Radicals Chasing Utopia sets out to be your user guide to radical movements

Image: Kalispera Dell / CC 3.0

In a time of worldwide rebellion against the political norms, it can seem impossible to keep up with the onslaught of movements set to change the course of world history.

Thankfully, Jamie Bartlett’s Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change World (Nation Books, June 13, 2017), seeks to connect readers to a handful of those movements. Bartlett brings readers deep inside the libertarian movement as they attempt to create a perfect libertarian utopia, filled with imaginary Bitcoins and so much freedom you’ll die because you can’t afford healthcare, to the pits of the far-right as Bartlett spends time with the former English Defense League’s Tommy Robinson.

When it comes to current events, the Robinson chapter that resonates the most as around the globe far-right, anti-immigration groups attempt to pass themselves off not as racist, but rationals. Bartlett embedded with Robinson through his attempt to launch Pegida-UK, an anti-Islam action group that Robinson hoped would be less controversial than his previous stint with EDL. Continue reading “Radicals Chasing Utopia sets out to be your user guide to radical movements”

Stop fetishizing non-violence in the face of white nationalist terrorism

Image: YouTube screen capture

Let me start here, Matthew O’Neil is a wonderful friend of mine and when I ran the Danthropology blog he was a frequent writer for the site, even when we disagreed like we do here.

Since the original punch of Richard Spencer on January, 20, Matthew has been vocally against such actions, and have, as you likely noticed, strongly in favor.

Today, Matthew posted a blog titled: It’s Time to Stop Advocating for Violence.

I want to go through Matthew’s piece and look at his major claims. (Matthew is in italics). Continue reading “Stop fetishizing non-violence in the face of white nationalist terrorism”

Stop waiting for Democrats to save health care and demand single payer now

Image: Public Domain

Both Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that health care needs to be better. For the Republican Party, they have shown us their desire. With the House of Representatives voting on Thursday to overturn many of the hallmark pieces of the Affordable Care Act in favor of their American Health Care Act. The AHCA is nothing less than a death sentence for millions of American and a massive gift to insurance companies.

The Democrats, however, only want to add what they believe are incremental improvements to the ACA, ignoring the fact that the majority of Americans, including many Republican voters, want single-payer health care.

Moments after the devastating vote, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if the Democrats would finally support single-payer, to which she answered, “no,” without skipping a beat.

This, coupled with the party’s choice to throw all their weight behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign, instead of Bernie Sanders who would have taken populism toe-to-two against Donald Trump, shows the ever growing disconnect between voters and the Democratic Party. Continue reading “Stop waiting for Democrats to save health care and demand single payer now”

Truthout: How Gentrification Is Killing US Cities and Black Lives

”How to Kill a City” exposes how gentrification monetizes the loss and destruction of Black communities.

When tens of thousands of African Americans returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, they found a new, unwelcoming city. A city being transformed one hipster coffee shop at a time. Through gentrification, New Orleans leaders have managed to create a smaller, whiter New Orleans, one unwelcoming to those who have called the city home for their entire lives.

Many Louisiana politicians, business leaders and developers saw Katrina as an opportunity to destroy low-income housing and replace it with upscale condos and boutiques. Rich, white businessmen saw an opportunity and they didn’t hesitate to take it.

“Nobody can refute the fact that we have completely turned this story around,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in 2015, talking of streamlined government and year-over-year economic growth. “For the first time in 50 years, the city is on a trajectory that it has not been on, organizationally, functionally, economically, almost in every way.”

Continue Reading: How Gentrification Is Killing US Cities and Black Lives

Constitutional attorney films commercial at Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter

My friend Andrew Seidel paid a visit to Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter, filming a Freedom From Religion commercial, and giving viewers a wonderfully educated walkthrough of the park.

You’ll notice, throughout the whole video there are little to no guests to be seen.

No, this wasn’t because Andrew requested a closed set, but because no one goes to visit this awful park.

According to the Friendly Atheist, only 450 people visited the park that day.

Ham has been boasting about his visitation numbers for more than a year but the truth is, 450 in a single day is not enough to sustain his business.

It’s also not enough to boost the local economy as he has claimed it would. It’s been such a little boon to the local economy that city officials have expressed their disappointment in the park’s attendance.

Check out the video Andrew posted below and see for yourself, not only how foolish the entire park is, but just how empty it is as well.

Kentucky legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ students

Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons
Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

As reported earlier, the Kentucky senate passed  Senate Bill K17, which would allow schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students. Well, the bill made it through the House as well and went to the governor’s desk.

Now, Kentucky’s governor, Matt Bevin has signed the bill into law.

According to The Hill, the bill “would allow student organizations at the commonwealth’s public schools and colleges to bar gays, lesbians and transgender people from joining, opening a new front in a national battle over so-called religious freedom laws.”

The law also allows “students to engage in religious activities and to express religious views in public schools and in their assignments. It would also allow teachers to include lessons about the Bible in discussions of religion and history.”

This is the kind of “religious freedom” secular activists have been worried about. These laws give preference to religious students and allow them to discriminate against LGBTQ peers by hiding behind their religion.

With President Trump in office, local and state governments are free to pass such laws because they don’t have to fear the federal government coming after them.

The war on the LGBTQ community has only just begun and as activists, we are going to have to fight hard to protect this already marginalized community even more.

 

Creationist Ken Ham: ‘The pope is wrong’ about atheism and the Big Bang

Image: Ken Ham / YouTube screen capture
Image: Ken Ham / YouTube screen capture
Ken Ham is usually full of logical fallacies, and that was on display once again when the creationist attacked Pope Francis for his remarks suggesting that atheists can be “good people” and that things such as the Big Bang are supported by science.

“If Pope said ‘Big Bang is real’ — then Pope’s wrong,” Ham wrote. “Bible states earth came before sun — not other way round… Doesn’t matter who it is, the Pope or any other human being-all statements need to be judged against God’s Word.”

“[The] Bible says there’s only one ‘good’ and that’s God,” Ham wrote in objection to the idea that atheists can be good.

Ham often claims that you can’t be a “real Christian” unless you believe in his version of young earth creationism, a standard No True Scotsman Fallacy.

It is also no surprise that Ham feels atheists can’t be good people.

Ham may be one of the evilest people on the planet, arguing in favor of gay conversion therapy, banning transgender people from bathrooms of their gender identity, and even suggesting that atheists may as well have sex with animals if they don’t subscribe the strict biblical definition of marriage.

Ham’s tactic is to make everyone else seem evil and bad. This makes him not only feel better, but gives him a boogie man to sell his donors.

Perhaps the truth is, Ham is jealous of the pope. For all his own faults, the pope seems to be a hero among many liberals for his views on Christianity and God, and Ham is finding he is more and more ostracized by the Christian community.

Bill Nye has an important message about space for Donald Trump

Image: YouTube screen capture
Image: YouTube screen capture

Bill Nye, has a message for the anti-science President Donald Trump.

In a video, which Nye is calling an open-letter to Trump, Nye lays out five key points about space exploration the president should consider.

• Focusing on Mars as a goal for human space exploration and maintaining Mars exploration programs that are already in development
• Orbiting Mars before sending humans there
• Strengthening NASA’s four science divisions
• Supporting commercial space travel
• Increasing NASA’s budget by 5% each year for the next five years

While not much is known about Trump’s plan for NASA, he has called for an evaluation of the government’s wasteful spending and it doesn’t seem Trump cares much for science programs.

Nye, knowing the president probably doesn’t know a lot about science, or NASA, said he would be willing to “discuss these recommendations with you, the vice president or members of your staff in person.”

It’s not likely Nye will be taken up on the offer, and it’s probably not likely that the president will care much about the future of NASA.

However, you can’t blame Bill for trying!

Official trailer: The Most Hated Woman in America

Image: YouTube screen capture
Image: YouTube screen capture

This trailer came out last week for the new Netflix Original Movie, The Most Hated Woman in America. The movie looks at the career and murder of American Atheists founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

I wrote about my high hopes for this movie when it was originally announced and finally had a chance to sit down and check out the trailer. I am really hopeful this is as good as it looks.

As someone who works so closely and admires so deeply the work of American Atheists, this movie is really important to me and I am so happy her story is being told.

The movie will be released on March 24.

Ben Carson claims slaves were ‘immigrants’ dreaming of a better life for their children

Image: YouTube/CNN screen capture
Image: YouTube/CNN screen capture

While speaking to his employees for the first time as the Secretary of Housing and urban Development, Ben Carson said that slaves brought the US were “immigrants” who dreamed of a better world for their children and grandchildren in the country.

That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.

The comments were quickly condemned, obviously, because slaves were brought here through violence and brute force. They did not immigrate to the US seeking a better like for their children.

“No, Secretary Carson. Slaves didn’t immigrate to America. They were brought here violently, against their own will, and lived here without freedom,” said Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

To even imply otherwise is mind-boggling. How can a brain surgeon, an African-American brain surgeon at that be so ignorant about the history of US slavery to describe it as immigration?

How Carson was ever approved this job will be a mystery for the ages, and now, with his position of power over a program that helps house millions of people, many of which are people of color, he goes and shows just how disconnected he is from that community and that he will push a racist agenda without a second thought.