Homily: Bad Laws in Russia and Pakistan (plus Tweets)

I prepared the tweets for this post yesterday, but then the efforts of the previous few days overcame me. Translation: I spent the remaining three hours of the afternoon asleep! I haven’t looked at Twitter yet today, so some of the tweets may be out of date. However, New Zealand shuts down for three weeks over the Christmas/New Year period and you can’t expect me to break the habits of a lifetime! 😀

There were a couple of nasties in my news notifications this morning though. The first was from the Moscow Times. You may remember me writing about the efforts of the Russian Communist Party to align themselves closely with the Orthodox Church there. Russia likes to present itself as the last bastion of white Christian values, and to them that means opposing liberal democracy, humanism, “too much equality” for women and minorities, and political correctness in general.

The latest example of this is even more sickening than most. At least human beings can understand why they’re suffering abuse in one form or another. Now a law opposing cruelty to animals has been sent back to the Duma following Communist Party member Stepan Zhiryakov speaking against it.

The Moscow Times reports:

A Russian senator has warned of the slippery slope that legislators risked taking by passing a law against animal cruelty.

The Federation Council struck down a bill on Tuesday that sought to ban cruelty against animals used in the training of hunting dogs and birds. …

“We’re not only passing a law that won’t work for many reasons, but we’re also demonstrating that we’re following the same path, so to speak, of defending the rights of sexual minorities.”

Stepan Zhiryakov, the vice-chairman of the Agrarian Committee, retorted that dogs “should not be equated to sexual minorities.

The other dreadfulness comes from Dawn, a liberal Pakistani newspaper. They report that last year’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) has had some amendments. Blasphemy and pornography are now part of the act too.

Blasphemy, of course, should not even be a crime. It is a matter of extreme embarrassment to me that my country still has a blasphemy law. In so many ways we lead the world when it comes to human rights and similar matters, but I consider our blasphemy law a bad stain on our reputation. (I’ve written about that too several times, especially here.)

Pakistan is a fairly modern democracy, but a Muslim council has a strong influence over the laws of the country. Oftentimes parliament will try to pass good laws, such as forbidding child marriage, only for the Muslim council to overrule their efforts. I don’t know if they’re the ones that are insisting pornography and blasphemy be part of PECA, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Now, on with the (Twitter) show!


Political Tweets

What’s the bet bank fees in the US don’t go down, interest rates don’t go up, staff salaries don’t go up any more than they normally would in the circumstances, and executive bonuses do go up a lot?
(Via Ann German.)


This is a revolting story. The man has no dignity.
(Via Ann German.)


Here’s what the presidential coin looks like in Trump’s “reign”. He’s politicized it as well as making it look tacky, and it will be used on occasions it never was before (check link in above tweet.)


(Via Ann German.)


Delusion Tweets

Every now and then I’m going to include a tweet or two proving Trump doesn’t think clearly. Here’s an example of him inventing a conspiracy.


And more evidence of his ignorance and prejudice informing US policy, instead of facts. But then “fact-based” is a forbidden term.


Of course, Trump isn’t the only one who’s deluded! This is un-effing-believable!
(Via Ann German.)


This is a good response to the above!
(Via Ann German.)


Trump Lies Tweets

I’ll have no problem filling this new section.


Ha ha!
(Via Ann German.)


More Trump lies.”
(Via Ann German.)


Pre-Mueller Time Tweets

This could be interesting.
(Via Ann German.)


Well said.


Human Rights Tweets

So now in Ohio you can have an abortion unless your baby has, or even may have, Downs Syndrome! FFS. This is outrageous.
(Via Ann German.)


Women do not have equal rights in the US Constitution. Some of the HuffPost article is a bit OTT (as almost always with HuffPost), but it doesn’t change the important fact. The US has yet to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to its constitution, first proposed in 1923.
(Via Ann German.)


What is happening in the country that likes to tout itself as a human rights beacon to the world?
(Via Ann German.)


What a fantastic young woman! I’m surprised she was surprised by the level of misogyny and street harassment in Palestine though. I wonder if that comes from the romanticisation (Is that a word? It is now!) of the Palestinians in relation to their conflict with Israel on US campuses.

Christmas Tweets

Here are the last of the series in Amanda’s Advent Calendar.
(Via Ann German..)









Food Tweets

I have heard of these, but I thought I was going to get through life without being subjected to seeing them! That hope is now gone, so you all get to see them too!
(Via Ann German.)


History Tweets

(Via Ann German.)


Plague still occurs in the US. It’s unknown in countries with a universal health system like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and all of Europe.
(Via Ann German.)


Religion Tweets

Here’s a story you won’t want to miss (sarcasm alert!). Her cat scratched her on her hand, but a couple of the scratches formed a Christian cross. Voila! Proof God is real!


Science Tweets

I think I’ve put this one in before, but it’s a good one.


Symmetry in physics.


Science is cool.


Scenic Tweets

I haven’t been doing enough “Scenic Tweets” lately. Here’s a nice one from Spain.


Other Animals Tweets

The pika looks just like a bunny that’s evolved for a cold climate.

What a sweetie!


Oh wow! Extreme cuteness!
(Via Ann German.)


Hungry hedgehog getting stuck into the cat food!


Cool hedgehog!


Insect Tweets

Good news, and what a lovely critter!
(Via Ann German.)




Marine Tweets

Octopuses are cool!


We all know people who sound like that walrus when they’re sleeping! (Or maybe you’re one of them!)


Bird Tweets

Now that would be a great experience! Look at all those baby kakapo!


Owls are cool!


Dog Tweets

Very cool.
(Via Ann German.)


This one is especially for my sister Brenda, who’s a big fan of corgis.


Nice story.


Cat Tweets

I want to hug it!


Some wonderful news from 2017. (This tweet is part of a thread that has several other good news stories in it, so it;s worth going to the tweet itself if you can.)
(Via Ann German.)


What a cool kitten!
(Via Ann German.)


I can’t stop watching this one! And what gorgeous animals!
(Via Ann German.)


This cat: The Boss! What a brilliant pic!
(Via Ann German.)


I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but you can’t have too many kittens!
(Via Ann German.)


Now that’s a cat!!!
(Via Ann German.)


If the Master* regenerated as a cat, he’d look like this!
(* Dr Who reference.)


Awwwww …


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35 Responses to “Homily: Bad Laws in Russia and Pakistan (plus Tweets)”

  1. Lee Knuth says:

    Amanda’s Advent calendar was so enjoyable. Hope she does it again next year. Hope you had a Happy Christmas.

    • Thanks Lee – I hope she does too. I had a -pretty good Christmas thanks. Young nieces and nephews were involved, which was nice. Christmas is always good with kids. Another couple of nieces are on their way right now, so I have to make another of Aunty Heather’s special desserts for tonight! (It’s got ingredients in it I can’t eat at the moment though, which is a nuisance!)

  2. j.a.m. says:

    No, it’s not “outrageous” that people with Down syndrome should be protected. It’s outrageous that anyone would find that outrageous.

    • Jenny Haniver says:

      No one is denying that people with Down syndrome shouldn’t be legally protected — that is, PEOPLE — these are foeteses. I’m sure that to you, these embryos are people, ‘pre-born’ people, and so you’re concerned about the human right of these defenseless ‘people’, damn the consequenses.

      Frankly, I do happen to find it outrageous that foeteuses (call them ‘people’ if you will) with Down syndrome should be singled out as a protected class, when as far as I know (please correct me if I’m mistaken) there are no similar proscriptions regarding other severe congenital conditions, — so why single out Down syndrome? I agree with those who say this bill is a first push for outlawing abortion in Ohio.

      • nicky says:

        I do not think that law is constitutional or legal. Unless Roe v Wade is overturned, it would be struck down by the first challenge.

        That being said, what I find particularly nasty is that it aims to criminalise doctors, who are forced to either become a criminal, or let their patients down. Evil. It also arguably aims to infringe on patient confidentiality.
        To think I was under the impression Kasich was some kind of moderate! Well, he did support CHIP (that is why I thought so), but this is unspeakably unconscionable.
        [And then, there is a good chance that if his daughter were pregnant with a Downs syndrome foetus, he would be first in line to demand abortion (and confidentiality), because their case is ‘different’, it always is, of course. A well known phenomenon.]

    • Yakaru says:

      It’s so easy to decide that other people should be forced to carry a fetus with Down syndrome to term and raise them, regardless of their life circumstances and existing state support.

      It’s a different story when it comes to being prepared to pay taxes for state support for everyone involved in that decision.

      It’s really about maintaining control over women’s bodies, by men who clearly fear them and know nothing more to do with them than grabbing.

      But it’s also great for the ignorant, self righteous political trolling that has become so fashionable lately.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      Why don’t you can the phony outrage. You and yours don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone with Down syndrome, as evidenced by your political position that there should be no societal support for them or anyone else. The second they take their first breath, to you they become parasites, and you can’t get away from them fast enough.

      You want control over other people. Add to that the pleasure you get from watching people suffer (I believe the word you used in a previous thread was “beautiful”), plus the smug satisfaction of alleging your moral superiority, and you have the perfect formula: make decisions about others’ lives, and walk away with no consequences at all for yourself.

      And, the US has the highest maternal mortality in the developed world, and it’s getting worse, not better. If you’re so concerned about “the sanctity of human life”, what are you and yours doing to address that? Nothing? Gee, who woulda guessed.


      • j.a.m. says:

        Some might say your own non-reply reply pretty well exemplifies “smug satisfaction of alleging your moral superiority”.

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          Non reply? My reply is that your viewpoint is inconsistent with your behavior.

          I freely admit that I think it’s a morally superior position that we as a society not abandon people in need. I also freely admit that I think it’s a morally superior position to allow people (women) to make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies.

          But, I’m not smug about it. I don’t do “God speaks to me personally”, or any of that related horseshit. I’m not into pointless cruelty, and I don’t take pleasure in watching other people hurt.


          • j.a.m. says:

            We as a society should not abandon people in need. We should protect the vulnerable and their rights, including the right to life. That’s really not a morally superior position — it’s the bare minimum. It’s the most basic, rock-bottom criterion of a civilized society.

            It’s not a morally superior position to simply turn away and deny what’s happening.

        • Which shows just how screwed up your morals are by your religion. You are unable to made proper, independent, moral and ethical choices. Everything has to be seen through the filter of what you’re told to believe by your religion.

          • j.a.m. says:

            @HH: No, I’m afraid this is another case where you are grievously misinformed. The right to life is indeed a tenet of my faith, but it is also a universally recognized human right. Another tenet of my faith is that I, and all persons regardless of religious affiliation, have the ability and duty to make proper, independent, moral and ethical choices by the light of reason. That is precisely why I say that whenever possible a state that has any claim to legitimacy should prevent the direct, intentional, and avoidable killing of an innocent person, and that disability is an insufficient reason to deny someone the right to life.

          • A foetus is not a person. A person has a right to life – it is one of the many reasons I oppose the death penalty.

            Since when has any religion had a full funeral, or even a specified rite, for a miscarriage. Parents have always been given far more sympathy for the loss of a baby than a foetus. As always, most religions are hypocritical on this issue.

            I can understand people opposing abortion, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. However, there are certain arguments I have no time for and one is this personhood crap.

            Think to yourself of the ten most important things that make a person. Now try to get a foetus to meet more than one or possibly two.

          • Mark R. says:

            A fetus is not a person and does not have a “right to life”. Every argument you state in this thread falls short (you use emotion, not logic) because your premise is false. “Potential life” doesn’t cut it. Don’t worry, the fetus won’t mind if its aborted. You might, but that’s your faux outrage and religious indoctrination working the strings.

          • j.a.m. says:

            @HH: A person is an individual member of the human race.

            Assuming that you do believe that you possess an individual right to life, at what point in your personal development did you acquire it? What is your reasoning?

          • I acquired it once I was born. At that point I was a separate individual and didn’t require my mother’s organs, blood supply etc to survive. Although I would, of course, need help, I could live without her. It wasn’t specifically her I needed.

          • j.a.m. says:

            You reached that point — i.e., not requiring your mother’s organs, blood supply etc. to survive — well prior to birth.

          • Mark R. says:

            Only technology has allowed a premature baby to live without the mother, even if the baby is not sharing the mother’s blood and organ function. Lungs are the biggest problem…not needed until born, even if the baby is independent of the mother’s functions. Among many other problems is the lack of the sucking/swallowing reflex. This is only mitigated by modern technology. So again, mankind is responsible for the success of premature babies; no god needed, thus no religious tenet needed. And babies aren’t self-conscious until 18-24 months of life. What are the implications of that?

            This is also important to know for those who would ban abortions.

            Among women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is roughly 10% to 20%, while rates among all fertilized zygotes are around 30% to 50%. The precise rate is not known because a large number of miscarriages occur before pregnancies become established and before the woman is aware they are pregnant.

            Some idiots actually think women should be punished for a miscarriage. Another stark example of how reality does’t mesh with religion.

          • j.a.m. says:

            @MarkR: “Only technology has allowed a premature baby to live”
            -Same is true in many situations, e.g., victims of accident or heart attack.

            “And babies aren’t self-conscious until 18-24 months of life. What are the implications of that?”
            -More evidence that personal development is one continuous process.

            “no religious tenet needed”
            -You don’t need to agree on religious tenets in order to define and defend the right to life.

            “Some idiots actually think women should be punished for a miscarriage.”
            -Rubbish. Source?

          • It’s about where the right to life begins. My opinion is that the right begins at birth. You think it begins at conception because you think a zygote has a soul, which is something completely made up by religion.

            How do you explain all those miscarriages that happened before women even knew they were pregnant, and women don’t even know are miscarriages? God changing his mind? And you are prepared to make an exception for rape and incest – are you happy to override God’s bad decision in those circumstances?

            The faster you realize this is all about controlling women, the better.

            And I find the GOP platform on this subject disgusting. It is anti-choice in ALL circumstances, including rape and incest. However, once a baby is born, most of the current crop support nothing that will help the baby live. That complete a$$hole Orin Hatch evrn made a speech a few days ago saying letting the CHP funding expire was the right thing to do because why should they help people who won’t help themselves. FFS! How callous can you get? This attitude that people are poor because they deserve to be comes straight from religion and is possibly the #1 thing wrong with your country.

          • j.a.m. says:

            I beg you, I beseech you, I implore you: Please get the facts straight and resist the temptation to pass along hateful disinformation from fake media.

            Sen. Hatch is an original author of the CHIP program. Here’s what he actually said:

            “Nobody believes in the CHIP program more than I. I invented it….I happen to think CHIP has done a terrific job for for people who really needed the help. I have taken the position around here my whole Senate service. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could….We’re going to get CHIP through. There is no question about that. I’m going to see that it gets through.”


          • Sorry I got the quote wrong.

          • Having said that, there is still an attitude that poor people deserve it amongst many. I’ve heard some pretty hateful attitudes expressed, especially from conservative Libertarians.

          • j.a.m. says:

            “You think [the right to life] begins at conception because you think a zygote has a soul…”

            No, you don’t have to believe in a soul. The development of every unique individual living person begins at the beginning, at conception, so that’s as logical a starting point as any. If one is going to propose that the right to life should begin at a later stage of development, it’s reasonable to ask on what basis.

            “How do you explain all those miscarriages…”

            Natural death occurs at all stages of life. We’re not talking about natural death, but rather a direct, intentional, and avoidable taking of life.

            “And you are prepared to make an exception for rape and incest…”

            If a hundred people are trapped in a burning building, and only 99 can be rescued, it is better to rescue the 99 than let everyone perish.

            “The faster you realize this is all about controlling women, the better.”

            Or the sooner we can have honest dialog, the better.

          • You’re the one who thinks a zygote is a person.

            Why do women have to suffer for your beliefs about a zygote? We can talk when no man ever forces himself on a woman and when every man who doesn’t wish to father a child either uses contraception or has a vasectomy. Or, medical science can arrange for the man to carry the child for nine months, give birth to it through his penis, suckle it for months or years, and generally be responsible for it for at least 18 years.

            Everyone thinks a woman who abandons her child is a monster. Thousands of men abandon their children every day, then complain about paying to look after them because the mother is getting the money. As with so much, there’s a double standard.

            Abortion is legal, not compulsory. No one has to have an abortion. Not everyone believes as you do. If you and your wife/partner choose not to have an abortion whatever the circumstances, that’s fine. It’s not up to you to make that decision for others. You act like every woman who has an abortion does it easily. They do not. It is an extremely difficult decision.

            Further, using contraception does not mean that you won’t get pregnant. Sometimes it doesn’t work even though the couple concerned is being responsible. They should have the option to have an abortion if they choose.

          • j.a.m. says:

            If one believes that society should look the other way and permit an unborn baby to be deliberately killed for the sole reason that she has a disability (or for the sole reason that she is female), so be it. But that person should know that their stance tends to diminish anything else they may want to say about human rights or protecting the vulnerable.

      • j.a.m. says:

        @LC: “You want control over other people.”

        Where did I say that?

        “Add to that the pleasure you get from watching people suffer (I believe the word you used in a previous thread was ‘beautiful’)”

        Where in the hell did get that?

        “plus the smug satisfaction of alleging your moral superiority”

        Where did I ever make such a claim?

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          “…whenever possible a state that has any claim to legitimacy should prevent the direct, intentional, and avoidable killing of an innocent person…”

          You obviously don’t think that women are “innocent”.

          When a pregnant woman comes into the ER presenting with a life-threatening pregnancy, the staff is supposed to stand there and let her die, rather than aborting the pregnancy. I can give you many examples, but I’ll put in just a couple to illustrate.

          In AZ, a woman came into a Catholic hospital ER, presenting with malignant hypertension. She was already unconscious. The nurse/nun who authorized the abortion was excommunicated by a bishop with no medical background. She was later reinstated. Question arises, why would anyone want anything further to do with an organization that treated her like that.

          In Brazil, a NINE-YEAR-OLD incest victim pregnant with twins was diagnosed by THREE physicians as not physically capable of carrying the pregnancy to term. Two of the physicians performed the abortion. They were both excommunicated.

          In Ireland, a woman presenting with a life-threatening uterine infection was denied an abortion. She died a horrible, painful death, with her family looking on and pleading for help from the hospital staff, who were presumably enjoying the hell out of the whole thing. She wasn’t even Catholic.

          I could go on and on. I collect this stuff.

          Also, and I am repeating myself here, the maternal mortality rate is skyrocketing in the US. Guess what? When the pregnant mother dies, HER FETUS DIES TOO. Are you and yours doing anything about that? Hell no, we can’t afford it. We have to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

          You don’t have to SAY that you want control over other people. Your policies demonstrate that. Women with life-threatening pregnancies have the right to choose life, too. Just not according to you.

          And, the woman in AZ already had three kids. If the bishop had had his way, she’d be dead. Boy, would I like to be a fly on the wall when he explained to her three kids why he would choose to let her die rather than save her life. He would have gladly washed his hands of the whole thing, leaving her family up shit creek, the kids motherless and the husband living his life without her.

          When you referred to people’s suffering as “beautiful”, it was in reference to liberals’ reactions to Trump. I responded to you then, as did one other person. You ignored us both.

          Smug satisfaction of alleging your moral superiority? Before you descend into “whataboutism”, let me point out that the examples I cited above are all a DIRECT outgrowth of your religious philosophy. Sure, you can cite examples of people you disagree with behaving badly. But, we’re not claiming our beliefs as representative of that absolute pinnacle of moral truth. We recognize that there are gray areas that require us to make unpleasant choices that are not completely satisfactory either way.

          One of the reasons I’m not, and never will be, a christian (aside from the bullshit factor) is that I don’t believe that standing there and letting something bad happen that I could act to prevent is a moral choice. The christian position is that as long as I didn’t do it myself, I’m cool. I cannot imagine being an ER doc and being required to stand there and let a woman die (screaming, in some cases) when I could save her.

          Jebus love? Keep it. Stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine.


          • j.a.m. says:

            Linda, I read your reply a couple of times and I don’t find an actual rebuttal of the proposition that if “we as a society [should] not abandon people in need”, then we as a society should prevent direct, intentional, and avoidable killing, even of the disabled.

        • Mark R. says:

          Where did you say “you want control over other people”? It’s an implicit statement, not an explicit one. Since you don’t want to allow women to have a legal abortion, in effect, you want to control that person’s life. Is that such a difficult chain of reasoning to follow and fathom?

  3. Jenny Haniver says:

    The baby reindeer and the ice bubble are spectral. So are the Klansmen, but in an entirely different way.

  4. nicky says:

    Well, we know now that Mr Trump has no taste either, his presidential coin is ugly, if anything. And highly immodest. What are are these things in front of the white house anyway? Giant chickens? Would be kinda fitting.

    Rats die from the pest too, in fact it is when the rats die that the fleas may jump species, eg. onto humans. So although they won’t be dancing with joy, it is a lovely painting detail. I’m also impressed they already knew the link between rat and the Plague in the 17th Century.
    (I’m sure if the unknown painter could paint rats like that, he would also be able to paint cats)

    Those Christmas/Holidays tweets from Mr Trump (2010) and Barack Obama (2013) are absolutely priceless!

    I noted that the chocolate coated chips are ‘limited edition’, thank Dog for small mercies. 🙂

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