Thursday, February 21, 2013

Uganda Closer To Passing Dangerous Anti-Homosexual Bill.

Before I get into the meat of this article, let me begin by saying that you will find my normal sense of humor and my sarcastic style of writing elsewhere.  This is not the time or the place for either - I want everyone to be aware of what is going on in Uganda right now, and I want to be blunt about it.  There is nothing funny about the Anti-Homosexual Bill being considered by the Ugandan Parliament.

Perhaps you don't know about it.  Perhaps you know it by another name.  Don't be fooled by its rather G-rated government title - there's a reason that the Anti-Homosexual Bill is also known as the "Kill the Gays" Bill.

If it passes, LGBT members of the Ugandan community will not be safe, nor will people that defend them, harbor them, or associate themselves with them. Box Turtle Bulletin has the information, complete with a bunch of lovely, educational hyperlinks:

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill would, in its current form, bring the death penalty or life imprisonment for gay people, and would endanger everyone else with lengthy prison terms for either knowingproviding services, or defending them. A complete clause-by-clause examination of the bill’s nineteen clauses begins here, and our examination of the numerous false reports that the death penalty has been removed is here. A description of the Parliamentary process is here; with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill now at step “C.” If the bill is passed by Parliament, the Uganda Constitution spells out these options before the bill becomes law.

This is very dangerous, folks.  Regardless about how you feel towards the LGBT community, I think everyone can agree that this bill is harsh, unnecessary, and terrifying.  It bears a chilling resemblance to the actions of the Third Reich during World War II, and it has to be stopped immediately.  I don't think I need to warn anyone of the dangers that innocent human beings would face if this bill passes.

Take a few minutes out of your day and educate yourself about this bill, then share that knowledge with someone.  Start a conversation, get a dialogue going.  Let the leaders of Uganda know that ignorance of this scale will not be tolerated by the rest of the world. 

Don't let them pass this bill.  Please.

I'm not sure how old this is, but here's the link to a petition you could sign to show your support for the Ugandan LGBT community.  Out of date or not, your signature can't hurt.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trending Topic #Liberaltips2avoidrape Completely Misses The Mark.

Image found at Mother Jones*
In the last 24 hours, a new hashtag has started to trend on Twitter known as "#Liberaltips2avoidrape."  When I first heard about it, I was greatly offended not just for women, but really for the entire human race.  I still am, in fact, especially since I spent a good two hours pouring through these awful tweets.
The trend started as a way to mock Democratic State Representative Joe Salazar of Colorado, who had introduced a bill making it illegal to carry weapons onto college campuses even if the holder has a conceal and carry permit.  Opponents to the bill say that passing such a law would make it more difficult for students to protect themselves against mass shooters and rapists (apparently ignoring the fact that no mass shooting in the last 30 years has been stopped by an armed civilian, and that "in 2010, nearly 6 times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers" (Mother Jones)).

Here's more from Mother Jones:

Salazar came down on the side of those who believe that more loaded guns on college campuses is a terrible idea. (This isn't such a radical opinion if you look at the data.) He delivered the following rebuttal on the state House floor:
It's why we have call boxes, it's why we have safe zones, that's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at. And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around, or if you feel like you're in trouble and when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop... pop a round at somebody.
There's footage of the speech here.

It's pretty clear what Salazar was trying to say: Frightened college kids carrying handguns might result in unintended casualties. You could argue that it was clumsily phrased, but there isn't anything nefarious. The statement was so blah that the Colorado House Republican minority didn't bother to issue a press release about Salazar's statement. At least not until after conservative bloggers, seeking to brand somebody the Democratic Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, commenced their social-media freak-out during the long President's Day weekend.

Salazar was labeled the new poster boy for the "real war on women," and painted as someone who denies women the right to protect themselves against sexual assault. He was portrayed as an out-of-touch, gun-stealing lefty who promoted blowing a whistle over actually fighting off an attack. Many also latched onto Salazar's "you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped," upgraded the meaning to something around the lines of, "women can't ever tell when they're about to get raped/getting raped," and voilĂ ! New Todd Akin.

Oh, now I get it!  The trend is supposed to be funny!  Okay.  I mean, really, check out some of these hilarious gems just annihilating Salazar and his crazy liberalness!

 Divadoll123 is right!  It isn't about gun control at all.  It was only started in response to a Democratic representative arguing to keep campuses safer by arguing for gun control.  Wait, what?  Gun control was exactly why this topic was started, you mouth-breather. 

This isn't about empowering women to protect themselves at all.  It's about stopping people from harming innocents.  Please explain why mace or a taser won't work.  Why do you need a gun?  Do you need to have something that will take someone's life away?
 It's funny because of how much he missed the point!  Raising your son to respect women is teaching someone not to rape.  Instead of telling women that they shouldn't wear certain clothes because it makes them seem more "rape-able," why don't we focus more on creating a culture where men don't treat women as objects? 

You see, what Bill "Hyperbole" Zeiser is trying to do is make it seem like liberals want to take women's guns away and just "teach men not to rape" which, judging by his sarcasm, he doesn't think will work (probably because he's oversimplifying things).  If he could have typed a little more, I guarantee his next sentence would have been obvious: "Liberals are trying to increase the odds of rape for a woman." 

Ahahahahaha!  Too funny, Beer_Wolf!  Gang rape is incredibly funny!

Now, now, let's not be silly.  He can't be every where at once, now can He?    

Hahaha, way to stick it to Salazar!  Oh, wait... you're not.  In fact, a pretty high percentage aren't.

Better to be a kind, caring individual then a closeted psychopath that's one finger twitch away from being a murderer.

See, here are the problems with this trend:

1) It's suppose to be poking fun at liberals for our beliefs, yet really all it's doing is insulting rape victims by attacking beliefs that conservatives think liberals have.

2) It was started as a way to call attention to Salazar's comments, but his comments were taken out of context.  Many people using this hashtag are wondering why liberals and women's rights groups aren't just as upset with Salazar as we were with Akin.  Perhaps it's because what Akin said was stupid, misogynistic, and went against all of biology and common sense combined, whereas what Salazar said was just kind of bumbled.  Yes, it could have been phrased better, but all he was saying is that it's easy to discharge a loaded weapon in a panic and hurt someone innocent.  Akin said that legitimate rape does not result in pregnancies, inferring that if you were raped and became pregnant, then you must have been consenting to it and it was never rape after all.  That's sick. 


This one comes up a lot too, and I think it has to do with that Letterman thing awhile back.  I don't know of many people that actually thought what Letterman said was funny (or, really, that he's a funny person at all).  He apologized for what he said, but the fact remains: rape isn't a joke.

This trending hashtag is disgusting and vile, and everyone who contributes to it has no idea why it was started, or what Salazar's original comment was in its entirety.  The only thing it is good for is determining who on Twitter is a complete fucking idiot. 

So here, read this article - the same one cited above - and educate yourself.  Or go here, to the Twitter Search Feed, and subject yourself to tweet upon unsavory tweet until your mouth tastes of ash and you hate humanity.  

Author's Note: I was originally going to approach this post sarcastically and praise the conservatives for such a fantastic argument (see what I did there?), but I couldn't.  It hurt my soul to try.  Rape isn't funny.  Period.  If you think that Salazar's comments are even in the same ballpark as Akin's, then you have obviously missed the point of the Akin outrage.  Grow up, educate yourself, and then join the rest of the world as we progress into the rest of the 21st century.    

*As far as this very top image goes, I am floored.  The creator of this image, a conservative tweeter, attached this to his hashtag, apparently arguing that a good way to not get raped is to be old, bitter, and ugly.  I'm glad he censored the "ass," though.  Otherwise this image would have been very insulting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Apple Manufactures Phone Specifically For The Right-Wing.

I usually don't advertise for products on here, but I saw this one and couldn't help myself.  Apple calls it the Dumbphone, and it uses state of the art technology to filter out information based in reality and/or fact.  It also gives you first class access to applications not available to liberal smartphone users.

Go crazy with Glenn Beck TV!  Listen to the hollow, empty words of Rush "Blow Hard" Limbaugh!  Or get up to the minute false information on all current news stories with the Fox News app!  The Dumbphone contains so much ignorant power, you won't believe that it's all at your fingertips.

You see, Apple designed the Dumbphone with you -the right-wing user - in mind.  Why be exposed to the world of reality with a real phone when you can stay in your bubble, ever-connected to a conservative consciousness that is consistently reinforcing the fantasy in which you live?  Why think for yourself when you can have the Dumbphone do it for you? 

Check out these amazing new features, copied straight from the website:

*Call Screening: The Dumbphone will not accept calls, nor will it make calls, to anyone with an IQ of 75 or more, ensuring that those pesky liberal elite family members of yours will never call to pester you with the latest accomplishments of "Dear Leader Obama." 

*Gipr: Siri has been replaced for this model.  Introducing Gipr, the new Reagan-inspired Dumbphone assistant, capable of deciphering even the most incoherent of primitive command noises that come out of your mouth hole.

*Insult Generator: Did you leave your underground bunker and run into a liberal?  Is that liberal trying to argue with you by throwing well-informed facts in your face?  The Dumbphone has the answer!  With over one million randomly generated insults, the Dumbphone always has you prepared with a barrage of personal attacks that are guaranteed to stop any argument dead in its tracks, leaving you feeling satisfied with an unearned victory. 

*Concealed Weapon: The Dumbphone comes locked and loaded with six deadly 5.56 hollow point rounds cleverly disguised in a chamber behind the phone's camera.  Those government agents may think that you're just taking a picture of them stealing your guns and dragging your wife out into the street, but really you're getting ready to commit murder!  Just point and fire! *Flash not included.

*Edited History: The Dumbphone immediately censors any historical internet article, conforming it to right-wing philosophies.  Read the Right (pun intended!) version of the Constitution!  Learn how fast Jesus Christ could load a musket!  And read about how God Himself created the white race, Republicanism, and America all in His own righteous image. 

*Gaydar: Stay away from homosexuals forever with Gaydar, a motion tracker tuned to the genetic frequencies of those in the LGBT community.  Gaydar can also be tuned to hippies, liberals, drug-addicts, welfare recipients, vegans, foreigners, the U.N., atheists, Muslims, feminists, non-whites, non-Christians, San Francisco, elites, President Obama or (for all you ultra right-wingers out there) all of the above.

*Conservative's Guide to Sex: An entire one page article on sex, from how it works to the two positions you can have it in (missionary or abstinence). 

*Fuel Inefficient: The Dumbphone does not run on a liberal good-for-the-environment power source like a battery.  Whenever you want to recharge your phone, simply take it to the nearest gas station and fill it with diesel fuel.  It's recommended that you bring a spare tank with you, as the Dumbphone can only hold enough fuel to charge it for fifteen minutes.

*Bush Era Memory Wipe: The first time you sync the phone up with yourself, the Dumbphone selectively wipes your memory of President Bush's eight years in office, effectively freeing up your mind to attack the current state of the federal government without worrying about being a hypocrite.  You can also choose to erase any and all knowledge of what a hypocrite is (recommended).

*Easy to Fix: The Dumbphone is built piece by piece by non-union child factory workers in Taiwan, and Apple is passing those savings on to you!  If the Dumbphone breaks, all you have to do is take it apart, find the malfunctioning culprit, and replace it at 200% of the original cost of the piece.  Wow!

*Automatic Donations: 70% of your monthly bill is divided up equally and donated to Republican political races, Republican organizations such as the NRA, non-charity entities, and talking heads like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and more.

*EBook Reader: It doesn't come with one.

*Music: The Dumbphone comes preloaded with 30gb (of its total 32gb) of country, christian, and military music that can't be deleted.  Never feel unpatriotic again!

*Doubles as a Flag Pin: The back of the Dumbphone is graced with the American flag, while the front has two attachable, razor sharp hooks that pierce breast flesh with ease.  Never appear on television, radio, or in photos without it.

The Dumbphone, coming to you exclusively from Apple.  Just remember the motto: If ignorance is bliss, you'll be in Heaven with the Dumbphone.

To order your Dumbphone, check out Apple's website here.  This is a miracle piece of technology that all right-wingers should enjoy.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Forest Criminal" Asia Pulp & Paper Pledges To Leave Rainforests Alone.

It's no secret that we homo sapiens need oxygen to survive.  I've been alive for 23 years tomorrow (happy birthday to me!), and not once have I thought that life might be more fun if I breathed xenon or krypton.  Noble my ass.

What seems to be a secret to a lot of people - corporations in particular - is that, while we inhale oxygen, we exhale carbon dioxide.  So where is the oxygen coming from?  Wouldn't that make it finite?  Not so!  That's what trees and other plants are here for.  Contrary to popular belief, plants are not here just for us to eat or look at.  They serve a crucial function to all life on earth.

Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen - the opposite of what we do.  It makes sense, then, that we'd want to live in complete, symbiotic harmony with each other, right?  Particularly in a time when poisoning our atmosphere seems to be the cool thing to do.

Unfortunately, the destruction of earth's greatest forests isn't new.  It's been going on for decades, with environmentalists trying desperately to get paper corporations to slow down or stop completely.  By pumping toxins and harmful emissions into the air and cutting down trees by the square mile, we're dealing a double whammy to the planet.

Thankfully, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the third largest paper supplier in the world, has had a change of heart.  Mother Jones has the story:

"...Tuesday, APP and environmental activists came together to announce a new conservation policy that they say will stop the company's destruction of virgin forests forever.

"APP has pledged to develop plantations only on land that is not rainforest or land that has already been cleared—and on February 1, it halted its bulldozers in the pristine forests that are home to species like the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan. The company has also committed to consult with indigenous and local communities on any proposed new plantations. The Forest Trust, a non-profit that works with corporations to instate sustainable forest practices, will monitor the implementation of the new policy.

"The agreement on third-party evaluation is significant, according to Scott Poynton, the executive director of the Forest Trust, which worked with APP to design the new policy. While the company has drawn criticism in the past for not living up to promised environmental changes, Poynton said that this new policy is much stronger than any previous pledges."

This is an enormous victory not just for environmentalists, but for the planet and all of the wondrous life that inhabits it.  Many organizations campaigned against APP, but perhaps the most successful was Greenpeace.  Again from Mother Jones:

"Greenpeace has been campaigning against APP for years, exposing the company's use of illegally logged trees and highlighting the ways in which its deforestation contributes to skyrocketing carbon emissions. Greenpeace and convinced more than 100 companies—including giants like Adidas, Kraft, Staples, and NestlĂ©—to stop doing business with APP. One of Greenpeace's campaigns asked Barbie—a Mattel product—to 'break up' with APP, which prompted the toy giant to stop sourcing paper from 'controversial sources.'" 

So, for once, I find myself writing about something positive.  It may not be the biggest of victories, and it may not directly affect us here in America, but it's definitely a start.  Perhaps other companies will follow and set up their own conservation procedures.  Who knows?

What's important is that APP has made a change for the better.  Well done! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Christianity and Gun Rights Are Not Compatible.

Posted below, for your enjoyment, is an article written by Andrew Sullivan over at The Daily Beast.  I enjoyed the article so much, that I wanted to share it with you, my readers.  It reinforces my question from an earlier post: why do modern day republicans think that Christianity is compatible with their political beliefs when it clearly isn't?

I, personally, do not believe in the Christian God, nor do I think that Jesus Christ was His son.  However, I find his teachings to be absolutely wonderful.  Whether he was real or not is irrelevant.  He was a fantastic human being.

The article below can be found at its original posting site here.  All credit goes to Mr. Sullivan - he wrote this beautifully worded article, not me. 

I just read a post on National Review arguing that Christianity is in part about armed self-defense and the Second Amendment. I kid you not. Christianity is now apparently compatible with the gun lobby. For some reason, this particular statement from Jesus - one of the most famous in all of human history - doesn't appear in the post:
You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
The great drama of the Passion requires absolute nonviolence in the face of even immense injustice. Not only did Jesus not resist the violence done to him, he refused even to offer a word of self-defense in front of Pilate. When Peter used a sword to cut off the ear of one who had come to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus' response is unequivocal:
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people... Jesus said [to Judas], “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
He then heals the wound created in self-defense. The whole point of Christianity, on a personal level, is a refusal to use violence even in self-defense and even when one's own life is threatened. For centuries, this radical nonviolence was celebrated by the church in its canonization of martyrs who chose to be mauled alive by animals than submit to the civil order's paganism. Martyrdom was the first and ultimate form of nonviolent resistance to injustice and, like the Christian-rooted civil rights movement or Gandhi's campaign for independence, it was precisely this staggering refusal to defend oneself, the insistence on being completely disarmed, that changed global consciousness. It was what made Christians different. It's what made Martin Luther King Jr different. To use Jesus as an advocate of armed self-defense is almost comical if it were not so despicable.

I can see much more worldly arguments for physical self-defense, course; it is at the core of the modern Hobbesian and Lockean model for Western civilization. In a fallen world, there is also a case for just war (but one that Aquinas had to come up with, for Jesus was uninterested). Machiavelli went even further - but there is a reason he is associated with evil, and remains one of Christianity's greatest intellectual foes. And I can see David French's point about defending one's family. But here's another news alert to the allegedly Christian right: so far as we can tell from the Gospels, Jesus disowned his family in public in his teens and abandoned them on his ministry, telling his disciples to abandon theirs - and their entire source of income - as well. Jesus, we are told, said the following words - outrageous today, unimaginably heretical in its time:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
This man is now a symbol for "pro-family" and "pro-gun" Republicanism. And yet he had no property to defend, no wife to protect, no children to keep safe, no house to live in. He never carried a weapon and rebuked his friends when they used one against a mob armed with clubs and swords about to arrest and torture him to death. He was homeless, completely dependent on the good will, shelter and food of others. He was, as today's Republicans would say, a "taker". But of course, it is in giving that you receive in Christianity. Jesus inverted the entire maker-taker paradigm. So no, congressman Ryan, you cannot be a disciple of Ayn Rand and Jesus of Nazareth. In any way whatsoever.

In my view, Jesus should not be dragged into any of our current policy debates. The issue of gun control in this country at this time is complex and worth debating in civil and secular terms. I think we can make things a little safer, but given the ubiquity of guns and the Constitution of the US, I wouldn't expect much that doesn't end up making things even worse. Bishops who pontificate on this in political contexts are equally violating Jesus' apolitical spirit.

But when Jesus's example is used to defend violence, to celebrate self-defense, to find ways to look away from the mass murder of children, beware. Jesus' response to unspeakable violence was unconditional surrender and yet more still:
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.