Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jailing Heather Hironimus "shames the United States of America in the eyes of the world"

Heather Hironimus is a Florida mother who was jailed so that to "consent" to her son's circumcision. British journalist Ally Fogg has a good article in today's Business Insider, which I am copying below.

"Jailing Heather Hironimus in Florida marks watershed in America's relationship with circumcision

Legal and ethical consent is more than just a mark on a piece of paper. A scrawled signature is worth nothing if it does not represent freely volunteered, informed agreement. Consent offered under duress of coercion, fear or force has no meaning, no value.

The piece of paper signed by Florida mother Heather Hironimus is not a document of consent but a testament to a dysfunctional legal system that has become detached from fundamental principles of justice and human rights and which shames the United States of America in the eyes of the world.

The courtroom photos record Hironimus at the time of the signature, bound in handcuffs, sobbing uncontrollably, throwing her head back with hands clenched in a prayer for support or forgiveness. When she took the pen from her lawyer, it was subsequent to nine days held in jail with clear conditions from the presiding judge that she would be imprisoned indefinitely until she offered that signature.

Those nine days followed three months living in hiding in a domestic violence refuge. At the time of putting pen to paper, Hironimus was clearly distraught, distressed and presumably exhausted. Any document signed at such time has about as much validity as a confession to the Spanish inquisition.

What was the cause that drove the Florida justice system to such ignominious lengths? Astonishingly, the entire case hinges on a single decision resolved amicably by millions of American parents every year – whether or not to circumcise their sons.

The origins of this saga lie in a parenting agreement signed by Hironimus and the boy's father, Dennis Nebus, at the time of birth. The parents were not in an ongoing relationship and they signed an agreement on shared parenting, which included a clause stating that it would be the father who would schedule and pay for any circumcision procedure.

Nebus never took up the option until the child was three years old. In the intervening time, there were two important developments. The first was Hironimus learned more about the consequences of circumcision, including risks of complications from either the procedure or the anaesthetics involved.
Like ever-growing numbers of American parents, she came to believe or understand the supposed health benefits to circumcision are spurious and do not justify the risks and the loss of bodily integrity.

Secondly, and equally significantly, her son grew old enough to have an opinion as to what should happen to his own penis and decided he did not want bits of it cut off by a doctor for no sensible reason.

Nonetheless, in 2014, a Florida judge ruled that in signing the original parenting agreement, Hironimus had signed away any right to change her mind at any time, and lost the power to object to the permanent surgical mutilation of her own son.

For refusing to comply with the judge's ruling, Hironimus was held to be in contempt of court and still faces the prospects of criminal charges for interference with custody, a felony offence with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Her son, who has been named widely in press reports and on social media, but whose identity is formally protected in legal proceedings, is currently in the care of his father.

In many respects, the Hironimus case stands as a lightning rod for the developing debate around circumcision in the US. For more than a century American baby boys were routinely circumcised immediately after birth. The justifications have changed over time, from prevention of masturbation to hygiene considerations and latterly to the prevention of disease, and it seems that as the validity of each is disproven, a new rationalisation is forthcoming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now just about the only organisation of its type in the developed world that continues to recommend the practice. Nonetheless, the proportion of American parents who are refusing to continue the tradition is growing rapidly with improved awareness and education.
A recent YouGov poll found only 55% of newborn boys are now circumcised and it is expected that within a generation or two, a clear majority will be left intact. The same poll found one in 10 circumcised men in the US regret having had the procedure conducted.

The Hironimus case crystallises an increasingly impassioned debate between anti-circumcision campaigners (or "intactivists" as they choose to be known) and the traditions of the medical profession and cultural habits.

The debate swings on whether circumcision is considered a permanent medical and surgical intervention that brings to bear the full framework of ethics and consent or not. In no other circumstances would a signed parenting agreement, even if considered a legal contract, be considered unchangeable and permanent consent to surgical procedure at any time.

The simple truth is such documents are intended for practical management of finances and access arrangements, and in normal practice are regularly renegotiated and rewritten as circumstances change for one or other parent. In no other circumstance would parental consent for a surgical procedure be considered inviolable and irreversible even years later.

At least on face value, the son's bodily integrity would appear to be supported by the terms of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which promises to enable him to develop "in conditions of freedom and dignity". Both mother and child would also appear to have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on their side, which ensures their life, liberty and security of person as well as their freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.

One does not need to be passionately opposed to circumcision, for oneself or one's child, to see the horrific injustice that is now being played out in Palm Springs.

I struggle to believe that even the most ardent supporter of circumcision could accept such a procedure should be inflicted needlessly upon a terrified and distressed child, or that such an irreversible operation should ever be undertaken without the express agreement of both involved parents.

Ultimately it may be practicalities that decide whether this circumcision is conducted or not – it looks increasingly likely Nebus will be unable to find a surgeon who is prepared to operate in such circumstances.

The debate on the ethics and necessity of routine infant circumcision is not yet resolved but the balance of opinion appears is shifting rapidly. It may well be that in years to come society will look back on this habit of our era as a peculiar, if not downright barbaric anomaly. When that time comes, the lasting, iconic image might not be of a bleeding baby or a surgeon's scalpel, but the brutalised, tear-stained face of a heartbroken, handcuffed mother."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The world condemned Soviet aggression in 1939, cannot condemn Russian aggression now

Below, I am copying in its entirety Paul Goble's post Russia Must Be Expelled from UN Just as USSR was from League of Nations, Rabinovich Says:

"Staunton, March 26 – Vladimir Putin is “not Yeltsin’s successor but Stalin’s,” and Sergey Lavrov is the successor of Stalin’s commissar Vyacheslav Molotov, Slava Rabinovich argues. Consequently, the world must “begin the difficult but necessary process of excluding Russia from the UN Security Council” just as the USSR was expelled from the League of Nations.

 “The lies of Churkin and Lavrov in the UN General Assembly and Security Council are impermissible,” the Russian businessman says. “The lies of Putin to heads of governments are impermissible … The actions of the Russian Federation towards its neighbors are impermissible. The annexation of the territory of others is impermissible” (
Once again, he says, the world is confronted by “lying scoundrels and international criminals.” How did it react 76 years ago?

By the end of 1939, the League of Nations included 40 countries, including the USSR which had become a member in September 1934 on the basis of a French initiative. Prior to that time, Moscow had “actively cooperated” with the League and its various committees and taken part in its negotiations.

But on November 28, 1939, the USSR denounced the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty and the 1932 Soviet-Finnish Non-Aggression Pact, and two days later, Moscow began its invasion of Finland. Helsinki called on the League to take measures to end the war.
On December 4, Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin’s commissar for foreign affairs, responded that “the Soviet Union is not in a state of war with Finland and does not threaten the Finnish people because it had concluded on December 2 a Treaty on Mutual Assistance and Friendship with the government of a newly created Finnish Democratic Republic (FDR)."

According to Molotov, the Soviet Union was simply working with the FDR to “liquidate” the threats to peace which had been “created in Finland by its former rulers,” who he said had lost the authority to run the country and with whom Moscow would no longer negotiate. The USSR, he said, would from then on talk only with the FDR. (You can read Molotov's reply here - M. M.)
If the League of Nations took up this issue on the basis of Helsinki’s complaints, Molotov said, the USSR would not participate in its sessions.

But the League, under pressure from demonstrations across Europe against Moscow’s obvious aggression and attacks on civilian targets in Finland, decided to go ahead. On December 14, it convened the 20th session of the Assembly of the League of Nations to consider a finding that the USSR was guilty of aggression as defined by the League in 1933.   
Twenty-eight of the 40 member states voted to approve that finding. Nine abstained, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, China and Switzerland). But none objected because those opposed, including the USSR, refused to participate in the meeting.

On the basis of that vote, the Council of the League of Nations voted to exclude the USSR, condemning “the actions of the USSR directed against the Finnish state” and calling on the League’s member states to provide support for Finland.
Moscow reacted by denouncing this action as having excluded the 183 million people of the Soviet Union from international representation and by declaring, in the same statement, that the UK and France were supporting those who had provoked this war and that Moscow was thus now free to provide more assistance to its allies fighting inside Finland.
As Rabinovich points out, “history is repeating itself,” albeit so far in part, with the leaders of the member states of the League of Nations showing more commitment to the founding principles of that organization than have the leaders of the member states of the United Nations to its principles now."
Today, after all its land grabs, what exactly must Russia do in order to be declared aggressor and expelled from the UN?

Friday, May 22, 2015

US mother jailed for resisting son's circumcision

First, quote from the article Time for U.S. Parents to Reconsider the Acceptability of Infant Male Circumcision, by Danish doctor Morten Frisch, published at Huffington Post:

"Do the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control -- echoing the 2012 policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- have recently suggested that they do. What many Americans are not aware of, however, is the fact that the United States is not just unusual, but actually unique among developed nations in finding such widespread medical support for infant male circumcision. This support originated in the late 1800s, when doctors promoted the operation as a "cure" for masturbation; today it comes primarily from doctors' trade associations -- such as the AAP -- that protect financial and other interests of physicians who continue to perform such surgeries. Doctors in peer nations, by contrast, along with the medical associations that represent them, tend to see the U.S. circumcision ritual as more of a cultural habit, not something rooted in sound medical science...

In recent years, more and more circumcised men have begun speaking out in favor of leaving baby boys' penises intact. According to one recent poll, fully 10 percent of circumcised U.S. men wish they had not been circumcised. Many argue that future generations of boys and men should have the chance to decide for themselves whether something as significant and personal as an irreversible surgery on their sexual organ is what they really want, when they reach an age of understanding.
But doesn't circumcision promote health and hygiene, as the AAP and CDC suggest? The short answer is no. In fact, only one health claim is even potentially relevant to young boys in western countries: the claim that circumcised newborns may have an approximately 1 percent lower absolute risk of getting a urinary tract infection in the first 1-2 years of life. One possible explanation might be the distinctly American habit of trying to retract young boys' foreskins in order to wash their penises -- a practice that should never be done, because retraction is unnecessary for proper hygiene in infants and can cause small tears, which may increase the risk of infection. But even if this "circumcision protects against UTIs" claim is accepted, approximately 100 circumcisions would have to be performed to prevent just one urinary tract infection. Compare this to girls, who get urinary tract infections far more frequently than boys do: no one proposes that we remove their labia or their clitoral hood in infancy. We just prescribe antibiotics, when necessary.

All of the other claimed health benefits apply to adolescents and men after their sexual debut. Consider penile cancer. A reduced risk of this disease is a favorite argument used in support of circumcision. But penile cancer only develops in older men, and is so rare in Western countries that it would take between 900 and more than 300,000 circumcisions according to some estimates - with all the associated risks of surgery - to prevent just one case.

Other claimed benefits of circumcision, including a lowered risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, are based on studies of adult men -- not infants -- undergoing circumcisions in poor, African countries. Making health policies for newborn boys in the United States based on studies of adult males in Africa is scientifically unjustified. The situation in Europe, where most men are not circumcised, provides an important insight: all of the diseases that circumcision is claimed to prevent are about equally or even less common there than in the United States. For example, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the United States, where most men are circumcised, is 2-6 times higher than in non-circumcising countries of Northern Europe. While there are many cultural and other variables that play into these differences, the point is that the percentage of excised foreskins in a given population is far from the most relevant factor...

Studies from western countries do suggest that circumcision is associated with an increased risk of adverse sexual experiences, which even the CDC has recently acknowledged. Curiously, however, the CDC failed to mention this important finding in their newly proposed federal recommendations, made public in December of 2014.

What about complications? It is often said that these are "low" for circumcision, but there are at least two problems with this. First, research into complications is surprisingly superficial: there is no systematic mechanism in place to collect data on complications, and some problems (like the removal of too much tissue to allow for a normal erection) may take years to develop or recognize -- so they will never be recorded in an official database. Second, our tolerance for risk should be extremely low - in fact, close to zero - when we are talking about an unnecessary surgery performed on a healthy individual before he can provide his consent. Each year, thousands of U.S. boys undergo reparative penile surgery for complications. Clinical studies show that somewhere between 7 and 20 percent of newborn boys undergoing circumcision will develop a potentially serious complication called meatal stenosis, a narrowing of the urethral opening on the tip of the penis that usually requires surgery. Ignoring this fact, both the CDC and the AAP rely on poor quality register data to conclude that there is less than a half-a-percent risk of complications in newborn boys. Judged from the frequency of meatal stenosis alone, this estimate is likely to be at least 14 times too low...

Based on both medical and ethical considerations, routine circumcision is not a sensible procedure in countries where individual rights (like the right to bodily integrity) are more than a political buzzword. Boys need cosmetic genital surgery no more than girls do. And keeping one's intact genitals healthy and clean is simple regardless of one's gender: mild soap and running water are all that is needed. Cutting off a functional, protective and sensitive body part is a far-reaching decision that the vast majority of Europeans believe should be left to its owner when he becomes old enough to understand the consequences. Despite the recent, backward-looking statements by U.S. medical organizations, more and more Americans are beginning to agree."

Recently, a Florida mother named Heather Hironimus got in the news for refusing to circumcise her son. The boy, now 4, was born out of wedlock. Ms. Hironimus didn't want to marry the father Dennis Nebus and even tried to hide from him the baby's existence. To me, this shows pretty clearly how much the guy is worth. Unfortunately, today's push for "equal rights of both parents" and the bla-bla-bla about the tender heart of each and every father (read: adult male with functioning reproductive organs) increasingly puts women and vulnerable children under the power of abusive men, as in the bad old days and today's Third World. In this case, the father insisted to have a say in parenting and the two parents signed a court-approved parenting agreement which included circumcision of the boy.

However, the mother soon changed her mind, took her son and fled in order to prevent him for being circumcised. The saga dragged for 4 years but the end is near: "In a remarkable turnaround after a week behind bars for contempt [of court] and an initial hearing in which she was ordered to remain jailed, court reconvened and a sobbing Heather Hironimus signed paperwork giving approval for the surgery, recoiling in tears and clasping her shackled hands after it was done... Upon arriving in court Friday, shackled and wearing a navy blue jail jumpsuit, Hironimus quietly invoked her Fifth Amendment rights when asked if she had signed the consent agreement. [Judge Jeffrey] Gillen said she would be jailed indefinitely unless she did." (Source: today's report by Mark Sedensky, AP via Yahoo! News.)

I don't know what made the mother initially give her consent. Let me, however, quote a comment to the same report: "Even if there is a compelling medical reason, this is still an elective procedure. Every medical treatment should be weighed for Benefits-Versus-Risks. A simple example is antibiotic treatment. Even if I feel my patient may benefit from an antibiotic, I cannot administer the antibiotic if the parent objects (as long as the kid is not in danger of dying from the infection). Please also understand that a legal parent is allowed to change their mind about treatment at any time. Therefore, Ms. Hironimus is allowed to change her mind, even though she signed an agreement a couple of years ago. Sometimes there are valid reasons for a parent to change their minds regarding treatment, such as new treatments being available, better diagnostics, etc. The courts should understand that medical providers welcome parents to update their decisions continuously." Even before I had read this comment - apparently by a doctor, I had pointed out several times that the patient or his legal representative can retract his consent at any time, and if I sign a contract for (say) cosmetic surgery and then reconsider it, nobody would have the right to drag me to the operating theater and bind me to undergo the surgery.

My online friend Jane Meyerding had similar thoughts on another occasion: "Although incredibly resistant to change, the mass of governmental routine can spread itself quickly to cover new situations. The Cuban "boat people" -- the thousands of refugees who left Cuba for the U.S. in 1980 -- are a case in point. According to a newspaper report, 354 of these Cubans were incarcerated in the McNeil Island federal prison while the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) routine was applied to them... I happened to answer a newspaper ad that winter for part-time transcription typists and wound up transcribing tape recordings of their INS hearings. The job paid $7 an hour -- more than I've ever made, before or since.As I sat there... certain INS forms and documents came up again and again in (and as) evidence: I-589, "the State Department letter," the Refugee Act of 1980...
I was amazed at how quickly a newly established routine can come to take precedence over the chaotic reality of human lives. In every case, the INS court upheld the artifacts produced by the routine as more valid than the living, breathing, remembering, spoken testimony of the Cubans themselves. For example: Several of the defense lawyers objected to the admission as evidence of the I-589 forms. An I-589 is a "request for asylum" and, in these cases, the I-589s were filled out by INS agents who were communicating with the Cubans through interpreters (many of whom were not fluent in modern Cuban Spanish)... These interviews followed a period of intense stress and confusion -- imprisonment in Cuba, sudden release, and virtual expulsion in many instances, after a televised invitation from the president of the United States saying the U.S. would welcome them "with open arms." Then there was the crowded and dangerous boat trip to the near-mythical "land of the free" -- where they were immediately imprisoned. The refugees had received mixed messages from all sides -- for example, being told "sign here or you won't be released" and then being targeted for deportation on the basis of the "statement" they "voluntarily" signed...Well, it seemed patently obvious to me and to the refugees' lawyers that the I-589 forms were not worth diddlyshit as evidence. But listen to the judge: "I will overrule the objections. I admit this document as a statement made by the applicant. I admit it both for substantive and impeaching purposes. And I admit it as being a government document that was prepared in the routine course" of INS procedures [emphasis added]. The document -- born of routine -- was considered a more trustworthy expression of the applicant's reality than his own words spoken there in the courtroom. And whenever there was a discrepancy between the routine-blessed document and the words of the human being, the judge invariably chose to believe the piece of paper." (Emphasis mine - M.M.)

The unfortunate Cubans, at least, were not US citizens. What made US authorities subject US citizen Heather Hironimus to such outrageous, fascistic treatment? I guess, because it would be a bit of a scandal to admit that millions of US baby boys have been subjected to unnecessary and potentially risky surgery over decades. It is difficult to admit that the Emperor has no clothes.

Meanwhile, what is the moral of the story? Girls, never-ever have a baby with a man you feel you cannot trust! Use reliable contraception and if it fails, go straight to abortion, leaving aside any ethical and other considerations. If you don't want a man next to you, just a baby, use the services of a sperm bank. Apparently, this is the only way to prevent psychopaths like Dennis Nebus to poison your and the child's life and to abuse you as much as they wish, backed by the authorities. I am so sorry for Heather Hironimus and her child. I hope that this child will grow to become a strong man and will sue the hell out of his "father" and the state of Florida.

Update: A commenter at an ABC News report puts a good question:

"If the judge had the right to enforce the previous agreement, then why did he force the woman, under duress, to sign again? If a signature that the woman later changed her mind about was not satisfactory, how is a signature that has been obtained under duress any better? If the judge could override the woman's objection, why didn't he do just that? Forcing her to sign a consent form under duress is bizarre and cruel. I can't see how it could possibly be legal."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mother Mary versus Io

   (Bulgarian readers can read this post on my Bulgarian blog.)
   The quotes below are from two texts that have endured the test of time. Find the similarities and the differencies:

" 26And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent out from God, to a town in Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin's name was Mary.  28And the angel went in to her, and said, "Hail, O favored one!  The Lord is with you."
   29She was very troubled by the utterance, and wondered what sort of greeting it might be.
   30Then the angel said to her, "Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  31You shall conceive in your womb, and shall bear a son, and you are to call his name Jesus.  32This man will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
   34And Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen, since I am not knowing a man?"
   35And in answer the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  For this reason also, the one to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  36And behold, Elizabeth your relative, even she in her old age, has conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her, she who was called barren.  37Therefore with God, nothing will be impossible."
   38"Here am I, the slave girl of the Lord," Mary said.  "May it be to me according to your statement."  Then the angel left her." (Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1.)

   "[645] Io: For visions of the night, always haunting my maiden chamber, sought to beguile me with seductive words, saying: “O damsel greatly blessed of fortune, why linger in your maidenhood so long when it is within your power to win a union of the highest? Zeus is inflamed by passion's dart for you and is eager to unite with you in love. Do not, my child, spurn the bed of Zeus, but go forth to Lerna's meadow land of pastures deep and to your father's flocks and where his cattle feed, so that the eye of Zeus may find respite from its longing.”
    [655] By such dreams was I, to my distress, beset night after night, until at last I gained courage to tell my father of the dreams that haunted me... Then at last there came an unmistakable utterance... commanding him clearly that he must thrust me forth from home and native land to roam at large to the remotest confines of the earth; and, if he would not, a fiery thunderbolt would come from Zeus that would utterly destroy his whole race.
    [669] Yielding obedience... he drove me away and barred me from his house, against his will and mine; but the constraint of Zeus forced him to act by necessity...
    [846] Prometheus: There is a city, Canobus, on the extremity of the land at the very mouth and silt-bar of the Nile. There at last Zeus restores you to your senses by the mere stroke and touch of his unterrifying hand. And you shall bring forth dark Epaphus, thus named from the manner of Zeus' engendering; and he shall gather the fruit of all the land watered by the broad-flowing Nile. Fifth in descent from him...  shall give birth in Argos to a royal line..." (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, translation by H.W. Smyth.)

   This post was inspired by a discussion to a post on atheism in my Bulgarian blog. I accused the Christian God in forcing a hapless maiden to give birth to His son. A Christian opponent objected that my statement was "the top of ignorance" and that "Mother Mary voluntarily said, May it be!". My opponent's opinion is widespread among Christians; but is it true? I think that the unbiased parallel reading of the two sources suggests that Mother Mary had about as much choice as Io. You can see that the angel describes her fate in future tense without any hint of conditional tense. In this situation, May it be! is hardly more meaningful that the signature at the end of the lawsuit which indicates that the person in question has received a copy of the verdict.
   But even if Mother Mary had given her consent gladly, could we accept it as valid? After all, a person must be aware what he is consenting to; as in medical ethics, consent must be informed. The angel, however, does not inform Mary. On the contrary, he dis-informs her. He stresses that her son will reign, but omits the teensy, weensy detail that his reign will be entirely posthumous and his life on Earth will have an early and extremely painful end. I doubt very much that Mary felt "favored" when she saw her son on the cross.

   Actually, in Aeschylus' play Prometheus also manipulates Io, though not as unscrupulously. The difference between the Christian and the Pagan text is in the later reaction by the maiden herself and the other women:

"39At that time Mary got up and went with speed to the hill country, to a town of Judah, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah, and greeted Elizabeth.  41And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb did leap, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  42And she shouted out in a loud voice, saying, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!...
  46And Mary said: "My soul does magnify the Lord, 47and my spirit did rejoice in God my Savior, 48because he looked toward the lowly station of his servant. So behold: all the generations after now will consider me blessed, 49because the Mighty One did great things for me." (Gospel of Luke.)

   "[877] Io: Oh! Oh! Alas! Once again convulsive pain and frenzy, striking my brain, inflame me. I am stung by the gadfly's barb, unforged by fire. My heart knocks at my ribs in terror; my eyeballs roll wildly round and round. I am carried out of my course by a fierce blast of madness...
    [894] Chorus: Never, oh never, immortal Fates, may you see me the partner of the bed of Zeus, and may I be wedded to no bridegroom who descends to me from heaven. For I shudder when I behold the loveless maidenhood of Io, cruelly crushed like this...
    [901] When marriage is on equal terms, in my opinion it is no cause for dread; so never may the love of the mightier gods cast on me its irresistible glance. That would indeed be a war that cannot be fought, a source of resourceless misery..." (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound.)

Which ending do you like more? Speaking of myself, I have been attracted for some time to the pre-Christian heritage, quite like the Renaissance Europeans. The monotheistic tradition reduces the human to a mere tool of some omnipotent non-human force and doesn't allow him even to grumble; this does not suit my taste.

Update: The discussion of this post led me to some thoughts I'd like to add:

1. Mary, after sending Gabriel away, "gets up" and "goes with speed" to seek Elizabeth,  whom the angel has reported to be in advanced age and pregnancy. In other words, the young woman doesn't rush to believe everything she is told. Instead, she shows admirable critical thinking. In this context, "May it be to me according to your statement" may be interpreted as a mere formal polite expression to get rid of the uninvited guest who is at this moment not considered trustworthy.

2. After seeing that Elizabeth is indeed pregnant, Mary becomes jubilant. The loud announcement how happy you are, especially when associated with your child, is considered in most cultures "pulling the devil's tail" - an act of hubris which brings misfortune by angering the supernatural forces. I'd like to know whether there are interpretations of Luke's text from this angle.

3. The logic-defying interpretations of Io's fate as blissful, e.g. by N. Wecklein and R. Houbeck, can be explained as conscious or unconscious extrapolations from Mother Mary.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Labour leader promises Sharia if elected

Quoting from International Business Times (report by Kalyan Kumar):

"With Britain going to polls in a week’s time on May 7, parties are wooing influential social groups for support. Latest in that practice is Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who has promised outlawing "Islamophobia" if he becomes the next prime minister... Miliband made this statement in an interview with The Muslim News, "We are going to make Islamophobia an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people's records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime. We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” Miliband said."

The author also reminds that this is repeat offense for the Labour: "Between 2001 and 2005, the Labour government led by Prime Minister Tony Blair tried twice to amend Part 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 to cover its existing provisions on racial hatred to religious hatred as well. In January 2006, the House of Lords approved the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, but only after amending it to make sure that the law would be limited to banning only "threatening" words and not any abusive or insulting words."

Allison Pearson at the Telegraph comments the same news and puts it in the perspective of what has already happened in Britain even without such a law: how the authorities were happy to cover up gang-rapes and enslavement of over 4,000 vulnerable young girls for years because the victims were white native children, the predators were Pakistani Muslims, and the authorities' top concern was not to appear racist and Islamophobic.

Frankly, Mr. Miliband makes the jihadis look almost sympathetic to me. At least, they believe in something deeply rooted in their maimed, distorted souls. Miliband is selling his soul at a discount, as a piece of useless luggage for a politician.

If the Labour has a high number of votes at these elections, I'll lose my hope in mankind. Or at least in the British nation. I am happy that I have only one British friend and he is now living outside the country.

Update: The audience which Miliband addressed was gender-segregated (hattip Jerry Coine, from whose blog I am copying the image below):

Not to mention that women are all covered.

At the elections, the Labour took more votes than at the previous elections but fewer than anticipated. Miliband acknowledged defeat and resigned.