3 Jul 2015

The Church of Neurotology Music Video

10 People Who Turned Against Scientology and Revealed Its Bizarre Secrets

The Church of Scientology, which the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard founded in 1952, has experienced more than its share of criticism along the way. But criticism has escalated in recent years, from Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear (aired on HBO earlier this year, watch here) to books by ex-members such as Jenna Miscavige Hill’s Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape in 2013 and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology in 2009. All of these works paint a disturbing picture of the organization, which has been accused of everything from forced child labour to coercive mind control to breaking up families.

scientology

Screenwriter/director Paul Haggis, who is known for his work in Million Dollar Baby, Crash and other Hollywood films, spent more than half his life in the Church of Scientology. But in 2009, Haggis (who is now 62), left the cult after 35 years because of its homophobic ways. That year, the cult’s San Diego branch came out in support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California. Haggis, who has two lesbian daughters, refused to keep quiet. In an open letter to Scientologist official Tommy Davis explaining his reasons for leaving, Haggis asserted that he could not be a part of a group that would “support a bill that strips a group of its civil rights.” Haggis was also quite critical of “disconnection,” a practice in which Scientologists are encouraged to discontinue all contact with relatives and friends who are deemed hostile to the cult.

9 More People Who Turned Against Scientology and Revealed Its Bizarre Secrets at Alternet

300,000 Babies Stolen & Sold for Adoption by The Catholic Church in Spain

Up to 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a period of five decades, a new investigation reveals. The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco’s dictatorship and continued until the early Nineties.

General-Francisco-Franco

Hundreds of families who had babies taken from Spanish hospitals are now battling for an official government investigation into the scandal.
Several mothers say they were told their first-born children had died during or soon after they gave birth. But the women, often young and unmarried, were told they could not see the body of the infant or attend their burial.

spanish nurses

In reality, the babies were sold to childless couples whose devout beliefs and financial security meant that they were seen as more appropriate parents. Official documents were forged so the adoptive parents’ names were on the infants’ birth certificates.

More at Occupy The Vatican
(facebook: www.fb.com/occupythevatican)

Lost children of Francoism (Wikipedia)

2 Jul 2015

This Is Not A Love Song

Public Image Limited

Syrian children 'increasingly exploited' for labour

The conflict in Syria is pushing an ever increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, a new report revealed.

Children in the country were now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households, according the report released by Save the Children and UNICEF. Thursday's report (PDF) also showed that close to half of all Syrian refugee children in neighbouring Jordan were now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households.

working syrian children

In Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working, the report said. "As families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighbouring countries, they are becoming main economic players," Roger Hearn, regional Director for Save the Children in the Middle East and Eurasia, said.

Full story at Al Jazeera English

Save the Children/UNICEF report

1 Jul 2015

Orthodox Jews Can’t Protest Gay Pride Parade, Hire Mexicans Instead

Some of the most curious costumes worn along the parade route belonged to protesters. Behind a barricade, a group of men wore the fringed Jewish prayer garment known as the tzitzit and held up anti-gay signs bearing the logo of a group calling itself the Jewish Political Action Committee. “Judaism prohibits homosexuality,” one sign read.

hired mexicans posing as jews

But the men were not Jewish. They were Mexican laborers, protesting because they were paid to protest, said one of the men, who would not give his name. Heshie Freed, a member of the political action committee, an Orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn, said that the men were supplementary troops, filling in for the Jewish students who would normally be called upon to demonstrate.

“The rabbis said that the yeshiva boys shouldn’t come out for this because of what they would see at the parade,” Mr. Freed said.

The New York Times

30 Jun 2015

US Transgender Rights

This week’s the American gay rights victory was historic, but the transgender community still faces staggering challenges. John Oliver focuses on the “T” in “LGBT."

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

29 Jun 2015

Pope 'plans to chew coca leaves during Bolivia visit'

Pope Francis has requested to chew coca leaves during his forthcoming visit to Bolivia, according to Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao.

laughing-pope

Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant. Mr Machicao said the government offered the Pope coca tea and the pontiff had "specifically requested" to chew coca. Coca leaves were declared an illegal substance under the 1961 UN convention on narcotic drugs. But the growing of coca leaves for religious and medicinal purposes is legal and licensed in Bolivia.

The Vatican has not yet commented. The Pope travels to Bolivia on 8 July.

More at BBC News

Rock in Rio USA 2015

Gary Clark Jr.

28 Jun 2015

The Fish is Dead

It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona.

"The Fish" was Chris Squire's nickname. He earned it primarily due to his very long baths he would take, back when several members lived in the same flat and had to share the bathroom.

For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water.

More on the Yes Facebook

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage

America's Best Christian takes time to explain to less informed Christians the curious details of the Lord's concept of marriage.

Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian

Man trolls ISIS at LGBT pride event with fake penis flag — and CNN thinks it’s real

A man trolling the violently homophobic Islamic State at a London gay pride event got extra troll points Saturday for duping CNN.

CNN reporter Lucy Pawle was at the event when she stumbled upon that man, who to her bewilderment, everyone seemed to be ignoring. Turns out his fake “ISIS flag” was made up of images of dildos, Mediaite discovered.

Pawle tells CNN anchors that she was leaving work when she happened upon the annual London Gay Pride festival. She was shocked to see a man dressed in black and white carrying what she called “a very bad mimicry” but a “very clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag.”

More at RawStory.com

26 Jun 2015

Commercial

Terror attacks on 3 continents, including 37 in Tunisia

Gunmen killed at least 37 people at a beachfront Tunisian hotel on Friday, the same day terrorists lashed out brutally in France and bombed a mosque in Kuwait.

tunisia-attack

Tunisia's health ministry reported those deaths as well as 36 injuries in and around the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in the coastal Tunisian city of Sousse, according to the state-run TAP news agency. There were three attackers -- one of whom was killed, one arrested and one escaped -- Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui told reporters.

Tunisia's nightmare came on the same day as at least two deadly terrorist attack in other countries.

france_factory_attack

One person was beheaded and two injured at a gas factory near Lyon in south-eastern France, according to French President Francois Hollande. And ISIS has claimed responsibility for an apparent bomb blast at the Shiite-affiliated Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait's capital during Friday prayers, leaving at least 25 dead and more than 200 injured.

More at CNN.com

The Loving Cup

Christine and The Queens

25 Jun 2015

Eyes In The Back Of My Head

The Skints (feat. Rival)

A Dinosaur Name in ‘Jurassic World’ is So ‘Racist’ That the Movie Has Come Under Fire

“Jurassic World” was an instant box office hit when it opened in theaters two weeks ago. But now, moviegoers are noticing details that aren’t sitting well with some people. The uproar started when moviegoers began complaining about one of the dinosaur species in the movie called Pakisaurus.

ijreview.com

One Comic Perfectly Sums Up Class Differences in Society

Toby-Morris

The Wireless featured Auckland-based artist Toby Morris who recently created an illustration breaking down the upbringing differences depending on socioeconomic status.

Click here to read the story on The Wireless

23 Jun 2015

The Final Show

Elephants and other wild animals are legal in circuses all around the world. But they do not belong in circuses where they are used in the purpose of amusement.