The Arrogance Of Man Verses The Apathetic God

It is time for a treat.

Time for me to once again dig into a topic that at one time, was my whole world. A topic with followers of which initially left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. A topic that I once repeatedly stated to have given my final thoughts on. Yet none the less, a topic that I keep coming back to time and again. Like ideological crack to a frustrated and bored thinker stuck on a treadmill of stupid.

Atheism!

Ah, yes. It’s you again, old friend turned irrational enemy. Time for round 4 . . . 5 . . . oh hell, who’s counting. Just another notch on the bedpost.

My previous interactions with the subject have attempted to showcase it’s status as an ideology, in some circumstances. I’ve taken on many popular atheist mantras such as Babies are Born Atheist!” or Religion is To Atheism as Abstinence is to a sex position. I’ve accused many in the community of behaving like a religion, not unlike their theistic opposition. Some of my older work is not up to my modern day standards, but hey . . . It’s what happens when people grow. Even if my older arguments may not be what they could be, I’m betting they still show more growth than 95% of the outspoken Atheists I’ve ever cited for ANY reason.

And now that I have effectively angered my target cohort into skipping on down to the comments section and typing something incredibly rational, I will get to the point.

Maybe?

Atheists, young and old. Early bloomers and late-stage members (I use the term loosely, lacking a sufficient alternative). While it would seem that I have nothing but contempt for all things atheist, I am on your side. If one peeled back everything short of our collective values, we would likely be in alignment in most areas (well, assuming you are at least somewhat on the left). I’m certainly no defender of the wrongs of religion. And the continued power of religion in the status quo IS bothersome to me.

However, I would draw the line at saying that all evils of humanity stem from religion (a common tenant of mainstream Atheism). I also don’t agree that the single path to the reversal of the theistic domination of society is though Atheism only. In fact, I consider such a stance to be nothing short of intolerant, and caustic to the long term shared l goals of the left in general.

If it is indeed NOT just a brand used to upsell convention’s and t-shirts, why then should someone disbelieving whilst NOT being the openly atheistic matter?

I’m not out to destroy Atheism. Apistevism is another matter . . . But Atheism has a place. Even if many of it’s most vocal defenders tend to be annoying and extremely condescendingly misguided.

Now on that note . . . methods. Idiotic talking points and platitudes aside, there is one trap that we ought to be careful not to step into. That trap being, basing our conclusions more or less off of the endpoint of theistic reasoning. In a nutshell, you would be better served with the justification of your Atheism beyond a single familiar theism.

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

Sam Harris

Ah, Sam Harris.

One of the crusaders behind what became the modern-day nu-atheist movement, and former academic idol (of sorts). That was before the likes of Sam Seeder and Micheal Brooks illuminated the true moronic trust fund baby behind the prestigious reputation, anyway. And that was BEFORE the man embraced debunked pseudoscience based racists and dangerously misogynistic, overtly unbalanced and completely unprosecuted psychologists.

And speaking of annoying things that happen when dealing with ANYTHING Sam Harris related . . . That is not the full quote. Because heaven forbid I get accused of taking it out of context. This, here be the rest of it.

The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion.
Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, ‘this might be all part of God’s plan,’ or ‘there are no accidents in life,’ or ‘everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves’ – these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/358055-either-god-can-do-nothing-to-stop-catastrophes-like-this

Why he didn’t just stick to THAT, I don’t know. But either way, you should get the jist.

This is by no means a new method of argument. Like most people who come to non-belief through any means, I started with the obvious. God. You build on your cultural environment, and thus my initial focus was on the most powerful deity variant in my context. One is not wrong to point out the lack of evidence for God, as per the western interpretation. People of a free mind in the Middle East (or really, anyone growing up in an environment of highlighted Islam) would likely do the same with Allah. Granted, it could be argued that the biggest difference there is linguistic (2 different languages, same concept). Whilst this is amusing to point out to the “Praise Jesus! Do as I say, not as I do!” bigot crowd (“Yeah, you BOTH pray to Allah!”), one can find examples in any culturally religious context.

Though I started with these inclinations as well, I found myself correcting for them years ago. Long before I even begun to get bored of mainstream atheist discourse (let alone my Reichenback Fall from it). Knowing the vastness of the totality of human theism, God seemed a myopic description. Which is why I began substituting the word deity instead.

Though I made this personal correction years ago, I haven’t given it much (well, any) thought since. That is, until an atheist quotes Twitter account fired off the shortened Sam Harris quote above.

First off, I admit to being a bit surprised. I’ve come to consider such methodologies of argument as being, well, juvenile. Something I wouldn’t really question from an up and comer, one who is new to the ambiguity of unbelief. However, given the source, I was a bit taken aback. Though it occurs to me that this is likely a more common occurrence than I realize.

And so, let’s set this straight.

To some, this may seem a silly critique. Targeting an argument on account of a single word (God). A word which is also present in most definitions of Atheism (. . .a god or gods). I’ve pointed out problems I have with the current status quo definition of Atheism previously, so what do you know. . .

I’ve found another one!

Indeed, the word God CAN indeed be used ambiguously. Other contexts can have the terms Gods and Goddesses used without confusion with certain monotheisms. However, given the weight of Christianity in western cultural white noise (AND the lack of differentiation built into most modern definitions of Atheism), I find little recourse but to call for dropping the God.

Oh, the irony.

Another thing . . . lack of Goddesses within the definition of Atheism. Do I detect a wee bit of sexism?

Oh boy . . . let them comments FLY!

But, back down to earth. Whilst the previous was a tad tongue in cheek (since this cohort has gained a recent track record of being, well, snowflake-esk), there was a motive. It tracks back to western monotheism itself. In that there is not one goddess to be found in the whole of it.

Its bloody Blasphemy!

At some point in history, no doubt about it.

Is this about sexism? About a primitive societies lack of (among other things) social awareness? Or about a modern society seemingly unknowingly adopting some of these old biases in the pursuit of rationality?

Not exactly. But, sort of.

To put it bluntly, do not use religion (most commonly, Christianity or Islam) as the start line.

We know that both ideologies contain a motherboard of bad ideas (to quote Mr. Harris). Such a realization is childs play. First grade atheism. As such, we shoud not be giving credence to such beliefs by using them (albeit unknowingly) as a sort of standard, or buttress.

Monotheism is the standard where most of us live. It is also the standard where most of academia lives, and where the large percentage of the nu-atheist movement originated (including the so-called 4 horsemen). As such, it’s not really surprising that this concept more or less evolved with the paradigm. Not unlike viewing the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, the overall cultural context is important.

So, my proposal is thus . . . think outside the box. Think outside the realm of western culture. Plant the starting line deep in the realm of ambiguity, where it belongs. Not right next to the periphery of monotheistic faith, where its proximity seems to offer its own form of credence.

Posted in Atheism Criticisms, Religion & Atheism, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Did You Consent to Being Born? – An Exploration Of Anti-Natalism

I found a story (more, an interview) which touches on a contraversial topic which I’ve been pondering for awhile. Seems like a good way to break the ice.

So here we go.

Did you consent to being born? Why one man is suing his parents for giving birth to him

Raphael Samuel, a 27-year-old antinatalist from Mumbai, believes it was wrong for his mother and father to create him without his consent

Link

Yes. We’re going there.

Straight into Doug Stanhope territory.

Name: Raphael Samuel.

Age: 27.

Appearance: Alive and regretting it.

Why? Because he didn’t ask to be born.

Neither did I, as it happens. No, but you probably aren’t planning to sue your parents for giving birth to you.

Yeah . . . Good luck with that.

I am not. Is he? Well, he claims to be. According to reports, Samuel, from Mumbai, is a committed antinatalist.

What a coincidence. I hated those classes too. Antinatalism is a system of belief that holds that it is morally wrong for people to procreate, and a vast amount of human misery could be avoided by people simply not existing in the first place.

If nothing else, it sounds like a philosophical school with a self-limiting membership. It is actually a growing movement with adherents across the globe.

1.) Time to explore what this means to me. But first, some housework.

I personally don’t see myself as fitting the Anti-natalist definition, as shown above. For those of you that have come to know the increasingly hard to pin down mess that is the tangled mass of conclusions in my brain at any one time, this will not come as a surprise. Definitions and ideologies are usually self limiting by there very nature.

Where it seems I agree (more or less) is the main tenant. I don’t see myself, nor do I ever plan on, having children. My main reason for this decision of being . . . I know things.

What our species has done to get where we are. What our species is likely in for in the not too distant future. And frankly, the overall trajectory of the species.

Consumption is continually outpacing the Earth’s ability to regenerate resources. We see it every single year . . . Overshoot day comes earlier and earlier. You don’t need to have the mind of Stephan Hawking to know where this crazy train is headed.

However, is it morally wrong to procreate?

It’s an interesting question.

It’s easy to take that stance (like libertarianism, frankly). But one should consider the consequences of what they think they are getting behind.

While me thinking that procreation is morally wrong has no arguable ramifications in the world, this changes if there are many (a majority!) of people like me. What was a hypothetical, then becomes an actionable solution. The problem is too damn many people having too damn many spawn, so the answer is an imposed limitation on reproduction. By LAW, all couples must submit an application to aquire the right of having a child. And no couple (or persons) shall create more than 2.

Seems a simple fix to a drastic problem. Yet, a truly horrifying reality for, well . . . ANYBODY. Considering that this could be an out of control artificial intelligence horror story. Saving us by systematicly denying a key instinct of every living thing. Not to mention how the biases of humans will run rampent with this new tool of enslavement.

As such, do I personally feel it to be morally wrong to have children?

No.

One needs to be careful when making such blanket snap judgements.

Should people put MUCH more thought into the decision than they currently do?

Yes. However, am I going to paint everyone whom has a child with the same brush that I paint those whom have a child for seemingly idiotic reasons?

No.

As for the human misery argument . . . Fine.

If no human were born, there would be no human misery. If humans had been more careful in their reproduction practices, maybe some of the human misery that awaits us in the coming years was also avoidable. Hell, if progress had not been so successful in making us live so damn long, many factors which give us grief today (from cultural to environmental) wouldn’t contribute to so called human misery.

Human misery is a dynamic concept, with very different interpretations depending mainly on economic class. While what constitutes human misery is very different to everyone (and is often questioned, justifiably or not), there is one certainty. The problem can NOT be solved by simply deciding not to have children.

If you want to help alleviate human misery, there are many constructive ways of doing so. Boasting online is not one of them.

When you say “across the globe”, do you mean “on Facebook and YouTube?” Yes, but antinatalism has a long and respected pedigree: forms of it crop up in sects of Buddhism and Christianity, and more than one philosopher has argued that the optimal outcome for humanity is extinction.

First off, it’s unsurprising that the gaurdian would take a swipe at an online community like that. But the writing is on the wall. They can keep playing the part of the generation that they sprouted from, but they are going to end up in the very same place as those that they once informed.

History.

That out of the way, uh . . . what a jackass. Giving a bad name to nihilists everywhere.

I have to admit that I have expressed similar sentiment’s, previously. When faced with many big name intellectuals proposing to solve the uninhabitable earth dilemma by inhabiting a new planet or celestial body, the thought was horrifying. Something else to wreck in the process of parasitic invasion of everything we touch. Until we run out of Plan B’s before wrecking the last centuries Plan B.

That said, this is not exactly suicidal thought. The point is more, let’s fix what we have here. Because if we’re just exporting the very same ideological concepts that screwed us over here, the end result is obvious.

I can tackle this concept in a very different way. A mindset that occurred to me a few days ago as I left for work (of all things).

Having recently gotten myself started on a few writing projects (including a book), it occured to me how late I got into this. I have always had an interest in writing (and many things, really), but my true intellectual awakening didn’t occur until I was 25 or 26. I’ve been honing it all for the past 3 or 4 years, and writing alot only fairly recently.

Had this occured when I was 17 or 18, I could have been well an my way by my late 20s. But given that it’s all downhill from here (30!), there went 10 years. Seemingly a small number. But 10 percent is still a large number out of 60 or 65 (if even!).

Aside from me, imagine the time we ALL have to discover whatever it is that makes us tick. Education systems do a great job of suppressing this journey to begin with, but for those that DO manage to break free from the dogma, how long do we have?

While some passions are found at a young age, I’m inclined to write off at least the first 13 years (possibly all the way to the first 20). The first 13 because . . . It’s a child. The rest because, education/indoctrination stage. No, I’m not using the terms (education/indoctrination) exactly interchangeably. However, in practice, the results speak for themselves.

Which leads us to our productive stage. We will say from the early 20s right to 45 or 50. Some minds stay productive long past this point, but some bodies don’t make it. Hence, the borderline.

That is maybe 40 years, give or take. 40 years to realize, develop, and hone ones skills as per whatever they find their passion is. Given the myriad of other tasks society demands of us (including full time careers just to subsist, and sleep), the time adds up quickly. One may blink and find themselves starring down 45, not entirely cogent of how on Earth they got there. Particularly if life throws a curve ball.

If I view this man made and natural waste of potential as being a wall blockading us from truly helpful and inavative ideas (to borrow from the language of our current paradigm), then I’ve personally found a reason to look for ways to offload my mind into a non-mortal context. Imagine the potential of a creative mind unencumbered by . . . Humanness. No matter the fate of the vessel, the potential remains. To be utilized as far as can possibly be allowed.

Although, I suppose we come back to the same place. How long before our AI varients pull the plug on themselves?

1.) Sheldon is right. Cyborgs are cool.

2.) Nihilism based Anti-natalist philosophy is WAY too arrogant. That’s something, coming from me.

I am not the person who aught be making judgments on the justification of biggest cohort there is.

All of which falls short of suing your parents for having you. Yes, that would appear to be Samuel’s unique contribution to the debate.

What is his thinking, exactly? “I love my parents,” he writes on Facebook, “and we have a great relationship, but they had me for their joy and their pleasure.”

Selfish bastards. Samuel apparently believes it was wrong for his parents to go ahead and create him without his consent.

They were hardly in a position to ask him for it. He was hardly in a position to give it.

Could they not seek some kind of retroactive planning permission for him? He doesn’t seem that inclined to compromise. He continues: “Isn’t forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career kidnapping and slavery?”

To cycle back to the Doug Stanhope bit that I may as well just link HERE . . . Forcing a child to work for free is, in a sense, a form of legalized slavery.

That is an excerpt from a longer form bit on mental illness in general. While it’s not a topic of discussion here, it’s well worth a listen.

It is an interesting idea to ponder. Most parents would likely use the “Well, they are on MY dime!” argument.

Possibly?

I suppose that this is the wrong way to view this. While every parents job in understandably opaque (always has been and always will be, no matter how many books are written on the subject), one of the more obvious ones is preparation for the real world. While schooling does a so-so job with part of that equation, this is generally focused on employment and career. All those other skills (from housekeeping to cooking) is generally in the realm of the parents.

Which makes it a matter of attitude of the parents. If it’s a matter of teaching skills useful to adulthood, than excellent. If it’s a matter of pawning off tasks to someone else . . . Not so great.

I recognize this split because, frankly, I grew up on one side of this paradigm. I didn’t mind some tasks of housework, but it seemed that this lead to it being my main purpose. Growing up, the most common place for people dropping by to find me was in front of the kitchen sink.

Whilst I don’t hold a grudge (what’s done is done), it makes one think. Much of my childhood and teen years were spent at home. While this was indeed voluntary, one can’t help but wonder what I missed.

Which brings to mind parents of seemingly incapable adult children. Adults with no disabilities, yet who fail at the basics. While there is certainly a personal share of blame accountable to the person, I don’t think it’s always so simple. I’ve come to suspect that a form of parential neglect may play a big part in this. Which is why seeing parents cast judgements in these cases is at times . . . laughable.

YOU did this!

There is another interesting side bar to the whole child slavery argument. That is, parents with home businesses (or that otherwise volunteer out their children’s time seemingly without their consent).

It takes me back again. To when a parent once ran a yard care company (grass & gardening in the summer, snow removal in the winter). I remember the hot days of mowing someone’s lawn (or waiting in the van). And the cold toe freezing days shoveling (or waiting in the van). Then there was the time when this parents club was selected to deliver phone books (profits to the club!) to 2 towns, in the dead of January. 8 hours toiling each time, the first of which I got sick. The town had a nearby ethonal plant, and smelling it for 6 hours didn’t bode well apparently.

Of course, AGAIN, no hard feels against the one who spawned me. However, given the passage of time and the accumulation of wisdom, it makes me stop and think a bit. Particularly of the 16 hours volunteering. While I have done volunteer work at a soup kitchen with the other parent, it wasn’t 8 hours in the bitter cold. Nor were the benefits clear for anyone but . . . that parent.

I didn’t join the club!

On the one hand, that sounds absolutely bananas. On the other hand, my 15-year-old self would be 100% behind Samuel.He also writes: “The only reason your children are facing problems is because you had them.”

Oh my God – where was this guy when I failed all my O-levels? He wasn’t born yet.

Do say: “Dear Mum and Dad, Everything I am and everything I will ever be is thanks to you. See you in court.”

Don’t say: “PS – I can’t find any clean towels.”

Our authors way of completely dismissing these topics is quite noticable. But not surprising. Most people don’t think. They just regurgitate.

But it seems that we have reached the end. Nothing else to pick on this carcass.

Best of luck to this guy with his obvious publicity stunt.

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GMO Labeling Standards

Time to revisit a topic that I have not touched on for some years now. GMO labeling standards, the final say. As per the USDA.

As one could guess going into this, the usual suspects are unhappy with the results.

USDA Releases Final GMO Labeling Standard

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday announced its long-awaited rule on the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered, or GMO, ingredients. Just don’t expect the letters GMO to appear on these products.

Under the new “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard,” such items will feature the term “bioengineered” or BE foods.

From Jan. 1, 2022, food companies will have four options to make this disclosure, according to the USDA’s fact sheet:

  • On-package text, e.g. “Bioengineered Food,” or “Contains a Bioengineered Food Ingredient.”
  • Electronic or digital disclosure—must include instructions to “Scan here for more food information” or similar language, and include a phone number
  • Text message disclosure
  • Or a USDA-approved symbol:

https://www.ecowatch.com/gmo-food-labeling-2623971476.html

They are not happy with this result. However, let’s see if they have a point.

After years of a contentious battle that pitted food and chemical giants against state-level GMO mandates, President Obama signed a law in July 2016 that directed the Secretary of Agriculture to come up with a national labeling standard for products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Critics of the new labeling standard say it allows food companies to use QR codes, a website URL or 1-800 numbers for this disclosure rather than a clear, national labeling standard.

“This rule is filled with loopholes that will allow manufacturers to use digital codes and other technology that make GMO disclosure more difficult for consumers than simple on-package labels. Many people don’t have access to smartphones needed to scan QR codes, or access to a good signal while shopping,” Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in an emailed statement.

I don’t disagree.

Even I find it annoying when I find myself being redirected away from a label by a telephone number, URL or QR code. Though I have the hardware to follow the links, frankly, who has the time?

And besides, the anti GMO lobby has already solved this problem AND has had it deployed for years. People don’t need to fuck around with websites, smart devices or codes . . . they just need a set of eyes. Because all they need to look for, is this:

This verification symbol has been the bane of my existence for some years now, being in the grocery retail business. Though it could indeed be seen as helpful, it worried me that this could become an unmandated standard for companies just in order to sell their food. Given the fear of ALL genetic engineering being sowed in an unscientifically literate public that doesn’t know any better, this symbol could serve to become a beacon of safety. Even if a food being non GMO is not everything.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2017/11/30/the-5-most-laughable-non-gmo-project-verified-products/#2cb746ff17c5

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/08/26/non-gmo-label-hoodwinks-consumers-promote-corporate-profits/

And then there is this rather hilarious gem.

Non-GMO Project label doesn’t mean product is non-GMO, Canadian Food Inspection Agency says

After forcing some companies to change their labels over complaints of the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) now says the “butterfly” label does not imply a non-GMO claim.

The regulatory enforcement change came last year, after complaints poured in from across the country regarding products that featured the Non-GMO Project Verified label, but didn’t meet the Canadian definition of a genetically modified organism (GMO). Some complaints were also filed when the label appeared on products where there are no genetically modified or engineered options on the market.

University of Waterloo microbiologist and professor Trevor Charles made the original complaint against the company for the grape tomatoes label. He says the company’s claims are false and the label is just a marketing tactic. “The CFIA should have an issue with this label,” Charles says. “The marketers want to differentiate themselves when there is no difference at all.”

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/04/06/non-gmo-projects-butterfly-label-doesnt-mean-product-is-non-gmo-canadian-food-inspection-agency-says/

I love when scientists and other intelligent people unknowingly parrot my previous words from years ago. Marketing tactic . . .

A++ public statement in my book.

Also to be commended, is my nations food watcher, the Canadian food inspection agency. This is not the first time I have seen them take action when product has crossed the boarder only to run up against our (seemingly) more stringent standards. Having standards is half the battle. Being willing and able to enforce them is equally important.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/five-things-to-know-about-the-ban-on-soylent-in-canada/article36719053/

But, as for the Non GMO Project, be weary. For one thing, there is this. They are essentially acting as an arm of big organic. Though, such pro business leanings aren’t surprising when capitalists are allowed to self police.

$$$

But most of all, one mustn’t forgot vigilance in the face of a label. Like gluten free, hormone free or other beneficial marketing tactics, it all REALLY doesn’t matter if your going to be eating junk food as a diet.

Reminds me of when I bought some pea pods to nibble on, thinking they were better than the alternative (chips). Had I read the label, I wouldn’t have had to throw away the peas and just opt for the honest junk food.

Shop smart.

Butterfly label issues aside, this whole saga outlines the seeming incompetence in how this was approached by the USDA. Likely because big biotech had undue influence in the whole situation.

*sigh*

None the less, the need for clarity was clear. No redirects or shenanigans. Just a simple but effective label. A label accompanied by a public education campaign would have been great. But one thing at a time.

Back to the opening article.

In today’s announcement, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the new labeling standard increases the transparency of the nation’s food system, and ensures clear information and labeling consistency for consumers about the ingredients in their food.

“The standard also avoids a patchwork state-by-state system that could be confusing to consumers,” he added.

But Gregory Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which advocated for term “genetically engineered” on packaging, argued that the new labeling standard could sow confusion as consumers might not be familiar with the term “bioengineered.”

Thus is where the public education campaign would step in.

All it would take is a pamphlet. Either mailed direct to consumers (with the rest of the weekly food flyers?), or available directly at stores, farmers markets and other food distribution locations.

Secondly, Jaffe said, the new standard allows an exemption for highly processed ingredients such as sugar and vegetable oils that are chemically indistinguishable from their non-GMO counterparts.

“Most studies have shown that consumers expect highly processed ingredients to be labeled and many food manufacturers want to provide that information. CSPI agrees with the decision to disclose highly processed ingredients as ‘derived from bioengineering’ but disagrees with USDA’s decision to not mandate that disclosure,” he wrote.

I can’t help but to revert back to earlier in this post, the part about nutritional awareness. Frankly, if you find yourself choosing between processed foods on the basis of bioengineering, you have already lost the battle.

The vast majority of sugar beet, corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered for insect resistance or herbicide tolerance, Agri-Pulsenoted.

Representatives for corn, soybean and sugar beet growers approved of the final regulations. “America’s corn farmers need a consistent, transparent system to provide consumers with information without stigmatizing important, safe technology,” National Corn Growers Association president Lynn Chrisp of Nebraska said, as quoted by Agri-Pulse.

There is nothing much else to focus on in the remainder of the piece, so time for the close.

The USDA could have done better. Hopefully all parties will realize this when it comes time to make implementations (DON’T MESS AROUND WITH URL REDIRECTS OR QR CODES!), but we will see.

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“Atheist Family Who Complained About Holiday Celebrations Awarded $12K After School Barred Daughter” – (CBC News British Columbia)

Here, we have a story that is equal parts eyebrow raising and cringe inducing. Full disclosure . . . I would be lying if I said this didn’t play into my confirmation bias as per my view of many vocal nu-atheist types. However, as stated in the article, its hard to avoid this reaction.

Lets just get this over with. . .

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/atheist-bc-human-rights-1.4943787?cmp=news-digests-canada-and-world-morning

B.C. human rights tribunal awards family $12K for discrimination after school barred child from attending

An atheist family whose child was not allowed to re-enrol in preschool after her parents fought against classroom Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations has been awarded $12,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The case wasn’t about whether the school should be allowed to display Christmas ornaments or dreidels, or if teachers can discuss religion and holy days with their young charges. Instead, it was about the school’s response to the parents’ complaints — a response the tribunal described as discrimination.

The dispute began when Gary Mangel and Mai Yasué, two outspoken atheists, were told their daughter would not be allowed to continue to attend Bowen Island Montessori School (BIMS) unless they signed an agreement confirming their “understanding and acceptance” of all aspects of the school’s cultural program.

Uh. I can feel the social media zombies reactionary idiocy building as I type this.

“Keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas! If you don’t agree with what I say, get the hell out of my country!”

Firstly. . . piss off.

If you are inclined to quote the above, you . . . don’t know things. Consider yourself lucky to have been born in a paradigm (the western world) which allows the soaring to ever greater heights . . . of people that don’t know things.

So far this looks fairly cut and dry. But it gets more . . . nuanced?

I’m unsure if I feel comfortable using that word interchangeably with stupid or idiotic.

“At its core, it is about a letter which held [a child]’s registration hostage to a demand,” tribunal member Barbara Korenkiewicz wrote in her Tuesday decision on the case.

According to the decision, the events that led to that letter included emotional confrontations, “veiled” Islamophobia and even a mock Nazi salute.

That certainly shakes things up. Assuming it follows though. Which it seems to.

Uh. . .

‘No discussion of Santa Claus’

Mangel and Yasué’s three-year-old was attending BIMS in 2014 when they heard about the school’s plans for the month of December, which included decorating elf ornaments and potentially also lighting candles on a menorah.

Mangel, who was on the board of directors for the school, wrote an email to other members saying it wasn’t appropriate for preschoolers to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other “religious/political event” — including, he said, Remembrance Day.

“I certainly hope that there will be no discussion of Santa Claus at BIMS. I am absolutely against anyone blatantly lying to my daughter,” Mangel wrote.

This is where things get . . . interesting.

These parents raise an interesting issue of religion and school separation, for starters. If faculty oversee activities involving religious symbol’s without actually preaching (indoctrination), does this cross the line? And as for unreligious fables such as Santa and the tooth fairy, is playing with this symbolism also stepping over the line?

A part of me (my inner nu-atheist) is hesitant to the idea. But I also can’t help but think that the activities are just playing on what children are already bringing to the table. Your teacher doesn’t need to indoctrinate you into religious or nonreligious fables. Popular culture (not to mention parental and environmental influences) generally do that already.

Should educator’s be reinforcing these beliefs though artsy fun activities?

Good question.

However, outside of obvious intent, to call this lying is a stretch even for me.Should one be allowed to opt their child out of such activities?

Yes.

Should the rest of the students not be allowed to participate on account to one families stance?

That . . . is a tricky one to answer. Without more detail, its hard not to become reactionary.

Over the next few months, the dispute snowballed as the couple exchanged colourful and occasionally testy emails with the school’s board and had tense meetings with staff about the religious and cultural content of the curriculum. They also objected to celebrations of Easter and Valentine’s Day, holidays they believe have become too tied up in materialism and consumerism.

The standoff reached a climax in June 2015, when the school asked Mangel and Yasué to sign off on their acceptance of the curriculum, which emphasizes multiculturalism. When they refused, the little girl wasn’t allowed to return to school in the fall, according to the decision.

That demand amounted to discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry and religion, Korenkiewicz said.

“I find nothing in the evidence that could justify the refusal to register [the child] unless Dr. Yasué and Mr. Mangel essentially agreed that they would be significantly limited in their ability to raise issues about the cultural aspects of the BIMS program,” Korenkiewicz wrote.

She said the school should pay the child $2,000 and the parents $5,000 each as compensation for the discrimination.

I don’t really disagree with the settlement. But I’m not sure I agree with the financial penalties. But lets learn more.

Unacceptable behaviour

That’s despite some conduct by Mangel that strayed “beyond the acceptable,” in Korenkiewicz’s words.

For instance, when Mangel learned the school planned to include clay elf decorations in its December festivities, he wrote an email to the board objecting, and suggested some “atheist Christmas ornaments” that would better represent the views of his family.

That included one that simply says “Skeptic,” and another that depicted the World Trade Center in New York with the caption “Atheists don’t fly airplanes into buildings.”

The latter, according to Korenkiewicz, was nothing more than “a veiled form of Islamophobia.”

And in comes the nuance.

I like the idea of so called atheist holiday ornaments, though I would not name them such. Had these parents had some tact and class, they could have suggested something ambiguous. For example, asking the child to create an ornament based around what the holidays mean to THEM.But clearly, the Sam Harris-esk nu-atheistic rhetoric was too strong to overcome.

Skeptic is not a bad ornament decorator. I personally disagree with such a usage since most that use terms like that as labels (skeptic, nuanced, rational, logical) almost certainly prove in practice that they don’t REALLY know what those terms mean. Skepticism, much like rationalism, logic, and nuance, is demonstrated.

PERIOD.

As for the “Atheists don’t fly airplanes into buildings” suggestion, however . . . REALLY?!

I’m not sure that I would go as far as to calling it veiled islamophobia. But it really is stupid.

I understand where this is coming from. I was prone to making such a statement just a few years ago. However, I now more comprehend that the world is a big and complicated place, impacted by far more factors than religion alone. Aside from the fact that I could likely cough up examples of atheist terrorism, that is not explicitly the point. Humans are great at harnessing all manor of ideology for vengeful means. If its not religion, than its its politics, race . . . anything.

Religion may be argued to be the biggest source of internal strife to our species. But the solution to our warlike tendencies is far more complex than wiping out a single source of ideology which happens to thrive in this stasis.

Frankly, I don’t think were going to get there. Though if ANYONE has any hope, its the creators of artificial intelligence. You can’t correct for the biases of the human condition without developing an understanding of them in the first place.

Its easy to get humans to showcase even unrealized bias, but having them ADMIT this to themselves (let alone someone else) is a whole other story. Otherwise known as, the seeming majority of skeptic YouTube content of the last few years. Its all about creative excuses for this behavior (as opposed to simply CONSIDERING that there may be an issue at hand).

Humans are terrible in situations which nessesitate unbiased thinking. Which is why AI has become an area of interesting to me. Aside from the fear mongering driven by jackasses like Elon Musk, the next most common fear is biases with AI which influences our lives. Not an unreasonable fear, given the many examples of racist, sexist and otherwise biased AI algorithms that have made the news prior (and following) today. But while this LOOKS bad, it can be corrected for.

Unlike judges, juries, and otherwise humans in general. People operating (often unknowingly) on account to who knows how many biases. The TV show Bull illustrates this more brilliantly than anything else I have ever come across (aside from good ole human interaction).

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.vulture.com/amp/2018/12/ncis-women-support-michael-weatherly-after-harassment-claims.html

Well, there goes THAT show. Damnit . . .

Humans are brilliantly creative when it comes to sowing division. Myopic targeting of religion is just an admission of ignorance of, EVERYTHING ELSE.

But don’t fret. Even so called intellectuals get this wrong.

The tribunal also heard about an uncomfortable conversation Mangel had with the husband of a BIMS administrator. They were discussing the use of religious symbols at the school when the husband pointed out that children in public schools still sing the national anthem even though it includes the word “God.”

“Mangel responded, ‘I’ll sue them too’ and then began doing the Nazi salute and marching around while he sung a different version of O Canada,” Korenkiewicz wrote.

Good grief.

Mangel told the tribunal he understood he was being politically incorrect but the display was meant to be a “preposterous analogy.”

School board president Maria Turnbull described the $12,000 award to the family as a “meaningful sum,” and said BIMS officials will need to examine how they can pay it.

She told CBC News: “What the decision provides is a level of certainty that is valued by the school, and we look forward to getting 100 per cent back to our focus on the young people.”

I love the last word on the part of the school board president. Not vindictive, not condemning. Just . . . practical. Glad that this is over so we can reengage in our real focus . . . their students education.

Brilliant passive aggressive slap if I ever saw one. Bravo.

To cap this all off, I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know what the board is leaving out. I don’t know what the family is leaving out. But judging by how it looks, the family MAY have had a case. But they made complete asses out of both themselves and the movement they represent. Should they have been forced out?

Probably not.

However, it doesn’t seem like they were interested in coming to a compromise, which is important in such a situation. Something that does not surprise me, because its completely aligned with typical nu-atheistic behaviors and attitudes. They don’t want too work with fellow nonbelievers or Nones (as has become a common label in the mainstream) to forward progress. They just want to work with atheists. If you can’t admit to what you are, you can’t join our club.

Keep following that brand building trajectory, my self professed atheist allies.

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Re: Baby It’s Cold Outside – You Are ALL Being Ridiculous

There was once a time when it seemed that I had to chime in on all of these annoying little instances. I’m not sure what you would call them anymore. Events of mass triggering?

What it all boils down to is simple, really. A phenomenon of which originated in a time long since passed, and was passed down and repeated thoughtlessly for decades. Until someone somewhere finally scrutinized it, and didn’t like what they seen. In this case, it was a Christmas song. A Christmas song that raises an eyebrow in the context of the #MeToo era.

Like all of these situations, its presented with seemingly 2 polarized sides. The overzealous “BAN IT!” extreme. And the “Fuck PC Culture!” extreme. This, despite the fact that all I’ve ever come across so far are the latter. Those that I’ve seen on the critical side outline genuine concerns with certain problematic lyrics. The other side of the spectrum just wants their beloved cookie cutter holiday tune left in peace.

Though this post was spawned in reference to the song in the title, it is also all encompassing of other contexts of the this very situation. The situation that is, when thoughtlessly and mindlessly perpetuated rituals and traditions suddenly don’t make the cut in terms of fitting into modern day civil reality. I will explore this VIA the annoying song in question, as well as another that I had a realization about earlier this year. I will also explore how a long running television series managed to make the best of a previous indiscretion in its history.

But first, some holiday cheer.

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/shehim/babyitscoldoutside.html

First off, as per the date rape accusation . . . no. While the song has a couple areas that are questionable, its hardly a Cosby anthem. What it is however, is (at the VERY least!) disrespectful to the concept of female autonomy. She expresses her desire to go loud and clear, but still, the man resists. Maybe she will give in and sleep with him, after all!

I would like to say this is just a product of the time, but its really not. Not only have I heard of this happening to people I know, I could likely fill a book with examples JUST from the women in my life, were to ask.

It is not the song that is the worst part. It is what it, and others like it, represent. The notion that females are here to please us males, no matter what their say in the matter is. Though what the song describes is fairly benign, there can often be an aspect of fear in these situations. Imagine being the female in the song . . . but you fear what may transpire if you cross the male? The fact of the matter is most males are still dominant in the hierarchy of power. And it tends to be easier to shame a female than it is a male. It just takes one photograph. Shared voluntarily with a partner, but distributed out of malice in revenge. The reverse is indeed, always possible. But males tend to be situated on the right side of that.

“What a dumbass” vs “SLUT!”.

As for another common theme derived from the irrationally sexist, there is the ever present threat of the rape accusation. I kid you not . . . I know people who will NEVER EVER allow themselves to be alone in the presence of a women. Because all she has to say is that one 4 letter word, and off you go to the slammer. Or in the context of work, she just has to accuse you of inappropriate behavior, and there goes your job. To this person, ALL females are the same, and none can be trusted. Ever.

There are a few places I could go with this fellow and his misogynistic views that border on the dangerous. For example, the double standard. Males that have screwed this person out of actual items (of monetary value, or plain old money) often get more than one chance. But should a female respond to them the wrong way ONCE . . .just one single encounter . . . there it is. Her true colors.

Imagine that . . . SHE’S JUST LIKE THE REST OF EM!

I COULD say that. But I would rather go with the real world. A world where rape accusations did NOTHING to even slow down the assent of Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh. On a possibility related note, even previously openly feminist leaning journalists gave Jillian Assange a pass on his accusations. And #Metoo . . . many of these men have been carrying out their disgusting behaviors for DECADES. And its not that people didn’t know, either. For the story to get out, you needed some a game changing platform with even more saturation than the traditional television networks and publications which were owned or bought off by the very assailants of the story.

Enter, Social media. In this case, truly the great equaliser.

Despite the gripes (more than likely based upon personal anecdotes) from males about the unchecked power of the modern female, I daresay that to be a very interesting interpretation of reality. And a first class ticket to loneliness if one uses this conclusion to either justify identifying as MGTOW, or its far more troubled cousin, Incel.

Interesting factoid about the latter . . . it was originally coined by a women. Long before even MySpace was a thing. Needless to say, THAT experiment went very wrong.

But I am not here to mock MGTOW’s or Incels. Looking back at some of the conclusions I had been drawing whilst sucking up a fair bit of anti-femenist YouTube content just a few short years ago, I may well have gone down that road. Fortunately though, my intellectual explorations have been somewhat guided (people have told me when I was falling for ridiculous tripe) so I ended up on this side. But not everyone has the privilege (?) of having academics handy in everyday life. Not to mention the sometimes invaluable input of ordinary people completely outside of ones personal filter bubble. When someone playing in the arena of which you are claiming to be an expert of (dating in this paradigm) tells you that you are being ridiculous, only an idiot doesn’t stop and reevaluate.

It’s funny. A little conversation that was had years ago and likely long forgotten by this person. Yet it proved to be important.

Either way, I have no doubt that there exists problems and systemic issues that are manifesting in the form of toxic ideologies that are MGTOWism and Inceldom (?). Frankly, I suspect that these root phenomena are also manifesting in other toxic ideologies of which we may not even realize any connection yet. It is beneficial to all for this to researched, and answers be found.

But having said that, personal responsibility, effort, and growth will go a long way to personal fulfillment. The first step to a better outlook is feeling better yourself. It’s not necessarily an easy journey (you can trust me. I have yet to master what I am preaching). But it is something you can control.

To address the elephant in the room . . . it is NOT the duty of women to bring you satisfaction. No matter the ultimate root of Incel\MGTOWesk ideology’s, its hard to believe that such unwarranted expectation is not part of the package. Nor should any of the proposed solutions to this problem even remotely TOUCH on this as a possible fix.

Mr. Peterson.

To bring it back to where we left . . .

No.

I didn’t say Baby Its Cold Outside was a MGTOW or Incel anthem, either (if I don’t say it, I’m bound to be clarifying later!). I’m just saying . . . these sentiments didn’t come out of nowhere. We know where the Incel thing started. Isn’t it possible that all of these misogynistic beliefs may well stem from the status quo as preserved in art from a past era?

AGAIN, the song should NOT be the focus. Its the cultural paradigms behind it that should be the focus.

I had mentioned earlier that there was another classic pop hit that had begun to make me cringe once I stopped to actually listen to the lyrics. That is, in the context of our current paradigm.

That song is Knock 3 Times by Tony Orlando & Dawn.

My dad always loved the music of his youth, so I heard this song (among others) many times while growing up. And more recently, it appeared in the playlist of my workplace. Unsurprisingly, being that most of the songs on said station seem to lean towards boomer and millennial nostalgia (along with a healthy dose of cheap filler).

Listening to a song at least once a day seemingly FOREVER is a dangerous thing. When you are completely under stimulated by your job and bored out of your fucking mind, you give attention to things you never would have before. Interestingly, this was how a lot of this blogs material was born in the past 3 years. But on with the song.

Hey girl, whatcha doing down there
Dancing alone every night while I live right above you
I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
If you look out your window tonight
Pull in the string with the note that’s attached to my heart
Read how many times I saw you
How in my silence I adored you
And only in my dreams did that wall between us come apart
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Whoa, I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no (I love you, I love you)
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Mm, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Oh, my darling
Knock three times

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tonyorlandodawn/knockthreetimes.html

It’s a catchy song. I find it annoying, but it’s still in my head as I type this. Its is no wonder that it was a hit, and that it’s still popular to this day. Its very upbeat and positive. Not unlike most other songs in the Tony Orlando & Dawn discography.

But it is certainly reminiscent of the era in which it was spawned. Again, you don’t have anything inherently rapey (even less than Baby It’s Cold Outside, really). None the less, the sentiment is troubling.

Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness

***
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe . . .

##

means you ain’t gonna show

Since the song uses sound effects that obviously can’t be translated, I added the symbols to make the quote more contextual. It just . . . looks better that way.

Either way, the whole song can be boiled down to the sentiment of these lyrics. That girl living close by is pretty fine, and I am interested. She therefore is obligated to inform me whether or not she approves of my feelings.

Umm . . . what?

It makes for a catchy song. But when translated into real world experience, its hard to not have it come off as creepy. As reminiscent of that situation (situation’s?) where the guy would NOT take no for an answer. Which could lead one of 2 places.

1.) Fear and appeasement (“better get this over with so he doesn’t go Elliot Rodger on me”).

2.) Hardline (“GOD, WHAT A FUCKING BITCH! CAN’T ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION WITHOUT GOING FUCKING PSYCHO!”)

And so we find ourselves back where we started. A Christmas song and an upbeat seventies pop hit, both equally . . . creepy. It’s likely that many pop songs of the era may well also fit the bill. Along with films, TV shows, literature and any other threads encompassing popular culture. Being that popular culture tends to be reflective of the time period one is in, this is hardly surprising.

However, its not the end of the world. Every thread of popular culture created outside of your paradigm does not have to go away just because “We know better now”.

There was no need to ban the Christmas song from the airwaves. That got the social media bandwagon zombies going, and god knows that little good ever comes from that. Oh yay, another faux controversy for the guppies to whip themselves into an enraged frenzy over. Climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, industrial scale pollution of every square inch of the earths surface . . . nope. My main concern is . . . THEY BANNED A SONG I DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT UNTIL I HEARD IT WAS BANNED!!!

*Note
banned as in private companies made the choice to not include the song in their rotation. Which is very different from government stepping in. Which did not happen.

Definitions matter. Particularly in the realm of reactionary rhetoric.

Now that I have that out of my system, what then do I propose?

Enjoy. But enjoy responsibly. The essence of every beer commercial EVER.

Human civilization is built on culture. In some ways, it could be said that culture in all its various forms, helps keep us all sane. Modern innovations have taken most of us out of the agricultural lifestyle by necessity (food security is generally taken for granted in the first world. We throw millions of tons of it in the trash!). And now we have built ourselves a paradigm in which human lifespans can theoretically hit the 100 year mark (and sometimes beyond). That is a a whole lot of free time in ones own mind. Even taking into account the inhumane length of the modern workday.

Culture, in all its shapes and forms, has a purpose.

It entertains. It educates. And it serves the purposes of both being a record of the day to day sentiments of a given society, as well as being an ever growing record of all human knowledge gained throughout the ages. Which inspires the question . . . is knowledge a form of culture?

The philosophers may have a different stance, but for the purpose of this writing I am going with yes. The other alternative that comes to mind is tradition. But that is hardly fitting. Not to mention that traditions are just another form of culture.

Culture is all encompassing. But like most other things in life, not all culture is healthy.

Enter, Baby It’s Cold Outside. Knock 3 times. Any older Rodney Dangerfield routine. Really, almost any beloved piece of cultural artifact from ANY era. As time and human progress marches on, what is left in our wake is often embarrassing. Those that lived in those times often don’t see the fuss. But for everyone beyond . . . its a bit like rereading my old posts on this blog.

On an ironically related note, there was once a time where I considered purging all of the older material I’ve shared here. Compared to more recent works, its often embarrassing. Not to mention the possibility of someone potentially pinning me to a previously shared sentiment of which may not still be relevant. Having considered that all however, I decided to keep most of it. It showcases the growth of an ever evolving writer. And it likely will until the day I no longer contribute to the collection. Every new work will eventually become part of the obsolete backlog of growth.

So it goes for the cultural artifacts of societies throughout the ages (including ours). You don’t need to trash the old for simply reflecting the ideals of a different time. To echo the sentiments of those who would rather keep their state of mindless obliviousness to modern day criticisms . . . there would be nothing left.

Do not bury. Progress.

Though many of these cultural artifact’s are chained to their obsolescent values by entropy and the passage of time, I can think of at least one example of a cultural artifact adjusting to changing sentiments on the fly. This was in the show Desperate Housewives, first released in 2004.

The show is based around the many comedic dramas involving the residents of a little fictional street, in a little fictional suburb, located in the fictional place called Eagle State. One of these housewives (a strict religious, conservative, NRA affiliated type) has a son named Andrew. You learn that he is gay a few episodes into season one, and his mother learns of his homosexuality (to comedic effect) not long after we do. Also written into Andrew’s character is his status as a troubled teen. All of which eventually culminated in his mother leaving him at a gas station far from home with just his clothing in a bag.

At the time (me watching this live in 2004 or 2005), the enormity of the situation didn’t really register. It was only in the period after that the truly horrific nature of the scene had its full impact.

I have READ these stories!

An interesting thing to note here, is the status quo of the time. Future 2 term President Obama nicely sets the mood for this trip down memory lane.

https://youtu.be/_XAVqrqr4j4

And for further nostalgia, I present Hillary Clinton on the senate floor, circa 2004.

https://youtu.be/6I1-r1YgK9I

Indeed, neither one explicitly comes out against homosexuality. They just didn’t like the idea of gay marriage as being equal as per . . . their faith? Not really bigotry, but close enough to directly enable it.

Not cool.

But as we all know, this is not how things remained. Public sentiments changed, and politicians were evolving by the dawn of the 2010’s. Sticking with this pattern of reflections of public sentiment, Desperate Housewives writers had reunited Andrew with his mother, with her becoming more accepting of this trait of her son. Later in the series, Wisteria Lane even got its own token gay couple. So begins the comedic drama around the loud and pretentious fountain, which is later destroyed in the tornado.

#SpoilerAlert

And so the story continues. We seen how one artifact of culture had the luck of being relevant for long enough to change course. What started out as part of the problem, morphed into being part of the solution.

Few works of art get this opportunity, however. Paradigm shifts generally occur in much longer cyclical intervals than popular culture intervals. Artists and creators of all kinds are almost inevitability destined to be behind the curve in this regard. Thus, we need to look at these things for what they are.

Reflections. Not guidebooks.

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Assange Is Going Home

It seems that Julian Assange’s luck is up, and he will soon be headed back to the United States to face the music.

Earlier this month, I wrote a fairly extended piece outlining the many reasons why this no longer bothered me. Truth be told, the man was never a hero in my eyes to begin with, but I couldn’t deny the public service he had done. However, that credibility was dealt a massive blow in late 2016. And it completely vanished earlier this year with Assange’s attempt at opening up a twitter backchannel to Sean Hannity. This, to feed him more ill-begotten dirt on selected Democrats.

In other words, MORE attempts to manipulate the internal political affairs of a sovereign nation-state. Since Assange proponents are not beyond using the realm of speculation as an argument, it makes me wonder. . . how many other nation states has he influenced?

Given the circumstances, it’s possible that we may find out. But we shall see. Either way, I won’t shed a tear for this asshole of a man.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/u-k-and-ecuador-conspire-to-deliver-julian-assange-to-u-s-authorities/

One aspect of this saga that came as a bit of a surprise to me was how the 2 sexual assaults that started it all have continually been either overlooked or quickly dismissed. One of the instances timed out due to the statute of limitations running out, but the other has about a year left. Both of which have always been pushed to the sidelines in light of the whole Wikileaks thing, and both of which will likely end up timing out in light of the other charges from a far more powerful nation-state. That is unless Sweden is allowed a crack at him as well. Though seemingly doubtful, one can hope. . .

In a great many instances, this oversight can be understandable. For YEARS, the media (at any level) didn’t do all that great a job at telling this side of the story. Had I not looked into it myself for the previous piece, I also wouldn’t pay much heed to it.

One expects this from a majority of proponents. The biggest reason for this is ignorance of the story, followed by bigotry (the segment that always values male livelihood more than justice). These 2 don’t surprise me.

What DOES surprise me, however, is how Julian Assange can make otherwise progressive individuals seemingly turn a part of this philosophy off in support of the man. This comes to mind when reading the article above (the sexual assaults are not mentioned at all), but this could also be just ignorance again. Christopher Hedges article, however, was less excusable.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/crucifying-julian-assange/

Dropped, because his stint in the embassy lasted long enough to run out the statute of limitations. Given differing political trade winds to the ones that ended up coming to be, he may well have timed out both.

Something Hedges readily acknowledges in his article.

Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

The UK adds yet another bend to this, but such is their right. It all still boils down to a journalist who seemingly can’t see past Assange’s own delusions of grandeur. Even when the character has displayed characteristics contrary to this journalists own values.

Should Jillian Assange even be facing charges in the United States?

I suppose now would be a good time to again say, I’m not sure. There is plenty of bias on either side of that debate to go around. But personally, I don’t know.

All I do know is that the man is undeserving of the cult following of which he has amassed. He is not the Jesus Christ of free speech. He is just another rapist without a guilty verdict.

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“Crucifying Julian Assange” – (Truthdig)

Today’s piece is looking at a recent article by the honorable journalist Christopher Hedges. I’ve read Hedges work many times before, disagreeing with him enough to feel the need to write a rebuttal at least once beforehand. Today, I am doing the same.

Whilst I respect Christopher’s work and contributions to righting humanities oh so wrongful course, I can’t help but think he has hitched onto a trojan horse this time around.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/crucifying-julian-assange/

Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno—who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment to better relations with Washington—is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

Oh lordy. Where do I even begin?

1.) As cliche and idiotic as this statement is, I can’t help but say it in this context . . . LEAVE!

There are plenty of nations that would likely be happy to grant you honorary citizenship. The Donald’s list of favorite dictatorial leaders is a good start. At the top of that list, Russia. Go join Edward Snowden and bask in the freedoms afforded to you by the Russian Federation that you won’t have anywhere else.

It’s not like you haven’t already been talking to them in the first place. I was naive enough (back in October 2016) to think that you took your role as a potential influencer of the internal politics of a sovereign nation seriously enough not to be partisan. I was wrong, and it certainly won’t happen again.

Now, if only the rest of your liberal defenders (it would seem, including Christopher Hedges) would also get the message.

2.) I can’t help but think that I am missing something in terms of the gag order of which forbids Assange from talking about conditions within the embassy. Not to mention the whole health failing thing.

It’s also noted that Equador doesn’t seem to want to pay the man’s medical bills. This, I admit, does put me into a bit of a personal catch 22. On one hand, I am a proponent of universal healthcare for ALL (ie. everyone alive), because that is just the right thing to do. But at the same time, this small nation DID inherit this problem due to no fault of their own. Citizens of the nation should have a say in the matter.

The obvious band-aid (at least for the time being) would seem to be to have Australia foot the bill for its own citizen.

3.) Of all that I have just read, THIS is the part that made me almost fall out of my chair in a fit of laughter:

imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

What in the FUCK are you TALKING about?!

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time this aspect of this story has come onto my radar this month. The investigators (CBC) briefly mentioned an article outlining both some of the nonsense that embassy staff has been having to deal with on account to Assange AND their growing anger with the horrible hygiene demonstrated by Assange (including a disgusting litter box). A story I would come across the next day in Wired Magazine. The whole thing reminded me of an ex-roommate endured by a friend a year or so ago. A seemingly mature adult man with a job. But also a man that didn’t purchase anything for himself to eat, nor clean any of his messes afterward. Dishes literally rusted away in the sink for months, even after he was booted from the wifi with a not so subtle message (Network Name: *SoAndSo* Do Dishes).

And so the ordeal went on until he had no choice but to evict since my friend himself was moving. Not that it helped matters. He just left the mess (of which included full 2 and 4L bottles of urine.  Keep in mind, this bedroom had its own adjoining bathroom). All this garbage of which was left on the front lawn of his parents (the guys then new address).

Fitting, really. I didn’t learn NOT to be a disgusting pig out of my own volition. There was guidance (at least from one parent).

All of which makes this latest Assange revelation all the more amusing. Also of which makes the Hedges (and no doubt, others) reaction a bit perplexing. Is it not fair that one would expect a tenant or houseguest to behave in a clean and/or sanitary manner? And if household chores are demeaning, does this mean that it’s the job of the embassy staff? Not to mention that it makes me a bit inquisitive of personal beliefs. Would it be demeaning to you, Christopher Hedges, to do household chores? Considering many of the areas in which your activism covers, this blatant display of seemingly unrealized privilege stands in stark contrast.

I am likely very wrong about this. Even so, the idiocy of the criticism still stands out.

Also on the topic of house rules, the censorship of him from the internet comes to mind. The last reason I found from the embassy was that he was using embassy equipment to access pornography and other related stuff. If I were in charge of IT at an EMBASSY (let alone THAT embassy), I would probably have a heart attack if I found this out too. Particularly if the device was not isolated to its own broadband connection.

Then there are the potential political implications of some of the things that Assange was seemingly up to in the realms of the world wide web. Though the treasure trove of Russian origin DNC and Hillary emails can’t really be attributed to Assange (innocent until proven guilty), he has tried ONCE to open a backchannel since then. Unfortunately for him, it was with an amused imposter of the real figure (who had been booted from Twitter temporarily).

The fake Sean Hannity Twitter account had only been up for a few hours, but apparently that’s all it took to fool Julian Assange into sliding into the account’s DMs, offering information on Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate committee investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election.

The drama began when the real Fox New host’s Twitter was briefly taken down Friday night. Soon after, Dell Gilliam, a technical writer from Texas, created an account with the handle @SeanHannity__, quickly earning 24,000 followers — and the attention of the founder of WikiLeaks, the secret document-dump service that the CIA director has called a “hostile intelligence service.”

https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/d34njw/master-of-espionage-julian-assange-offered-dirt-to-a-sean-hannity-parody-account

There, Assange defenders, is your fucking red pill. Swallow that shit and quit making me want to wolf my cookies with your endless praise of this mans utmost respect for freedom.

As for political implications, consider the place of the Ecuadorian government in this. For the Assange unaffiliated data dump of before, they hold no culpability on what can’t be proven. But in a case where the man was caught RED HANDED in an attempt to AGAIN influence the internal politics of a sovereign nation, the stakes become much more . . . tricky.
Just him using the broadband connection of the Embassy itself could be seen as an acceptance of the activity itself. And even if that is not the case, just allowing him to reside in the embassy could count as a similar expression of consent. As if associating with the rest of the Western powers wasn’t already challenging enough.

I don’t like Assange. No kidding!

Indeed, I come at this with a degree of bias. I have never really been on the Snowden/Assange/Manning as Hero’s bandwagon, to begin with. I attribute most of their infamy to the collective burying of peoples heads in the sand.

The NSA has become super good at what it always has been (collecting and sorting signals intelligence)? The US government has been involved in all manner of shocking and horrifying actions, both past and present?

SHOCKING!

Hint: SOUTH AMERICA!

America was fucking with the Latin and South American continents just as much (if not more) than they have been the middle east. If Iran and Saudi Arabia are the proxy powers of the middle east, then the USA is the Iran/Saudi Arabia of the Americas.

And America regards the refugees created by these foreign policy decisions in exactly the same way. And this was BEFORE Trump sent the military to the border. Long before.

As you can see, my irritation is not just reserved for the enemies of liberal principals. While I used to be harder on people for being so blind to the obvious (why are a bunch of social media addicts complaining about their loss of privacy?!), I eventually had to realize that not everyone is me. Most people don’t have the time (or the want) for contemplation that I have. Making the culmination of the Snowden/Assange/Manning leaks a public service.

But though I haven’t heard much about the other 2 (and really don’t have much to say about them), Assange has long since burned up any credibility that Wikileaks afforded him. And so has WikiLeaks, frankly. It’s almost unthinkable that someone in the RNC and it’s affiliated entities didn’t also get burnt. And indeed the hackers got into some old RNC and GOP domains (along with their email payload), but not the current setup. And despite it likely being impossible for there NOT to be anything interesting in even the old emails, none of it was ever released.

Quite the public service.

The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”

His mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent video appeal, “Despite Julian being a multi-award-winning journalist, much loved and respected for courageously exposing serious, high-level crimes and corruption in the public interest, he is right now alone, sick, in pain—silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact and being tortured in the heart of London. The modern-day cage of political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London. It’s the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

Good grief. I have seen less graphic descriptions of starving Yemeni children.

“Here are the facts,” she went on. “Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge. That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the U.K. government has refused his request for access to basic health needs, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London.”

“In 2016, after an in-depth investigation, the United Nations ruled that Julian’s legal and human rights have been violated on multiple occasions,” she said. “He’d been illegally detained since 2010. And they ordered his immediate release, safe passage and compensation. The U.K. government refused to abide by the U.N.’s decision. The U.S. government has made Julian’s arrest a priority. They want to get around a U.S. journalist’s protection under the First Amendment by charging him with espionage. They will stop at nothing to do it.”

“As a result of the U.S. bearing down on Ecuador, his asylum is now under immediate threat,” she said. “The U.S. pressure on Ecuador’s new president resulted in Julian being placed in a strict and severe solitary confinement for the last seven months, deprived of any contact with his family and friends. Only his lawyers could see him. Two weeks ago, things became substantially worse. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who rightfully gave Julian political asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty, publicly warned when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He stated that because of the political costs of expelling Julian from their embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally. A new, impossible, inhumane protocol was implemented at the embassy to torture him to such a point that he would break and be forced to leave.”

Again, I have to suspend my disdain in order to keep to my principals.

I’m not sure that I agree with the United States’s overzealous need to get their hands on and prosecute the man for at least his past crimes. It’s a bit of a grey zone for me because I know for a fact that some of the information put real living, breathing, people at undue risk. Yet at the same time, the reason that much information is flagged as classified is often that we don’t want the public privy to it. Sometimes for good reason, often times because . . . humans.

WHOOPS! Better sweep that under the rug . . .

And if there is something to this speculated partnership with the United States to break Assange down mentally that goes beyond conspiracy theory, then, of course, I don’t condone this.

Frankly, it’s hard to make heads or tails out of any of this due to the sources of all the information. Of course a loving mother is going to describe in great detail every single trail of her own flesh and blood.

Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch dated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange. The document said the smear campaign should seek to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked. Assange is especially vilified for publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The Democrats and former FBI Director James Comey say the emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, by Russian government hackers. Comey has said the messages were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by “state actors.”

My god, Christopher Hedges really does have his head WAY up his ass on this one.

The Democratic Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime. Now, stories in newspapers that once published material from WikiLeaks focus on his allegedly slovenly behavior—not evident during my visits with him—and how he is, in the words of The Guardian, “an unwelcome guest” in the embassy. The vital issue of the rights of a publisher and a free press is ignored in favor of snarky character assassination.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense charges that were eventually dropped. Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

1.) Yes, the Democratic Party has not yet honestly assessed their reasons for losing the most winnable election in American history. The only thing more terrifying than the goings on in the Whitehouse in the past 2 years (which has become eerily reminiscent of the Ministry of Magic in Deathly Hollows Parts I and II) are the reactions of the DNC. An organization that seems to have learned NOTHING.

Actually no, that’s wrong. They seem to have only picked up on a very BAD lesson. The need for a celebrity candidate. I don’t care who it is . . . for the love of GOD, not now!

And as for Hillary . . . BACK THE FUCK OFF! I like you, I think you would have been an acceptable president (extraordinary, given the current comparison), but none the less . . . step aside.

2.) I don’t like the casual way in which Hedges seems to deal with the sexual assault charges (the charges have been dropped). There are 2 victims listed in the article, listed as Miss A and Miss W. Both allege that a consensual sexual encounter become non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.

Imagine that.

Either way, Miss A’s charges went away because the statute of limitations expired. The charges related to the Miss W encounter don’t expire until 2020. He WAS arrested on those charges already (in Britan, as asked to do so by Sweeden), but was bailed out by high-level supporters and fellow journalists.

Next, it looks like Britan decided to extradite Assange back to Sweeden to face the music. By this point, the Wikileaks stuff had blown up and the FBI wanted him as well, throwing another kink into this international mess. Assange’s lawyers unsuccessfully fought the extradition (fearing Sweeden would allow his extradition to the US), so he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy for the past 8 years.

I don’t fully agree with how the Americans have been playing this. But it is also unfortunate that the initial sexual assaults seemed to fall by the wayside to this mess. No doubt because they are unimportant, given the context.

It’s an oversight of the many. Welcome to the patriarchy!

But given the last topic in which I and Christopher Hedges butted heads on, I am a bit disappointed at the lack of oxygen given to this important aspect of the story. The charges stemming from the Wikileaks stuff was on top of the other stuff. NOT the show with a side of sexual assault.

By the looks of things, the 2020 charges may well also expire in the shadow of the persecuted messiah Julian story. Is this right?

WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. He disclosed the conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed, ominously, that Assange was on a U.S. “manhunt target list.”

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.

Dear lord. The last person to be persecuted as brutally as Assange is being (allegedly!) may well be Jesus Christ himself.

Uh . . . Assange helped to expose the inner workings (and failings) of pretty much every governing body with which his organization would come to touch on. WE GET IT.

Can we now be honest?

Be honest in saying that the man who should terrify the press (I guess that also includes me now) does not give a flying FUCK about the freedoms he has become the poster boy of? Do I really have to mention “SEAN HANNITY BACKCHANNEL!!” again?!

Even if the Russians provided the Podesta emails to Assange, he should have published them. I would have. They exposed practices of the Clinton political machine that she and the Democratic leadership sought to hide. In the two decades I worked overseas as a foreign correspondent I was routinely leaked stolen documents by organizations and governments. My only concern was whether the documents were forged or genuine. If they were genuine, I published them. Those who leaked material to me included the rebels of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN); the Salvadoran army, which once gave me blood-smeared FMLN documents found after an ambush; the Sandinista government of Nicaragua; the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Central Intelligence Agency; the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebel group; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the French intelligence service, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, or DGSE; and the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosovic, who was later tried as a war criminal.

We learned from the emails published by WikiLeaks that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton paid her donors back by approving $80 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, enabling the kingdom to carry out a devastating war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis, including widespread food shortages and a cholera epidemic, and left close to 60,000 dead. We learned Clinton was paid $675,000 for speaking at Goldman Sachs, a sum so massive it can only be described as a bribe. We learned Clinton told the financial elites in her lucrative talks that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best-positioned to manage the economy, a statement that directly contradicted her campaign promises. We learned the Clinton campaign worked to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. We learned Clinton obtained advance information on primary-debate questions. We learned, because 1,700 of the 33,000 emails came from Hillary Clinton, she was the primary architect of the war in Libya. We learned she believed that the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. The war she sought has left Libya in chaos, seen the rise to power of radical jihadists in what is now a failed state, triggered a massive exodus of migrants to Europe, seen Libyan weapon stockpiles seized by rogue militias and Islamic radicals throughout the region, and resulted in 40,000 dead. Should this information have remained hidden from the American public? You can argue yes, but you can’t then call yourself a journalist.

Is that a strawman?

I don’t disagree. The information had its rightful place in the public discourse. But so to, did the emails snatched from the old Republican server.

This is not partisanship. This is integrity. Frankly, me holding Hedges to his own standards.

“They are setting my son up to give them an excuse to hand him over to the U.S., where he would face a show trial,” Christine Assange warned. “Over the past eight years, he has had no proper legal process. It has been unfair at every single turn with much perversion of justice. There is no reason to consider that this would change in the future. The U.S. WikiLeaks grand jury, producing the extradition warrant, was held in secret by four prosecutors but no defense and no judge. The U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty allows for the U.K. to extradite Julian to the U.S. without a proper basic case. Once in the U.S., the National Defense Authorization Act allows for indefinite detention without trial. Julian could very well be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum-security prison, or face the death penalty. My son is in critical danger because of a brutal, political persecution by the bullies in power whose crimes and corruption he had courageously exposed when he was editor in chief of WikiLeaks.”

Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.

I puked in my mouth a little, there.

A man that helped fascism AGAIN regain a foothold in the liberal democracies of the western world, is the last hope for a free press.

Give me a break.

 “We need to make our protest against this brutality deafening,” his mother said. “I call on all you journalists to stand up now because he’s your colleague and you are next. I call on all you politicians who say you entered politics to serve the people to stand up now. I call on all you activists who support human rights, refugees, the environment, and are against war, to stand up now because WikiLeaks has served the causes that you spoke for and Julian is now suffering for it alongside of you. I call on all citizens who value freedom, democracy and a fair legal process to put aside your political differences and unite, stand up now. Most of us don’t have the courage of our whistleblowers or journalists like Julian Assange who publish them, so that we may be informed and warned about the abuses of power.”

I call on you, the information-consuming public, to drop whatever illusions you may still have about the intentions of Wikileaks and Jullian Assange. Your failure to do so, I fear, places you at odds with the promoters of liberal values and hand in hand with the perpetrators of illiberal fascism. Of all the things I never thought I would say of Christopher Hedges, that one is WAY up on the list.

Jullian Assange should face a fair trial in the context of both sets of charges in which he is accused. But it’s time to drop the messiah complex that has infected seemingly every iota of reporting in terms of Jullian Assange. At one time, he did the world a great public service. As time went on, it would seem that he was more driven by an agenda than anything else. Though he was once a poster child of freedom and liberty, those days are LONG gone. Claims for which can now be backed with real-world evidence (as of January 2018).

Jullian Assange is no hero. It’s time to give up the illusion.

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