Archive for the “World Politics” Category

World-wide politics

Pope Francis talks about egoism and money during a meeting with the youths, in Turin, Italy, Sunday. (Luca Bruno/AP via CSM)My readers will already have heard about Laudato Si’, the encyclical Pope Francis released this week addressing climate change and economics (WebCite cached version). Media coverage of it, including that it was leaked a few days early (cached), and that Rightists have gone berserk over the Pope having dared support both environmentalism and (they think, erroneously) communism, has been addressed thoroughly enough that I saw no point in mentioning it here.

But the Pope continued to push buttons even after that incendiary encyclical. The Christian Science Monitor reports on his assessment of how the Holocaust was handled while it was underway over 70 years ago (cached):

Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the “great powers” of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating Jews, Christians, homosexuals, and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II.

He also decried the deaths of Christians in gulags in Russia under the Stalin dictatorship, which followed the war.…

“The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody,” Francis said, citing the death camp in Poland, and asked: “Why didn’t they bomb” those railroad routes?…

Lamenting the cynicism of world players in the 1930s and 1940s, Francis said: “the great powers divided up Europe like a cake.”

He also cited what he called the “great tragedy of Armenia.”

“In the last century, so many, millions, [of Armenians] died. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way,” the pope said.

The CSM goes on to explain, as I noted at the time, that the Pope had referred to the Armenian Genocide using that word, “genocide,” thus pissing off Turkey (which rather childishly and petulantly refuses to acknowledge what happened).

I may not be Pope Francis’s biggest fan, but I definitely appreciate his candor in this regard. For too long we’ve done a dance of making excuses for why the world’s regimes made little to no effort to intervene in Germany during the Holocaust, in spite of an awareness of what was going on. The Pope is correct when he points out that the Allies could very well have bombed certain railroads, and taken other measures, to interfere with the diabolical infrastructure by which the Holocaust was carried out. It’s convenient to counter with the excuse that there was a war on and Germany was heavily militarized, and it wouldn’t have been possible to completely destroy the Holocaust machinery — but they might have done something, and doing something would have been far better than doing nothing.

Of course, something that would be even better than the Pope being honest about how the Holocaust was handled, would be for him to release the Vatican’s records from that era. There’s been chatter that he might do so, given that as a Cardinal he’d supported doing so. Hopefully this might actually come to pass in my lifetime.

Photo credit: Luca Bruno/AP, via CSM.

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baby cryingPope Francis is, in a lot of ways, refreshing. As I’ve noted a number of times, he frequently walks to the beat of a different drummer. Sometimes he steps on the toes of his own Church, but other times it’s someone else he pisses off. The latest example is of this latter sort. This past weekend, as CNN and many other outlets report, he dared refer to the Armenian Genocide which kicked off in 1915, a century ago now (WebCite cached article):

Pope Francis risked Turkish anger on Sunday by using the word “genocide” to refer to the mass killings of Armenians a century ago under the Ottoman Empire.

“In the past century, our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” the Pope said at a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacres.…

His use of the term genocide — even though he was quoting from the declaration — upset Turkey.

The nation recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for “consultations” just hours after Francis’ comments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Earlier, Turkey summoned the ambassador from the Vatican for a meeting, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported.

As a matter of national policy, Turkey has denied the Armenian Genocide since it occurred, and never tolerates anyone suggesting it did happen. Not only do they deny the word “genocide” applies (using any number of specious, convoluted semantic arguments to do so), they’ve downplayed each and every specific aspect of this atrocity, making it seem as though it was “no big deal,” that not many people were killed, and some of the Armenians killed had rebelled, and that some Turks were killed, too. Note that most of these arguments resemble those used by Holocaust deniers, who are similarly fact-deprived and deluded.

Turkey was so angry over this, that country recalled its ambassador to the Vatican over this … as though this were some kind of meaningful event. If I were Pope Francis, I’d say, “Good riddance! Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out!” Perhaps it’s appropriate that the Turks used this childish tactic; the Vatican pulled the same stunt a few years ago, recalling their nuncio to Ireland after Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny criticized the Holy See after the Cloyne Report‘s release.

At any rate, it’s long past time the Turks grew up, accepted what happened a century ago, and admit their ancestors tried to wipe out the Armenian people. There’s no reason for them not to own up to it; after all, 100 years later, no one who took part in this genocide is still alive to be tried for “crimes against humanity.” If Canada could apologize for the residential school system, and if the U.S. could apologize to Hawai’ians for seizing their kingdom, then Turkey certainly can grow up, suck it up, admit the truth of its own past, and stop childishly denying historical reality.

Photo credit: e OrimO, via Flickr.

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In Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday, Afghans chanted anti-American slogans during a demonstration to condemn the burning of a copy of the Muslim holy book by an American pastor. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters, via the New York Times)By now it should be clear that Muslims — and in particular, Afghans — aren’t keen on Qur’an-burning. They’ve demonstrated an aptitude for rioting, looting and even killing when they hear about Qur’ans being burned. They’ve done so even when Qur’ans haven’t been burned yet.

Last week there was yet another example of this horrific phenomenon. As the (UK) Guardian reports, it involves someone who turns out to have been innocent (WebCite cached article):

A woman killed by an angry mob in front of police in the Afghan capital last week for allegedly burning a copy of Islam’s holy book was wrongly accused, Afghanistan’s top criminal investigator has said.

Mobile phone footage circulating on social media shows police at the scene did not save the 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul on Thursday.…

The killing was condemned by the Afghan president and other officials, but also drew praise from some quarters, including from a prominent cleric who asserted the men had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.

Yes, I’m sure a condemnation by Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani is certain to bring this practice to an end. No doubt!

And if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Arizona to sell you.

The really horrifying element of this incident is the large number of people who participated in beating and burning Farkhunda to death. This wasn’t carried out by just a small number of violent radicals or career criminals; rather, she was killed by a very large mob, mostly “average citizens” of a large city (i.e. Kabul) who certainly aren’t backward hovel-dwellers in some distant province that time forgot. It was also explicitly supported by no less than Kabul’s chief of police (cached). Good luck to president Ghani in his putative effort to set this right.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Omar Sobhani/Reuters, via the New York Times.

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'Allahu FUBAR' / PsiCop original graphicIf you haven’t figured it out by now, much of the Muslim world — though certainly not all of it! — is, essentially, infantile. They’re mired deep in centuries of religionistic immaturity and they just refuse to grow up, because they think their al-Lah has granted them exclusive license not to have to grow up, and they think it’s up to the rest of the planet to accommodate their hyperjuvenile nature. The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, with its Muhammad cartoon cover (which includes the incredibly uplifting message “All is forgiven”), has — both sadly and predictably — set off violence around the planet among Muslims who just can’t handle it. Here’s a selection of reports on the mayhem, death and destruction:

  • BBC News: Charlie Hebdo: Niger protesters set churches on fire (WebCite cached article)

    At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

    Protests began outside Niamey’s grand mosque and reportedly spread to other parts of the country, a day after five were killed in Niger’s second city.

  • Reuters: Protesters clash with Pakistan police near French consulate (cached)

    Pakistan police fired tear gas and water cannon at about 200 protesters outside the French consulate in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday when a demonstration against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo turned violent.

  • USA Today: ‘Hebdo’ protests turn violent in Muslim nations (cached)

    Angry reactions to the cartoon triggered street demonstrations as wide-ranging as several hundred people gathering on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday to slogans chanted by Muslim activists in Hyderabad, India.…

    In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood organized a crowd of 2,000 protesters who clashed with police in the capital of Amman as they moved toward the French Embassy. Police used batons to break up the gathering.

Terry Firma over at the Friendly Atheist provides a catalog of many more such incidents from around the world.

Oh, and … Jyllands-Posten's Muhammad Cartoons, #10 (Jyllands-Posten, via About.Com) / URL: http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/ig/Muhammad-Cartoons-/Muhammad-Cartoons--10.htmwhile we’re on the subject of the Muslim world’s approach to depictions of Muhammad … can we please just fucking stop already with the bullshit objections that Islam doesn’t forbid such things (cached)? Effectively it does forbid them — because millions of Muslims clearly believe it does, and because a lot of them are willing to riot, maim, burn and kill over that belief! Don’t tell me, or the rest of the occidental world, that riots like this are un-Islamic. It won’t do any good. If these raging clowns are wrong about Islam’s teachings on the subject, it’s up to other Muslims — who are clear on the matter — to rein in and discipline those who disagree and coerce them to stop this childish, riotous shit already. And they need to do it before someone else gets killed. The rest of the world simply can’t wait any longer for these overgrown children to start acting like mature adults.

As I always do when stories like this erupt, I’m including a gratuitous Muhammad cartoon in this post. The more these fucking Islamist crybabies rage and riot, the more I’ll post them. If there are Muslims out there who don’t like it … the solution is to grow up, calm down, and stop going up in flames over them all the time. It’s just that simple.

And one last comment: It’s time the White House stopped evading the reality that atrocities like those in and around Paris, not to mention beheadings by ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood or massacres of villages by Boko Haram, aren’t examples of “Islamist terror.” They are exactly that; refusing to use that phrase just makes the administration look like total clowns. Yes, I get it’s mostly the Right-wing that objects to the White House’s refusal to call it that (cached). And they have an agenda in making this complaint; mostly it’s because they’re Christianist Neocrusaders trying to bolster their own religion at the expense of what they consider their chief rival religion. Still, just as even a broken clock is correct twice a day, they’re correct on this point. Sugar-coating it helps no one. This particular kind of atrocity is — at the moment — a product of how a lot of Muslims follow their religion. Other Muslims who disagree with them are, for better or worse, the only ones who can correct them. Implying that Islam isn’t a problem here, or that it’s not a factor in this barbaric violence, won’t help, because it relieves those moderate Muslims of the task of correcting and disciplining their presumably-wayward co-religionists. Perhaps it’s not fair to them, but that’s just the way it is.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Top, PsiCop original graphic; middle, Jyllands-Posten via About.Com.

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The folks at Charlie Hebdo … at least, those who remain after last week’s inexcusable Islamofascist massacre … aren’t caving in. No, their next issue’s cover will also feature a drawing of the prophet Muhammad. Multiple outlets report it will be as follows:'Tou est pardonné' - 'Je suis Charlie' / Charlie Hebdo cover for 2015/01/14, via Talking Points MemoAs an aside on this matter, allow me to throw out a few items for your consideration:

This wouldn’t be the disaster it was, without some sanctimoniously-angry Christofascist using it to promote his fierce, dour religionism. Enter, therefore, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, as Right Wing Watch reports with video (cached):

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer speculated that the attack by radical Muslim terrorists on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed twelve people may have been God’s retribution for the magazine’s blasphemy.

Given that the magazine, in addition to mocking Islam and Muhammad, also had a long record of running satirical articles and cartoons about Christianity and Jesus, Fischer raised the possibility that this attack was punishment for the magazine’s repeated violation of the commandment that “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

It also wouldn’t be a Muslim-perpetrated atrocity without people jumping up to say Islam doesn’t support what the killers did. Take, for example, this apologia for Islam in Slate (cached):

In an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday, Choudary seemed to try to justify the attacks. “[T]he potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” Choudary said. “The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State,” he continued.

Choudary, radical extremists, and anti-Islam polemicists alike often resort to quoting scripture out of context, or taking advantage of transliteration, as a way to distort the messages of Islam. Sharia law varies upon interpretations of scripture—and like any religion, some interpretations are more radical than others.

While extremist governments like Iran and Saudi Arabia use the death penalty as a punishment for blasphemy, its justification isn’t found in Islam. The word “blasphemy” isn’t even mentioned in the Quran, or the stories of Mohammed and his companions that make up the hadiths, which form the basis for Islamic tradition. Prominent Islamic scholars like Pakistan’s Javed Ahmad Ghamidi have repeatedly said that “blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam.” Neither does the horrible attack that took place on Wednesday.

That piece was a response to this hateful diatribe by someone who is — get this! — a Muslim cleric and therefore a credentialed spokesman for that religion (cached):

Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”…

So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?

It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.

So pardon me — cynical, hateful, godless agnostic heathen that I am — for not being clear on whether or not Islam actually forbids blasphemy or “insults” of the Prophet. I guess the world’s Muslims are going to have to duke it out over that. Unfortunately, they may not leave the rest of us around to find out which side won the argument.

Lastly, I took the liberty of compiling a GIF animation of many different Muhammad cartoons to which Muslims have taken offense at one time or another. Have a blast, you little fucking crybabies:Animated GIF containing numerous Muhammad cartoons, collected from around the Internet. Original cartoons all copyrighted by their original artists and publishers.If anyone feels the need to be angry over these cartoons, go right ahead! Indulge your childish sanctimonious impulses, if it makes you feel better to do so. Far be it from me to get in the way of your pathological need to always be outraged in defense of your religion or your Prophet.

Photo credit: Middle, Talking Points Memo; bottom, PsiCop-generated GIF of pics collected around the Internet.

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Cover of Charlie Hebdo, newspaper in France. Speech bubble reads Once again, the world has been treated to a stellar example of “the religion of peace” showing its true colors. Overnight (by my clock here in the ‘States) terrorists stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as the BBC and many other outlets around the world are reporting, and killed a dozen people (WebCite cached article):

Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven, French officials say.

At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack “of exceptional barbarity”.

A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.

We don’t Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon, via Assyrian International News Agencyyet know the terrorists’ identities or affiliations, but it’s safe to say they are, very likely, of the Islamist variety. Although Charlie Hebdo has lampooned many religions with its cartoons, it’s only Islamists who’ve previously objected enough to get violent about them, as they did back in 2011 (cached). Someone, please tell me again how Islam is “the religion of peace”? ‘Cause this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen just isn’t seeing it.

I wonder Jyllands-Posten Mohammad Cartoon / 'Stop, stop, we ran out of virgins!' / via AINAwhat Islamism’s defenders (e.g. Ben Affleck) will make of this? He’d probably just mumble something like the terrorists not being “real Muslims” or something … as though that sort of defense isn’t the fallacy it actually is.

As I always do when Islamists rage and fume over their religion being “dissed,” sometimes violently, I decorated this blog post with cartoons that are sure to offend them even more. Go ahead, little crybabies. Rage, bluster, and fume away!

Photo credits: Top, Wikimedia Commons; both in body, from Jyllands-Posten via Assyrian International News Agency.

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Secret of my success: I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can …. / Motifake.ComRep. Michele Bachmann may be leaving Congress, but she doesn’t seem to be leaving behind her childish inanity. She used the occasion of her appearance on a Family Research Council radio show to depart from Washington on what she, no doubt, considers a high note: As BuzzFeed reports, she accused President Barack Obama of supporting Muslims’ jihad around the world (WebCite cached article):

Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says President Obama has supported the agenda of Islamic jihad “at every turn.”

“And I have been very surprised, to answer your question, to see the president of the United States, at every turn, cut the legs off of our ally, Israel, and in fact embrace and lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad,” Bachmann said on the show Washington Watch hosted by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

As BuzzFeed explains, Bachmann interprets reports of Obama penning letters to Iran’s supreme ruler as “cutting the legs off of” Israel (cached). That set her off on this tangent:

“Now when in the world — and by that, I mean the goals of the Islamic State, the fact that they want their own state. Our president, we know now, is writing secret notes to the Ayatollah in Iran; there’s a recent report that the president is trying to have private meetings with the Ayatollah in Iran. Iran is very clear about their goal — their goal is to have a nuclear weapon. They’ve said, unequivocally, they will use it against the United States and against Israel.”

Bachmann said she used time at the White House Christmas party earlier in December when members of Congress take photos with the president to tell him to “please end their nuclear program.”

“I used that time to talk to him about a nuclear Iran, and I asked him to please end their nuclear program, because we have the capacity to end it. And I said, ‘Mr. President, this will be on your watch.’”

Like most Religious Rightists — and in fact, most Rightists generally — Mrs Bachmann has a hypersimplistic view of the world affairs and the way diplomacy works. In the Rightist mind, Iran is Israel’s “enemy,” therefore, since Israel is our “ally,” the US is forbidden ever to communicate with Iran … for any reason, ever. That this is not how international relations actually works, is something Rightists don’t concern themselves with. The US — along with the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (aka “P5+1″) — is, in fact, communicating with Iran already, trying to end its nuclear program in order to spare the rest of the Middle East, including Israel. Of course, hawks in Israel would prefer that nation bomb Iran back into the Stone Age pre-emptively, so as to physically destroy their nuclear research. And Religious Rightists like Mrs Bachmann want that to happen, because they imagine doing so will invoke a counter-attack against Israel which, they in turn hope, will trigger Armageddon and the return of their precious Jesus to finish doing whatever it was that he never managed to get done, the first time he supposedly came to earth.

Bachmann claims she told Obama to “please end [Iran’s] nuclear program” but was rebuffed by his “condescending” response. As though, prior to her saying something, it hadn’t occurred to Obama to do so. That’s ridiculous, because not only has the US been working with 5 other major nations to terminate Iran’s nuclear capability, but arguably, the US and Israel have already launched schemes to demolish Iran’s nuclear research program, during the Obama administration. Just because Obama refuses to give his blessing to Israel’s pre-emptive attacks on Iran doesn’t mean he’s doing nothing about the problem of Iran’s fanatical mullahs and ayatollahs getting their grubby hands on nuclear weapons.

Also, I find it curious that Mrs Bachmann thinks Obama supports jihad, especially since he went to war against ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood (cached)! I have no idea how Mrs Bachmann could possibly consider Obama’s campaign against ISIS a form of “support” for jihad — such a conclusion defies logic. I suppose she probably subscribes to the Religious Rightist idea that Obama is a secret Muslim (cached), so she probably considers Operation Inherent Resolve to be just a “false flag” effort meant to make it appear he opposes jihad, when in fact, the opposite is true. This kind of raging paranoia would not be unusual in a Rightist … unfortunately.

Photo credit: Motifake.Com.

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