Archive for August 18, 2012

A lawsuit that challenges the placement of the cross at the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center alleges atheist plaintiffs have suffered serious physical and mental illness because the religious symbol has made them feel excluded.

Nonsense, says a new friend-of-the-court brief to be filed Monday in the case by the American Center for Law and Justice. The brief, which carries the signatures of more than 100,000 people, argues there have been no known sightings of suicides or uncontrolled vomiting at or around the Ground Zero cross.

“The legal argument is absurd,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow charged Wednesday.

American Atheists, he said “is making some astonishing claims.”

The group contends the placement of the 17-foot-tall symbol at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is making some atheists unbearably sick.

“The plaintiffs, and each of them, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross,” the lawsuit American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey states. “Named plaintiffs have suffered …. dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”

The suit explains the named plaintiffs “have seen the cross, either in person or on television, are being subjected to, and injured in consequence.”

Sekulow doubts the claims are true, finding it uncanny that only a select group of non-believers is susceptible to such a debilitating “disease.”

“These claims are ridiculous,” the ACLJ founder insists. “And so is the lawsuit. In just a matter of days, we will be filing a critical amicus brief defending this Ground Zero cross, which consists of two intersecting steel beams that survived the Twin Towers collapse on 9/11. We have a unique opportunity to not only urge the court to reject this flawed lawsuit, but to send a powerful message to the court: that more than 100,000 Americans are standing with us in this brief ─ urging the court to keep this powerful memorial in place.”

If American Atheists’ demand to remove the cross doesn’t succeed, organization officials already have an alternative: something else must be erected next to the cross.

“They even make a bizarre suggestion about erecting a ’17-foot-high A for Atheists’ to promote their non-beliefs at the site,” Sekulow said.

Read more here.

The eyes of the world were on South Africa two decades ago as the apartheid era came to an end and Western governments helped bring the communist-backed African National Congress to power.

Last month, however, when Genocide Watch chief Gregory Stanton declared that white South African farmers were facing a genocidal onslaught and that communist forces were taking over the nation, virtually nobody noticed.

Few outside of South Africa paid attention either when, earlier this year, the president of South Africa began publicly singing songs advocating the murder of whites.

The silence is so deafening that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t even publicly mention the problems when she was there last week. Instead, she was busy dancing, pledging billions of dollars and praising the ruling government.

“I find that quite disturbing, as if Afrikaner lives do not count for the Obama administration,” Dan Roodt of the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group, PRAAG, told WND.

He says the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

Genocide Watch, a highly respected U.S.-based nonprofit organization led by arguably the world’s foremost expert on genocide, has been sounding the alarm on the genocidal onslaught facing South Africa for a decade. The world media, however, has barely uttered a word about it.

Over those 10 years, thousands of white South African farmers, known as Boers, have been massacred in the most horrific ways imaginable.

Experts say the ongoing slaughter constitutes a clear effort to exterminate the whites or at least drive the remaining ones – now less than 10 percent of the population – out of the country. In other words, South Africa is facing a genocide based on the United Nations’ own definition.

More than 3,000 farm murders have been documented in that time period, representing a significant number considering the number of commercial white farmers is now estimated at less than 40,000.

Tens of thousands of whites have been murdered throughout South Africa, too, according to estimates.

Read more here.

When the sun rises on December 22, as it surely will, do not expect apologies or even a rethink. No matter how often apocalyptic predictions fail to come true, another one soon arrives. And the prophets of apocalypse always draw a following—from the 100,000 Millerites who took to the hills in 1843, awaiting the end of the world, to the thousands who believed in Harold Camping, the Christian radio broadcaster who forecast the final rapture in both 1994 and 2011.

Religious zealots hardly have a monopoly on apocalyptic thinking. Consider some of the environmental cataclysms that so many experts promised were inevitable. Best-selling economist Robert Heilbroner in 1974: “The outlook for man, I believe, is painful, difficult, perhaps desperate, and the hope that can be held out for his future prospects seem to be very slim indeed.” Or best-selling ecologist Paul Ehrlich in 1968: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s ["and 1980s" was added in a later edition] the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked on now … nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Or Jimmy Carter in a televised speech in 1977: “We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”

Predictions of global famine and the end of oil in the 1970s proved just as wrong as end-of-the-world forecasts from millennialist priests. Yet there is no sign that experts are becoming more cautious about apocalyptic promises. If anything, the rhetoric has ramped up in recent years. Echoing the Mayan calendar folk, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight at the start of 2012, commenting: “The global community may be near a point of no return in efforts to prevent catastrophe from changes in Earth’s atmosphere.”

Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 1972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening predictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes.

So far all of these specters have turned out to be exaggerated. True, we have encountered obstacles, public-health emergencies, and even mass tragedies. But the promised Armageddons—the thresholds that cannot be uncrossed, the tipping points that cannot be untipped, the existential threats to Life as We Know It—have consistently failed to materialize. To see the full depth of our apocaholism, and to understand why we keep getting it so wrong, we need to consult the past 50 years of history.

Read more here.

The retired Navy SEAL founder of the political action committee Special Operations Speaks, a group of veterans sharply critical of President Barack Obama’s treatment of the military, acknowledged that he doesn’t believe the president was born in the U.S.

“I have to admit that I’m a birther,” Larry Bailey told Foreign Policy magazine in an interview published Friday. “If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is.”

Special Operations Speaks is separate from — but has similar views to — the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, the group of former military and intelligence community members that this week released a scathing 22-minute film demanding an end to national security leaks and accusing Obama of taking undue credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Bailey, a 27-year veteran of the SEALs, told Foreign Policy he also does not believe Obama’s real father was Barack Obama Sr. but subscribes to the theory that it was the late communist journalist Frank Marshall Davis.

“In his books, Obama said his mentor was a fellow named Frank Marshall Davis. Frank Marshall Davis was a member of Communist Party USA, he wrote for the communist party’s Hawaii newsletter, he was a close friend of Obama’s mother, and there’s a strong case that Frank Marshall Davis rather than Barack Obama, Sr. was Barack Obama, Jr.’s father and that Barack Obama, Sr. was just an administrative father of convenience,” Bailey said.

Read more here.

Two high school choruses will not be performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) this year because they’re not “racially-diverse enough,” Fox News reports.

Apparently, it’s more important that you look like you just came from the set of Glee than it is to, you know, have actual talent.

“This year, the schools were informed by symphony officials that their choruses are not diverse enough, and that the symphony would be inviting a third, more diverse chorus [emphasis added],” said Cobb County Schools spokesman Jay Dillon.

Unsurprisingly, some Marietta, Ga., residents believe the symphony’s decision to turn away both Walton and Lassiter High School is discriminatory.

“I think it’s sad,” one resident, Shar Nicholson, told WSBTV.com. “I think if they have the talent and the desire they should be given the opportunity.”

Atlantic Symphony Orchestra President Stanley Romanstein argues that it’s one of the goals of the organization to “reflect the diversity of Atlanta,” adding that he is surprised by the reaction to the decision.

“It’s an interesting misunderstanding,” he said.

See the video here.

The Arab Spring takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood has run amok, with reports from several different media agencies that the radical Muslims have begun crucifying opponents of newly installed President Mohammed Morsi.

Middle East media confirm that during a recent rampage, Muslim Brotherhood operatives “crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow with the Middle East Forum and the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said the crucifixions are the product of who the Middle Eastern media call “partisans.”

“Arabic media call them ‘supporters,’ ‘followers’ and ‘partisans’ of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ibraham said.

Ibrahim also says the victims can be anyone, including Egyptian Christians.

“It’s anyone who is resisting the new government,” Ibrahim said. “In this particular case, the people attacked and crucified were secular protesters upset because of Morsi’s hostile campaign against the media, especially of Tawfik Okasha, who was constantly exposing him on his station, until Morsi shut him down.”

Ibrahim said extra brutality is reserved for Christians, but the crucifixions are because of Islamic doctrine and are required by the Quran. The time and other details about the crucifixions were not readily available.

Read more here.

A California eighth grader said she was pulled out of class and reprimanded for having photographs in her binder — snapshots that included her military policeman brother stationed in Montana.

Brianna Gentry, 13, is a student at Golden Valley Middle School in San Bernardino, Calif. She told KTLA-TV the photos — one of her softball team as well — apparently violated an unwritten rule against “added material” in the notebook for the advanced program she’s in.

“The counselor took me out of class twice telling me that the pictures are added material,” Brianna told KTLA. “But they haven’t pulled any other students with pictures out from their class. … Just me.”

Jaima Eudy, Brianna’s mother, was furious when she found out and wrote a letter to the school saying Brianna was being singled out and discriminated against for having a military photo.

See more here.

A video posted by the Appleton Post-Crescent shows an anti-Romney protester spitting in the face of an audience member during an appearance by state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) on Friday.

In the video, Darling is speaking to the audience when a female protester disrupts the “Wisconsin Women for Mitt” event and tries to ask a question: “Why are you against Planned Parenthood?”

When another woman asks the protester to hold her question, the protester says, “Get out of my face” and spits in hers.

The anti-Romney woman was quickly reminded that the event was on private property and was escorted out. The entire audience gave her an enthusiastic — and sarcastic — “bye!” and waved as she exited the room. However, the protester continued to speak her mind, so the attendees of the event drowned her out with chants of “Romney! Romney! Romney!”

Grand Chute police are reviewing the altercation for potential charges, the Appleton Post-Crescent reports. The protester has been identified by the Post as 83-year-old Mary Hoglund.

“This is a private business and we invited a small group of clients and friends,” said Chris Hanson, owner of Hanson Benefits where the event was held. “Whatever happened to grace and mercy in politics? This isn’t a town hall meeting.”

See the video here.