Archive for the ‘Fundamentalism’ Category

‘Uncomfortable’ climates to devastate cities within a decade, study says

Monday, November 4th, 2013

– This is what John Roach of NBC News has to say on October 9th, 2013

– But this has all been coming, writ large, for a long time.  

-It’s been coming since:

Lyndon Johnson discussed the CO2 we were putting into the atmosphere in 1965.

Since the Club of Rome discussions and their paper on “The Limits to Growth” in 1972.

Since the World Scientists issued their warning to Humanity in 1992.

– But it is only just now beginning to reach the evening news as plausible news.  

– We have just a few greedy, self-centered people and corporations to thank for the fact that their misinformation has been instrumental in delaying humanities waking up on these threats until it is virtually too late.  

Most recently, Naomi Oreskes showed us this in her book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

– Some of us remember how Mussolini ended up.   I wonder, when the damages are finally appreciated, if these folks may fare the same.   I won’t cry any crocodile tears for them; that’s for sure.  

-By their actions many, many millions will die, cities and nations will fall, species innumerable will go extinct and most of our descendants will have less than optimal lives to look forward to; if they manage to live through the changes that are coming.

– dennis

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Lesser daysThe world is hurtling toward a stark future where the web of life unravels, human cultures are uprooted, and millions of species go extinct, according to a new study. This doomsday scenario isn’t far off, either: It may start within a decade in parts of Indonesia, and begin playing out over most of the world — including cities across the United States — by mid-century.

What’s more, even a serious effort to stabilize spiraling greenhouse gas emissions will only stave off these changes until around 2069, notes the study from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. The authors warn that the time is now to prepare for a world where even the coldest of years will be warmer than the hottest years of the past century and a half.

“We are used to the climate that we live in. With this climate change, what is going to happen is we’re going to be moving outside this comfort zone,” biologist Camilo Mora, the study’s lead author, told NBC News. “It is going to be uncomfortable for us as humans and it will be very uncomfortable for species as well.”

– To Read More of this article:  

– Still with the doubts, Sweetpea?   Then please read this:

 

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

– I don’t think the best of our idealists are going to be going out on Greenpeace ships any more to protest politely.   Not when they stand to lose the most of their young lives sitting in Russian prisons for the crime of idealism and the crime of trying to wake people up to the stupidity and danger gathering all around us.

– The days or holding signs and protesting peacefully are withering away all over the world as people realize that none of that has been effective.   And now it is become downright dangerous.

– I first read that an ecologically sane world and the world of Capitalism may not be compatible bedfellows on this planet back in 2008 when I read The Bridge at the Edge of the World by James Gustave Speth; Yale University.   He is and has been a major leading light in all things environment in the U.S. and he’s been a team player all along.  So, this was a hard conclusion for him to come to.

– In the article, below, Naomi Klein tells us that others up and down the line are coming to the same conclusions.  

– If what we’ve been doing isn’t working and losing is not an option for those of us who love this world and our children, then quite simply, new measures will be needed.

– dennis

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Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.

In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.

But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).

Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”

There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”.

Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn’t exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people – along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street – represent the likeliest source of “friction” to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control. We know that past social movements have “had tremendous influence on . . . how the dominant culture evolved”, he pointed out. So it stands to reason that, “if we’re thinking about the future of the earth, and the future of our coupling to the environment, we have to include resistance as part of that dynamics”. And that, Werner argued, is not a matter of opinion, but “really a geophysics problem”.

Plenty of scientists have been moved by their research findings to take action in the streets. Physicists, astronomers, medical doctors and biologists have been at the forefront of movements against nuclear weapons, nuclear power, war, chemical contamination and creationism. And in November 2012,Nature published a commentary by the financier and environmental philanthropist Jeremy Grantham urging scientists to join this tradition and “be arrested if necessary”, because climate change “is not only the crisis of your lives – it is also the crisis of our species’ existence”.

– More:  

 

Indonesia heads for the 13th century

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

– In a recent article, I lambasted the Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban for wanting to take us back to the 13th century.

– I also cited how big Islam is here on Earth:

If you look up Islam on the web, you will learn that 50 countries have Muslim majorities.  23% of the world’s population is Muslim.   Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity.  And, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

– Let’s add to that the fact that the most populous Islamic nation is Indonesia.

– So, it comes as more than a bit worrying that Indonesia’s Education and Culture Ministry is planning on changing the curriculum for Indonesia primary students.  See these links:    , , and 

– They are going to emphasize religious and Indonesian nationalist studies and eliminate Science and English studies.

– dennis

On Radical Islam and the Taliban

Monday, October 15th, 2012

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. 

~ Nietzsche

There is a strain of Islam loose on our planet which would like to take us back to the 13th century.  Just the other day, some of these fellows shot a 14 year old school girl in the face in an attempted assassination in the Swat Valley area of Afghanistan.  Her crime was advocating that women should have a right to education.

In their most extreme form, Islamic Fundamentalists would impose their religious police on us.  They would reject the equality of men and women.  They would reject the separation of Church and State.  They would reject freedom of speech.  They would reject freedom of religion.  They would reject freedom of assembly and they would reject freedom of the press.  They would force us to dress by their codes.  They believe that they have a right to kill anyone who speaks out against Islam.   Indeed, they think it is Islam’s right to rule the world and many of them think that this will be accomplished by the sword.

I’m not going to mince words here.  They, and those like them, who would impose their faith-based belief systems on the rest of us by force are a cancer among us.

The Taliban are creating terrible havoc in the world today and I, for one, have lost all patience with them.  And I have lost all patience with the multiculturalists who say we should tolerate them and turn the other cheek and hope that they will learn by our example.

The Western World

We in the western industrialized nations have spent centuries clawing our way up and out of a world of made of superstition, violence, disease, slavery, inequality, and religious domination.  At the end of all that, our societies are not by any means perfect but they are vastly better than what went before.

Much of what drove people into a Diaspora from Europe and onto the American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand shores was a deep desire to get away from religious oppression and political domination.

So, here we are now in our comfortable western democratic societies enjoying the benefits of freedom of religion, speech, and assembly.  Here we are enjoying our societies in which women have equality and the vote.

But what are these societies of ours?

Well, these societies we’re enjoying are secular societies which means that they are not exclusively allied to any particular religion.

This point is worth thinking about for those of you who are religious (and I know that most of you are).   We live in peaceful country wherein those of us of different religious persuasions get along well because we live in a secular society in which we are all guaranteed an equal right to practice our faith.

But, unfortunately, in today’s world, some folks make the word ‘secular’ sound like it’s a dirty word.

Next time you hear someone say such a thing, stand back and reflect and ask yourself what that person wants to accomplish.  You’ll find that most of them will be in favor of abandoning secularism in favor of being able to impose whatever their favorite religion is upon the rest of us; to make it into the state religion that we all have to follow.

And isn’t that just another way to take us back to the 13th century?  Didn’t we just come from there not long ago?

Stories from the Islamic World

I started this article by referring to the 14 year old school girl shot in Afghanistan for simply advocating the rights of women to get an education.  I could cite many more stories I have followed over the years from the Islamic world.

Did you know that they perform forced female genital mutilations on young girls in Egypt?  This is done to remove their clitoris to  ensure their chaste behavior.  The idea being that these woman cannot not now feel sexual pleasure and thus will never be tempted to stray.

Did you know that there are honor killings carried out because young women in some countries have the audacity to think that they have the right to decide for themselves who they  want to marry?

Did you know that women in many Islamic counties are required to wear garments that completely cover them?  This is done so that they will not incite lust in men.

And did you know that in many places women have no right to vote, own land, drive a car or even go outside unless accompanied by their husband or a male blood relative?

These things go on in many Islamic counties in the world today.  Countries which are members of the U.N., countries which are geo-political allies of the U.S.   Countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt to name a few.

Someday, these different world views are going to collide; Islam’s and ours. There’s even an academic phrase for this likelihood.  It is, “The Clash of Civilizations”.

If you look up Islam on the web, you will learn that 50 countries have Muslim majorities.  23% of the world’s population is Muslim.   Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity.  And, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

Islam in perspective

But before I go any further, let me point out in fairness that Islam is not all one thing.

There are fundamentalist Muslims and there are progressive Muslims.  There are those who believe in women’s equality and those who don’t.  There are those who are willing to live along side other cultures and belief systems in tolerance and there are those who are not.  There are educated Muslims and there are ignorant ones.  There are many Muslims in the world today that reject the violence of the few such as the Taliban.  There are Islamic countries where women can dress as they like, get an education, drive cars and own property just as people in our countries can.

In the future, I sincerely hope that most of Islam will follow the same path that our western nations did and claw their way out of the darkness and into some semblance of the light to join us here in the 21st century.

We should all hope so because the world is getting smaller decade by decade and we are all being pressed up against each other more and more.

The current pressures and problems in Europe, which has allowed millions of Muslims to immigrate, illustrates these tensions.  And where Europe goes now, we will all eventually follow.

I’m out of tolerance

Personally, I’ve run out of tolerance for the more extreme forms of Islam just as I’ve run out of tolerance for the more extreme forms of Christianity in the U.S.

Those Islamic Imams who call for the overthrow of the evil and corrupt western states and who want to impose their Sharia Law of us are no different to me than those Christian preachers among us who think that the Bible should trump the Constitution and that the U.S. should become officially a Christian State and all the decisions in it should be driven by interpretations of Biblical scripture.

All these folks want to take us back to the 13th century and I thoroughly reject them all.   The freedoms we’ve gained over these last centuries in these secular states are far too valuable to yield to people whose convictions are all faith based and who think that their understandings and beliefs should trump our rights.

Let me step aside here, as I did with the Muslims, and strongly assert that the vast majority of Christians and Christian preachers are not radical fundamentalists bent on replacing the secular state and the Constitution and establishing a Christian state.   Most Christians are steeped in tolerance and want to live and let live. They are the salt of the earth and the very bedrock of our western nations and they are not the people I am talking about here.

If you think I’m wrong by including Christians in with my complaints, you should consider some of the Christian movements afoot in the U.S. now like Joel’s Army.

And as to the pointy end of the stick of Islamic Fundamentalism; the Taliban?

Frankly, my friends, I’ve lost all patience with them and their shooting of 14 year-old girls and I’d advocate a scorched earth policy on them where ever their shadow falls.

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 – This article was updated on 18 Oct 2012 to reflect that nothing I say here should be seen as reflecting on the vast majority of Christians or Muslims.  The vast majority are tolerance and quite willing to live and let live.   I am only speaking in this article of those who would impose their faith-based belief systems on the rest of us by force.  – dennis

– Private critique by David D. – much appreciated.

Taliban attack wounds teen activist blogger

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

– I have no time for people who want to take us back into the darkness of the 13th century and who want to impose their dark fundamentalist ideas on us.

– I appreciate the idea of multiculturalism as well as the next fellow, I think.   But respect has to be reciprocal   It’s hard to deal with folks who believe on faith that they are right and doing God’s work and that you are evil incarnate.

– So, when it comes to Islamic fundamentalists (or Christian Fundamentalists who’d like to subvert secular states to the their own literal translations of biblical verse), I have no patience.  None.

– dennis

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Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Malala Yousufzai’s courageous blogging against the Taliban set her apart from other 14-year-old Pakistani girls.

Growing up in a region once dominated by the Islamic extremists, she knew the fear associated with the word Taliban.

One of her fears came to pass Tuesday, when gunmen sought her out and opened fire on her school van, leaving her seriously wounded along with two other classmates.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, Taliban spokesman Ihsnaullah Ishan told CNN. Ishan blamed the shooting on Malala’s activist blogging.

Although she is now hospitalized in stable condition and “out of immediate danger,” a bullet is lodged in Malala’s neck and will be difficult to remove, her doctor said.

The attack began when armed militants stopped a van as it was taking her and two other girls home from school. The attackers asked which girl was Malala, said Kainat Bibi, one of the wounded girls. When the girls pointed Malala out, the men opened fire, Bibi said, wounding the girls before the van’s driver was able to speed away. The other two girls’ injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Malala lives in northwest Pakistan’s Swat Valley — one of the nation’s most conservative regions. Her frustration with the Taliban’s restrictions on female education in her town prompted her to use the Internet and speak out, effectively making herself a target.

– More…

– Research thanks to Lise L.

 

End of an Era

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

– Parents, it is time to think about where your children are going to be when the sh** hits the fan.  I don’t think we’re going to avoid this mess but you could shift them to a place where another generation or two might have reasonable lives.   If you think that might be in a big city in the U.S., I think you are missing the point.

– Dennis

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By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 25th June 2012

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the US, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth”, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses(1).

The future

The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction, but on defending the machine that is destroying it. Whenever consumer capitalism becomes snarled up by its own contradictions, governments scramble to mend the machine, to ensure – though it consumes the conditions that sustain our lives – that it runs faster than ever before.

The thought that it might be the wrong machine, pursuing the wrong task, cannot even be voiced in mainstream politics. The machine greatly enriches the economic elite, while insulating the political elite from the mass movements it might otherwise confront. We have our bread; now we are wandering, in spellbound reverie, among the circuses.

We have used our unprecedented freedoms, secured at such cost by our forebears, not to agitate for justice, for redistribution, for the defence of our common interests, but to pursue the dopamine hits triggered by the purchase of products we do not need. The world’s most inventive minds are deployed not to improve the lot of humankind but to devise ever more effective means of stimulation, to counteract the diminishing satisfactions of consumption. The mutual dependencies of consumer capitalism ensure that we all unwittingly conspire in the trashing of what may be the only living planet. The failure at Rio de Janeiro belongs to us all.

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To the Chinese and the Indians go … the spoils of war

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

– Ah, where did all those billions spent on Afghanistan go and what were they for?   So the Chinese and others could come in and reap the mineral wealth of the country and the Afghan women could be returned to the Taliban for another round of fundamentalist abuse.   Beautiful work USA.

– Dennis

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The money and blood pit that is Afghanistan – where the United States and Britain have spent more than 2100 lives and £302 billion ($580 billion) – is about to pay a dividend.

But it won’t be going to the countries which have made this considerable sacrifice. The contracts to open up Afghanistan’s mineral and fossil-fuel wealth, and to build the railways that will transport it out of the country, are being won or pursued by China, India, Iran, and Russia.

The potentially lucrative task of exploiting Afghanistan’s immense mineral wealth – estimated to be worth around £2 trillion, according to the Kabul Government – is only in the early stages. But already China and India in particular are doing deals and beginning work.

Facilities already established are being protected by local army and police, part of whose funding, and most of whose training, has been a US/British responsibility.

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Trio’s ‘honour’ killing stuns Canada

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

– I so agree with the judge’s comment.   This stuff is so stone-age.

“It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime … the apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honor … that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.”

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A jury has found an Afghan father, his wife and their son guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as “cold-blooded, shameful murders” resulting from a “twisted concept of honour.”

The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in a case that shocked and riveted Canadians from coast to coast. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia’s childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.

Their bodies were found June 30, 2009, in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario, where the family had stopped for the night on their way home to Montreal from Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and going online.

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Somalia’s al-Shabab bans mixed-sex handshake

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Men and women have been banned from shaking hands in a district of Somalia controlled by the Islamist group al-Shabab.

Under the ban imposed in the southern town of Jowhar, men and women who are not related are also barred from walking together or chatting in public.

It is the first time such social restrictions have been introduced.

The al-Shabab administration said those who disobeyed the new rules would be punished according to Sharia law.

The BBC’s Mohamed Moalimuu in Mogadishu says the penalty would probably be a public flogging.

The militant group has already banned music in areas that it controls, which include most of central and southern Somalia.

Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991.

The UN-backed government only controls parts of Mogadishu and a few other areas.

– To the original…

Multiculturalism has failed: Merkel

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

– I’ve had something to say on this subject before.    See:   and

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a long-time opponent of xenophobia.

Now, however, she appears to be embracing it, for reasons of political expediency.

Merkel has branded Germany’s attempts to build a multicultural society an “utter failure” in an unprecedented speech designed to revive her own and her conservative party’s flagging popularity and regain the initiative in an increasingly hostile public debate about immigration.

Ms Merkel, who normally scrupulously avoids courting xenophobic opinion, bluntly told a meeting of young members of her ruling Christian Democratic party that the “Multikulti” notion of people from different cultural backgrounds living happily side by side simply did not work.

“This approach has failed, utterly failed,” she told applauding young conservatives gathered at a conference in Potsdam outside Berlin on Saturday. Instead she urged Germany’s 16 million immigrants to do more to integrate into society and to learn German.

Earlier, in a reference to Germany’s 2.5 million Turkish immigrant population, she told delegates: “In the beginning of the Sixties, we called on foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country.” She added: “We kidded ourselves for a while by saying they won’t stay, sometime they will be gone, but this isn’t reality.” Ms Merkel’s remarks were both a response to a surge of anti-immigrant feeling in Germany and an attempt to counter her vulnerable position in her own party.

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