I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream… for Racial Justice

I’d drink the white tears ensuing, but my doctor says that much salt is bad for my health. Ben & Jerry’s announces its support of BLM, allocating a portion of its proceeds to non-profits working to help black voters overcome voter suppression:

“We believe that saying Black lives matter is not to say that the lives of those who serve in the law enforcement community don’t. We respect and value the commitment to our communities that those in law enforcement make, and we respect the value of every one of their lives.

But we do believe that — whether Black, brown, white, or blue — our nation and our very way of life is dependent on the principle of all people being served equal justice under the law. And it’s clear, the effects of the criminal justice system are not color blind.”

Ten cool points if you can guess what happened next. Got your bingo cards ready?

Source: Faebook & US Uncut

Source: Facebook & US Uncut

Source: Facebook & US Uncut

Somebody call the whaaambulance.

I don’t know how people even have the patience to explain this shit anymore, but I’m glad there are folks out there doing good work.

As for Ben & Jerry’s, I think I’ll have some ice cream for dinner.

-Shiv

Blasphemy Day formally recognized in Victoria

Hey, you wanna know what Saudi Arabia and Canada has in common?

Blasphemy laws!

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is a religious satire that was controversial for its time, drawing accusations of blasphemy.

In 1980, an Anglican vicar laid a blasphemous libel charge after an Ontario theatre showed the film.

That was the last time that law was used but it still remains part of Canada’s criminal code carrying a maximum punishment of two years in prison.

1980 isn’t that old, considering the egregious human rights violations that blasphemy laws represent. It is nonetheless unsettling to have any blasphemy law on the books at all, even if it is obsolete and “not enforced” these days, because it gives churches the wrong idea that their faith is an untouchable conversation. I probably don’t have to tell you why atheists bristle at this idea.

Here’s the good news:

[Ian Bushfield] wants the federal government to repeal the blasphemy law, and to raise awareness, he introduced a proclamation to Victoria City Council to make September 30th, this Friday, International Blasphemy Rights Day.

“This is a big opportunity for Canada to stand up for freedom of speech. I don’t think right now there’s a risk of anyone being charged under the blasphemy law but it’s still in the books.”

Two city councillors voted against creating International Blasphemy Rights Day, the rest voted in favour.

“You should be able to be subject to free thought and express your opinions that may offend others but as long as you do it thoughtfully, carefully and in a non-threatening way that’s ok,” said councillor Chris Coleman who voted in favour.

Blasphemy Day is now officially recognized in Victoria, which is certainly a start. But it really is a law that needs to be struck from the books, and pronto.

Fuck the Pope.

Fuck the Clerics.

Fuck the Baptists, in general.

“Religious sensibilities” is an oxymoron.

“Religious education” is an oxymoron.

Faith is not a virtue.

etc.

Thanks,

-Shiv

Worldwide chess championship to be hosted in Iran, women competing told they “must” wear hijabs

If the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) has any intention of shedding old boy’s clubs attitudes from competitive chess, they ought to reconsider where they’re hosting the 2017 World Championship: Tehran, Iran–where women are legally obligated under penalty of fine, jail time, and lashes to adhere to a modesty code which includes wearing the hijab.

Here’s the good ish news: Grandmasters are threatening to boycott if the women competing are forced into a hijab. I’ll argue in a moment that it’s not enough to give competitors an exemption from Iran’s modesty code.

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#BlackMonday in Poland partially successful

This Monday was #BlackMonday in Poland, a massive call for women & allies to go on strike to protest a proposed total ban on abortion:

The proposed law would further tighten Poland’s abortion laws, already among the strictest in Europe, by eliminating access to the procedure for rape survivors or in the case of fatal fetal abnormalities. The law would also prohibit medical personnel from performing abortions unless a woman was in “imminent” danger of dying and could effectively criminalize miscarriage.

The proposed bill survived its first parliamentary vote last week and was referred to a parliamentary committee for further input.

“Going to [the proposed] total ban would be something really odious, and something that would make life of women there extremely dangerous,” Irene Donadio, public affairs manager for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network, told BuzzFeed News by telephone.

Proving as ever that “life” has nothing to do with their policies, forced birther advocates don’t seem to be particularly concerned about the consequences of these draconian bans. (emphasis mine)

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White men have killed more cops than all other groups combined

Dear #BlueLivesMatter,

I question where your outrage is. You’re the type who thinks calling for police accountability is hate speech. You’re the type who’s taken the hook, line, and sinker of Faux News characterizing Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group–despite the fact that the only police casualties at a BLM rally were from someone unaffiliated with the movement. You’re keen to latch on to the more hazy or questionable cases of justified violence from police, whilst conveniently ignoring the slough of black women and men who died complying to police orders. You can see black children being assaulted by police and for some reason, this doesn’t galvanize you. Cops have been caught on camera inventing crimes to charge protesters with. And an entire police department has been indicted in keeping a teenaged girl as a sex slave for two years, but you’re still convinced bad apples are in the minority, or at the very least aren’t influential.

You’re willing to consider the absolute number of police brutality deaths as evidence that whites have it worse, but you ignore that the absolute number of people who murder police are overwhelmingly white:

Something’s afoot, though, on why we’re not hearing much about this shocking increase in the number of officers who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016. Sadly, I think I have the answer.

Seventy-one percent of police who’ve been shot and killed this year weren’t murdered by black men with cornrows or hoodies. They weren’t gunned down by Latino gang members in low-rider drive-bys. Those stereotypes would be too convenient. Instead, 71% of police who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016 have been killed by good old-fashioned white men.

You haven’t seen these stories on Fox News or Breitbart because they don’t fit their narrative of blaming police violence on the Black Lives Matter movement or President Obama. Because “scary” black faces can’t be flashed across their screens, they don’t even tell the stories at all — which suggests they don’t care so much about police, but about using police deaths like a political football.

You best believe that if a 59% rise in the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty could be blamed on immigrants, Mexicans, or black folk, it would be a regular conservative talking point.

Instead, Donald Trump has never mentioned these fallen officers on the campaign trail because it may have very well been his supporters who did the shooting for all he knows.

It appears that blue lives only matter to popular conservatives when they are taken by somebody they can easily demonize. In the meantime, police groups continue to protest a black woman when a black woman hasn’t killed an officer in years.

Welcome to America. 2016.

So you mean one of the most vivid violent actions you can take against the State–the murder of its officials–is primarily carried out by white people??

Where be all the white terrorist posters and media pundits?

-Shiv

There is no “compromise”

I wanted to elaborate on my Best Friend Jason Kenney’s “poor counsel,” in which he advised the Albertan government to reach a “compromise” with the two Baptist schools that refuse to adhere to Bill 10, a law signed in by the previous conservative administration that obligated all schools to form a Gay-Straight Alliance or Queer-Straight Alliance should the students request one.

Shortly after these comments made the news, David Climenhaga of Alberta Politics pointed out that as a human rights issue, there is no reasonable way to compromise between Queer lobby groups who largely wish to enjoy the same privileges as anyone else and religious lobby groups who want to continue bludgeoning us out of existence.

Just to elaborate: the “Gay Agenda” has largely been about accessing the same civil sectors as anyone else, and enjoying the privileges that we are supposedly afforded by virtue of being a Western democracy. But religious reactionaries campaign from legal exemptions to treat Queer folks equitably in the name of their faith, thereby re-ifying the nature of cishetero privileges by making them, well, privileges rather than rights.

So I would like to see Climenhaga’s question repeated until it’s mainstream: “Where, exactly, do you plan to compromise?”

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September Comment of the Month

Welcome everyone! Here on AtG we want to foster some excellent, weapons-grade snark. In that endeavour, I will highlight two winners each month to praise them for their excellent snark, in the hopes that others will follow suit! Please note it is typically a difficult choice to make and many of you snark very well, and I encourage you to continue doing so. You will inevitably make it!

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I get email

That’s right! PZ isn’t the only one “popular” enough to get hatemail around here!

I’m featuring this one sentence mostly because it’s short and sweet, and void of the incessant hateful spewage that seem to be what most people dredge up upon seeing a woman–and a trans woman at that–with an opinion on the internet:

Why are so many of your posts tagged with ‘Conservative hypocrisy’?

…they ask, answering their own question.

Does receiving my first hatemail make me a Grown Up Blogger now? Did I make it?

I feel like this is a major milestone!

I’m tearing up!

Don’t worry, I’ll remember the little people!

-Shiv

What the fuck, BC Liberals?

All I want for xmas is for privileged politicians to stop shitting on people.

The British Colombian Liberal government rolled back two programs for disabled BC residents, resulting in their bus passes going from $45/year to $625/year.

Clark’s BC Liberal government just made it harder for 55,000 British Columbians living with disabilities to get around – despite facing a greater likelihood of unemployment and poverty.

That’s because Clark’s government cut two programs helping disabled British Columbians cover transportation costs, presenting the changes as a net-increase in benefits even though they’re likely seeing a net-decrease in benefits.

The changes, which have led to 3,500 disabled British Columbians giving up their bus passes, is being described as “cold hearted.”

No shit it’s cold hearted. Public transportation is critical for the empowerment of disabled folks, as transportation barriers bleeds into so many other civil sectors like employment or recreational opportunities.

Why on fucking Earth to these program cuts keep happening to put budgets in the black? Start taxing your absurdly wealthy instead of kicking the people who are already struggling!

Enough with austerity. 

Jesus christ. Fuck you, Clark.

-Shiv

In which the Pope makes Siobhan’s irony meter explode

Favourite irony meter-breaker Pope Francis opened his mouth again, and this time I think I fainted.

Then in the plane ride back to Rome, the pope told reporters that he had intended only to be critical of teaching children in school about what it means to be transgender. He reportedly used the word “transgender,” and he compared it to being gay. The church acknowledges people are gay but claims it’s a sin to act on same-sex attraction.

“It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option and even to have a sex change, but it is another thing to teach this in schools in order to change mentalities,” said the pope on the plane, according to Catholic News. “This I call ideological colonization.”

Catholics. Lecturing on colonization. I just

Wat.

-Shiv, Annihilator of Man, Fashionable Communist, who can’t even right now