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Savita Died For Ireland
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:21 am    Post subject: Savita Died For Ireland Reply with quote

Ireland really had to go independent. Considering how the British had treated them, it would have been ridiculous had the Irish stayed in the UK. But it was a bit previous to sing about 'slavery fled.'

It had taken Britain many centuries to destroy the old culture of Ireland which was reflected in the Brehon laws, but there was no vestige of it left by the early twentieth century. The Gaeltacht where Irish was spoken was a shrinking area. So what could Ireland do to show how different it was from Britain? Tragically it was to cling with misguided zeal to the Catholic Church, come hell or high water.

A glimpse at the Brehon laws will make you pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. Could Ireland really have had female judges and law makers and professors in the early middle ages?

And it's even revealing that it was grounds for divorce if a married woman had an abortion without her husband's knowledge. It implies that it was the secrecy that was the problem, not abortion itself, and incidentally, divorce was a frequent and straightforward event.

It was entirely due to James Connolly that the independence proclamation from the Dublin GPO addressed 'Irishmen and Irishwomen' instead of just the former. He had been influenced by Maud Gonne and other women freedom fighters.

But it was Eamon de Valera's vision of what Ireland should be that would prevail. The constitution spoke of women's special place within the home. A married woman could not work outside the home without her husband's permission until the early 1970s, and I think she might have had problems getting a bank account too.

Ireland was the closest that any European country came to a theocracy in the twentieth century. I've heard people say they had hardly any food. Their parents kept most of it for when the priests came round. Priests were a privileged caste. If a priest made a show of buying a ticket on a bus or in a cinema, the gesture would be waved away with the words, ''Oh, go on on with you, Father!''

Someone told me one of the first things he learned at school was that bishops and priests had balls, and the best policy was to kick them in the groin if they pressed unwanted advances on him. There was no point in complaining to other adults. His father just would not believe that priests were capable of bad behaviour. But his sister had been withdrawn from convent school, after their parents were presented with physical evidence that she had been tortured by nuns.

In the Catholic state, there could be no nude artists' models. A book with anything remotely risqué in the title would not get through customs. As late as the eighties, readers from Ireland would write to magazines printed in the UK, asking if you could use a bit of cling film as a condom.

But we now know that priests weren't stinting themselves. If they tired of choir boys, they could go round the industrial schools or the Magdalene laundries where girls were imprisoned for pregnancy, becoming a rape victim or even being pretty and therefore a source of temptation. These women were used as slave labour. It shows how much the state was involved, that if an inmate escaped, the gardai would go after her and bring her back.

We now know that boys in industrial schools sometimes had all their teeth extracted without anaesthetic for no reason. According to the writer of 'The God Squad' he was sentenced to an industrial school as a baby because his parents had committed suicide.

Ireland had been holier than Rome. Not only would it not accept divorce. It would not accept an annulment signed by the Pope.

My friend Anne Kerin purposely travelled back to Ireland in the 1990s to vote for divorce in the third referendum on the subject. The majority of voters were for divorce, and this might have been a watershed.

But it was the Ryan Report that destroyed the cosy image of Catholic Ireland. It was so devastating that people were saying 'it was our 9/11.' Rather than fawning on priests, people would spit in their faces in the street.

In my view, more could be done. It seems to me that if the Irish state will not try the surviving nuns and priests who enslaved women in Magdalene laundries, they should be extradited to the Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity. But this will never happen.

No one can doubt that adults and children of both sexes have had their rights trampled on by the Catholic state. But women were especially oppressed.

Perhaps, this is because they were ineligible to be priests and therefore lacked status or potential status. But more importantly, it was because the church and state monitored and interfered in their reproductive function with no respect at all for their privacy or autonomy.

Christabel Beilenberg who had lived in Germany during the Third Reich, came to live in Ireland after the war. She was a little disturbed by the folky events and the government propaganda. It was not as unlike Nazism as she would have liked.

Al Jazeera has exposed the practice of symphysiotomy in hospitals in Catholic Ireland from 1944, something that typically happened without the patient's consent. It was a grim and agonising alternative to caesarean section. It involved sawing through the bone and cartilage of a woman having a difficult birth.

Her pelvis was then opened like a door to lift the baby out. It wasn't even good news for the baby which sometimes had its skull punctured and died.

Norah Clarke's pelvis was too narrow to allow vaginal delivery. So the doctor broke her pelvic bone. He then went away and returned with a hacksaw.

She said, 'I knew it was a hacksaw because I had seen one in the butcher's where he used it to cut up animals. He started to cut through my bone. The blood spurted out like a fountain. It went everywhere. The nurses were being physically sick. The doctor was angry because the blood splashed his glasses.'

Women who have suffered this often live with chronic pain, urinary incontinence and reduced mobility. So why did it happen? A C-section reduces future fertility. But Catholic doctors in Catholic hospitals thought that nine or ten children was the ideal family size.

Traditionally, a woman who had had a third caesarean would be sterilized for health reasons. But that would never do. It would mean that she could not do 'what she had to do.'

Women were expected to give birth by any means necesssary. 'They had no say and no voice.' Some symphystiotomy survivors have permanent limps. Others are wheelchair bound.

According to Al Jazeera, symphysiotomy is as bad as FGM. Although hospitals claim that they have not practised it since the 80s, Al Jazeera was able to confirm a case in 2005, and believe it may have happened as late as 2013.

Laura Mann, a midwife in Dublin in the 40s and 50s, shared with Sue Lloyd-Roberts her memories of 'terrible, terrible poverty, families with ten children living in two rooms fighting for survival.'

Infant mortality was extremely high, contraception was illegal and sterilization was not available.

Children died; mothers were drained and exhausted. They begged their priests to allow them to refrain from sex with their husbands. But the priests told them they would not get absolution if they did not do 'what they had to do.'

Laura said, ''The big thing was to have children even if you were crippled or dropped dead in the process, and many did.'' The Prophet Mohammed had said that a woman who died in childbirth was entitled to martyr status.

In 1931 - significant year! - a papal encyclical proclaimed the same thing.

So-called ethics or morality committees would monitor women in hospital to see if they had become pregnant. They would withdraw any medication or hope of surgery from such a woman if there was the remotest chance that it would interfere with the continuance of the pregnancy.

This must often have meant that the woman died before the baby could be born anyway. But this did not matter. A mid twentieth century pope said that every pregnancy must continue, even if it is known in advance that it will lead to the deaths of both the woman and the foetus.

So only a dreamer would expect an Irish hospital to give her an abortion. Did not Mother Teresa -the most distinguished lady to visit Ireland since Our Lady materialised in Knock - say that Ireland should never permit an abortion?

Irish editions of UK magazines even blanked or snipped out advertised abortion services. Abortion was illegal through ordinary legislation. Foetal life was given additional and special sanctity under the constitution following a referendum in 1983.

But it was no secret that Irish women customarily travelled to the UK for abortions. If you saw a woman of child bearing age on the Irish ferry who looked particularly miserable, lonely and preoccupied, you assumed she was an abortion tourist. Nothing was done to stop it.

So in 1992 a 14 year old rape victim was brought from Ireland to the UK by her parents for this purpose. DNA testing was in its infancy. Her father phoned the gardai to ask if they should preserve the amniotic fluid. His idea was that this would contain paternal DNA, and could be used to nail the rapist.

Little did he know that his call would be used to nail his daughter instead. They were ordered back to Ireland as the foetus had a right to life under the constitution. The girl would be interned until it was born.

They did return but the girl was in a suicidal state, saying she would never be able to love the baby or look it in the face. If someone had protested that 14 is not a very good age to give birth anyway, as the mother's pelvis would be too narrow and immature to let the baby out easily, the doctors would have got out their saws.

This girl was in such a state that a counsellor did not think it safe to leave her alone in his waiting room for five minutes in case she topped herself, something she had determined to do. So began the case of 'Miss X versus the Irish Constitution.'

You could not move in Dublin for the demonstration with slogans like 'Let her go. She is innocent.' But in the UK, SPUC insinuated that she was not a rape victim but a slag who had been having underage sex. She had, but not voluntarily.

The verdict was that she could have an abortion as the suicide risk was very real and posed a risk to her life. Catholic opinion was disgusted. An hysterical female only had to threaten suicide to be let off her responsibility to be fruitful and multiply. I thought, 'What more do you want, blood?'

It now appeared that a woman could have an abortion even in Ireland itself if it was absolutely necessary to save her own life. A Lithuanian woman believed that she was in this situation. But the doctor did not dare operate in case it was later held that it had not really been necessary in order to save the patient's life. In that case, the doctor would have faced a life sentence.

The Lithuanian born woman had to travel to the UK instead, which she felt posed an additional risk to her life. She took Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights. The court found in her favour but nothing was done. The court even slapped down complaints from two healthy Irish women who had had to travel to the UK for the same purpose. They thought that Ireland was just upholding good morals.

One problem is that a true Catholic believer will often suffer cognitive dissonance, believing that abortion is always wrong but not wanting to be cruel. So Catholics, even doctors, will often say that it is not true that a pregnancy can ever threaten a woman's life. In my opinion, a doctor who believes this should not be allowed to work in gynecology.

Savita Halappanavar came from India to work as a dentist in Ireland. She was a healthy young woman of 31 who was happy to find herself pregnant. But not far into the pregnancy, she was threatened with miscarriage and admitted herself to a hospital in Galway.

It was obvious that it would not be possible to salvage the pregnancy. Savita was now suffering form septicaemia but the doctors would not remove the foetus while it still had a heartbeat. Savita said she was not a Catholic. Pictures show her wearing the Hindu tikal. She was told, ''This is a Catholic country.'' Unforgivably, the staff would not even give her anti- biotics.

It was a pity she had not driven to Ulster or just stayed at home. The doctors kept her imprisoned in the hospital for the few days they took to murder her by neglect.This was probably far from an isolated case, but while Irish people might have been programmed to put up with it, Savita's husband -I mean widower- kicked up a fuss as did her parents back in India. Soon ,demonstrators took to the streets of Delhi. For one mad moment, I wondered if India would declare war on Ireland.

Pro-Savita and pro-abortion rallies were held in Dublin too. But the Jesuits say 'Give me a child for seven years and I will give you the man'. Geoffrey Robertson says we should see that for what it is, brain washing.

So there were sickening and distressing comments on the internet calling the doctors heroes, and complaining that the 'baby killers' were using a tragic death which had nothing to do with refusal of abortion, to further their evil agenda. They didn't think it was at all relevant that the doctors had not even salvaged a live baby, and it would not have been possible.

Some contributors also gave Savita a lot of posthumous racist abuse. This was upsetting.

An outwardly personable Catholic blogger, Caroline Farrow wears t-shirts claiming that feminists are cissies who don't have the courage to be barefoot and pregnant all the time as she is. She appears on Sunday morning TV shows to oppose those who are concerned about women in the third world who die in childbirth or have too many pregnancies.

She claims to care as well, but says that contraception is not the answer. Of course, Catholic priests in the third world put around the story that condoms cause AIDS.

Some idiotic contributors to the internet were indignant that Savita didn't appreciate the doctors whose interpretation of their duty of care was to murder her.Did she think that the law didn't apply to her? No, you cretins, if Savita was still alive and able to express an opinion, she would probably say that she didn't want anyone to be murdered in the name of a Catholic country.

And that is what she has brought about. Without intending it, she has become a martyr for Irish freedom. In the wake of the scandal, legislation has been rushed through. Savita died slowly and painfully in October 2012. 2013 saw the first abortion in an Irish hospital to save a woman's life.

I hope that in years to come, Savita's martyrdom, though it was not voluntary, will be remembered. Her memory should be honoured like those who were shot in 'cold Kilmainham jail.' Savita should be remembered as 'the glorious dead' who lost her life 'for slavery fled' so that freedom's light could shine through the foggy dew.

Last edited by marianneh on Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:29 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Religious Oppression Reply with quote

If Jehovah's Witnesses had been running Eire, and had denied blood transfusions in all circumstances, it could hardly have been more tragic than what did happen. There was even a case where a woman pregnant with a foetus that had no head, was forced to carry the pregnancy through to term. Of course, it died as soon as it was born.

It's easy to infer that Catholicism - like all traditional religions except Sikhism - is a misogynistic faith. This is not untrue, but the reality is even worse than that implies. The Catholic Church has contributed to the AIDS pandemic in Africa by its disgusting campaign against condoms, and this has brought unnecessary suffering and early death to countless people of both sexes.

Perhaps the Catholic Church is a death cult that hates everyone. I've heard a Catholic priest in Africa say that condoms are 'unnatural'. Dogs don't use them. Dogs don't drive cars or use computers either. But Catholic priests do.

It's an insult to our intelligence to valorise the natural. Leprosy is natural. High infant mortality is natural. It doesn't mean there's anything good about them.

The Catholic Church doesn't encourage reading the Bible. It was once a capital offence to have a Bible in the vernacular. Instead, it emphasises church going and treating the priest as God's representative on earth.

I don't think the Bible has much to recommend it, but it is amazing how people assume that Catholic doctrine comes from the Bible, when it doesn't. The most amazing example I ever heard was when an African woman brain washed by Catholicism, seriously said, ''The Bible says you should never take the pill.''

I thought, 'How could the Bible say that? The pill wasn't marketed until 1961.'' It's absurd but it's not funny.

Another woman in sub Saharan Africa was in danger of getting AIDS. Her husband was HIV positive, and it was apparently out of the question that they should either abstain from sex or use condoms. A committed Catholic, she said, ''Condoms have always been unholy. If we used them, I would lose all God's blessings.''

Feminists would blame 'patriarchal religion.' But this doesn't explain much. At least in its orthodox manifestation, Judaism is a patriarchal religion too. But in a case like Savita's, abortion would have been not just permissible. In Judaism it would have been compulsory. Judaism is patriarchal all right, but it doesn't go as far as reducing women to non people.

How can this be? Don't Judaism and Christianity share a good part of their scriptures? I've met at least one person who has never read the Bible, but took it for granted that it condemned abortion.

The Bible has nothing to say on the subject. It even takes an equivocal stance on whether it is right to sacrifice children who have already been born. A prophet disgusted with the people of Israel implored God to 'give them miscarrying wombs and dry breasts.' When God got really stroppy, he threatened to reduce his chosen people to the point that they would have to eat their own children.

God wasn't above killing David's eldest son when he was feeling miffed. He allowed the Angel of Death to zap the first born of the Egyptians. People who think that the Bible condemns abortion or even contraception have no idea at all what kind of book it is.

There is evidence that the Catholic Church has been a front organisation for organised paedophilia for its entire history, and I think it may never have approved of contraception. But although it would not admit it, its inflexible opposition to abortion is of extremely recent origin.

Tertullian, like all of the Fathers of the Church was a twisted misogynist. Addressing all women in general, he said, ''Do you not know, that because of you, even the Son of God had to die?'' But he approved of abortion if it was necessary to save a woman's life.

In Bloody Mary's reign, Perotine Massey of Guernsey was being burnt to death for the crime of being a Protestant. The intense heat of the flames made her abdomen explode, expelling a live baby which fell clear of the flames. The nonplussed spectators picked it up, and passed it from one to another, uncertain what to do. When it came to the arms of the Catholic master of ceremonies, he knew the right course to take. He threw it into the flames.

After the death of the Catholic queen, this character was on trial for murder - of the baby. His defence was that he had assumed it had been sentenced to death while in its mother's womb. He had never heard of the sanctity of foetal life. The doctrine didn't then exist.

Jessica Mitford in 'The American Way of Birth' explained the traditional way that Christian midwives dealt with difficult births. Once it was obvious that a baby was never going to get out alive and it was posing a risk to its mother's life, the following procedure was standard.

The midwife would baptise the child so its soul would be allowed into heaven -yes, anyone including a woman can baptise a child - and then crush its head with an intrusive implement, and drag it out dead. No one thought there was anything wrong with it.

It was only once there was a danger of women participating in public life, by voting for instance, that the Catholic Church set its face adamantly against abortion, be the mother's situation never so dire.

As late as 1960, Belgian Catholic nuns, raped by insurgents in the Congo, were given operations that would prevent them from giving birth with the blessing of the Vatican, whether explicit or implicit.

I wouldn't mind that the Catholic Church is making it all up as it goes along, if it was making up something nice. What I object to is that it is an evil death cult that fleeces and bamboozles people.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 11:16 pm    Post subject: Save This Child's Life Reply with quote

According to Amnesty International, a girl of ten in Paraguay was taken to the doctor by her mother last week after complaining of stomach ache. It was then discovered that she was 21 weeks pregnant as a result of being raped by her stepfather.

The Paraguayan State is denying her a safe and legal abortion although she is entitled to one in law. Please do anything you can to make the government change its mind.

I'm afraid this sort of thing is going to happen more and more often. Paedophiles are always with us, and precocious puberty is becoming more common as nutritional levels rise.

I went to school with a very few girls who reached menarche at eight and would probably have been ovulating and therefore fertile at ten. It happens much more frequently now.

But make no mistake. It's not matched by early maturing in height and pelvic width. This girl is too young to be expected to survive childbirth. Her body is too unformed and immature.

So there's no way the 'pro-life' Catholic Church are going to get a live baby out of this tragedy.

For goodness' sake, do something to save this child's life before it is too late.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Admission and Update Reply with quote

I must humbly admit that I wasn't quite right in my prediction above. The girl in Paraguay is now eleven. She has given birth by C-section and she is still alive.

But it was a risky procedure. A C-section is almost as dangerous to a girl of that age as vaginal delivery would be. The hospital staff could not let the pregnancy go full term as that would almost certainly have killed her.

The problem is that premature birth poses a big challenge to the baby. It may not survive or it might have serious medical problems.

The message board under the online newspaper report included some harsh remarks about the stepfather and the Paraguayan state. But some bright spark commented that however badly the girl had been treated, she was at no point in danger of her life being snuffed out, as the poor baby was.

This guy didn't get it. A woman's body is designed by evolution to give birth - and to do many other things of course. But evolution is not perfect.

If a woman is unusually young or old or is paralyzed or has diabetes or a weak heart, pregnancy and childbirth can threaten her life. If such a woman becomes pregnant voluntarily, fully aware of the risks, that's her own business. But it's not something she should be coerced into.

It's best to get childbearing over while you're young and strong - but not too young. Nor is it advisable to do it too often. The World Health Organisation thinks a woman should limit herself to no more than four children.

If a woman in the west dies in childbirth now, the news is greeted with shock and disbelief. It's like hearing someone has died in a freak accident, like dying of injuries sustained when falling off a bar stool. It's something that shouldn't happen.

In the days when people had no concept of hygiene, and doctors and midwives didn't wash their hands, it was not at all unusual for women to die in childbirth. Midwives would do what they could by closing windows and stuffing keyholes with cloth to keep away the mysterious things that caused infection. But microbial life was proof against these precautions.

Some people seem to have dealt with this distressing fact of life by saying that's how it was meant to be. Protestants in Germany thought a partial solution would be to marry later and have fewer children. Martin Luther was asked for his opinion.

Luther said, ''All women should be married and bear children. If it kills them, it does not matter. Let them bear children until they die of it. That is what they are for.''

There's controversy about whether a wing at the BBC should be named after John Peel. It is believed that he had intercourse with a 15 year old girl on BBC premises in 1969, and she subsequently had a 'traumatic abortion' at 16.

It might sound unfair to take this as gospel but it is consistent with Peel's known MO. In the US, hundreds of naïve schoolgirls threw themselves at him, impressed by his Liverpool accent. He perceived that they were anxious for him to sexually abuse them, 'which of course I was only too pleased to do.'

In the US he married a 15 year old, Shirley Ann Milburn but found they could not travel together across state lines as in some states she was underage. I'm confused about whether the marriage was legal in the state where it occurred.

Peel said Shirley lied about her age. He thought she was 16. He also found out a girl he had been doing sex things with was 13 only after the event. He thought she looked older. How very convenient! According to some accounts, he had to leave the US in 1967 when the authorities woke up to his activities.

Shirley went with him. They were very unhappy together, and she later topped herself. He didn't seem bothered at all.

Before all the dirt came out on Jimmy Savile, some blogger defended him on the grounds that the girls he targeted were over puberty although not over the age of consent. So it was not paedophilia.

I countered that, often, there was no consent. I offered a story of a girl he had forced himself on when she was young and trusting. She became pregnant.

Abortion was then illegal. Her parents found a doctor who agreed to do it in a safe and sterile environment but only for a fee. They could not afford the anaesthetic as well, so it was physically agonising.

I pointed out that this girl must have reached puberty or it could not have happened. It didn't make it better. It made it worse.

The blogger who came across as callous and self pitying at the same time, accused me of wanting my pound of flesh and making a 'senseless' attack on him. I asked him to explain his case in rational terms. He couldn't.

When Roman Polanski was on trial for forcing anal sex on a 13 year old he had drugged, he was expected to get 99 years in custody. Instead he escaped to Europe where he was given a hero's welcome.

Gore Vidal asked rhetorically if he was supposed to sympathise with the little whore. He obviously thought the answer was 'no.' We can see from his terminology that he thought the child seduced Polanski.

I suppose if I had been preparing Polanski's defence, I would have pleaded mitigation. His wife Sharon Tate had been murdered by Charles Manson's 'family' while in the last stages of pregnancy. As a child, Polanski had been in the Warsaw Ghetto.

You could cut him some slack because of what he had suffered. What you should not do is blame the victim.

I hate to sound like a wrinkled old prune who says that advocates of free love in the 60s and 70s didn't realise that there is no such thing. Someone always ends up paying. If it's not them, it's the girl.

I won't go that far. But the least that these DJs and swingers could have done was use reliable contraception. As no form of contraception is fool proof, they should really have controlled themselves or confined their attentions to mature women who could make informed decisions.

One very depressing trait in these individuals and their defenders is their callousness. I don't think it's good that indifference to child abuse is being replaced with hysteria. But some capacity for empathy is desirable.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:50 pm    Post subject: Louise's holistic feminism Reply with quote

The ex-Conservative MP Louise Mensch nee Bagshawe has turned baiting Jeremy Corbyn into a full time job. Most of us had the impression that he stood up for oppressed minorities, and that he believed in human equality.

So it was jarring to see Louise Mensch's twitter post, accusing him of involvement with anti-Semitic and misogynistic organisations.

All she can mean is that he supports the rights of Palestinians. This means that he might have shaken hands with Hamas members who could arguably be described as anti-Semites and misogynists.

Louise Mensch is a self described 'practising if unworthy' member of an organisation renowned for anti-Semitism and misogyny. It is the Catholic Church.

Setting Hitler's Pope on one side, until 1966, the Catholic liturgy included the gracious injunction, 'Let us pray for the perfidious Jews!'

OK, Pope John Paul ii had apologised for his church's history of anti-Semitism.

The church hasn't changed much. Some reports have it that Mother Teresa's canonisation has been set for 16 September 2016.

The physician Aroup Chatterjee made grave charges against her in 'Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict.' They were publicised in the west by Christopher Hitchens in 'Mother Teresa: Hell's Angel.'

I'm afraid most people still invoke the name of Mother Teresa as shorthand for saintliness. Even 'Spitting Image' mocked Hitchens. They said that his next revelation would be that Lassie was a Nazi.

The charges are that Mother Teresa's missions for the dying were just that. She didn't believe in curing people. She was in love with death, the more long drawn out and painful the better.

Visitors have said her organisations were like concentration camps. The patients lay on plank beds. They weren't allowed to get up and go outside.

The staff reused dirty needles and the patients had only the most basic care. Mother Teresa didn't favour pain relief.

She thought poverty and suffering were beautiful, that pain makes you like Jesus suffering on the cross.

Benjamin Zephaniah repeated a story that she would not allow a 15 year old boy to go down the road to get a simple cure that could have saved his life. Indirectly, she killed him.

But she opposed direct foeticide, even if a woman had been made pregnant by a rapist. She said abortion was the single greatest threat to world peace, and had harsh words for those who availed themselves of it: 'Mothers are murderers.'

Since the idiot Malcolm Muggeridge made her famous, well meaning people sent her colossal amounts of money. They believed it would be spent on the poor and dying of Calcutta.

It wasn't. It went into the Vatican bank.

Not all the donors were well meaning. Mother Teresa accepted money from corrupt dictators and businessmen all over the world.

It was useful when she had to go into hospital for private treatment. She didn't think that Jesus required her to suffer unnecessary pain.

One of the most disturbing allegations is that she sold the babies she saved from abortion or that her nuns picked up off the streets.

Louise Bagshawe appeared on 'The Big Questions' to discuss the allegations. Nicky Campbell said,''There's something troubling about Mother Teresa, isn't there?''

''I don't think so'', replied Louise Bagshawe. She sounded like a know-all but childish schoolgirl on speed.

She found it amusing that Mother Teresa was accused of opposing contraception and abortion and spending 'money on religious activities' - that was Louise's reinterpretation of the funds resting in her Vatican account- ''Well, shock horror, she was a Catholic nun!''

Louise Bagshawe added that she herself was 'pro-life from the moment of conception and I make no bones about that.' She said erroneously that the patients 'were not there under compulsion'. She referred to Mother Teresa as 'a wonderful lady.'

When Aroup Chatterjee mentioned the opposition to contraception, Louise Bagshawe shouted him down, alleging that the Blessed One was being condemned for being a Catholic. She appeared to think that when Catholic doctrine was criticised, it amounted to persecution.

A mere recital of the words can give no impression of the infuriatingly smug and 'superior' tone and mannerisms that Louise Bagshawe used. I felt like filling her in: right hook, left hook, straight between the eyes.

It would have been a very wrong thing to do, but I can't help how I felt.

Louise Bagshawe claims to support 'holistic feminism'. Perhaps this means using contraception yourself while cheering on those who deny it to people in the third world.

On a Newsnight interview with Laurie Penny, Louise Mensch said that David Cameron was the most feminist prime minister we have ever had. She also said that the first woman MP had been a Conservative.

Jeremy Paxman picked her up for that just as I was doing the same thing mentally.

The Conservative - and ranting anti-Semite - Nancy Astor was the first woman MP to take her seat. Constance Marcievicz had been the first to be elected for Sinn Fein. But she went off and became a minister in the Dail instead.

This is true as far as we know. Vera Brittain thought there were nuns sitting in Edward i's parliament. I suppose nuns are women.

Louise Mensch also said that women were first enfranchised under a Conservative government. This is not true. LLoyd George was prime minister in 1918. He was a Liberal.

If she was thinking of equal suffrage in 1928, she should have defined her terms better. In any case, all MPs had a chance to vote on it, not just the party in power.

Laurie Penny put it to her that she did not support women's reproductive rights. She put up a bold front before admitting that, given the opportunity, she would probably vote to lower the time limit on abortion.

I'll now go on to more light hearted jibes. Louise Mensch writes chick lit as Louise Bagshawe. I've never read it.

We've been urged to vote for her so she won't have time to churn any more out. Perhaps it's not very good.

I didn't know which surname to use. I've kept chopping and changing. I do wish women in the public eye wouldn't frivolously change their surnames on picking up their latest husband, especially in these days of serial monogamy.

This is not just from a feminist point of view. It causes confusion.

I see no reason why ordinary women should adhere to this custom either. But I let them off the hook because there's a misconception that it's required by law.

Another thing that irritates the hell out of me about Louise Mensch is that she is so good looking! Why should such a good body have been wasted on this irritating little ignoramus? It's not fair!

At least you can't feel envious of Mother Teresa's looks. Angus Daeyton cruelly referred to her as the winner of the All-Calcutta pickled walnut look alike completion.

She couldn't help what she looked like, and I wouldn't judge anyone on their looks. But it was a breath of fresh air to hear someone refer to her in tones that were not totally reverential.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:41 pm    Post subject: Vatican Roulette Reply with quote

In 'The Jaguar Smile', Salman Rushdie wrote that, during his time in Nicaragua, he had tried to ensure a constitutional amendment that would have guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion. It's a tragedy he didn't succeed.

Nicaragua allowed only therapeutic abortion when it was absolutely essential to save a woman's life or at most if pregnancy posed a risk to her health. In 2003, a Nicaraguan couple domiciled in Costa Rica were concerned that their nine year old daughter, known to us as Rosa, was listless and weak.

A medical check established that she was pregnant. When I recounted this to my cackly Christian friend - or perhaps she's an ex-friend now - she said, ''What was she doing, having sex at nine?'' The subtext was 'Young people today, they've got no manners and no discipline.''

I said, ''Er... well, she'd been raped by a local teenage boy. She didn't get in this state deliberately.''

The Costa Rican authorities, too, were more concerned about treating the girl like a criminal than bringing the rapist to justice. They didn't think she should be permitted an abortion.

So her parents took her back to Nicaragua. Here too, people were scandalised for the wrong reason. Some bishop likened abortion to terrorist bombings.

It was argued that she had no right to an abortion, although a better case for therapeutic abortion could not be found. Fidel Castro offered her an abortion in Cuba. Finally, it went ahead in Nicaragua.

The Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate everyone involved including the doctors. It is interesting that the Catholic Church never excommunicated Hitler who, had he chosen, could have been a communicant Catholic up to his death. Nor did they excommunicate any of their bishops who participated in genocide in Europe, and later, in Rwanda.

Suddenly people stood up for Rosa. It was an 'I am Spartacus' moment. They petitioned the Catholic Church to excommunicate them too. Like all big bullies threatened by a vast movement, the Church backed down. Rosa's father reported, ''She is well; she is happy.''

I thought it was a story where compassion won over power. But only this evening, I found out from Wikipedia that the story didn't end there.

Cruel great contention continued. Citizens of Nicaragua were obviously afraid that another nine year old rape victim might be allowed an abortion. That would never do.

As of late 2006, abortion is totally illegal in Nicaragua. It doesn't matter if pregnancy will kill the mother. That's just too bad.

It's particularly distressing and concerning in a Latin American country. I've seen a sentimental and prurient newspaper story about a nine year old mother in South America back in 1986. Then the world's youngest mother -she was five - was also South American.

I may be very wrong but perhaps there is some tentative evidence that South and Meso American girls are unusually prone to suffer precocious puberty. I won't say that South American countries produce more paedophiles than other places. But it's beginning to look as if every country has an abundance of them.

There's little incentive for the Vatican to change its mind. Every Catholic cardinal who pontificates against abortion is a man. Every person who has an abortion is a woman.

Pope Francis can't make up his mind if he's a reforming pope or not. He has said abortion is 'horrific.' But he has also said that the Catholic Church's 'obsession with gays, abortion and contraception' will 'bring it down like a house of cards.'

He has also said that 'God's forgiveness knows no bounds.' Priests should go out and offer full pardons to women who have had abortions, and to doctors who have performed them.

That sounds nice but it is still based on the assumption that abortion is always wrong. Maybe, if men could get pregnant, abortion really would be a sacrament.

The Catholic Church holds that dying people -other than pregnant women - should be kept alive as long as possible, whether they want to be or not. An intensive care specialist, Dr Lina Pavanelli has stated that Pope John Paul ii was effectively euthanized at his own request, in opposition to years of Catholic teaching and his own encyclical, 'Evangelium Vitae.'

She went public with this in response to a minor scandal. A Piergiorge Welby had been on life support with muscular dystrophy for nine years. He couldn't take it any more. He persuaded the doctors to let him die.

His Catholic wife wanted him to have a religious funeral. The Church refused it on the grounds that he had heretically decided to do what he liked with his own life.

When Dr Pavanelli went public with her story, the Church denied that the Pope had chosen a quick and easy death. I have no idea who's telling the truth, but that is what they would say, regardless of the facts.

David Yallop and others have put round the story that Pope John Paul I was assassinated. A suggested reason is that he was going to introduce approval of contraception, abortion, gays and divorce and allow women priests.

I don't have enough information to express an opinion. It may be a baseless conspiracy theory. Or it may not be. But if we could be sure it was true, it would be more evidence that the Roman Catholic Church's 'pro-life' stance is a thin cover for a death cult.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:58 pm    Post subject: A Fool to Make me Merry Reply with quote

David Davies, our local Conservative MP for Monmouth, has caused outrage by declaring that we should use the British army to move African migrants to humane camps in Africa and the Middle East. He also says that our benefits should be cut in a way that no later parliament could alter. This is so they will have no incentive to come here.

He's been sharply criticised for his 'ignorant' and 'repugnant' views. But he stands by them.

It's not the first time he's made himself ridiculous in a 'repugnant' way and I don't expect it'll be the last.

A good friend of mine met him and found him charming. Two other friends who have encountered him have come to the conclusion that he's not very bright. After all, you don't have to pass an exam to become an MP, just get enough votes.

I think the reason for the differing opinions is that he is a good constituency MP when it comes to donkey work. If you write to him with a problem, he will sort it out.

So he supported concessionary bus passes being used for journeys over the English border. On a bus journey I met Andrea, a woman who had terminal cancer and had difficulty getting benefits.

She said it was not just the benefits office who thought she was fit for work. Ordinary acquaintances told her that she looked great. She replied, ''Yes, make up's a wonderful thing.''

She was indignant at being treated like a scrounger. She had worked since she was 15. David Davies agreed to meet her, and he sorted out her problems with the benefits agency. Her face lit up as she recalled him greeting her, ''Ah, Andrea!''

It's a pity he can't be more sensible in his attitudes to issues generally. He doesn't believe climate change is happening. He thinks gay marriage is 'barking mad.'

A cradle Catholic told me of a fanatical Catholic priest in Abergavenny. He had become a Catholic as an adult and had the zeal of the convert. He told his congregation that if they wanted to know who killed Jesus, they should look in the mirror.

A phone shop called 'Get Connected' won a prize for its window display. It was a nativity scene in which all the characters were played by mobile phones. The winner donated the prize to his favourite charity.

The Catholic priest and an Anglican priest in the town stirred up the sheep in their flocks against this blasphemy. I knew two women who said they were offended. But they didn't know they were offended until their priests told them.

David Davies MP allowed himself to be roped into persecuting 'Get Connected.' This was very foolish of him.

I wrote to the Abergavenny Chronicle to say that the local Christians must have known that no offence was intended. Even if this was not the case, it would be more becoming for them to display their alleged traits of humility and forgiveness.

My son had told me of a church display where Jesus and his disciples were represented by teddy bears. This was at a time when a Briton in Sudan was in prison and being threatened with myriad penalties including death for calling a teddy bear 'Mohammed.'

I had thought, 'At least Christians are not that touchy.' I was wrong.

Until the time of Charlemagne, Christian iconography never showed a man on the cross but a lamb or donkey. Even C S Lewis retold the Jesus story with a lion Aslan as the Christ figure.

I suggested that Christianity was originally about transcending the ego. Once you have done this, you will not get uptight about the nativity of the Holy Mobile Phone.

I did not say that Catholics not only allow the body and blood of Jesus to be represented by bread and wine. They believe that the bread and wine literally and physically become his body and blood after the priest has said a few magic words over them and lifted them up. To Protestants, this is a grotesque blasphemy.

Other people also wrote to the paper to support 'Get Connected.' No one wrote in on the other side. The subject was quietly dropped.

In his publicity flyers, David Davies says that he is a communicant member of the Anglican Church. He obviously thought that that was highly significant. My partner didn't even know what it meant.

David Davies' rant on 'feckless fathers' and how they should be made to pay for recklessly getting women pregnant sounded silly and naïve as well as a tad intolerant. It convinced Ally Fogg that he would have felt quite at home living in the sixteenth century.

But he does support a rapist's right to breed. He resigned from Amnesty International or some such humanitarian group because they support the right of women who have been kept in rape camps to have abortions.

He said, 'You wouldn't allow murder after birth so why should you allow it before birth?'' To me, this sounds like a remark a child of ten would make, not seeing the complexities of the issue.

On the whole, David Davies comes over as a very silly naïve chap indeed. It would be harmless comedy in the pub. But it's not funny when he has power and influence.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:09 pm    Post subject: child destruction Reply with quote

I believe abortion was made illegal in the UK in 1803, and this was reiterated in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Whatever the rationale was, the law did not agree with David Davies that it amounted to murder.

The common law definition of murder refers to killing a 'reasonable creature ... 'in rerum natura.' It's a long time since I learnt Latin, but I think it means a person that has an independent existence, one that has been born.

It also seems to refer only to a person who has been fully born. If a depraved person strangled a baby that had not been fully expelled from its mother's body, this would technically not be murder.

To cover this somewhat unlikely scenario, the 'Child Destruction Act' was brought in in the late 1920s. It also covered the killing of a child 'capable of being born alive.'

During his long career of murdering and dismembering girls and women, the execrable Fred West removed babies that were just about ready to be born from the bodies of his girlfriends. He did this at least twice.

A footnote in a book on his activities says that he was not charged in relation to anything he did to the babies, because it did not constitute an offence in British law. The lawyers seemed to take the view that David Steel's Abortion Act had rendered the Child Destruction Act a dead letter.

It's a bit paradoxical that when abortion was illegal in this country, people didn't usually think of children in the womb as people or think that it was possible to bond with them.

Now you can see your proto-child on ultrasound and find out its sex. You can then give it a name. And from that time on, you will think of it as a person. You can also speak to it through a tube.

Often, parents will be charmed because the baby appears to be waving at them, or it is bouncing around energetically. Of course, it's a bit risky making an emotional investment at this stage as you might be overtaken by a reproductive tragedy. But nothing in life is ever risk free.

This brings me to a heart breaking criminal case that we read about a few years ago. A beautiful young woman, Nikitta Grender of Lliswerry Newport was expecting her first child.

She prepared a room for it. She knew she was having a girl and she called her Kelsey-May. Nikitta was not thought to have an enemy in the world. But she did have a secret enemy.

Her flat was found burnt out. Her dog had died in the blaze. She had been raped before being stabbed to death. I think she had been stabbed in the abdomen too, a direct attack at the baby.

It was all the more horrific as Nikitta was only 19 and had had her whole life ahead of her. But what must have been most awful for her in her last moments was that she could not defend her baby.

Her 17 year old boyfriend, Ryan Mayes had a 'friend' Carl Whant whom he thoughtfully used to drive around everywhere. When we are teenagers and schoolchildren, we often have friends who are not much like friends at all. They go around with us but are jealous and spiteful.

That was what Carl Whant was like. He was also high on hard drugs. It was he who was the murderer. He had been motivated partly by jealousy of Ryan Mayes. He had taken from him everything he had, his girlfriend, his hopes of fatherhood, his home, his possessions, even the dog.

It's absolutely true that a false friend is worse than an open enemy. In one sense, Ryan's plight was even worse than Nikitta's. Her suffering was over. His continued. And it had come on him at an age when many people are still at school.

Some people love their children even before they're born, and Ryan was obviously one of them. Among the tributes to Nikitta was his loving note to Kelsey-May, signed 'Daddy.'

When Carl Whant came to court, the lawyers took a different view than those involved in the Fred West case. He was charged with child destruction. Perhaps this was partly because aiming a knife at a heavily pregnant woman's abdomen shows specific malice towards the baby.

Also as Nikitta was eight months pregnant, had Kelsey-May been born at that point, she would have been capable of living. The lawyers' interpretation seems to have been that the act covered a child capable of being imminently born alive. Maybe before the David Steel Act, it meant a child capable of being born alive at some future date.

I'm a bit surprised that the lawyers chose to revive this dusty bit of legislation. But I'm sure they were right to do it. Ryan Mayes already saw the baby as a person that he cared about. It was giving her some dignity, and this might have provided some crumbs of comfort to this terribly wronged young man.

It's not very consistent that the law granted rights to a human foetus in this case, and doesn't in others. But the law never is consistent.

I think each case has to be judged on its own merits. It was an unusual decision, but given all the circumstances, I think it was justified.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Who deserves human rights? Reply with quote

Our ancestors were tribal, caring about very few people. Many tribes had names for themselves that meant 'The People' or 'The Real People.'

The implication was that neighbouring tribes were not quite human. Global communications, films, tv and foreign holidays have broadened and increased our sympathies.

We are more empathetic than ever before. We even worry about the feelings of animals. So why shouldn't we extend full human rights to every human foetus? Our ancestors might have thought that human rights begin only at birth, but perhaps they were blinkered fools. Who are we to say that David Davies is not right?

It does look like an attractive idea at first sight. As a child, I would have agreed with it.

Unfortunately this extending of human rights to more objects of concern is a bridge too far. A foetus, in a literal sense, is a parasite in its mother's body. I don't mean this as an insult. It's just a fact.

So what if their interests conflict? In this country, even strict Catholics like Ann Widdecombe approve of abortion when a mother's life is at stake, though certainly not for mere social reasons.

But according to Catholic doctrine, this is terrible heresy. A foetus' life takes precedence over its mother's, every time. Quite a few countries enforce this in law.

This is the case even when it is not yet a real foetus or even an embryo but a couple of cells. A bundle of cells has more rights in these jurisdictions than a fully developed and sentient human female.

These laws act on the intuitive feeling that many have deep down, that women are not real people. This is something that is explicitly expressed in the folk wisdom of some cultures.

A wise old saying in China tells us, ''Noodles are not rice, and women are not human beings.'' Russians have the poignant proverb, ''I thought I saw two people on the road but it was only a man and his wife.''

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem possible to extend full human rights to pre-birth children without taking them away from women.

So it would not be progress. It would be a retrograde step.

Many of us are so anxious to protect women's reproductive rights that we hesitate to concede any ground at all. We don't want to accept that there could ever be anything about abortion that need concern us.

This is not quite true. A conceptus is nothing like a person although it has the potential to become a person. A foetus near full term is just like a real baby.

There has to be a time limit. I'm not qualified to say when it should be.

A late abortion is certainly undesirable from every point of view. Even Richard Dawkins conceded, on this very point, that 'all suffering is deplorable.'

Yet it would also be inhumane to have an extremely narrow window of opportunity for abortion. Young ingénues and abuse victims who are in denial, are the very people who are most likely to let things drag on because they can't believe what is happening to them.

When an abortion occurs within the legal framework but at a comparatively advanced stage, it might be best to pump a powerful anaesthetic into the foetus in advance, through the abdominal wall.

It's sad if not tragic that this should ever be necessary. But life's a bitch. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. And we will have to live with our decisions.

We may feel bad about them later. But at least we were allowed to make them. It's not as bad as the feeling of helplessness and frustration we would have if we were living in Nicaragua.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:02 am    Post subject: Historical Alternative to Abortion Reply with quote

It is quite obvious from message board contributions that some Catholics admire the doctors who indirectly killed Savita. Yet if you put it to Catholics and other anti-abortionists that they don't think women are real people -in an accusing tone- they will indignantly deny it.

David Steel brought in his private member's act which legalised abortion in 1967. It followed a series of similar bills that had been defeated.

Anti-abortionists seem to think that if abortion is illegal, it will not happen. This is not true. It will happen illegally and secretly. Up to the late 60s, a few women died each year as a result of having unsafe illegal abortions.

No doubt many would think it served them right for doing such an evil thing. But those politicians who were not sadists realised that something had to be done to protect them.

What was particularly noxious was that rich and middle class women could afford to bribe doctors to do it in a safe and painless way. It was working class girls and the clueless who were at risk.

Just as members of the Communist party couldn't even hear about Stalin's atrocities, anti-abortionists are unaware of the awful consequences of what they are advocating. It's not that the information is not available. But there's none so deaf as those who will not hear.

Of course, the unavailability of legal abortion will put some people off. This will lead to the birth of children who would otherwise not have seen the light of day.

This is not always a good thing. In Victorian times, an unplanned pregnancy was often allowed to go to term in a listless sort of way. But then, the baby would have a very short life.

Dickens commented sarcastically in 'Oliver Twist' that the coroner just did not notice the balls of dirt that had been stuffed up its nose or that it had been smothered. Disraeli remarked in his novel 'Sybil' that infanticide was practised as legally and frequently on the banks of the Thames as it was on the banks of the Ganges.

Since abortion has been legalised, the incidence of infanticide, peri-natal death and related events have dropped sharply. A late abortion is somewhat troubling as we imagine, with good reason, that at this stage, a foetus has some capacity to suffer.

This is not untrue but, compared to infanticide, it is the lesser of two evils. It can even be seen as a humane measure that prevents infanticide.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:59 am    Post subject: Abortion and the Decline of Violence Reply with quote

The economists Donohue and Levitt claim that legal abortion is associated with a decline in violence and crime. They see a sharp falling off in crime since 'Roe versus Wade' legalised abortion in the USA in 1973.

It is difficult to judge if the two things are connected. But their idea that children whose mothers don't want them are more likely to become criminals, is not without merit.

We could probably all come up with anecdotal evidence to support it. Somebody who had been in prison for a violent offence, told me that his parents had never hidden it from him that they had never wanted him. They referred to him as 'our little mistake.'

Apparently, Saddam Hussein's mother had intended to abort him, but was dissuaded by a midwife. It reminds me of the adage, 'Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.'

Elaine Morgan sad, 'Every child has the right not to be born to a mother who doesn't want him.' The sentimentality that Catholics and some other people have for foetal life doesn't extend to concern for the child once it is born.

Cyril Smith shouted ''Murderers!'' at MPs who supported abortion, and was rebuked for this by the speaker. He supported capital punishment though.

He kindly set up boys' homes for boys who couldn't get on with their parents, and needed somewhere else to live. And now we know what went on in them.

The cynical might think that both he and Catholic priests promoted the birth of children to parents who didn't want them, as this would fill up the children's homes that they used as 'paedophile sweet shops.' But this is probably giving them too much credit for intelligence and forward planning.

Brisk, sensible women who know what they want in life, will usually be able to have an abortion, and put it behind them with no trouble. This is not always the case for those who didn't grow up in a supportive environment.

Those of us who have been brought up to feel guilty about every little thing, might support the right of other people to have abortions, but would find it hard to live with ourselves. Some women do it and then agonise that although it wasn't the right time and they didn't want a child, they should have heroically forced themselves to go through with the birth and the commitment.

William Butler Yeats would say, 'Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.' It is likely that you would have resented the child and been cold to it

It is literally true what a poet said, 'Abortion never lets you forget/You remember the children you got and did not get.' No, you don't forget. But over the years, you assimilate the experience, so it is no longer a painful memory.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:28 am    Post subject: Louise Mensch - What a dork! Reply with quote

Although it's tangential to the main issue in this thread, I must give an update on Louise Mensch's view that Jeremy Corbyn is connected to anti-Semitic organisations.

According to Louise Mensch's wiki article, she has been criticised for combining philo-Semitism with ignorance of Jewish history. It's a very profound ignorance indeed.

When Louise Mensch heard Jeremy Corbyn's views on Zionism and Palestinians, she reacted like a semi-literate person because she doesn't even know what Zionism means. But she thought she did.

She'd heard it used as a pejorative. She stated with the utmost confidence that Zionism was a code word meaning Jews that was used by anti-Semites.

When asked if Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, was an anti-Semite, she said ''Yes''! It's like expecting political insights from a five year old.

I said above that she was an ignoramus but I didn't realise how bad she was. I suppose it was the angel effect. Because Louise Mensch is extremely good looking, I instinctively felt that she must be well informed and competent.

Strictly speaking, we don't have democracy in this country. We have representative democracy. We delegate rule to our MPs.

Although we know that parliamentary candidates don't have to pass an exam or even a general knowledge quiz, we sometimes foolishly feel that MPs must have a high level of ability or they wouldn't be in the job.

Now we know better. Louise Mensch and David Davies are evidence that there is no quality control at all. You can get into Parliament even if you are a complete dork.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ireland really had to go independent. Considering how the British had treated them, it would have been ridiculous had the irish stayed in the UK.

Ireland has NEVER become independent. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pope PLC
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
Politics is War by other Methods - Some guy on the Internet
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back to the board Daf !

( I think that I need to point out to our Irish friends that Moritz / Dafydd enjoys rehearsing these ... historical Republican prejudices ... but once he gets going on a subject he can be genuinely interesting - funny even ... but I happen to agree with Daf excepting that I would point out that whilst the Irish Free State was essentially the Irish elite grabbing their piece of the empire back - and then eventually rebranding it as a " republic " without ever really changing much besides the uniforms of their minions - their dependence upon the resources of the Roman Catholic church for the provision of schools, hospitals and the means to launder anything is now effectively ended : the fact is that Lloyd George not only threatened Sinn Fein with all out war if they did not submit but the terms of their submission amounted to national bankruptcy, forcing them into going cap in hand afterwards to the only friend they had after the First World War - The Pope, who basically demanded that they surrender their progressive political programme which was one of the factors which led to the Irish Civil War and the idealist v pragmatist / left v right split in Sinn Fein which resulted in DeV departing to set up Fianna Fail : basically the modern Irish now hate both of these parties and they are presently debating how on earth Republicanism in Ireland came to be identified with either gunmen or businessmen, when it was supposed to be about all of The People in Ireland.)

Try reading Fintan O'Toole's account of their political crisis - " Enough is Enough : How To Build A New Republic "


The Republic of Ireland, which declared itself in 1949, allowed the Catholic Church to dominate its civil society and education system. Investment by American and European companies, and a welcoming tax regime, created the 'Celtic Tiger' of the 1990s. That brief burst of good fortune was destroyed by a corrupt political class which encouraged a wild property boom, leaving the country almost bankrupt.

What Ireland needs now is a programme of real change. It needs to become a fully modern republic in fact as well as name. Politicians have been let get away with murder, and there is a fatalistic sense that nothing can change. The country needs to encourage participation in, and oversight and knowledge of politics, to make people feel that they have a right to challenge the old party machines and to make a difference. It is their country, after all.


" ... This betrayal of a defining political ideal is the core theme of O'Toole's book. He begins by demolishing the "five myths" of the Irish Republic, the two most topical being the "myth of representation" and the "myth of wealth". He then lays out what he calls the "five decencies" that might lead its citizens into a safer, fairer, less market-driven future: security, health, education, equality and citizenship. ... "

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:38 am    Post subject: The Dark Night Reply with quote

Never, Dafydd? Ireland has broken off diplomatic relations with the Vatican, accusing it of subverting Irish law to enable paedophile priests. In a quite poetic apology to surviving Magdalene sisters, Enda Kenny acknowledged on the floor of the Dail that the virtuous image of Catholic Ireland was fictitious.

He also reassured them that the 'dark night was over.' I'd love to be able to believe it. What do you think? Is the dark night over?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( see me bottom )


When we are on the verge of uniting with the infinite wavelength of eternal vibration, our old frequency can sometimes go through a crisis of stasis. It buckles and bends trying to adjust itself and tune into the cosmic orchestra. We tend to doubt everything we’ve known to be true. In worst ( best ) case scenarios we tend to fall into an existential crisis, or Dark Night of the Soul.



from The Love That Made Mother Teresa by David Scott ... she had a quick, self-deprecating sense of humor, and sometimes doubled over from laughing so hard. So many people who spent time with her came away saying that she was the most joyful person they had ever met. ... Now we know that in secret her life was a living hell. As she confided to her spiritual director in 1957: ... " In the darkness . . . Lord, my God, who am I that you should forsake me? The child of your love — and now become as the most hated one." ... Mother Teresa lived in a spiritual desert, panicked that God had rejected her, or worse, that he was there in the dark hiding from her. As if by some strange formula, the greater her success and public adulation, the more abandoned, humiliated, and desperate she felt.

Sad Well I can not think of what other kind of a smiley.


Eckhart on the Dark Night of the Soul

Q: Have you ever experienced the dark night of the soul ? Your teachings have been so helpful through this difficult period. Can you address this subject ?

A: The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time. Yes, I have also experienced it. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression. Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. ... Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening. Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self. ... It’s the collapse of a mind-made meaning, conceptual meaning, of life… believing that you understand “what it’s all about”.

Confused [ = " confused " ]

" The Dark Knight is Confused " - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbgLapRAloQ

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:18 pm    Post subject: clositress Reply with quote

Aroup Chatterjee did feel that the late Christopher Hitchens has stolen his thunder on the subject of Mother Teresa. Amazingly, the tough talking Hitchens -known for the hitchslap - later softened in his attitude to Mother Teresa.

He found out that she had had a dark night of the soul. She had lost her faith. But she was forbidden to discuss this by the Catholic hierarchy. He began to see her in a sympathetic light - even as a victim of oppression.

Dai has introduced balance into the discussion by citing people who found Mother Teresa warm and humorous. That's just what Nehru said about Gandhi. Far from being puritanical and forbidding, Gandhiji was always bubbling over with mirth.

One of Mother Teresa's disciples was on the 'Big Questions' episode mentioned above. She insisted that Mother Teresa was 'the very embodiment of love' but it sounded as if she was reciting a creed rather than making an empirical observation.

I try not to hate people in the lump. If you must hate people, it should be as individuals based on their merits.

But I can't quite live up to my ideal with nuns. Due to unfortunate experiences in youth, I do hate nuns and I would like to vivisect them without anaesthetic - except Buddhist nuns and Sister Wendy Beckett the art critic.

I have my doubts about Sister Wendy since I saw her wallowing in vicarious agony as she contemplated a painting of the crucifixion. I thought she was enjoying herself too much.

I'm hardly sane on the subject of nuns. So I'm not the best person to make a dispassionate comment on Mother Teresa.

It sounds nice that she was quick to appreciate the funny side of life. But I add a caveat.

Remember those who make the best first impressions do not always have big personalities, just big egos. Often, they are sheer hell when you know them better.

I'm not saying Mother Teresa was a narcissist in sheep's clothing. I'm reserving judgement because I don't know.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:53 pm    Post subject: Terrorists in St Mary's Street Reply with quote

A spokeswoman for an American health service provider described a terrorist who murdered a doctor who performed abortions as 'a dangerous psychopath.' Richard Dawkins disagreed.

He said he was dangerous all right but not a psychopath - 'just very religious.' Dawkins had met him and 'quite liked him.' He thought his problem was religion.

Some psychologists today would think differently. They say that violent tendencies always precede the extremist ideology that is used to justify them.

We in the UK used to look at terrorists attacking abortion clinics in the USA, and feel comfortably distanced. When a group of Bible belt rednecks came here to target abortion clinics, they were given a few days to leave the country voluntarily or be deported.

When Jacqui Smith was Home Secretary, these people were banned from entering the UK in the first place.

When I was in St Mary's Street yesterday, a group of religious activists were picketing an abortion clinic. These were home grown trouble makers. I'm afraid this country's getting as bad as America.

A counter demonstration picketed the picket. A young woman demonstrator explained to me what was happening.

The religionists harassed the women and girls who used the clinic and also threatened the staff. She had herself been physically assaulted on a number of occasions.

The picketers held up bloody images of what they purported to be aborted embryos. They shouted at the patients and tried to film them so they could add the images to an online rogues' gallery.

The woman told me the counter picket was trying to persuade Peter Vaughn, the Police Commissioner for Cardiff to fulfil his responsibilities by removing the trouble makers from the scene. She said the counter demonstrators believed in freedom of speech when it was responsibly and sensitively expressed.

But this was not the right way or the right place.

Not all the patients were vulnerable. But some were. Some were very young girls.

I spoke indignantly of the bombers who murdered abortion providers in America, and how they had the audacity to say they were pro-life. She said, ''They're very selective about which life they care about.''

We discussed the Savita outrage. She said, ''And the foetus could never have been saved anyway!'' This is very true, and shows a true fanaticism in former legislators in Ireland.

I signed the petition for the entrance to the abortion clinic to be cleared of the obstructing fanatics. I urge everyone to do so.

Apparently, they intend to be there every day in Lent. This is happening at abortion clinics throughout the UK this Lenten tide.

Incidentally, I had just been looking at a book in Waterstones in Cardiff about a scandal that shook Boston some years ago. The Catholic priesthood had been using the children in their flock for sexual gratification.

Everyone from the bishop to the cleaners knew about it. They observed a policy of 'omerta', betraying the diocese they claimed to serve.

Make no mistake, this is what Roman Catholic priests want children to be brought into the world for!

The lady told me that some of the patients were so intimidated that they were put off going to the clinic in the first trimester. They had to have painful late term abortions later.

This is bad. It's something which 'if 'twere done, it were better it were done quickly.'

Even a quick and early abortion under general anaesthetic can sometimes be emotionally stressful for a sensitive young girl. But physically, it's less painful than going to the dentist.

In truth, it's less painful than going to the hairdressers. I have to grit my teeth as I think of those sadists yanking round my already squeaky clean hair. Or maybe I have an exceptionally sensitive skull.

But a partial birth abortion is not much fun. It's bearable but it does hurt.

Take my advice. If you know it's what you're going to do. don't faff around. Get it done and dusted.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:58 pm    Post subject: trimester Reply with quote

Um, I meant trimester, the first three months out of a possible nine. A semester is what universities now have instead of terms. Dr Spooner, your assistant is waiting for you now.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:15 pm    Post subject: dark midnight Reply with quote

Between 1922 and the 90s, Ireland had a 'culture of containment'. Anyone at all troublesome or unsettling was taken out of the community and locked up - not in prisons but in psychiatric hospitals, industrial schools or Magdalene laundries.

The rest of the population were hardly aware of it. You would hear nasty jokes about 'Maggies' but the reality was hazy.

One woman of my own generation remembered growing up in Dublin. Her family attended Mass at the local convent chapel each Sunday.

The convent grounds were idyllically beautiful, full of shady trees with deer in the clearings. The happily oblivious little girl skipped down the levels of the choir stalls, pretending she was Professor Yaffl on the kids' TV show 'Bagpuss.'

Then once Mass had already started, shabby dead eyed women shuffled in and sat at the back. They were zombified, the walking dead.

The girl had no idea who they were and didn't think to ask. Nobody spoke about them.

In 1993 the nuns speculated on the stock market and it all went horribly wrong. They lost big time.

They had to sell off the convent and its lovely grounds. The new owners were a bit shocked to find 155 bodies in unmarked graves in the gardens.

They were the mortal remains of Magdalene sisters who had remained imprisoned in the convent at death. The country was quite shaken up.

The last Magdalene laundry in Ireland closed on 25 September 1996. It was two days after my thirtieth birthday. It doesn't compute. It doesn't seem possible.

Girls from unfortunate backgrounds might be sent there for just about any reason. They may have gone AWOL for one evening while working as a maid. They may have been caught travelling on a train without a valid ticket.

Our image of a typical Magdalene sister was a young unmarried mother or unmarried pregnant girl who had been rejected by her grim relatives. Many of them were.

But others were imprisoned for being attractive enough to tempt a man to sin or for having already proved she was a temptress by becoming a rape victim. According to Rationalwiki, reasons for entry covered all bases.

You could be too pretty, too ugly, too clever or too dense. But if you were severely afflicted, whether mentally or physically, it wouldn't happen to you.

Why not? Because you wouldn't be much good at scrubbing priestly vestments and other clothes with hard soap in cold water from sunrise to sunset. For that's what these institutions were for.

The work went on from 5 a m to 7 p m every day but Sunday. The inmates were fed and had a roof over their heads but they were not paid, not a penny. The idea was that they were washing the stains of their sins away.

But they never could. No amount of scrubbing rendered them pure. During the working day, they were supposed to be silent or recite repetitious prayers or decades of the rosary.

Those who entered with long hair had it cut off. Sometimes their heads were shaved. Their identities were changed.

The nuns were typically violent, mocking, sadistic. It was a dehumanising experience. Sometimes, the nuns made the inmates parade naked in front of them so they could have a good laugh at their expense.

It was obviously slave labour. In one sense it was worse than being in a concentration camp in wartime. In the latter case, there was a possibility of being liberated.

The Magdalene sisters were in for life unless a relative claimed them. There were instances of escape.

In these cases, the bells were rung. The gardai and the public were alerted to look out for stray Maggies and to return them, after which they would be thoroughly beaten up by the nuns and left as bloody pulps.

Ireland had entered the EU or the EEC as it then was in 1973. it should have abided by the European Convention on Human Rights. It's true that the Church was more powerful than the State.

But the State is implicated too. One out of four referrals to Magdalene laundries came from the state. It's not that they had no idea what was going on.

These places had generous state funding. Yet in one such place the nuns - who probably spoke out publicly against the evils of abortion - let 56% of the new born 'illegitimate' children die of malnutrition or preventable infectious diseases. When the babies lived, the nuns sometimes sold them to middle class couples in America.

After the closures and the scandals, the world was enlightened about the truth. Two tremendous films came out in 2002. I would warmly recommend 'Sinners' and Peter Mullan's 'Magdalene Sisters' but can't give links because of current copyright issues.

These films didn't cure me of my hatred of nuns. Sue Elliot in 'Love Child' said she wanted to come straight out of the cinema and kill a nun.

In 2011 the UN Committee Against Torture called for a government inquiry. In early 2013 Enda Kenny made an eloquent apology to the Magdalene survivors on the floor of the Dail.

He said their ordeals had been treated in the past with 'studied indifference.'
They had each had to carry 'a terrible secret' alone.

'But from this moment on you need carry it no more. Because today we take it back. Today we acknowledge the role of the State in your ordeal.

'Ireland had created a particular portrait of itself as a good living god fearing nation ...We know this flattering portrait to be fictitious.

'...By any standard it was a cruel pitiless Ireland, distinctly lacking in a quality of mercy - judgemental, intolerant, petty and prim ...[Rather than scrubbing their own sins away, the Magdalene sisters] were only ever scrubbing away our nation's shadow.

'...We swapped our personal scruples for a solid public apparatus that kept us in tune and in step with a sense of what was proper behaviour or the appropriate view.'

'...We lived with the damaging idea that what was desirable and acceptable in the eyes of the Church and the State were the same and interchangeable.

'...Is it this mindset then, this moral subservience that gave us the social mores, the required and exclusive values of the time that welcomed the compliant, obedient and lucky 'us' and banished the more problematic, spirited or unlucky 'them'?

'...We saw difference as something to be feared and hidden rather than embraced and celebrated.''

He concluded that the 'dark midnight was over.'

Not all Magdalene survivors accept the apology though it sounds quite beautiful to me. Mean spirited people would dismiss it as 'blarney.'

When I saw from his Wiki article that Enda Kenny apparently enjoys racist jokes and chuckling over the 'n' word, it didn't sound as if it could be the same person.

There have been some delays and disputes in setting up a compensation package for the Magdalene sisters. Perhaps it would be true to say that some of them have not received a penny yet.

One thing's for sure. They never will see a penny from the Church.

The State has handsomely admitted its responsibility. Not so the Church.

Italian cinema goers were filmed by priests as they went in to watch 'The Magdalene Sisters', something they had been forbidden to do. The Papacy had condemned the film. The Catholic League say that Magdalene asylums are a 'myth' and that Hollywood is run by Jews who hate Christianity.

Priests and nuns will also say that nobody thought there was anything wrong with slavery or paedophilia in the 90s or noughties, so why are we picking on them?

The nuns concerned have refused to contribute to the compensation or even to give the ex-inmates any back pay. And yet it was the nuns who had taken a vow of poverty, not the Magdalenes. The nuns made a good profit from the laundries all the years of the scam.

I'm not sure I agree with things like Desmond Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But one thing's for sure. There can be no closure, no forgiveness while these arrogant slave drivers won't even apologise or accept responsibility.

Nor is this the worst of it. What about the babies' bodies in Tuam and other places? Were the nuns also practising murder and infanticide?

We can see form 'Philomena' that some nuns deliberately frustrated potential reunions between the 'Maggies' and their grown up children by lying for the sake of it. They had the cheek to say that this was in the interests of client confidentiality.

This is a culture that makes integrity impossible. The only way to get the truth out of priests and nuns is to put them on trial.

I know it's not going to happen because of all the interests involved. But in my humble opinion, the Vatican should be closed down and its assets sold off to support its many victims.

And the whole Roman Catholic Church should be wound up. It's been a disaster for the last 2,000 years.

Joe Hardy from Jelon, Spain commented on a message board, 'Ireland fought the English for 500 years to free themselves from British rule. The day they achieved this, they handed their freedom over to the Church of Rome.'

Ireland is going through a zero hour. It's broken off diplomatic relations with the Vatican because the latter has undermined Irish law to protect paedophile priests.

Perhaps it was Enda Kenny who said at that time, ''This country is a republic of laws', not an owned subsidiary of Rome. May it never slide back.

Last edited by marianneh on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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