material. It’s censorship under any other name.

That was the view of Sajid Javid, then culture secretary, in a leaked letter to the prime minister earlier this year. But Cameron shows every sign of pressing ahead with what amounts to a full-blown assault on basic liberties. Most ludicrously, the new powers are defended in the name of “British values”, including “individual liberty” and “mutual respect and tolerance”.

But as became clear in the aftermath of the murderous Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, we are not all Charlie when it comes to freedom of speech. Anti-extremism powers will be used overwhelmingly against Muslims, rather than, say, non-Muslim homophobes and racists who have little interest in mutual respect and tolerance.

And they will fail, as their earlier incarnations have done, to discourage the small minority drawn to terrorism at home or jihadi campaigns abroad. Government ministers claim such violence is driven by “ideology” rather than injustice, grievance or its own policies. But, given that they refuse to speak to any significant Muslim organisation they don’t agree with or fund, perhaps it’s not surprising to find them in thrall to an ideology, neoconservatism, of their own.

Any other explanation for the terror threat would in any case implicate the government and its predecessors. In reality, it shouldn’t be so hard to understand why a small section of young alienated Muslims are attracted to fight in Syria and Iraq with Isis and other such groups. Jihadi “ideology” has been around for a long time. But there were no terror attacks in Britain before US and British forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and those behind every violent attack or terror plot have cited western intervention in the Muslim world as their motivation.

Isis has a different appeal to al-Qaida. It has taken huge stretches of territory using naked terror, destroyed borders and set up a self-proclaimed caliphate. In the Middle East it presents itself as the defender of Sunnis in a convulsive sectarian war. For a few young marginalised western Muslims, such groups can offer the illusion of a fight against tyranny and a powerful sense of identity.

But add in relentless media hostility, rampant Islamophobia, state surveillance and harassment of Muslim communities, and such alienation can only spread. In the past year, we’ve had the “Trojan Horse” Birmingham schools plot that never was, the ousting of an elected Muslim mayor of Tower Hamlets by a judge – including on grounds that he had exercised “undue spiritual influence” on Muslims – and evidence of an increasing level of anti-Muslim attacks. Islamophobia now far outstrips hostility to any other religion or ethnic group.

Ministers and their media allies downplay the role of “foreign policy” in Muslim radicalisation, against all the evidence. By foreign policy, they mean multiple western invasions and occupations of Muslim states, torture and state kidnapping on a global scale, and support for dictatorships across the Arab and Muslim world. That includes Saudi Arabia, of course, which shares much of Isis’s “ideology” and practices; and Egypt, whose ex-military leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, overthrew the elected president in 2013 and is soon to be welcomed to Downing Street.

Isis is itself the direct product of the US and British occupation and destruction of Iraq, and both countries back armed rebel groups fighting in Syria – as they did in Libya. So no wonder would-be jihadis get confused about who is on whose side. Western Isis volunteers are a disaster for Syria and Iraq, but so far they haven’t carried out return attacks at home.

That could of course change, not least as the government criminalises dissent, brands conservative religiosity “extremist” and, in the formulation of ministers, “quietly condones” Islamophobia. The British government has long fed terrorism with its warmaking abroad. Now it’s also fuelling it with its scapegoating of Muslims at home.

Druze angry about Israeli government help for jihadists


This 16 June 2015 video shows a demonstration by Druze in the Israeli occupied Golan heights, against the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria). The demonstrators carry colourful Druze flags and Syrian flags.

By Daniella Cheslow:

Israeli Druze angered by their country’s medical assistance to Syrian rebels

June 24, 2015 Updated 2 hours ago

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights — Mira Amer, 50, was sleeping Tuesday before dawn in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights when police raided her home and arrested her son on suspicion of lynching a wounded Syrian who was on his way to an Israeli hospital.

Amer said her son, a 32-year-old musician, is not guilty – but that in any case the killing on Monday was not a murder. Druze in Israel are outraged that Israel may be giving medical care to Islamic militants fighting in Syria who’ve been accused of killing Druze in that country’s brutal conflict. Over the past two years, Israel has treated more than 1,600 wounded Syrian rebels in its hospitals.

“We don’t want the government to bring those terrorists here,” Amer said.

Amer – whose name has been changed because of an Israeli gag order on the case – has relatives in the Druze town of Hader on the Syrian side of the border, a town so close she can see it across the border. Islamist rebels from al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, had surrounded Hader last week, just days after members of the movement had slaughtered 20 Druze in the Syrian province of Idlib.

“We all have relatives in Hader and they are getting hurt,” Amer said. …

The Druze sect is a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam whose members live in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. In each nation, the Druze swear allegiance to the government and serve in its army. Nearly all of the men among the 110,000 Druze citizens of Israel do military service.

An additional 20,000 Druze live in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967; Druze in the Golan largely maintain Syrian citizenship in protest of Israeli rule and feel an umbilical connection to those who remain on the other side.

The crumbling of President Bashar Assad’s government has left the Druze in Syria vulnerable to attacks from Islamists, who see Druze as both heretics and enemy soldiers.

That’s galvanized the Druze inside Israel.

In Majdal Shams, residents poured into the streets last week flying the rainbow Druze flag and the red, white and green standard of Syria, along with banners bearing Assad’s face. Druze citizens of Israel raised $2.6 million, which they hoped would fund weapons for their Syrian counterparts. Ayoob Kara, a Druze legislator with Netanyahu’s Likud party, visited Jordan and Turkey to negotiate safe passage for Druze in Syria and made a personal appeal to the Israeli premier to help his people.

“The Druze in Israel who fought for Israel expect their state to help their brothers,” Kara told McClatchy.

Israel has sworn it will not allow a Druze genocide, but it has provided few specifics on how it will help.

Millions of Egyptian mummified dogs discovered


This video says about itself:

Why ancient Egyptians mummified 8 million dogs found in Anubis ‘God of Death’ mass grave

22 June 2015

In ancient Egypt, so many people worshiped Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death, that the catacombs next to his sacred temple once held nearly 8 million mummified puppies and grown dogs, a new study finds.

By James Gerken:

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

06/22/2015 3:59 pm EDT

Ancient Egyptians are well-known for having worshipped animals, and archaeologists are used to unearthing nonhuman mummies. But a recent investigation in an ancient tomb south of Cairo led to a find of amazing proportions: an estimated 8 million mummified dogs that have been underground for more than 2,000 years.

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales chronicle their discovery in a study published this month in the journal Antiquity.

The researchers found the remains within the catacombs of a temple dedicated to the jackal-headed god Anubis, in a burial ground called Saqqara. The center passageway is about 568 feet long and side corridors make the tomb up to 459 feet wide, according to Live Science. Many of the mummified canines have disintegrated or been removed by grave robbers.

“It would be quite difficult to easily find complete, nicely wrapped mummies,” Cardiff University archaeology professor and lead researcher Paul Nicholson told CNN. “What you have got is the decayed remains of the mummies.”

The archaeologists examined the number of mummies in a portion of the catacombs and used that count to estimate how many likely filled the tomb.

The tomb, which was likely built in the fourth century B.C., was first discovered in the 19th century, but archaeologists had no idea how many mummies it housed until this latest discovery. Researchers also found the remains of jackals, foxes and several falcons, The Independent reported.

The surrounding area was quite busy in antiquity, according to the researchers. The temples brought economic activity from visitors, merchants and breeders who raised dogs to be mummified for the Anubis temple.

“It would have been a busy place,” Nicholson told Live Science. “A permanent community of people living there supported by the animal cults.”

Homophobic bishops quit in child abuse cover-up scandal


This video from the USA says about itself:

Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt Claims Satan Behind Gay Marriage

16 September 2013

Fornicators beware: sodomy, condoms and pornography are the work of the devil.

That’s the message of a speech posted online last week by the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Nienstedt. A controversial religious leader with a stridently anti-gay stance, Nienstedt originally made the comments while speaking to the conservative Napa Institute Conference on August 2. The speech detailed the importance of family, as well as the devil’s multiple attempts to weaken the institution of heterosexual marriage.

“Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life,” Nienstedt said. “Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.”

In Nienstedt’s opinion of course, “family” means specifically a union “comprised of one man and one woman.” Delivered one day after Minnesota began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the Napa Institute speech is consistent with the archbishop’s public statements condemning gay marriage, notes The New Civil Rights Movement.

Voted Minneapolis blog City Pages’ Best Villain of the Twin Cities in 2013, Nienstedt has “used his position to bully proponents and demonize fellow Catholics who disagreed with him,” wrote the blog’s Jesse Marx. “He donated more than $650,000 of church money to the anti-gay-marriage cause.”

In October of 2012, Nienstedt found himself at the center of a similar controversy when a letter he wrote surfaced in which he tells the mother a young gay man that she must reject her son or go to hell herself.

“I write to inform you that the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, as described in paragraphs 2357 and 2358 and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is rooted in Scripture and based on the Natural Moral Law,” Nienstedt wrote, according to ThinkProgress. “Catholics are bound in conscience to believe this teaching. Those who do not cannot consider themselves to be Catholic and ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church… Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Senior US bishops quit after ignoring child sexual abuse

Tuesday 16th June 2015

TWO senior US Catholic bishops quit yesterday after failing to stop child abuse and a former church envoy to the Dominican Republic was charged with paedophilia.

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignations of archbishop John Nienstedt and auxiliary bishop Lee Anthony Piche of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.

Local prosecutors had charged the archdiocese itself with having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behaviour by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St Paul, is serving a five-year sentence and faces prosecution for offenses involving a third boy in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors said that church leaders had failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Mr Wehmeyer from the time he entered a seminary until he was removed from the priesthood this year.

Canon law allows the two bishops to resign before retirement age if illness or some other “grave” reason makes them unfit for office.

The resignations of Mr Nienstedt and Mr Piche came just days after the Pope approved the creation of a new Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops who had ignored abuse by priests.

In April, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of US bishop Robert Finn, who had been convicted in a US court of failing to report a suspected child abuser.

The church also announced yesterday that former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic Jozef Wesolowski had been charged with abusing young boys and possessing child pornography.

Mr Wesolowski was recalled by the Holy See in 2013 after rumours surfaced in Santo Domingo that he paid shoeshine boys to masturbate.

He has since been defrocked and placed under a form of house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to charge him.

Ordained both as a priest and a bishop by late pope John Paul II, Mr Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been charged with sex offences.

Archbishop Nienstedt resigns after sex abuse coverup charges against archdiocese: here. See also here.