Oh, the irony…

New Zealand shooting: suspect Brenton Tarrant charged with murder

Apparently, the alleged shooter is an immigrant himself, from… Australia. His internet pawprint indicates he’s a white supremacist.

Goes to show, you really need to be careful who you let into the country. These ozzies are obviously prone to criminality and violence! Ban them all!!

To make the point, had this alleged terrorist been a Muslim shooting up a Christian church, the far right loons, mostly but not all white males, would be outraged against the Muslim communities. There would be cries for hanging, deportation, imprisonment and persecution, and, of course, revenge. We would be told how no Muslim could be trusted, that to let one in opens the door to terrorism.

Strange how silent they are when the alleged terrorist is one of them.

Let’s make no mistake, this was a vicious and evil act of terrorism. I haven’t read whether the alleged shooter is a practising or nominal Christian – nominal is most likely – or whether he identifies with any of the Christian sects. However, it’s correct to point out that religious sectarianism has been the cause of much violence globally, and virtually no religion or sect, not even Buddhism, is innocent of it sometime, somewhere. It is also correct to point out that most of the fanatical anti-Muslim rhetoric is coming from the Christian far-right.

There is no point saying that atheism is as bad, pointing to Stalin (and sometimes to Hitler, who also hated atheists) as an example of a brutal atheist. Stalin’s violence stemmed not from atheism, but from Marxism and Communism, the notion that a favoured ideology can end the lives of its opponents or non-adherents.

But atheism is not an ideology or theology, the way a religion or political theory often is. It has no church, no priests or imams, no pontiff or ayatollah. There are prominent spokes-persons for atheism, go-to folk who are well known in the press and media, but they can’t command obedience by fiat, and there are no atheist armies or terrorist groups. In fairness, some of these prominent media atheists have also spoken out against Islam, but they speak out against religion in general. Islam has been more in the news recently where violence is concerned.

There is no single belief system atheists must adhere to in order to be called an atheist – merely a denial of any version of “god”. There it is in a nutshell: “I do not believe in a deity” is the sum total of atheist ideology. Everything else is rationalisation, unique to each atheistic individual.

Some atheists won’t even go that far, and equivocate. They call themselves agnostics and while they mostly live atheistic lives, do not want to commit themselves even to that nutshell statement.

In short, religion is the problem here. Not just Islam, either. It’s aggressive theology, the notion that some small group of clerical insiders have a special insight into the desires of their particular deity, and that infidels, apostates and us general pagans must be coerced and punished into conformity with their particular revelation. I’d further argue that any theology that becomes mainstream or otherwise acquires secular power becomes an aggressive one.

Religion is the sick man of human philosophy. I’d like to say it’s time for reason and humility to replace it, but it’s been past time, for centuries and most likely millennia. I have no reason to be confident there will ever be a time in human history when religious and other ideological thinking will be forever banished, because we no longer desire it like some drug. So until the human species exterminates itself, through war, other strife, or climate change, we are going to be stuck with sectarian violence.

Ah, Tory censorship!

The government’s impending porn ID checks are a danger to us all – here’s why

This is a proposal by the Tory misgovernment to force all consumers of pornography to sign up, so that government can track their internet usage.

The cover is that this is intended to protect children from porn. It may do that, who knows, there are so many ways of circumventing this, but what it does do is reveal Tory interest in controlling internet access.

If they really wanted to protect children from porn, while maintaining adult freedom to access information as well as entertainment, they would advocate passing a law requiring all broadband routers sold in the UK to provide parental controls. This is easily done. It’s not perfect, but reasonably effective, and affects parents and children only.

But no, that’s not enough for these religiously constipated prudes. They want to know what the rest of are doing in our leisure time.

Seriously. No Tory government is to be trusted with your freedoms. They want to suck your soul.

The zombie prime minister

Another crushing Brexit defeat for Theresa May shows how our inflexible PM has frittered away her authority

She lost her Brexit proposal by a soid 149 votes, after the cosmetic changes made following her desperate and fruitless flight to Strasbourg. Not as big as the original 230 vote loss, but not recoverable.

No-one trusts her. No-one likes her. Yet she hangs on, because no-one can agree on a replacement. And she hasn’t the wit, presence or imagination to stand down, because that would likely precipitate an election, which the Tories would likely lose heavily.

So she’s likely to hold another vote tomorrow on a no-deal Brexit, which will go down in flames, then another vote Thursday on extending Article 50 for another what… god knows and he doesn’t even exist.

This parliament is procrastinating, and I doubt it will ever achieve any resolution. We are living through one of the worst debacles and humiliations in British history. Thanks to Theresa May.

Up till now, her major accomplishment was as home secretary, where she reduced the British police force by 20,000, and presided over a massive increase in knife deaths. Fair enough, It will take more than restoring the police force to pre-May levels to fix the knife murder problem. It will also take a demolition of Tory austerity measures that have cut funds to education and social agencies to keep kids off the streets.

It’s entirely a Tory crisis. May hoped Brexit would wipe her other failure off the map. It’s just proved she’s incompetent to govern at any level.

What is it with the Vatican?

I used to be a Roman Catholic, but grew out of it decades ago. But this Catholic negligence about child molestation is an atrocity.

Vatican not taking action over cardinal found guilty of molesting choirboys ‘until appeals process completed’

The Vatican is taking no further action after Australian cardinal George Pell was found guilty of molesting two choirboys while appeals run their course.

Spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti said the conviction was “painful” for many, but said the cardinal, 77, had proclaimed his innocence and had the right to “defend himself until the last stage of appeal”.

Cardinal Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with sex abuse, faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.

The conviction of Pell, who had been appointed by Pope Francis to be the Vatican’s treasurer, risks further staining the pontiff’s record on cracking down on credibly accused clergy.

This is just after Pope Francis hosted a meeting on dealing with sexual abuse by the clergy. Evidently he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions.

Pell has been removed by the hierarchy as an advisor to the pope, but the hierarchy still wants to deny it, that the Catholic church is ridden by hypocrisy and evil. They just will not face facts.

So what s going on with Brexit?

Who knows? Certainly not Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. They are both certain they are absolutely correct about their beliefs and have no intention of changing any of them unless a knife is at their throats. Is it?

Corbyn has finally agreed to accept a final say if necessary. Perhaps the threat of more Labour defections convinced him to embrace reality. May just blabbers on, and on, and on, trying to delay things till Parliament has no choice. Her mind is more set in cement than Maggie’s, and more clueless.

Here’s the latest mystical pronouncement, delaying matters even further, as she tries to kick the ball to the finishing line for Britain’s expiration.

MPs offered vote on no-deal Brexit and possible delay

Making a statement to the Commons after her talks with EU leaders in Egypt, May reiterated her pledge to give MPs a meaningful vote on a revised Brexit deal by 12 March.

If this did not happen or if it was voted down, then by 13 March MPs would be able to vote on a motion that would seek their “explicit consent” for a no-deal departure, the prime minister said.

If MPs voted against this, then on 14 March a motion would be put to the Commons offering the option of a “short, limited extension to article 50” beyond 29 March, which would need the approval of the EU.

So, 3 votes two weeks before no deal Brexit, and no sign of any notion that maybe the electorate should be consulted. Brilliant. Neither May nor Corbyn are democrats, they are autocrats whose hands are being forced. Each would rather have their own way, assuming no-one else has anything useful to contribute, and give way only when thwarted.

Apparently both are of the opinion that once a referendum has been won by a tiny majority, the question should never, ever, be put to the people again. One vote, especially if it’s a vote you like, is enough to decide a question for all eternity. Corbyn has finally withdrawn from that pathetic POV, but May hasn’t. She is desperate for Brexit, and would accept it on any terms, because she is hostile to immigrants. Corbyn is happy with antisemites.

And who knows what sort of silly shenanigans the pair of them will resort to between now and then. Neither of them are to be trusted.

The UK has gone astray. No-one in the world trusts this country any longer, thanks to policies since the Brexit vote, and the British people shouldn’t trust the two main parties. I’ve never felt ashamed to be British, but I do now.

Finally a final say?

Reportedly Corbyn has finally agreed to offer an amendment for a second referendum.

Only 33 days to go, and May still doesn’t have any answers. Donald Tusk made the point that it’s either extend article 50, or crash out chaotically, a disaster for British industry and workers alike. Whether May is capable of listening to sense at this point in her chequered downhill career is a whole ‘nother issue.

Donald Trump defending gay rights globally???

I must admit, when I first heard that Trump’s maladministration had decided to start a campaign to encourage gay rights across the world, I thought I was losing my mind. Trump, who cosies up to religious christo-fascists who would see gays burned at the stake? Trump supporting gay rights? Internationally? Among all the dictatorial regimes he aspires to emulate and who hate gay people?

Well, first there’s the perspective that the last person who should be defending gay rights should be the moron Trump. The hypocrisy is appalling.

Thanks, Donald Trump, but as a gay man I’d rather you didn’t go on a global campaign in my name

The article enumerates the many ways Trump and his allies on the far Christian right, including VP Mike Pence, a born again, Christianist, anti-gay bigot, have acted to restrict gay rights in the US. The author concludes:

I am extremely tired of watching far-right politicians use gay people to increase hostility towards Muslims and non-white cultures, while actively encouraging discrimination at home and turning a blind eye to their homophobic allies. LGBT+ rights are not a game. For some of the most marginalised people in the world, they are the difference between life and death.

Looks like the stunt is another means of distracting attention from bigoted domestic policies by pretending to focus on bigots abroad, without actually meaning any of it.

But it gets worse. Apparently Trump is unaware of his initiative!

Trump appears unaware of his administration’s own pro-LGBT+ campaign just two days after launch

Mr Trump, apparently missing the question, asks, “Say it?” to which the reporter repeats, “Your push to decriminalise homosexuality around the world”. 

“I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports,” Mr Trump responds, before attempting to move on to another question. 

There is speculation he feigned ignorance because he wanted to avoid offending his christofascist base. But Trump is nothing more than a gasbag, an illiterate, pompous, self-serving, hypocritical, narcissistic and egotistical liar, who as has no aim other than to advance his own power and wealth. It’s perfectly credible he has no idea what his administration is doing.

And given that his administration is composed almost entirely of corrupt fools in it for themselves, I can see that this initiative of white ex-colonialists lecturing former colonies about anti-gay laws the colonialists imposed in the first place is not much more than a distraction to increase hatred of Muslims.

It’s true a lot of Islamic nations persecute and execute gay people. A lot of those nations are Trump’s close allies. He doesn’t give a shit about gays, any more than he gives a shit about anyone who can’t offer him anything to make him feel good. Or wealthier.

This gay rights initiative stinks to high heaven and because Trump’s cronies are behind it, will get nowhere. Even if Trump hasn’t a clue what’s going on. It’s just a pinkwash to make the US look supportive of gay rights domestically, while increasing American opposition to certain Muslim nations (Iran and Iraq).

Makes you sick.

And I see the Tories are beginning to fray at the edges too

Tory modernising wing has been destroyed, say defecting trio of MPs

Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen explained their decision to join the new group, founded this week by seven Labour MPs, who also left their party.

In a devastating critique of Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations, the three MPs said, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, that the Tories had lurched to the right, adopting Ukip policies and pursuing a hard Brexit.

Their move reduces May’s already tenuous working majority to eight, raising still more questions over her authority amid rumours that there could be further Tory defections to come.

Fair enough, the like of Jacob Rees-Mogg are enough to make anyone’s stomach churn. Now this is a far more welcome split than the Labour one, though it does drive Tories even further into the hands of their neo-fascist wing. It remains to be seen whether any more are driven away by the mad barking of the Tory far-right Brexiteers.

Sympathy, or no?

Isis Briton Shamima Begum faces move to revoke citizenship

I must admit, I am in several minds about this. On the one hand,
Shamima Begum made the decision to join Isis with a couple of her school friends in 2015, at the age of 15, and is now 19 with a newly born son. Neither are ages of emotional or mental stability or maturity. It’s been speculated she was brainwashed into going. If so, what responsibility does she actually have for her actions?

On the other hand, she’s said she doesn’t regret going or anything she’s done, and that she supports the aims of Isis terrorism. So what has she actually done, besides joining Isis and supporting their political goals, which are more than mere terrorism? Possibly her actions were criminal, though performed by a juvenile. If there is reason to believe her actions were criminal, surely the thing to do would be to bring her back, let her go through psychological assessment, and prosecute her in a fair court of law to find whether she is, in fact, guilty of the charges.

At least her family could then look after the boy who is perhaps a tad too young to have committed terrorist crimes.

It’s no solution to make her or her child stateless as Sajid Javid, the home secretary, clearly wants to do. Well, he’s a Tory so has no sense of compassion, ethics or morality worth mentioning. He’s also a member of a party and government whose policy, along with that of the US, has been to attack Muslim nations, thus driving the fears and hopes that caused the rise of Isis in the first place. (Let’s not forget Labour’s Blair and the war against Iraq. Plenty of blame to go around. Let’s not forget Corbyn’s embrace of antisemites in his Labour party, either.) UK and US policy has been in no small way contributory to terrorism spawned in the Middle East. If we keep throwing petrol on the fire by attacking Muslims, how is this ever to get sorted?

I don’t know whether Shamima Begum committed a crime in doing what she did, or whether she was brainwashed into doing it, or whether there is a hope of reconciliation, contrition or rehabilitation. And neither will anyone else if she is made stateless, as the Tory government insists. It will just result in the destruction of at least two lives, hers and her son’s. And who knows what other horrors that might generate or inflame.

I can understand the resentment against Isis and its terroristic crimes. What we should do is look beyond that, and take lessons from Ireland, which we are on the brink of pulling asunder again, thanks to stupid Brexit Tories. Sometimes to heal, we have to forget, forgive and turn a blind eye, so we can move on from the present horror to something better.

Corbyn can go boil his head

Corbyn tells exiles: you were elected to carry out Labour manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn has issued a defiant message to the seven MPs who resigned from his party on Monday, reminding them they stood in the 2017 general election on Labour’s manifesto, and “were elected to carry out those policies”. […]

“I regret that seven MPs decided they would no longer remain part of the Labour party. I thank them for their work,” Corbyn said, when asked about their departure.

He added: “I hope they realise they were elected to parliament on a manifesto that was based around investment in the future; that was based around a more equal and fairer society; that was based around social justice – and it is that programme that we are going to put to the electorate in the future, that does have enormous support. They were elected to carry out those policies. They decided to go somewhere else.”

Labour is keen to ramp up the pressure on the seven to trigger byelections in their seats, and run against official Labour candidates.

Aside from the fact that politicians aren’t wedded indissolubly to manifesto promises, and would be poor politicians if they were dogmatically fixated on promises despite any evidence that might arise showing a promise fulfilment might cause more damage than good, I don’t see anything said by these MPs to say that they reject everything about the Labour 2017 manifesto.

What they said, basically, is they no longer have any faith in Corbyn’s leadership to deliver those or any other promises, and that he would be a poor choice of prime minister, a view I share despite liking some manifesto proposals. The issues they were critical of were diverse, ranging from an unwillingness to tackle antisemitism in the Labour party, which Corbyn continues to ignore, to an unwillingness to place Brexit to a new popular vote, despite the party promising it would if it failed to get a general election.

It’s Corbyn breaking the promises. Now, I think the split will in the long run be no more successful than the departure of the SDP from Labour that ushered in 11 years of Margaret Thatcher. I can understand the frustration of these members with Corbyn’s refusal to act intelligently and flexibly, but I don’t think their actions will accomplish much, beyond firing a much-needed shot across Corbyn’s bows, though apparently he isn’t listening yet.

He’s clearly as dogmatic as May, as equally useless as a leader. Neither do I think by-elections in those constituencies would accomplish more than possibly returning May’s Commons majority, which is not going to help anyone. Corbyn is getting what he deserves, and he has no-one to blame but his own inflexibility and shortsightedness.

He thinks he can get his manifesto through by breaking Britain through Brexit. Instead, he’s causing a lot of previous Labour voters like myself to reconsider those votes as mistakes. He is willing to collude with May in Britwreck. Is Corbyn mentally capable of reviewing his opinions? Apparently not, hence his problems.