Posts Tagged human rights

Israel’s Third Reich

Mideast Israel PalestiniansThe ongoing ground incursion of Gaza by Israel begun July 18 and has, according to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) greatly accelerated the casualty rate, especially with respect to the numbers of displaced families.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that “following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.”

It said the goal was to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.”

The overwhelming majority of people killed so far in the conflict are Palestinians, including 121 Gaza children under the age of 18, Juliette Touma of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

Today, Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day ethnic cleansing of Palestinians war against the territory’s Hamas rulers.

Pools of blood stained the school courtyard in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit. Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed.

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This is what justice and god fearing looks like for “god’s” chosen people

The deaths raised the overall Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 to at least 751. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 18, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation. Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed by rocket or mortar fire.

More than 900 Palestinian children are also reported to have been injured, according to UNICEF.

Israel says it has carried out more than 2,000 attacks on Gaza since 8 July, while militants have fired some 1,380 rockets at Israel.

The UN says at least 1,370 homes have been destroyed in Gaza and more than 18,000 people displaced in recent hostilities.

“According to an assessment by aid workers on ground at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes,”  Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said during a briefing in Geneva.

More than 1.2 million of the 1.8 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damaged or lack fuel for generators, Laerke said.

In addition, we do have reports of sewage flooding which is a threat to public health,” Laerke said.

The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) has distributed emergency food rations and food vouchers to more than 90,000 people so far, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.

* More than 500 killed in densely-populated enclave

* 121 children killed, 900 wounded, UNICEF says

* More than 1.2 mln in Gaza have no or little water

* Ready-to-eat food stocks running low, WFP warns

* Three hospitals among 18 damaged health facilities (adds statements by UNRWA and WHO)

The World Health Organization said that 18 health facilities in Gaza have been damaged, including three hospitals.

An Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 16, the Health Ministry said.

BtV8W9xIQAEld-HAll patients were evacuated and the 100-bed hospital is no longer functioning,” a WHO statement said on Tuesday after a WHO team visited the site.

Hospitals in northern Gaza have been overwhelmed by high numbers of trauma cases and their inadequate supplies, it said.

While the International Committee of the Red Cross, guardian of the rules of war, condemned the attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital which it said had come under “direct fire at least four times”,  most countries have, most notably the United States, have remained nothing but bystanders to this massacre.

Warring parties are obliged under international humanitarian law to protect medical personnel, ambulances and facilities, the ICRC said in a statement issued late on Monday.

There is literally no safe place for civilians,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news briefing in Geneva.

The death toll is rising in the coastal enclave which has an estimated 4,500 people per square kilometer, he said. The priority for aid agencies was protecting civilians and evacuating and treating the wounded.

Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they need food, water and mattresses, he said.

This number continues to increase by the hour,” UNRWA said in a statement on Tuesday, raising its emergency funding appeal to $115 million from $60 million.

Israel’s Genocidal Ambitions and the Apartheid State

To put it in a nutshell: this is horrifying. The argument that Hamas uses civilian locations to hide and launch rockets does not explain, nor justify, Israel’s decision to, say, shell children playing on an open beach.

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The “terrorists” have killed 34 Israeli soldiers and two civilians , while the non-terrorist (Israel) have killed over 750 people (80% og whom are civilians) , maimed over 4000 and destroyed thousands of homes. The horrible score board tells a moral tale in terms of human cost, the terrorists (evil party) appear to be killing only the invading soldiers while the non-terrorist (Israelis – the good and moral group) are killing civilians, destroying property and shelling neighborhoods indiscriminately (because who has ever heard of precision shelling of a populated area). We need to rethink who the terrorists are in this scenario.

Sure, one can argue that this is all Hamas’s fault for continuing to fire rockets at Israeli population centers, and doing so in midst of their own civilians, knowing full well what Israel’s response will be. However, that still does not make Israel massacring innocent civilians and children any more ok or understandable. Murdering children is murdering children. There is no grey area.

Of course, the other question here is why the Palestinian people keep re-electing the Hamas.

Some argue that the Hamas’ are leaders of an occupied resistance, others call them terrorists, and yet others call them both.

I may be in the camp of those who call them both and given what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people whose lands they stole based on a book they themselves wrote, I have to say I do not blame them for turning to Hamas to do their fighting.

After all, who else do they have? The Palestinian people have nothing. They have no allies, they have no voice in the international community, they don’t have a standing army.

As Dorothy Zellner, a member of the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace, noted  “[T]he Palestinians have no army, no air force, no navy, not even an airfield. The Israelis, on the other hand, have super high-tech weaponry.” They also have Iron Dome which has been incredibly effective at shooting down rockets.

Additionally, and thus unlike Palestine, Israel has been receiving over $3 billion in aid, much of which went toward its defense, from the United States in the last year alone.

That is an awful lot of might, behind which is rhetoric like: “When there is no ceasefire, our answer is fire.” Which suggests a parity that does not exist.

Displaced Palestinians who lost their relatives at a U.N. school cry as they leave Beit Hanoun hospital in the northern Gaza Strip to seek other shelter, July 24, 2014.

Displaced Palestinians who lost their relatives at a U.N. school cry as they leave Beit Hanoun hospital in the northern Gaza Strip to seek other shelter, July 24, 2014.

Or like: “[Israel] is continuing to pound Hamas and its infrastructure,” without regard for the fact that the population of Gaza is not, in fact, synonymous with “Hamas and its infrastructure.” Children are not Hamas and its infrastructure.

At a certain point, being right becomes less important than doing the right thing.

Or, at least not doubling down on the wrong thing.

So when I hear people say that it is all Hamas’ fault, I ask again: what are the Palestinians supposed to do?

What is anyone whose back is against the wall and desperate, to do? Like a drowning person holding on to whatever he can get his hands on, can we blame Palestinians for holding on to the only entity that is doing their bidding while they are drowning under Israel’s yoke and apartheid regime?

Again, Palestinians have no one on their side and for better or worse, Hamas is all they got.

In fact, the only reason that groups like Hamas have any broad appeal among the Palestinian population is because of Israeli policies permitting the taking of Palestinian land, separating Palestinians from the population, forcing them to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.

Displaced Palestinians leave the hospital to seek other shelter after an Israeli airstrike hit their pervious shelter in U.N school, at Beit Hanoun hospital, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing more than a dozen of people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory's Hamas rulers.

Displaced Palestinians leave the hospital to seek other shelter after an Israeli airstrike hit their pervious shelter in U.N school, at Beit Hanoun hospital, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing more than a dozen of people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory’s Hamas rulers.

You cannot blame a peoples who are the subject of ethnic cleansing, peoples whose lands have been stolen from them, for holding on to anything that resembles some kind of a help.

And then there is my primary concern at this point, which is the utter disproportion of a conflict that has consequences far beyond merely “striking a significant blow” to Hamas’ military arm.

Israel didn’t suffer many casualties from the Hamas rockets that provoked this latest assault! Yet, they’ve ended up killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians in response – most of whom have been children.

The Israeli response has been so disproportionate that they’ve come out of this looking like monsters; like the sort of people that drop-kick a chihuahua into a roaring fireplace after it nips them in the ankle.

The World Is Just Standing By

Sadly, because this is Israel and because the United States is beholden to the Zionist lobby and because we give them billions of dollars of aide each year and because any criticism of Israel’s apartheid regime will immediately be shot down as antisemitism, the world is standing by with officials merely verbally condemning the attacks but without anyone stepping in and actually doing something.

While I, of course, am not denying that antisemitism is quite prevalent, when it comes to Israel’s occupation of Palestine I think that term has been milked for all it’s worth by the Israelis and their Zionist supporters who justify their sinister ambitions and the creation of an apartheid state by calling any criticism of Israel antisemitism, when in reality what Israel is doing, and has been doing, is a gross violation of all sorts of international laws and human rights.

Criticizing the massacre of children and innocent civilians is not antisemitism.

A few months ago we were ready to launch an attack against Syria citing human rights violations and the use of white phosphorous against civilians. Now, Israel is doing exactly that and President Obama is scratching his balls, doing absolutely nothing.

And what does all of this accomplish for Israel, really, other than sapping its moral authority and creating a large, angry class of mistreated individuals? Don’t even give me that “Jewish state” bullshit. You cannot actively disenfranchise people in order to maintain racial or religious purity, and call yourself a modern democracy at the same time. Israel needs to drop its pseudo-theocratic aims and grant equal rights under the laws to Palestinians, or else admit that it’s a backwater theocracy undeserving of international respect.

US Citizens Subsidizing The Murder of Palestinians

The conflict for this strip of land has been going on for over 60 years and it is not going end as long as Israel disenfranchises people to maintain a religious or racial purity, as long as the likes of Netanyahu come to the US war mongering under the guise of “providing aide” and as long as Israel forces Palestinians to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.

We need to stop helping Israel’s genocidal regime and let it fight its own wars. US tax payer dollars need not support the continued atrocities and murders of innocent people.

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That Time A Woman Was Tortured Right Next To Me On a Bus

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With the use of powerful photography and well-placed billboards, this smart campaign by the human rights organization Amnesty International aims to show people what is going on in the world, even if it’s not happening in front of them on their street, in their neighborhood or at their train stop.

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I really hope that in my life-time I will live in a world in which a person’s human and civil rights are not in the hands, and at the discretion, of another human being.

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This Is What It Looks Like When You Force-Feed A GITMO Hunger Striker

This is your America. And this is what is being done to people by the US government in the name and with the tax dollars of American citizens.

Hunger Strike

There are currently over 100 inmates at Guantanamo Bay who are carrying out a hunger strike. On July 5, the Guardian reported that approximately 45 of those who are on strike are “being fed enterally” — or, to use the lay term, are being force-fed. The human rights organization Reprieve has staged one of those force-feedings, with the help of rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), following the standard operating procedure outlined in leaked instructions.The session was filmed and published by the Guardian.

Guantanamo prisoners have filed a motion asking for the practice to be stopped, arguing it’s torture, the Washington Post reported. Force-feeding is considered a violation of medical ethics by World Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Torture Does Not Make Us Safer

People say we need to do this to catch terrorists. That it makes us safer. But do we? And does it?

Crime and terrorism are not going to go away and they are not unique to the United States. All we can do is control how we respond to them, such as bring those who commit crimes to justice by utilizing a justice system under the rule of law with clear protocols and procedures aimed at ensuring that peoples constitutionally guaranteed civil and human rights are not violated,  which means no unlawful detainment or locking up anyone without due process. It also means  not resorting to torture and all sorts of other uncivilized, barbaric means in order to get information out of suspected enemies.

We cannot control the behavior of people, all we have control over is how we respond to it.

Yes, some people did heinous things, terrible things, but we as a society don’t have to do the same. That is the difference between us and countries that run kangaroo courts where people are tortured and then executed after speedy trials and under the auspices of “security”.

We have a choice as a society and government, and torture is not the answer.

It doesn’t matter what these men are guilty of – if anything – the point is that they do not deserve endless days of this torture and disrespect. Free them and put them on trial and then prove their guilt in a court of law instead of detaining them and making them prove their innocence under torture.

Innocent until proven guilty is not just a line in Law and Order, it is a very fundamental legal right that is essential to freedom  That the accused bears no burden of proof is a very fundamental legal principle put in place to insure innocent people do not end up in jail or be found guilty without proof.

Torturing  people on the suspicion that they may be involved in some terrorism cell violates this crucial principle. 

Just as we do not suspend the rights of the accused for crimes like rape and murder, we ought to not suspend them for terrorism. While terrorists exhibit seemingly inhuman cruelty, people accused of terroristic actions deserve the same rights we afford others accused of crimes because if the rule of law does not apply to everyone, it applies to no one.

Torture does not make us safer and it diminishes us undoing everything we fought for all this time to set us apart from the barbarians we used to be just a hundred years ago – where human life had no value.

If we decide that the life of certain people has no value and thus it is ok to torture and degrade them in such a manner,  then again, we diminish ourselves and this society, not to mention that we then also set a precedent for such transgressions.

Once you set the precedent that in some random cases torture and the disregard for the rule of law is acceptable, who is to stop someone else from coming in and trying to take it a step further and apply it to something “very similar”? Since there is no accountability, and secret courts issue all the warrants, who is going to stop them?

A court that operates in secrecy is not much of a court and not much justice and due process and rule of law can be expected to apply. It is a kangaroo court, a tribunal where one is guilty until proven innocent.

Secret courts don’t dispense justice, they dispense sentences violating a person’s constitutional rights while not accountable to anyone.

Torture, which is approved and condoned by such secret courts is  inhumane and it is a disgrace to this nation to treat human beings in this manner – no matter who they are and what they did.

They say violence is not the solution and terrorists are condemned for trying to use violence to make their point. But if we continue in this manner, then we are no better than some terrorist who believes that violence and atrocities are ok as long as they happen for a noble, worthy cause. In that case, our crimes would exceed anything Al Qaeda has done.

We need to evolve past those crude ways of thinking of and treating people. Torture is barbaric and uncivilized and it does not make us safer and I do not believe it would be justified, even if it did.

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Stupid Things People Do: Eric and Ruth Brown Accept Daughter’s Birth Defect as God’s Will

Self determination and autonomy have rarely, if ever, been touched upon really in terms of actual policy formulation aimed at granting and protecting and enforcing those rights until the second half of the twentieth century when notions of human rights were formulated after World War II.

Even the Founding Fathers of this nation did not believe in human autonomy for all, which is why women got to vote some 150 years after the foundation of this nation and thus after the Declaration of Independence. When that document reads “all men are created equal“,  it really does mean all males. The Founding Fathers, in all their wisdom notwithstanding, did not recognize that women were part of mankind.

One of our – as human kind – most fundamental rights – which is a human right and something inalienable, irrespective of culture and country of origin – is the freedom to be autonomous and make decisions based on that autonomy. This is a very fundamental and important right that often does not get the important attention it deserves. Way too many people are comfortable with having that autonomy diminished or taken away from them.

Most, if not all, conflicts throughout human history leading up to today, in not only this very country but all around the world really, have been about controlling others by taking away their autonomy to choose for themselves how to live their lives, what to believe in and subsequently what choices to make.

Eric and Ruth Brown were not those people. They had a choice and the freedom to exercise that autonomy to make a choice.

Deformity and Suffering as the Creator’s Will

The couple from Nashville, Tennessee, believe that the genetic disorder that created a cleft in their daughter Pearl Joy’s upper lip and caused her brain’s development to stall in the first weeks in the womb, to be god’s will.

Things didn’t go wrong,” an apparently delusional Eric Brown said. “God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good”.

This delusion has sustained the Browns ever since ultrasound revealed that the couple’s third child has alobar holoprosencephaly, a rare genetic condition that’s almost always fatal. The Browns never considered abortion. They believe that Pearl is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 puts it, and god alone should decide when she lives and when she dies.

Pearl’s  brain never divided into two hemispheres during her development in the womb, which means she is basically a crawling vegetable. “We don’t care about those things. She is here, and her brain is telling her how to live“, says Eric Brown.

The Browns are holding on to dear life, literally, as they delude themselves into believing that as long as their girl is basically still warm she should live and that her life is wonderful and a blessing, even though she has seizures on a daily basis, has a weakened immune system and has been back to the hospital at least five times in the past three months. A simple cold could kill her but “that day hasn’t come yet“, her mother says.  The Browns not only insist she is god’s gift, they also think Pearl is actually fighting.

Fighting for what is unclear. Is she fighting for a miracle? Is she  fighting for growing up being normal after all with this disease poofing out of existence much the same way this Earth poofed into existence according to the Bible?

Even skeptical neighbors, friends and acquaintance have bought into the delusion, applauding the Brown’s decision.

Kristina Guisler, a friend from the MOMS Club of East Nashville, met the Browns in 2009. When she first heard about Pearl’s condition, she said she wasn’t sure the Browns had made the right decision by continuing with the pregnancy. She wondered what kind of life Pearl would have.

But seeing the love that the Browns have for Pearl has changed her mind and strengthened her own faith.

It’s reaffirmed my faith in humanity and in the power of prayer,” she said.

The Browns aren’t the only ones suffering from serious delusions,  Nancy and David Guthrie of Nashville faced the ordeal twice: in 1998 and 2002 when their son and daughter both died in infancy from a fatal genetic condition called Zellweger syndrome. In Gabriel’s case, the Guthries learned he had Zellweger while he was still in the womb.

One of the things we learned is that great sorrow and great joy can coexist,” she said. “Because life in the image of God is so precious, there is great joy in having this one you love with you, even while there is great sorrow in knowing that this child might not grow old with you.”

I have read and seen religious people talk themselves into a whole lot of bullshit and delusions to make it through their lives, but this sure takes the height. What I find particularly disturbing is this:

“God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good.”

So god, in all his wisdom and love, would afflict a child with disease, deformity and suffering? And being born with a horrible genetic disease that renders you nothing but an animated doll trapped in a painful and torturous existence at the verge of death is something god did for his glory? There is glory to be had from this? And said disease and deformity is for the good of the parents.

All the credit, but none of the blame, huh?  Hmmm maybe god is a Republican after all

But there is a broader canvas here. The above statement by the Browns is disturbing and akin to Indiana Tea Party Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments that pregnancies stemming from rape, however horrible, are “something that God intended to happen” – as if rape wasn’t a crime and heinous act but just something in god’s secret and elaborate plan for all of us lemmings and for “his glory and the victim’s good.”

Does that mean rape itself is part of god’s plan? And genocide? And mass killing and child rape? Most religious people would say “no” (or maybe yes), which creates all sorts of contradictions because what they are saying is that the act of rape is not god’s will but the resulting child is. In other words, god would never orchestrate a rape, but would definitely exploit a rape to impregnate a woman.

That is amazing.  Where do I sign up to worship this excellent decision-maker?

It is great that believing that there is a higher purpose to their suffering has allowed the Brown’s to not only justify their choice but also live with it this long.

Remember people believe in all sorts of stories and even lies for self preservation and to make it through the day and their lives. That is why we have religion in the first place. It is called cognitive dissonance, which is the term used in modern psychology to describe the state of “holding two or more conflicting ideasbeliefsvalues and emotional reactions simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.”

The Brown’s are engaging in precisely that. They are people of faith who believe that the deity they believe in does all things for a reason. Such a notion is an especially opportune world view when good things happen.  When something horrible, such as the birth defect of their child happens, on the other hand, said believers are suddenly left in shock, asking themselves where the good is in having their own child be afflicted with such a condition. Suddenly, painful reality and the tenets of their faith are at odds. If god is all loving and all caring, how can he let this happen? That is where “filling in the gaps” comes in becasue the Browns are human beings who can only take so much pain before losing it.

How do they cope with it? They cope with it by attempts to reconcile the reality of their situation with what they have been taught god to be. Thus, they tell a lie to themselves. But they do not know it is a lie. It cannot be. If it was, that would bring down their entirely worldview and the reality they have created for themselves. Their self delusion in that regard is quite sincere. The Browns have to believe that this is all part of a grander scheme. This, in turn enables them to go through life without feeling hopeless and without loosing their faith and feeling let down by their grand and loving creator.

Delusion is a wonderful thing and nothing deludes more than religion.

The truth, of course, is that this baby will be confronted with a myriad of painful medical procedures that she will have to endure but not understand the need for. There are limits to the amount of painkiller an infant can be given.  The question really is whether the child is having a quality of life that satisfies the child’s nature, or whether being kept alive on IVs, feeding  tubes, oxygen and other meds is the truly loving and wonderful alternative.

And can you say this is what the divine intended when the only thing keeping the child alive is medical technology, not god? The parents might enjoy the love and care they are giving, but what about the infant?

Ultimately, the Browns are doing this to make themselves feel better. They think they are doing this child a favor, but they aren’t, they are only doing themselves a favor and justify their decision by making appeals to the grand schemes of a higher power.

The only victim in this process is Pearl. Her family is holding on to delusions to prolong the life of a vegetable. For Pearl living or not living does not make a difference.  She doesn’t even know what and who and if she is. Her brain didn’t part into two hemispheres for cryin’ out loud.  She is nothing but an animated doll and for her there is no difference between living and dying, becasue there is no “her” there. She is just a breathing shell.

The idea that you have emergency oxygen standing by makes one wonder about whose will we are talking about, god’s or the ego’s.  Her family’s understandable efforts to cope with her condition by putting a pretty spin on it only trivializes her suffering. And theirs.

 Not Just Faith But Choice

The delusion of the Brown’s view on this aside, the bigger question here is that of choice. The beauty of freedom is that people, including the Browns, can choose to believe in any number of lies to make it through  the day and their lives. And their decision, whether I agree with it or not, is ok.

As long as the Browns do not say to someone else that this is why their child has been blessed with a deformity and death. they can believe in hob goblins as far as I – and reality – are concerned. Sure it is naive and ignorant to attribute any condition onto god, and I mean naive in the sense of immature, unknowing as it relates, but if that is what they need to make it through their lives, who am I, or anyone, to argue with that?

Only that the delusions of religious people are rarely confined to their own personal realm

And therein lies the fundamental problem with letting faith guide your decisions. Religious people place their emotions before their intelligence. The problem is that when people make important decisions based on a fantastical belief system rather than facing unpleasant realities that they’d rather pretend don’t exist, it can leave a lot of collateral damage that affects others. Just look at the recent assault on women’s reproductive rights callously championed by Republicans and conservatives based on their religious beliefs.

The Browns – for better or worse – had a choice with respect to keeping this child alive and caring for it. Ruth Brown could have gotten an abortion, but due to her personal beliefs she decided not to. She had a choice.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the kinds of policies Republicans push for and have partially succeeded in when  it comes to granting women autonomy and the freedom to choose what they believe to be the best decision for them. The Browns were lucky that they were able to make the decision to have their the child without threats and pressure to obtain an abortion.

At the same time, remember that simply becasue it worked for the Browns and was the best decision they could make based on their lives, it does not mean it is the only right and honorable answer. A couple choosing to get an abortion should be able to do so without facing obstacles and judgment and shame just as the Browns. In short, the Brown’s decision to keep the child is not more admirable than the decision of someone else in the same situation to abort it.

In the end, it is all about choice and giving people the freedom to make that choice. In this day and age, it’s a true luxury to have one’s autonomy respected and your choices be your own. I wish lawmakers everywhere would make note of this because nothing diminishes an individual more than stripping them off autonomy.

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Sarajevo premiere of “In the Land of Honey and Blood”

Angelina Jolie having a moment at the premiere of her movie in Sarajevo

Whenever I think of Angelina Jolie, I think of a spoiled, pampered incredibly wealthy young woman who dabbles in good deeds to fill the time between shopping sprees, world tours and endless parties. At the Sarajevo premiere of her movie In the Land of Honey and Blood, Angelina Jolie was right on track with that mantra when she got all emotional talking about her movie and her hope that it would be a wake-up call and inspiration for politicians and leaders around the world to do something about what is happening in Syria right now.

I am all for giving, humanitarian aide and just doing things for others; we need more of that in this world driven by selfish, narcissistic people posing as human beings, but there is just something so insincere about these two assholes. I am tired of their self righteous, sanctimonious crap and this pretending that they are not overpaid actors who shot to fame based on their looks, addictions and the number and nature of their sex partners, rather than because of their talent, intelligence and hard work.

On the one hand they want to keep it all private, on the other hand they flaunt it every opportunity they can, such as making out on the red carpet or inviting camera crews over to their house so they can photograph Jolie nursing one of her babies.  Angelina goes to an African village talking about the plight of the people and then three days later is seen carrying a $5,000 Louis Vuitton bag that could feed the village for a couple of months.

The holy couple taking it all in

It almost feels like they get a kick out of going to impoverished countries and “helping” out (i.e. self promoting); like it was a sexual arousal thing that gets them both off. It honestly woudn’t surprise me given Angelina’s sordid past and her fucked up habits like carrying a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck. Sort of like in The Postman Always Rings Twice, where Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson fuck right at the scene of the crash where her husband is bleeding to death and dying. I really think these two get some kind of a pleasure or arousal from this adopting children from some third world shit hole thing and going to deeply troubled and impoverished countries with their luxury handbags, designer clothes and half a dozen mansions, chalets and estates around the world to their name. It is almost like the more impoverished and destitute the country, the higher the arousal and appeal factor for this pair of assholes.

They say that “sincerity is everything. Once you learn to fake that, the rest is easy.” I must say it is quite ironic that these two, despite their alleged tremendous acting skills, have not been able to fake that at least so that when they do take the high ground, it is believable. How in touch with reality can two millionaires a hundred times over with egos the size of entire nations really be? Exactly…

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