Category: politics

Political thingamabobs

Stupidest Cardinal in the world?

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Hoo boy. I’ve reached a threshold of sorts about these religious nutbags.

Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien. You. Are. Not. Worthy. Of. RESPECT. And I will give you NONE. Deciding to take himself to the Sunday Telegraph to bash at gay marriage, this idiot basically trolled the entire country.

I’m working off the PinkNews articles on this issue, and I’m going to discuss his spewings in the order presented in those articles.

Cardinal O’Brien writes: “On the surface, the question of same-sex marriage may seem to be an innocuous one. Civil partnerships have been in place for several years now, allowing same-sex couples to register their relationship and enjoy a variety of legal protections. When these arrangements were introduced, supporters were at pains to point out that they didn’t want marriage, accepting that marriage had only ever meant the legal union of a man and a woman. Those of us who were not in favour of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, warned that in time marriage would be demanded too. We were accused of scaremongering then, yet exactly such demands are upon us now.”

If we’d asked for marriage then, would you have given it to us? So to be honest, if some gays WERE sneaky and did it the way you are trying to imply, good on them. It isn’t like you haven’t used any dirty tricks, or worse, to us LGBT people, no? But that aside, do you honestly think your “warning” that marriage would be demanded matters at all, that “scaremongering” matters? If equal marriage is the RIGHT thing to do, does any amount of scaremongering on either side make a difference? No, it does not. Your argument is invalid.

Moreover, to suggest that SOMEHOW civil partnerships are “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved” is a profound and unbelievable ARROGANCE that I cannot believe you can even make. You, a dried-up, old, celibate, single priest somehow are telling me that my relationship is somehow harmful, not only spiritually (which was a totally expected statement from a priest) but both physically and mentally. Really? How exactly is my relationship at any more risk of either than a ‘straight’ relationship? I don’t mean offence, but many abusive or manipulative relationships occur in both straight and gay marriage. Shouldn’t you be against ALL relationships? Or is it ok when the relationships create some troubled or untroubled little children for your church to systematically neglect and abuse, sexually? Or did you forget that scandal in favour of a ‘blame the gays’ approach?

Mr O’Brien claims: “Since all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists. Redefining marriage will have huge implications for what is taught in our schools, and for wider society. It will redefine society since the institution of marriage is one of the fundamental building blocks of society. The repercussions of enacting same-sex marriage into law will be immense. But can we simply redefine terms at a whim? Can a word whose meaning has been clearly understood in every society throughout history suddenly be changed to mean something else? In Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women. But when our politicians suggest jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning they aren’t derided.”

Damn right. I don’t care. YES. It IS about redefining marriage. So what? Is your marriage so on-the-rocks that the slight ripple that gay marriage being legal will create will doom yours? And about fucking time that EQUALITY be taught in schools. For far too long, schools escape the rules that the rest of us have to abide by, able to turn a blind eye to bullying on grounds of LGBT, and in Northern Ireland, the ability to avoid equality legislation altogether.

Redefine society? Yep. How horrible that society will change for the better. How detestable that society will become more equal. You see, it isn’t about the LEGAL rights. It’s about how it sounds. Straight people get MARRIED, gay people get PARTNERED. How degrading. We’re second-class, with nothing like the respect that is given to the relationship between a man and a woman. If you can’t see that, well the priesthood must not really care for IQ much, does it?

Words get redefined all the time, and just because something has been around a long time does not protect it from being wrong and incorrect. And while we’re on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, please, quote the full Article, please:

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
It does NOT say man + woman. It says men and women, plural, and it praises the family, not a defined parental unit of man + woman. Nothing I hate more than someone intentionally misquoting.

Mr O’Brien writes: “Their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged. Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right. There is no doubt that, as a society, we have become blasé about the importance of marriage as a stabilising influence and less inclined to prize it as a worthwhile institution. It has been damaged and undermined over the course of a generation, yet marriage has always existed in order to bring men and women together so that the children born of those unions will have a mother and a father.”

What an old-fashioned fool. Did you emerge from the 12th Century? Marriage is about producing children? What about whether people are suitable parents? What about infertile couples, should we nullify their marriages now?

“This brings us to the one perspective which seems to be completely lost or ignored: the point of view of the child. All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father; the evidence in favour of the stability and well-being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal. It cannot be provided by a same-sex couple, however well-intentioned they may be. Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.”

No, all children deserve to begin with a family that loves them, whatever that family is. Don’t use lies and bullshit studies to try to say that only man + woman can raise well-adjusted children, that viewpoint has long-since been refuted. I mean, have you even used Google? ^_^

Mr O’Brien also appears to suggest that gay marriage may lead to three way marriages: “Other dangers exist. If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another? If marriage is simply about adults who love each other, on what basis can three adults who love each other be prevented from marrying?”

Absolutely. If three people love each other and pledge their fidelity to each other, you honestly think that preventing them from marrying is going to stop them? I’m not advocating for polygamy, but it probably already happens. But for now, that’s for another day. Saying that somehow allowing gay marriage will instantly allow all sorts of other stuff is scaremongering. Fucking hell, look at the fight we’ve had for gay marriage – just imagine having another decades-long fight for polygamy!!!

He also claims that schools will become forced to stock “homosexual fairy stories” in their libraries.

This sounds fantastic. But seriously, what exactly is a ‘homosexual’ fairy story? I don’t know about you, but the biggest fairy story I know, the Bible, is all over the place. Personally, I prefer a story with a happy ending, thanks 😀

He also compares gay marriage to legalising slavery. “No Government has the moral authority to dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage. Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave.’ Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”

Keeping a slave = demeaning a person to the extent that, unpaid, you have them serve your every whim. If you keep a slave, you are a terrible, terrible human being. How exactly is allowing gay people to marry in any way equal to ordering another person around, with no hope of freedom? I mean, what a lie. It’s total FUD.

 

It’s people like this that get me angry at religion. You wonder why there are so many people without faith, when you are so out of touch and nausea-inducing?  As my friend Adam said, it’s almost the perfect pro-gay strategy. I’m not sure we need to even say anything, as people like that just look like absolute fools to, I hope, the majority of logical-thinking people. Go back under your rock. Get out of my life, let me live equally and stop thrusting your religion, your sexuality, down my throat. Sound familiar?

NoH8 Campaign – Models wanted!

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NoH8 CampaignDial back to 2008 in California. An idyllic place, where same sex marriage was OK, where there was no irrational fear, at least in the law. Unfortunately, the religious groups weren’t content to let LGBT people have equal rights – who would they hate for no reason? So, in November of 2008, a new piece of leglislation found its way onto the statute books, Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 amended the state’s Constitution to say that marriage could only be between a man and a woman. And, somehow, it passed.

In response, many many LGBT movements sprung up, and rightly so – opposing hatred is the only answer! Proposition 8 got dubbed Proposition H8, and emerged a photographer, in a partnership himself, who styled a type of photographic protest that has gone viral around the internet, called NoH8. The photos are of people, both everyday and celebrity, with duct tape over their mouths, to symbolise their voices being silenced by Proposition 8 and similar legislation around the world, and with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest.

An example of the NoH8 style
An example of the NoH8 style, with mouth taped and NOH8 message emblazoned on the cheek! Cute, too! 😛

According to their website, the campaign has grown to have over 20000 faces, and has now accumulated a large number of celebrity backers who have had their photos taken by Adam. The website accepts submissions from everybody, and so many users all around the world submit their faces.

It’s an incredibly simple and effective protest; it is instantly recognisable, and although it originated as a protest against Proposition 8, the message of No-Hate (NOH8) applies worldwide to all sorts of countries, laws, regimes. Yet, I haven’t seen any from any Northern Irish guys, such as the GLYNI members and Cara-Friend volunteers. So, I’d like to offer to anyone who’d like me to take a NOH8 picture for them and edit it, so that I can compile, for GLYNI, a set of our local faces to add to the NOH8 global movement.

Please, I’d like to get as many as possible, particularly from young people and GLYNI members – let’s show that we won’t tolerate hate anywhere, and especially not here!

– Peace, out
– Matt

Categories: lgbt politics

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The War for the Internet

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You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about ‘Cablegate’ – the continuing saga of USA, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Anonymous, TheJester, the list goes on. A quick summary of the situation follows, and some analysis and knock-on effects as I see them.

WikiLeaks is an anonymous whistle-blower organisation – ‘wiki’ being that anyone can contribute, similarly to Wikipedia. WikiLeaks stopped this ‘free edit’ policy a while back as it was too hard to manage, but set up a system for people to anonymously submit secrets. Now, we aren’t talking about how you’re the one stole your neighbour’s gnome here; we’re talking big things – governments, corporations, groups etc.
A while back, WikiLeaks released a multitude of material on the Iraq war, including video of US chopper pilots and soldiers shooting at a bunch of civilians, journalists and children. Ever since, the US has been on a slow burn – make no mistake, they hate WikiLeaks in the US Government. It’s very clear.
Cablegate has pushed the US to breaking – it is the simultaneous release of hundreds of ‘cables’ i.e. little notes or snippets from US ambassadors, representative and more. They are retained by the government and access is restricted but the cables are NOT classified. The contents range from little observances on foreign policitians, to records of orders from Hilary Clinton to collect intelligence, DNA, biometrics and more on foreign UN ambassadors. It also sheds light on the relationship between nations.

The US Government knew about the planned release and had worked hard to mitigate the damage but there will obviously be fallout, and perhaps a loss of trust between nations, spies, ambassadors and so on. And that’s when things get silly…
The Americans are taking things out firmly on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. I have a number of problems with that. Firstly, they are spouting a line of “This will cost lives” yet have admitted that the information has, thus far, neither been damaging nor has placed anyone at risk. They have also called to name WikiLeaks a ‘terrorist organisation’

WHAT? WikiLeaks a terrorist organisation? Or from Sarah Palin, who called that Assange be designated a terrorist and that US Special Forces move in and assassinate him? What is WRONG with the USA???

I know that every government, to a greater or lesser degree, involves themselves in this kind of stuff. But what they all have to realise is that information flow is greater now than it ever has been. When something occurs, everybody knows in seconds. And I’m sorry, but governments need to rethink themselves – this stuff WILL out, and in this age everybody WILL hear about it. So it’s time to STOP. If you don’t want to be damaged by a leak, stop doing crazy, morally ambiguous, evil, terrorising stuff.
“Oh, but the UK does it too, they all do” – Yeah, I bet. And it’s in YOUR name. Is ignorance bliss? You don’t care as long as nobody finds out? Bullshit. I don’t want this stuff done in my name.

Moving on to Assange. I don’t know the ins and outs of his accused crime, but all the coverage I’ve seen suggests that the allegations have some serious flaws, mostly in the two particular girls. They seem to have decided it was non-consensual AFTER they found out he was two-timing them. So, he’s a dick, but hardly rape. However, Sweden has odd sex laws such as “I was drunk therefore it was rape” kinds of allegations. I personally think these are damaging on the whole to the victims of rape.
I hope that the US did not put pressure on Sweden to continue to pursue allegations that had TWICE been rejected at appellate courts, but I’m willing to bet they did. At the same time, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, SwissBank, Amazon, EveryDNS… they have all cut their ties with WikiLeaks for various reasons. This has severely hurt the funds of WikiLeaks. The only one to actively admit that it was pressed by the US was PayPal, who said that the “State dept. informed us that they were involved in illegal activities”.

So yeah, forget courts, burden of proof, justice. PayPal doesn’t care. I’m willing to bet the story is similar to the rest. What exactly has America got to hide?

Enter TheJester and Anonymous. TheJester is some absolute juvenile cunt who, prior to this, was presumably in the US army serving in the Middle East. He calls himself a “hacktivist fighting for good” when really he is a patriot. And you know, I use that word now without even thinking of the presumed “I love my country” bullshit. When I hear patriot I think of a stupid, blind, puppet of an American. The ones that blindly follow the whim of the government or their leaders for some delusion of national pride. TheJester also seems to be some sort of programmer, though I suspect his programming experience is average. He seems to have ‘adapted’ (plagiarised) a program called SlowLORIS to make XerXes, a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) program that routes using Tor, the onion network, for anonymity. He has used his software in the past in order to DDOS ‘jihadist’ websites. A noble cause maybe.
Now he has turned on WikiLeaks. Yet, his failings became evident very quickly; mere hours after egotistically declaring “TANGO DOWN” on his twitter the WikiLeaks site was back. And this guy has himself an enemy.

Anonymous have waded in, in the name of Internet openness and freedom. And they have launched Operation:Payback, and it has been working fantastically! They have their target list of all those who betrayed WikiLeaks, and have been attacking as a group; today, MasterCard has been down.
Anonymous are a force and one you do not want against you – they have no head, only teeth. They are generally morally guided to causes, and while sometimes dicky, I think they are an important bunch. Those who do not care that their methods are illegal, they are vigilantes and rioters. But sometimes you need such people to effect great change.

So, in what could be the first Internet War, who are the players?
WikiLeaks and their ally Anonymous fight for a free internet and world.
USA government (and others), their foot-soldiers (TheJester) and their subservient corporations fight for their own ends.

This won’t be a war that you know when it ends. But it could fundamentally change the internet, and it some ways it already has shown me one thing. Companies control too much of the Internet for my liking. Amazon, Ebay, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, PayPal… the list goes on. And as long as these entities have no moral centre of their own and will do whatever the US tell them to, the Internet is at risk. They want WikiLeaks shut down because its not under their control, and that scares them. Bastards, that’s all I can say. USA always has the approach of policing the world, and always to its own ends. The line stops here; the Internet is NOT yours to police and there are those who will fight to keep it from you.

In summary; go WikiLeaks, go Anonymous, go fuck yourself USA. Hypocritical, paranoid monsters with some severe entitlement issues.

I know which side I’m on, have you chosen yours yet? The time may soon come where your voice needs heard, not just in disapproving comments in the pub, work, online comments, but instead on the streets – it is the only thing they will listen to.
It is time that governments started doing what their masters tell them; that’s you and me.

UPDATE: Anonymous has now taken down Visa

Will the Digital Economy Act ever be repealed?

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The Digital Economy Act… Passed by the Commons during ‘wash-up’… Democracy guys… democracy in action. Most MPs didn’t bother to turn up.

Do me, and online freedom a favour. Switch to TalkTalk:

One of the country’s largest broadband providers, TalkTalk, has said it would rather go to court than disconnect a customer’s account for alleged copyright infringement. It has also pledged to never surrender a customer’s details to copyright holders without a court order.

Andrew Heaney, executive director of strategy and regulation at TalkTalk, wrote on the company blog: “Many draconian proposals remain [in the Act], such as the presumption that they [customers] are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent, and, as in China, the potential for legitimate search engines and websites to be blocked.

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