Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in the UK in April 2018. We urge the CHOGM 2018 organisers to:

  • Include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) human rights on the main CHOGM agenda
  • Invite openly LGBTI people from the Commonwealth to address the CHOGM leaders.

We appeal to all Commonwealth countries to:

  • Decriminalise same-sex relations
  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity
  • Enforce laws against threats & violence, to protect LGBTI people from hate crime
  • Consult and dialogue with LGBTI organisations

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has never in its entire six-decade history discussed LGBTI human rights. The time has come.

37 out of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalise same-sex relations. They account for half of the world’s nations where homosexuality is illegal. Most of these countries inherited their anti-gay laws from Britain during the period of colonial rule; making these laws a hang-over from the colonial era.

At least eight of these 37 countries have a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for same-sex acts and there is the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan.

Hate crimes against LGBTI people often pass unchecked in most Commonwealth countries, with frequent mob violence. The majority of LGBTIs living in Commonwealth states have no legal protection against discrimination in employment, housing and the provision of goods and services.

This makes a mockery of Commonwealth values and the Commonwealth Charter 2013.

We urge CHOGM 2018 to lead the way in raising awareness of LGBTI rights as human rights and to act to remedy LGBTI rights abuses.

Four out of five Commonwealth countries, which are signatories to the Charter, have failed to adhere to its principles and the Commonwealth has failed to ensure that these nations respect the human rights of their LGBTI citizens.

The criminalisation of LGBTI people in Commonwealth countries often goes hand-in-hand with other human rights violations, such as restrictions on free speech and the right to protest/strike, media censorship and discrimination against women and ethnic and faith minorities.

We stand in solidarity with all Commonwealth citizens who are victims of human rights abuses.

Please consider signing this petition.


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If Black Lives Matter said "More guns, we need,"
Just imagine the right-wing's spittle-filled screeds.
Just imagine the scenes, the cries and the screams
If leftists lobbied for death-machines.
If socialists wanted AR's for "protection,"
T'would be called a communist insurrection!

But you're okay, on the right and white;
Surely you with a gun should cause no fright.
How could we imagine you'd misuse such might?
Death at your hip is your god-given right!

So let us now kneel down and pray
To the Lords of all—the NRA.
Let the children fall in bloody tatters;
Guns and profit are all that matters!



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Would somebody please explain to me
How wishing a merry Christmas-day
Is an act which could be said to be
"Judeo" in any form, any way.
"Judeo-Christian" values? Pah!
Is perfunctory lip-service, even, paid
To the Talmud or the Tanakh?
Do you recognize Tzedakah? No! Such aid
To the poor is decried as RED COMMEENISM!
Your value system on greed's lathe is turned.
Judeo-anything, it certainly isn't,
And even poor Jesus is hard to discern.
Your "values," if as such they may be described,
Are nothing but hate, they're reactionary.
Your churches are nought but places to hide
From a world you ne'er saw from your mammy's knee.
A fig-leaf of inclusion, that "Judeo" prefix
Can't hide your obstinate Protestantism.
You hardly let Catholics into the mix!
Call it what you like, but Judeo it isn't.



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One Hundred Years After Balfour

A video by Independent Jewish Voices, marking the upcoming one-hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. I think the film pretty much speaks for itself.



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Gun Control: A Petition

Unfortunately, only those who live in the USA may sign this one. (I tried, and got told I don't have a valid zip code.) But if you do, please do.

Emergency petition: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need gun control now.

Last night in Las Vegas, a lone gunmen rained gunfire down on a country music concert, killing more than 50 people and sending more than 400 to the hospital. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.1

Republicans in Congress – who have fought for years to block any legislation that would protect Americans from gun violence – were quick to offer their “thoughts and prayers” in response. But thoughts and prayers are not enough to keep weapons of war out of dangerous hands and begin to address our country’s horrific gun violence epidemic.

It is time for Republicans in Congress to join Democrats in standing up to the National Rifle Association and pass commonsense gun control laws that will save American lives.

Tell Republicans in Congress: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need gun control now.

Last night’s shooting is far from an isolated incident. According to Newsweek’s John Haltiwanger, there have now been “273 mass shootings and over 11,000 deaths from gun violence in America” in 2017 alone.2

But instead of working to protect Americans from the gun violence epidemic, Republicans in Congress are planning to vote as soon as this week on two bills that would make Americans even more vulnerable to gun violence:

  • The SHARE Act (H.R. 3668), which would repeal restrictions on gun silencers and make it harder to detect the source of gunfire during mass shootings.3
  • The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38), which would undermine state efforts to protect residents from gun violence by forcing states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other state, no matter how lax the state’s permitting standards are.4

We must forcefully demand that Congress reject both of these dangerous pieces of legislation and take immediate action to ban weapons of war, including assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Please add your name to our emergency petition now.

Tell Republicans in Congress: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need gun control now.

Stephen Paddock, the suspect in the Las Vegas shooting, reportedly had at least 10 rifles in the hotel room he used as a sniper perch.6 There’s simply no good reason for a private citizen to have access to that many weapons of war, but it should not come as a surprise.

Nevada has some of the weakest gun control laws in the United States. There are no limits on the number of guns an individual can own, and assault weapons are legal in the state as long as they are registered.5 The combination of weak state and federal gun laws made last night’s horrific attack possible.

There’s one reason why Congress consistently fails to take real action on gun violence: the National Rifle Association. The NRA has a chokehold on Congress that keeps most bills about gun control from even coming to the floor for a vote. Politicians beholden to – or afraid of – the NRA are willing to turn their backs on their constituents when it comes time to implement reasonable limits and controls on guns. But you can count on them for a “heartbroken” tweet about their “thoughts and prayers” when a tragic shooting makes the national news.

Finally breaking the NRA’s chokehold on Congress will require massive grassroots pressure on our elected officials, demanding that they deliver more than thoughts and prayers in the face of our epidemic of gun violence.

Tell Republicans in Congress: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need gun control now.

Thanks for everything you do.

  1. The Associated Press, “Trump says he’ll visit Las Vegas on Wednesday,” Oct. 2, 2017
  2. John Haltiwanger, “Tweet,” Oct. 2, 2017.
  3. Peter Ambler, “Gun silencers make it easier to commit crimes quietly,” Chicago Tribune, Sep. 29, 2017.
  4. Michele Gorman, “Guns in America: What is national concealed carry reciprocity?” Newsweek, March 3, 2017.
  5. Callum Paton, “Las Vegas gun laws: Open carry, concealed weapon, machine guns all legal in Nevada,” Newsweek, Oct. 2,2017
  6. Holly Yan, Susannah Cullinane and Philip Victor, “50+ killed in Las Vegas Strip massacre; gunman had 10 rifles, police say” CNN, Oct. 2, 2017

Please sign this petition.

Please do not use comments under this article to argue against gun control. It’ll do nothing to change my mind, and you’ll only be opening yourself up to frustration, when I replace your entire comment with the words “Please fuck off.”

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“They Made The Desert Bloom”

It's a claim you hear all the time, that the Israelis made the desert bloom; the implication being that they had moved into an uncultivated wasteland and, by dint of sheer effort had turned it into a veritable Eden. And every time I hear it I wonder to myself, What do you think the Palestinians had been eating, sand?

As always where such claims of Israeli cultural superiority are made, however, the truth turns out to be far nastier—unless, of course, you think "blooming" and "polluted" are synonyms.



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The BBC have recently started a monthly half-hour radio show [iPlayer or podcast] entitled When Greeks Flew Kites, in which Sarah Dunant and guests attempt to draw parallels between modern and historical events. The title comes from a half-famous 1921 Henry Ford quote:

History is bunk. What difference does it make how many times the Greeks flew their kites?

(For those who want to object that Ford actually said "more or less bunk," it turns out he said both, along with other variations on the theme.)



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