4/23/8 Extinguishing

"a system that is destroying the world... the American way of life must be extinguished….
Jason Miller
...why wouldn’t we US Americans believe that our "shining city upon the hill" is entitled to whatever our little hearts desire (and our $1 trillion per year military can plunder)... living large thanks to the genocide our forefathers committed against the natives of Turtle Island... a little thing like 10-100 million dead "red men?" Or the 100 million black slaves who contributed mightily and involuntarily...to the development of our economic juggernaut of a nation?... I’m not suggesting reparations or apologies. Fuck applying band-aids to gaping wounds. We are barbarians... For those who haven’t had every shred of moral decency indoctrinated out of us, there is cause for some optimism. Like a pyramid balancing on its apex, capitalism is destined to topple. Linear, short-sighted, chaotic, grossly immoral, and dependent upon infinite growth in a finite world, it has already reached obsolescence in the minds of most intellectually honest critical thinkers. Its myriad victims have discovered perhaps its ultimate vulnerability: asymmetric warfare. In its insatiable thirst to commodify everything, capitalism is at odds with Mother Nature herself. If the victims of imperialism... don’t bring this son of a bitch down, the Earth will...and the world will be truly blessed when our violent, hierarchal, and malignant culture of murder and mayhem is throttled to death like a perpetrator who finally encounters a victim with the means to eradicate him. Meanwhile, we can accelerate the demise of the dominant culture, as Derrick Jensen labeled our rotten-to-the-core Westernized, capitalist way of being. As Jensen suggests, we need to build upon the culture of resistance... as Jensen suggests, find what you love and do it in such a way that it puts a little more wobble on that inverted pyramid. And when the time comes, those of us who are clinging to our guns so bitterly will know what to do with them.[...]

Tyendinaga Mohawk Defense of the Land: “We followed the Kaianereh’ko:wa, Great Law of Peace” – using traditional guerilla tactics
MNN. April 22, 2008. Congratulations! Mohawks of Tyendinaga! You made the colonial apparatus show their true colors! We stopped the construction and no one got hurt. We wouldn’t have the evidence if we hadn’t stood up to colonial lawlessness....The Mohawks used traditional guerilla tactics. We’re there! Then we’re not there! The OPP had no one to hit. So they left. The vigilante state of Canada says it has an urgent need to settle native claims. We don’t see what there is to settle. It’s our land and it’s our resources. What they really mean is they want to unsettle things. They want to expand the colonial land grab in their favor. These greedy gobblers just won’t be satisfied until they’ve dispatched us all and stole the last square inch of our land.

Tyendinaga is on the Bay of Quinte between Kingston and Belleville along the TransCanada Highway 401. The issue is the illegal squatting on the
Culbertson Tract of 1832 that guaranteed the Mohawks would never be molested or interfered with. Since1832 squatting, developing and contamination has not stopped. We want this to stop. We can’t stand to see how they continue to celebrate and rejoice in their theft and attempted bondage of Ongwehonwe people with a depiction of an “Indian” tied up on their Parliament Building in Ottawa.

This whole colonial scenario is to implement the “final solution”. We are the last hold outs who stand in their way. It’s a “life and death” drama being played out all over the world on us....

On Tuesday, April 22nd, the SWAT Team in full gear was quickly dispatched to Tyendinaga. They had “ghost cars”, marked and unmarked” cars everywhere. The government that can’t afford to make sure that the people they have displaced have clean drinking water and healthy food spared no expense on arms to suppress any indigenous assertion of our rights. There is a large colonial “war chest” to shut us up for speaking against corporate and government corruption. Ontario expected the police to make all the fascist decisions for them.

The Ontario Provincial Police have become the private army of the predator capitalist colonial apparatus that is trying to enforce its will on us. We
don’t want development so they think we’re in their way. When we deny them the right to desecrate the environment, they see lost opportunity. They
don’t want the land and resource owners to sit at any table....The cops brought in agent provocateurs who got them to organize rowdy
activities so they could claim their “peacekeeping” services were needed. They incited the non-native citizens against us, urging them to demonstrate
racist animosity towards us. If left to themselves, most of these people would get along with us just fine. Our supporters in these non-native communities have told us they’re scared to help us. They’re scared to express their support for our rights....

Ontario must have spent over $1 million to spring the 400 or more SWAT Team and other cops from Toronto and elsewhere. There were cruisers, ambulances, fire trucks, cameras and cube trucks lined right down the road for miles. Big police boats putt putted in the Bay. They got out all their fancy
military toys...

There will be a solidarity march on Wednesday, April 23rd, at 8:00 am in Kahnawake, on Route 138. For information call Roxanne at 450-638-8683.
Kahentinetha Horn MNN Mohawk Nation News
Rotiskenekete 613-849-1314 – 613-827-4991 email davidrmaracle@aol.com

Islamic Army in Iraq fighter
speaking on condition of anonymity
Ahmed Janabi, Aljazeera.net
"First of all, there is nothing called an improved security situation, all that has happened is the government-backed militias who used to butcher people, were stopped from doing so for tactical reasons. "As to us, Iraqis and non-Iraqi volunteers who dedicated ourselves to driving the US occupation out of Iraq, we never stopped working, but the US officials like to distract the world with the monster they created, al-Qaeda. "More than 4,000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, who killed them? The resistance of course, but they [the US] do not want to talk about it, they only continue crying 'al-Qaeda'... I can assure you, their surge policy is not working, and will never work." ...
http://www.uruknet.de/?p=43322 english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/003860EB-7666-4E9D-B4EB-A182FD88E0C2.htm

Detainees Allege Being Drugged Before Interrogation
Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer
...Nusairi, now free in Saudi Arabia, was unable to learn what drugs were injected before his interrogations. He is not alone in wondering: At least two dozen other former and current detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere say they were given drugs against their will or witnessed other inmates being drugged, based on interviews and court documents. Like Nusairi, other detainees believed the injections were intended to coerce confessions. The Defense Department and the CIA, the two agencies responsible for detaining terrorism suspects, both deny using drugs as an enhancement for interrogations, and suggest that the stories from Nusairi and others like him are either fabrications or mistaken interpretations of routine medical treatment. Yet the allegations have resurfaced because of the release this month of a 2003 Justice Department memo that explicitly condoned the use of drugs on detainees. Written to provide legal justification for interrogation practices, the memo by then-Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo rejected a decades-old U.S. ban on the use of "mind-altering substances" on prisoners...

too bad like all neoliberals Cole exonerates complicit democrats to make U.S. bipartisan global agenda just a neocon affair
McCain, the Retired Military "Analysts" and the Myth of al-Qaeda in Iraq
Juan Cole, Informed Comment
I am quoted in this NYT piece today on John McCain's allegations that the US is fighting "al-Qaeda" in Iraq and that there is a danger of "al-Qaeda" taking over the country if the US leaves. Those allegations don't make any sense. McCain contradicts himself because he sometimes warns that the Shiites or Iran will take over Iraq. He doesn't seem to realize that the US presided over the ascension to power in Iraq of pro-Iranian Shiite parties like Nuri al-Maliki's Islamic Mission Party and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. So which is it? There is a danger that pro-Iranian Shiites will take over (which is anyway what we have engineered)...McCain can't come out and say we need to crush the Armed Iraqi Revolution, because that would be an admission that the US has been fighting Iraqis for 5 years and still hasn't defeated them. So he and the Republican strategists and the retired generals and their Pentagon handlers make up this "al-Qaeda" business, as though people in Baquba would be gunning for Americans if Americans hadn't invaded their country and turned it upside down.

On Myths, Sectarianism and Mass Graves.
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
...Simply put, the sectarian/ethnic agenda the US came with consisted of the following myths. - Iraq is majority Shiite. And the lie adds --this latter group has been repressed by the previous government, hence this group did not have any adequate political and social representation in Iraqi society. So any liberation must take into account this "sect’s struggle and aspirations" - The Kurds are a separate ethnicity from the Arabs. They too have been repressed by the previous government, hence any "liberation" must take into account their "ethnic struggle and aspirations." The above two myths were the principal premises on which America has operated until now. Anyone with a modicum of insight can already spot the sectarian and ethnic division that America had in mind in the above claims. In order to understand the conspiracy one first has to debunk these myths. And this is what I am intent on doing. So : 1) Under the previous regime, there was NO NOTION of SECT or ETHNICITY embedded in the prevailing political and social culture. Us as Iraqis never and I repeat NEVER thought or acted on that basis. It was simply NOT part of our culture. 2) The proof is that the rate of intermarriage between let’s say Shia, Sunnis and Kurds was the highest in the Arab World. Education can be used as another sociological barometer where ALL IRAQIS had access to education regardless of their sect and ethnicity. The same applies to Health services, Employment, etc...

If the Iraqi social fabric was not solid and cohesive, it would have not taken 6 years of killings to try to achieve the agenda. It would have not taken armed militias from Iran, like Sadr, Badr, Dawa, Chalabi...it would have not taken so many armed mercenaries, snipers, contractors, dirty gangs, soldiers, weapons...If there was no IRAQI cohesive social fabric, it would have been a "cakewalk" like Rumsfeld cheered. But it was no cakewalk. And still is not...
Muqtada Al-Sadr just returned from Qom, that Muqtada Al-Sadr has nothing of anti-US occupation in him...:

'Saddam is sinful Aggressor and American Forces are Guests in Iraq', ("anti-american cleric") Muqtada
Trans. Juan Cole
November 05, 2003
The prominent Shiite Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr called upon the American troops in his country to spare lives, and called them to unity and brotherhood with the Iraqi people. He affrimed that "Saddam Hussein and his followers are the enemies of Iraq, not the Americans." In a statement distributed in Najaf, excerpts of which were published in the newspaper al-Sabah [Saturday], he characterized the presence of US troops in Iraq as "that of guests", and described the Americans as a "peace-loving people." He described Saddam as a "sinful aggressor." He said, "The Iraqi people want only good for the Americans, and there is no enemy of Iraq except Saddam and his followers."
Link: arabwomanblues.blogspot.com/2008/04/on-myths-sectarianism-and-mass-graves.html

Iran ready to resume talks with US on Iraq: Official
Iran is ready to resume talks with the US on Iraq security, but the exact time for negotiations has not been set yet, said an Iranian official. The delay in Iran-US talks has occurred due to Iraq’s neighboring countries meeting in Kuwait. Iran and the US have met three times in Iraq to discuss security condition in the country and find ways to restore stability and peace to the state. Iraq’s neighboring countries meeting will be a follow-up from meetings in Turkey and Egypt last year... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=43234

the question speaks for itself...
Can the U.S. and Iran Share the Middle East?
Analysis by Trita Parsi*
Sooner or later, Iran and the U.S. must learn how to share the region.... reality requires Washington to begin considering not if, but the extent of an Iranian role in the region that the U.S. and its allies can agree to. This may necessitate a paradigm shift in Washington's approach to Iran and the Middle East, but failure to reconcile with Iranian demands justified by the new balance in the region will likely disable future administrations from turning political opportunities into real diplomatic breakthroughs -- irrespective of their positive intentions.
*Trita Parsi, author of the newly released "Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S." (Yale), is president of the National Iranian American Council.

Jewish settlers flood Palestinian neighbours with sewage
Redress Information & Analysis
The video below is both instructive and appalling. It sums up the character of the Jewish settlers – the misfits, thieves and squatters from the United States, Europe, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere who are stealing and blighting Palestinian lands in increasing number – and it exposes the deep-seated racism that underlies their contempt for Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. At least twice a month, starting on Friday afternoons and continuing for a large part of the following day, the authorities in the illegal Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, which is built on land stolen from the neighbouring Palestinian village of Wadi Fuqeen, near Bethlehem, open their sewage tanks on to the farmlands of the vilage. As the video shows, the sewage, which runs through specially-built pipelines that open on to the slopes leading to Wadi Fuqeen, accumulates on the Palestinian farmlands, poisoning crops, contaminating the water table and posing a serious health threat to villagers... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=43223

CIA to describe North Korea-Syria nuclear ties:
Officials will tell Congress members this week that North Korea was helping Syria build a reactor last year when it was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike ... The administration has briefed senior members of the House and Senate intelligence committees... a U.S. official says.

bipartisan exposures...

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS In an ad that began airing in Pennsylvania Monday morning, Clinton implies she is tougher than Obama. "Who do you think has what it takes?" the narrator asks in an ad depicting historical images of crises that presidents have had to deal with: Osama bin Laden, headlines about the stock market crash of 1929, long gas lines from the 1970s oil-shocks, images of the Cold War, Hurricane Katrina and soldiers. It features the first image of Osama bin Laden to be used in a TV ad this political season. "It's the toughest job in the world," says the ad's narrator. "You need to be ready for anything especially now, with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing and an economy in crisis.". . . on "Good Morning America" Tuesday ABC News' Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

U.S. Identifies Tainted Heparin in 11 Countries
Republican members of the subcommittee were in agreement with Democrats that the lack of foreign inspections was a big problem... A contaminated blood thinner probably from China has been found in drug supplies in 11 countries, and federal officials said Monday they had discovered a clear link between the contaminant and severe reactions now associated with 81 deaths in the United States. But a Chinese official disputed the assertion that the contaminant found in the drug, heparin, caused any deaths and insisted that his country’s inspectors be allowed to inspect the American plant where the finished heparin vials were made. He said any future agreement to allow American inspections of Chinese firms should be reciprocal. “We don’t have a strong evidence to show that it is heparin or its contaminant that caused the problem,” said the official, Ning Chen, second secretary at the Chinese Embassy. Mr. Chen said that illnesses associated with contaminated heparin had occurred only in the United States, which he said suggested that the problem arose in this country...
The F.D.A. sent a warning letter on Monday to Changzhou SPL, the Chinese plant identified as the source of contaminated heparin made by Baxter International in the United States.... [...]

HR 1955, proposed by Jane Harman (D-Calif.) criminalizes all dissident freedom of speech as essentially seditious and supportive of "terror" or some other bogeyman trotted out by the system. It was passed by near unanimity in the House, with only 6 votes abstaining or not voting Jan.7, 2008

Chertoff Says Fingerprints Aren’t ‘Personal Data’
... Chertoff was recently in Canada discussing, among other topics, the so-called “Server in the Sky” program to share fingerprint databases among the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. In a recent briefing with Canadian press (which has yet to be picked up in the U.S.), Chertoff made the startling statement that fingerprints are “not particularly private”:
QUESTION: Some are raising that the privacy aspects of this thing, you know, sharing of that kind of data, very personal data, among four countries is quite a scary thing.
SECRETARY CHERTOFF: Well, first of all, a fingerprint is hardly personal data because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world, they’re like footprints.[...]
http://rinf.com/alt-news/surveillance-big-brother/chertoff-says-fingerpr... http://tinyurl.com/4jk6uy

Matthew Benson,, Arizona
Arizona public schools would be barred from any teachings considered counter to democracy or Western civilization under a proposal endorsed by a legislative panel. Additionally, the measure would prohibit students of the state's universities and community colleges from forming groups based in whole or part on the race of their members, such as the Black Business Students Association at Arizona State University or Native Americans United at Northern Arizona University. Those groups would be forbidden from operating on campus.The brainchild of Rep. Russell Pearce, the measure appeared as an amendment to Senate Bill 1108, which originally would have made minor changes to the state's Homeland Security advisory councils. The House Appropriations Committee approved the new proposal on a 9-6 vote.Pearce, a Mesa Republican, said his target isn't diversity instruction, but schools that use taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate students in what he characterized as anti-American or seditious thinking. The measure is at least partially a response to a controversy surrounding an ethnic-studies program in the Tucson Unified School District, which critics have said is unpatriotic and teaches revolution.SB 1108 states, "A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship. Public tax dollars used in public schools should not be used to denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization."For schools that violate the anti-Western-teachings provision, the bill provides the state superintendent of public instruction with the authority to withhold a portion of state funding....

Supreme Court says police may search even if arrest unlawful
The Supreme Court affirmed that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law.In a concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she... agrees that the arrest and search of Moore was constitutional, even though it violated Virginia law. The Bush administration and attorneys general from 18 states lined up in support of Virginia prosecutors. Looking to state laws to provide the basis for searches would introduce uncertainty into the legal system states said in court papers. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1154ap_scotus_search.html?source=...

the state 'knew' instantly this was no 'terrorist'...
Federal indictment over ricin found in Las Vegas motel room
April 22, 2008
A man suspected to have been poisoned by ricin found later in his hotel room was indicted Tuesday on federal charges that include possession of a biological toxin.Roger Bergendorff and his lawyer, Paul Riddle, did not appear when U.S. District Court Magistrate Peggy Leen unsealed the indictment and scheduled Bergendorff for an arraignment and plea May 2...Bergendorff, 57, also was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and possession of firearms not identified by serial number. Among the objects seized from Bergendorff's were a .22-caliber Browning semiautomatic handgun with a silencer and a .22-caliber silencer with no serial number...Vials containing about 4 grams of "crude" powdered ricin were found in Bergendorff's extended-stay motel room several blocks off the Las Vegas Strip about two weeks after he was admitted to the hospital. Authorities say illegal firearms also were found in the room. Ricin can be lethal in amounts the size of the head of a pin. It has no antidote, and no legal use other than cancer research.Prosecutors allege Bergendorff first made ricin in the 1990s, and possessed it while living in the San Diego, Reno and Salt Lake City areas before moving to Las Vegas.He allegedly told the FBI he kept the ricin in case he needed to hurt unspecified enemies. Authorities said they do not believe it had anything to do with terrorism.Police and homeland security officials have said they found no ricin contamination in any place Bergendorff stayed.

Murdoch Moving to Buy Newsday for $580 Million
A tentative deal to buy his third New York newspaper would tighten Rupert Murdoch's grip on American news media.

The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world's population but almost a quarter of its prisoners.

The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile
Russ Kick
It's no secret that the US educational system doesn't do a very good job. Like clockwork, studies show that America's schoolkids lag behind their peers in pretty much every industrialized nation...Fingers are pointed at various aspects of the schooling system—overcrowded classrooms, lack of funding, teachers who can't pass competency exams in their fields, etc. But these are just secondary problems. Even if they were cleared up, schools would still suck. Why? Because they were designed to.... the men who designed, funded, and implemented America's formal educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote about what they were doing. Almost all of these books, articles, and reports are out of print and hard to obtain. Luckily for us, John Taylor Gatto tracked them down. Gatto was voted the New York City Teacher of the Year three times and the New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. But he became disillusioned with schools—the way they enforce conformity, the way they kill the natural creativity, inquisitiveness, and love of learning that every little child has at the beginning. So he began to dig into terra incognita, the roots of America's educational system....
"We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes." Senate Committee on Education, 1888
"Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth." philosopher and educator John Dewey,1897 [...]
John Taylor Gatto's, The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern Schooling (New York: Oxford Village Press, 2001), is the source for all of the above historical quotes.

capitalist state terrorism invades compound and kidnaps over 400 mormon children
Parents of Sect's Children Begin Submitting DNA for genetic database

Copy of handbook for leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Copy of General Handbook for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints previously only made available to church leaders obtained by wikinews.

Church of Scientology's 'Operating Thetan' documents leaked online
March 26, 2008

Wikinews has obtained 'Operating Thetan' (OT) documents of the Church of Scientology which were leaked via Wikileaks. Although some portions of the manual have been leaked previously, this is believed to be the first time the full unedited version has been leaked.
The file is a 612-page compilation of material written for Scientologists by L. Ron Hubbard, and contains instructions for the eight different Operating Thetan levels including 'clear' and OT8....
Wikileaks previously published documents relating to the Church of Scientology's division the Office of Special Affairs. The 208-page document released March 9 details Scientology's involvement in black propaganda according to its "Fair Game" practices.

Nazi Plot That’s Haunting Tom Cruise and United Artists
...Mr. Cruise, his partners at United Artists and the “Valkyrie” filmmakers are bracing for what will likely be a nine-month fight to prove their critics wrong. “We will not be daunted,” Paula Wagner, chief executive of United Artists, said last week.During a 90-minute interview at the company’s headquarters in a Century City office tower, Ms. Wagner said she and her fellow executives were intent on overcoming negative reactions that she saw as rooted in ignorance of the process of building movie production companies.“Anybody trying to dismiss us or write us off doesn’t understand the business,” Ms. Wagner said. She added: “Nothing is going to stop us. We are determined to make this work. Still, United Artists’ future will depend on reversing a growing perception — fed by an Internet culture that publicizes notions once confined to lunchtime gossipfests — that the studio took a wrong turn shortly after Ms. Wagner joined Mr. Cruise, her longtime producing partner, in agreeing a year and a half ago to reboot it as their own venture with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had previously owned the company outright. Mr. Cruise declined through a spokesman to be interviewed for this article. In a statement Harry E. Sloan, MGM’s chief executive, said he remained convinced of United Artists’ “promise and potential,” and looked forward to marketing and distributing its movies. The statement made no specific mention of “Valkyrie.” In August the retooled United Artists received $500 million in backing through Merrill Lynch. It quickly released “Lions for Lambs,” a poorly received drama that was directed by Robert Redford and featured Mr. Cruise with Mr. Redford and Meryl Streep. As that film took a drubbing from critics and audiences alike, United Artists bet again on Mr. Cruise with “Valkyrie,” [...]

Plot Thickens in a Tom Cruise Film, Long Before the Cameras Begin to Roll
When the director Bryan Singer decided to cast Tom Cruise as Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who tried to blow up Hitler toward the end of World War II, he thought he had dealt with all the possible pitfalls.
“The German military has a special interest in the authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944, and in the portrayal of Stauffenberg as a person,” Lt. Col. Klaus Reinecke, the defense ministry spokesman, said. Still, the colonel denied that the ministry had actually banned filming in the former headquarters of the German military in Berlin. The film’s producers, he said, had not applied for permission to the ministry, which still occupies the building...
“Scientology is a totalitarian ideology,” said Berthold Graf von Stauffenberg, the eldest son of Colonel Stauffenberg and a retired West German army general. “The fact that an avowed Scientologist like Mr. Cruise is supposed to play the victim of a totalitarian regime is purely sick.”... the younger Mr. Stauffenberg, a former member of the European Parliament, added, “I am amazed that in discussing the most important case of resistance against the Nazi regime, we are talking about the suitability of an American actor to play a role.” ...
“Tom Cruise is not just an actor who is a Scientologist,” Ms. Caberta said. “He is an ambassador for Scientology. All totalitarian systems have their celebrities to open doors for them.”

liberals like Redford line up with vile propaganda like this movie as capitalism switches into fascist gear:
Meryl Streep is a journalist and Tom Cruise a senator in “Lions for Lambs,” directed by Robert Redford.
November 9, 2007
Hearts and Minds: Senator Meets Reporter, Selling a New, Improved War
... two more of his [Professor Malley/Redford's] students: a Latino, Ernest Rodriguez (Michael Peña), and an African-American, Arian Finch (Derek Luke). After absorbing Malley’s lessons about responsibility, Ernest and Arian joined the army. These lion cubs don’t believe the current wars are righteous, but they believe they can effect change from the inside, which is how they land in an Afghan misadventure more unbelievable, both in thematic and visual terms, than Senator Irving’s military strategy. In truth Ernest and Arian are less lions than sacrificial lambs that exist solely so the film can wave the flag (and race and poverty) along with index fingers. Malley regrets but respects the students’ decision to enlist, which echoes the prevailing wisdom that you should support the troops even if you don’t support the wars.

Is religion a threat to rationality and science?
Prof. Daniel Dennett

If religion isn't the greatest threat to rationality and scientific progress, what is? Perhaps alcohol, or television, or addictive video games. But although each of these scourges - mixed blessings, in fact - has the power to overwhelm our best judgment and cloud our critical faculties, religion has a feature of that none of them can boast: it doesn't just disable, it honours the disability. People are revered for their capacity to live in a dream world, to shield their minds from factual knowledge and make the major decisions of their lives by consulting voices in their heads that they call forth by rituals designed to intoxicate them.... imperviousness to reason is, I think, the property that we should most fear in religion. Other institutions or traditions may encourage a certain amount of irrationality - think of the wild abandon that is often appreciated in sports or art - but only religion demands it as a sacred duty. This might not matter if the activities that composed religion were somewhat insulated from the rest of the world the way they are in sports and art. Then we could treat religious allegiances the way we treat differences in taste: if you have a taste for kick boxing or heavy metal bands, that's your business. Knock yourself out, as we say, it's only a game. Not so with religion. Its arena includes not just the participants but all of life on the planet. Given that, it's troubling to note how avidly some people engage in deliberate make-believe in order to execute the prescribed duties.

The better is enemy of the best: religion may make many people better, but it is preventing them from being as good as they could be. If only we could transfer all that respect, loyalty and intense devotion from an imaginary being - God - to something real: the wonderful world of goodness we and our ancestors have made, and of which we are now the stewards.
· Professor Daniel Dennett is director of the Centre for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

from Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx
The foundation of irreligious criticism is: “Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and
self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore,indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”