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Protesters at planned anti-Islam event "welcome to come in for a cup of tea"

mosque
© Unknown
Clonskeagh Mosque in Dublin
Protesters who attend a planned anti-Islam event outside Clonskeagh Mosque on Sunday are welcome to come in for a cup of tea, the Islamic Cultural Centre has said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, Summayah Kenna, spokesperson for the centre, said they had been informed by members of their community about plans for a protest. "Like any protest we can't and we will not object," she said. "Everybody has a right to protest. All we can ask is that it goes off peacefully."

Plans for the protest have been circulating online, and it is said the event has been organised by an Irish anti-Islam group. A counter-event has also been organised by Anti-Imperialist Front Ireland.

Comment: This is reminiscent of what a mosque in York, England, did in May 2013 during an English Defence League (EDL) protest. The mosque countered the protest with tea, biscuits and football:
A York mosque dealt with a potentially volatile situation after reports that it was going to be the focus of a demonstration organised by a far-right street protest movement - by inviting those taking part in the protest in for tea and biscuits. ...

...after members of the group accepted an invitation into the mosque, tensions were rapidly defused over tea and plates of custard creams, followed by an impromptu game of football.

Mohammed el-Gomati, a lecturer at the University of York, said: "There is the possibility of having dialogue. Even the EDL who were having a shouting match started talking and we found out that we share and are prepared to agree that violent extremism is wrong."


Vader

8-year-old questioned by French police for "defending terrorism"

© BFMTV
France is in a state of “collective hysteria,” says Sefen Guez Guez, the lawyer for a second grader questioned by police in France

Comment: Let's not forget: this is an 8-year-old. It should be obvious to anyone that a child that age would say things they would not really understand, or learned from someone older, and should not be considered a threat or a criminal based on vague statements. This boy may well have been psychologically traumatized by this encounter with the police and school officials.


Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of "defending terrorism."

BFMTV says that administrators at a primary school in Nice reported the child to police on 21 January after the boy allegedly said that he "felt he was on the side of the terrorists."

"A police station is absolutely no place for an eight-year-old child," the boy's lawyer Sefen Guez Guez told BFMTV. He said that the incident showed that France was going through a state of "collective hysteria."

Guez Guez said that on 8 January, the day after two French gunmen attacked the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the boy, whose name has been reported as Ahmed, was in class when he was asked if he was "Charlie."

"He answered, 'I am on the side of the terrorists, because I am against the caricatures of the prophet,'" the lawyer said.
Mr. Potato

NYC asks new parents if 'mother giving birth' is male or female

A peculiar part of paperwork that's presented to new parents in New York City is raising eyebrows around the Big Apple. The new form, according to recent reports, asks parents to specify if a newborn's mother is male or female.

The New York Post first reported on Friday that an updated Department of Health (DOH) form handed to parents requesting a birth certificate removes the risk of misgendering new mommies.

The form [PDF], provided by the New York City DOH's Bureau of Vital Statistics, requires parents to answer if the "woman giving birth" is male or female, along with more run of the mill questions concerning legal names and Social Security Numbers.

"What is your DATE OF BIRTH, current AGE and SEX?" the form asks in the section labeled "Mother/Parent (Woman Giving Birth)."
Eye 2

Cop facing life in prison for forcing teenage girl to have sex with multiple boys at his home over several years

© Cache County Sheriff's office
Cody C. Smith
A former Utah police officer, who changed his plea to no contest mid-trial, is facing life in prison for forcing a teenage girl to have sex with multiple teen boys over several years, starting when she was thirteen, the Deseret News is reporting.

Cody C. Smith, 40, of Logan, pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, each charge carrying a sentences of 6 years to life in prison. Prosecutors have indicated they will seek consecutive sentences for Smith, who will ask the judge to have the sentences run concurrently, according to court records.

Following his plea, Smith requested release "to get his affairs in order," however District Judge Brian Cannell ordered Smith to be taken into custody immediately "due to the nature of the offenses."

According to the original arrest warrant, Smith took the 13-year-old girl to his home and forced her to "go upstairs and start to undress, kiss and have sex" with a 13-year-old boy. The boy reportedly told Smith he was "LDS and naive" but Smith kept entering the room to provide instructions, forcing them to have sex.
Heart - Black

More blaming the victim: Fox News contributor calls campus sex assault victims "bad girls" who like to be "naughty"


Fox News contributor Stacey Dash
During a discussion on reports that national sorority organizations are advising University of Virginia sorority members to avoid all fraternity events during "bid week" out of sexual assault concerns, a Fox News contributor suggested that some female students who have been assaulted were "bad girls" who like to be "naughty."

The University of Virginia has been the subject of investigations for on-campus sexual assaults prior to, and in the wake of a mostly discredited Rolling Stone story that appeared in the music magazine last year.

Appearing on Fox's Outnumbered, former Clueless actress Stacey Dash shook her head while saying she found the ban "ridiculous," referring to the college women as "girls," in video captured by Media Matters of America.
Attention

'Bear Lady' of North Carolina likely killed by bear

© Drew Wilson
Grayson lived without a phone, running water or electricity for two decades at the home she dubbed 'Bearsong' and used to feed the animals with peanuts and dog food
A woman known as North Carolina's 'Bear Lady' may have been killed by a bear.

The remains of Kay Grayson, 67, were found in a well-known bear path just 100 yards from her isolated home in Tyrrell County on Monday.

Authorities could only find bones, hair and ripped clothing, which had likely been there for two weeks after she was reported missing.
Newspaper

Woman warriors: Media gets it all wrong

Woman warlord
© Brad Jonas
I read a long article called "My Terrifying Night with Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord" last month. It was utter crap, and so similar to a lot of utter crap I've been reading about the women fighters of the Kurdish YPJ militia in Syria that I realized it's time somebody called foul on the offensive, ignorant crap going around about what the media likes to call "women warriors." I don't particularly enjoy the role of progressive scold, and it don't hardly come natural to me, but somebody's gotta do it.

What happens, in every case where writers and TV reporters with no background in military reporting try to describe "women warriors" is that they sexualize everything, ignore the real context, and betray a deep misogyny in every word they write or speak on camera. I mean, to the point that it's surprising, at least to me, because a lot of these people make a big deal about being progressive. I'm kinda shocked, actually, how crude their gender bias is. Nobody seems to be even trying to hide it.

Reporters seem to insist on trying to "humanize," i.e. feminize and sexualize, their subjects by asking them about boyfriends, marriage, and kids. You can see that sort of tilt in nearly every story about the magnificent fighters of the YPJ, the women's military force defending Kobane and other Kurdish Syrian cities against Islamic State. YPJ fighters dominate the mixed YPJ/G forces in Rojava (Kurdish North Syria); the overall commander of Kurdish resistance to the IS swine attacking Kobane is female, for example. But even well-meaning reporters insist on bringing the conversation back to boyfriends, marriage, and kids, like this generally good story by Australia's 60 Minutes, which drags in the question of boyfriends, etc., at the 8:49 point.

Comment: Just another reflection of how shallow and totally lacking in insight the Western worldview is when it comes to pretty much everything. It's no wonder the Western media (at least those who don't receive explicit directives on what or what not to write) has fallen hook, line and sinker for the official party line on the conflict in Ukraine, for example. They can only see the situation through their narrow American lenses. And those lenses tend to blur out any insight into humanity and the reasons these conflicts are erupting worldwide.

Cowboy Hat

Hysteria: Texas considering bill allowing teachers to use lethal force against students

© Reuters/Mike Stone

Comment: It's bad enough that the U.S. has given carte blanch to police to shoot and kill with impunity, now Texas wants to extend that to teachers in charge of children? We've already seen how many innocent civilians are killed by police who claim to "fear for their lives", now they want to extend that to untrained school officials. Giving educators immunity for murder is absolutely insane.


Schoolteachers in Texas will be allowed to use lethal force against students without risking legal repercussions if a new bill being considered in the Lone Star State's legislature becomes a law.

The bill - HB 868, or the "Teacher's Protection Act" - affords educators legal immunity in the unlikely event that they happen to kill any of their students during school-sanctioned events.

Specifically, the bill - introduced to the Texas State Legislature on January 22 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) - says "an educator is justified in using force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator's person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator if, under the circumstances as the educator reasonably believes them to be, the educator would be justified...in using force or deadly force, as applicable, in defense of the educator or students."

Indeed, the language does not limit any hypothetical action on the educator's part to be done in self-defense: the proposed bill actually allows teachers to use deadly force on children if they believe another student or their self is in danger.

As of August 2014, Texas was among eight states in the country where laws allow school employees to carry firearms on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And, as the Houston Chronicle pointed out this week, teachers in Texas are already granted immunity if they assault a student, and the "use of force, but not deadly force, against a [student] is justified."
Vader

Terrorists are us now? NYPD special force to patrol with machine guns

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday that 350 heavily armed NYPD officers, called the "Strategic Response Group," will soon be patrolling protests and the city at large. He said the new strain of hyper-armed police will be
...equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not. They'll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns - unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.
Bratton announced their purpose is specifically
...designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.
Lumping protesters in with terrorists, he said the permanent force will deal with "disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities." It will allegedly assist on crime scenes and help with "crowd control and other large-scale events."

It is not unusual for authorities to ramp up "security" efforts following attacks (such as the ax attack against officers in October), but the idea of machine-gun clad officers is disturbing, especially considering past NYPD abuses of protesters and other residents.

Comment: The Pentagon has been supplying police forces, cities and school systems throughout the country with military grade weapons. It appears that our government regards its citizens as enemies, and is prepared to use any amount of force to corral the populace. How such tactics can possibly be construed to lead to 'improved police relations with communities' is inexplicable!

Stop

South Carolina city quietly moving towards privatization of water supply

water privatization south carolina
© Steve Johnson/flickr/cc
Columbia, S.C. is looking at the possibility of privatizing its water and sewage system.
South Carolina's capital city is exploring the possibility of privatizing its water and sewage system, prompting warnings that it could spell higher costs and lack of public control over "our most essential resource."

Reporting for South Carolina's The State, John Monk wrote
A move to solicit written expressions of interest from private companies was approved by council in open session at an early January meeting, Mayor Steve Benjamin said at Tuesday night's council meeting. However, that approval received virtually no publicity.
Renée Maas, Senior Southern Region Organizer with Food & Water Watch, told Common Dreams that the privatization could take different forms, with Columbia leasing or selling its assets, hiring consultants, or privatizing its management system.

Previous efforts to privatize the municipal systems elsewhere have show they can be costly for consumers, Maas said.

Comment: There has been a trend toward privatizing water resources, with mega-banks and billionaires buying up water all over the world. They perceive water as a critical commodity and it is likely they will take full advantage of their 'rights' wherever water becomes scarce. A 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services. Various privatization abuser failures occurred in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. This is because water corporations are primarily accountable to their stockholders, not to the people they serve.

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