They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Richard Dawkins to lecture US bible belt

Richard Dawkins, the scourge of pseudo-science, Christianity and homeopathy, is to step up his campaign for rational thinking with a series of high-profile lectures deep in the heart of the American Bible Belt.

The Oxford University professor travels to the US next year as part of his battle to promote evolutionary theory in the face of a backlash against the concept in the world's most-advanced industrial nation.

He is to address a series of 2,000-seater venues in the American heartlands. The tour will coincide with the publication of his best-seller The God Delusion in paperback in the US in January and act as a prelude to a series of global events to mark the bicentenary of Charles Darwin in 2009.

Professor Dawkins has charities in his own name on both sides of the Atlantic to promote reason and science. He has said that it is in the US, where 50 per cent of the population believes the universe is less than 10,000 years old, that the Enlightenment is most threatened.

However, he said he did not expect audiences to be too tough on his atheist beliefs and that many thanked him for speaking out. "The Bible Belt is a lot less monolithic than it portrays itself. I have a feeling that there is rather a large groundswell of people who agree with me," he said. Link

db: A groundswell of bible belters agree with Richard Dawkins? If this is an evidence based feeling I would like to see it, because my guess is that there will be an even larger groundswell of folk advocating a lynching, or a bullet, or some other Christian remedy for that which does not please.

Quantum xMas: The Two Slit Experiment

Greetings from Def Brain. This is a reasonably accessible - we almost understood it - video illustrating the 'reality' bending nature of the Quantum world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Killing for Peace in Gaza

Israel killed 13 Palestinian militants in air strikes in the Gaza Strip that marked its most deadly military response in months to frequent rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled territory.

Islamic Jihad, the group behind many of the rocket launchings that have been disrupting life in southern Israel, said four of its members were killed on Tuesday as they walked out of a mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Hours earlier, air strikes killed seven Islamic Jihad militants, including a senior Gaza commander, prompting the group to threaten suicide bombings inside the Jewish state.

Israel has not been hit by a suicide bombing in 11 months, a respite that helped pave the way for renewed peace efforts with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who opposes such attacks. Read more

Monday, December 17, 2007

Neo-Labour's Britain: Left versus right is the wrong war

Henry Porter

Propaganda is theft because it attempts to deprive people of the truth. Our sister paper, the Guardian, ran a debate on liberty, rights and privacy and in it we saw two examples of government propaganda. The first came from the Justice Minister Jack Straw, who held that New Labour had 'deepened and extended' civil liberties - yes, and I am Scary Spice. The second was from columnist Polly Toynbee, New Labour's unblushing champion, who accused people like me - actually, especially me - of being right-wingers in liberal clothing and middle-class paranoids seeking victimhood.

Neither was successful because the authors do not understand the difference between refuting an argument and rebutting it. Straw is an old fashioned statist who believes if you go on saying a lie people will eventually believe it. Toynbee is something different. One senses panic rising from the realisation that it is very hard to deny Labour's programme against liberty when most of it is on the statute book.

So she scurries around wondering how she is going to hold the line. Her first ploy was to muddy the waters by questioning what is a reasonable freedom. For instance, she presents Labour's campaign against free speech as merely anti-discrimination laws, which is nothing like the whole truth. There is, she says, a clash between the right to free speech and the right not to be abused. The point is abuse is the corollary of free speech. I would prefer everyone to be well-mannered and respectful yet I believe gays have the right to be rude about the church and the church to be rude about gays, without either running to the law.

Next step is for her to practise this free speech by referring to what she calls my paranoia. That's fine by me but I'd just point out that there is a difference between fear and paranoia, as there is between sounding the alarm and being alarmist. And again, it's not as if I, or any of the other contributors to the debate, are making this up. It is irrefutably all there in Labour's record.

The breathtaking dishonesty of her argument is to describe anyone who opposes Labour on these grounds as a being a right-winger. In our democracy liberals exist in all parties - thank God - and it is eloquent of her desperation that she seeks to portray those who stand for liberty, rights and privacy as being individualists who are seeking the aura of victimhood, which of course decrypts as privileged middle-class dilettantes. The allegation comes from the hard-line sectarian communists of my student days, and it is hardly surprising to find the same generation still at it in New Labour, yet now adding notes of vanity, self-righteousness and priggishness.

The striking thing is how few in the government and among its supporters really grasp the substance of our complaints about liberty over the last 10 years. With dismal familiarity, we watch them move hastily from the matter in hand to rattle on about social justice. The trick, you see, is to portray concerns about liberty as a luxury for the privileged classes when what really matters is poverty and inequality. She must know that there can be no social justice without liberty, and vice versa. Besides, as the gap between the rich and poor widens every day, New Labour and its cheerleaders are at risk of causing nationwide symptoms of motion sickness when they strike this particular pose.

We are all victims of Labour's authoritarian laws but often the people whose interests New Labour claims to represent are especially penalised - for instance, the defendants who are pressurised in police stations to plead guilty by video link to crimes they have not committed because there is no adequate legal representation to hand. Why doesn't Toynbee write about the measures smuggled into the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act which will combine with the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act to make it legal for bailiffs to enter someone's home and seize property on a civil order? Jack Straw's Department of Justice is currently formulating the rules that will govern the force that may be offered to single mothers, old ladies, teenagers and young children who happen to be at home when the bailiffs come. Will she be reminding us that Labour has buried 400 years of protection against this outrage? Read more

db: Toynbee and people like her seem to have made an error. The Left vs Right paradigm is a useless platform from which to view the encroachments upon civil liberties inflicted on us by the neo-Labour government. The class war - if our warriors are the Blairs and Jack Straws of the world - is a conflict that has long since been lost. Much better to focus on what is real - the civil liberties won for us by our ancestors - and find your allies in this new war where ever you can find them [short of the dastardly BNP]. Henry Porter is an ally; left, right ... whatever.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Time Magazine- Iran's Nukes: Now They Tell Us?
The President looked awful. He stood puffy-eyed, stoop-shouldered, in front of the press corps discussing the stunning new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that Iran halted its nuclear-weapons program in 2003. He looked as if he'd spent the night throwing chairs around the Situation Room. A reporter noted that he seemed dispirited, and the President joked, "This is like — all of a sudden, it's like Psychology 101, you know?" He added, "No, I'm feeling pretty spirited, pretty good about life, and I made the decision to come before you so I can explain the NIE." And then, defiantly, "And so, kind of Psychology 101 ain't working. It's just not working. I understand the issues, I clearly see the problems, and I'm going to use the NIE to continue to rally the international community for the sake of peace." And then he walked out. More

db: Who will tell Israel?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

USA Neocon 'Iran Lies' Exposed Before War Shock

President George W Bush today insisted that Iran remained a "dangerous" threat as he struggled to justify continued isolation of the country despite the "great discovery" that it had suspended its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. Link

Monday, December 03, 2007

Brown makes the crime a funding issue

Gordon Brown has again sought to diffuse the row over hidden donations to the Labour Party by arguing the case for funding reform. Link

db: The debate is not about party funding. It's about criminal government. Why should we pay out our taxes to propagate British 'ruling class' lies and propaganda? They don't need any more cash than they can LEGALLY raise. Cut back a bit ... like we do in the real world, scum bags.

Teddy row teacher freed from jail

A UK teacher has been released and handed over to British officials in Sudan after being jailed for letting her class name a teddy bear Muhammad. Link

db: But what about Him? Won't He be angry? The Teddy totally got off with it ... as did the kids. What kind of religion is this?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Annapolis: A Poor Theatrical Production [video]

From: LinkTV