As Wisconsin Congressman and Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan had dinner with wealthy donors and spoke to local students in the new Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah, a small group of Libertarian protesters had their say on the sidewalk outside the event.
One man wore a dollar bill taped over his mouth and carried an American flag and alternating signs reading “Occupy Provo” and “A Vote for Romney is a Vote for the Status Quo.” Another man carried a large “Mormons for Ron Paul” sign, while a nearby woman carried “Vote for Gary Johnson” and “Romney/Ryan are Not Truly Conservative” signs. As Romney/Ryan donors left the convention center following the event, the woman supporting Gary Johnson shouted, “Ryan voted for the Patriot Act!”
In the past week, over 100 innocent children have been tortured or murdered by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In total, a recent report from the U.K. estimates that over 1,300 children have been killed by al-Assad’s forces since the war began. Rimas Qatayfan, ~8 years old, was killed when al-Assad forces intentionally shelled civilian houses in her city on June 30, 2012. Mohammed Nihad al-Dalli, ~10 years old, was shot in the head and killed by a sniper on April 27, 2012. Every day more small children join this growing list of casualties.
As the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad attempts to thwart the will of the Syrian people who want to overthrow his brutal dictatorship, countless hundreds of small children have been caught in the crossfire. The British government is reporting that al-Assad’s forces have begun to intentionally target civilian homes and schools as a tactic to demoralize the Free Syrian Army who are challenging al-Assad’s control. A recent report from the U.N. states that al-Assad’s forces are also torturing the captured children of rebel fighters and are using them as human shields in combat.
Numerous soldiers who have since defected from the al-Assad’s Syrian Army have reported that al-Assad’s forces are placing civilian children on tanks in order to deter rebels from firing or attacking as the tanks swept through rebel-controlled areas, typically killing more civilians in their paths.
In March a bus carrying al-Assad raiders pushed children — all younger than ten years old — against the bus windows to keep rebel forces from attacking their convoy. After the raiders carried out the attack, the children were summarily executed by the al-Assad soldiers.
Recent U.N. reports also show that al-Assad’s regime has been ruthlessly torturing children with whips, beatings, cigarette burns, and electrical cables and then sending the tortured or maimed children back to their families in order to deter them from helping Syrian opposition forces.
Videos available on YouTube — which will not be linked here because of their extremely disturbing and graphic content — show the aftermath of an al-Assad attack on the Syrian city of Aleppo earlier this week. Littering the streets were countless civilian corpses, including numerous women and children. Many of the bodies were burned or charred due to artillery from government tanks and helicopters. Dismembered torsos and limbs left behind by the government artillery had been gathered into a pile on one side of the street. The corpses of several small children lay clearly visible, dead not from artillery but from sniper bullets as the children had rushed into the street to recover their dead families. Survivors were forced to leave the corpses in the streets as al-Assad snipers ruthlessly shot anyone — including women and children — who came outdoors, even as the bodies of their family members rotted in the scorching Syrian sun.
As sad as it is, in war civilian deaths are always part of collateral damage, and that includes the unfortunate and unintended deaths of children. But what is happening in Syria is something entirely different. The deaths of these children are not unintentional collateral damage. The illegitimate regime of Bashar al-Assad is intentionally targeting, torturing, and murdering innocent children, almost every day. When you are reading this, it is almost certain that several more children will have been tortured or murdered since the time I wrote it.
The rebel forces, who have united under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, have repeatedly asked the West for aid in battling al-Assad’s regime. Thus far President Obama has only authorized medical supplies and communications equipment to be sent to the rebels. Meanwhile the rebels are forced to use only small arms and improvised explosives against a government army and air force that utilizes tanks, artillery, bombers, and helicopters. Al-Assad’s military is also receiving aid from Iran, who are somehow invested in keeping the brutal dictator in power.
The Syrian people are seeking freedom and peace from a regime that is violating basic human rights and continues to murder innocent civilians every day. They are asking for the United States to help — not for the U.S. to send troops or forces to battle al-Assad, but that the U.S. provide armaments and weaponry so that the Free Syrian Army can at least stand a chance at protecting their families and children from the Iranian-backed military of Bashar al-Assad.
Western and Middle-Eastern military analysts have all but agreed that al-Assad is certain to fall from power eventually. The piercing question mark is how long it will take. Without the aid of armaments from another nation, analysts say, the civil war could go on for years. Years of more civilian deaths and more children being ruthlessly tortured and slaughtered.
In public the U.S. speaks support for the Syrian rebels and for the downfall of Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Senator John McCain has called for the aid of the Free Syrian Army. Former Governor Mitt Romney has called for the aid of the Free Syrian Army. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for the aid of the Free Syrian Army. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called for the aid of the Free Syrian Army. These American leaders understand that America cannot call itself the world’s greatest proponent for freedom and democracy and then do nothing when those who seek freedom and democracy ask for our help.
But only President Barack Obama can approve the sending of armaments to the Syrian rebels who fight for freedom and their families. The question is, how many more innocent children have to die before President Obama decides to help the Syrian people?
Photo via The Telegraph.
Loki is a Eurasian brown bear at the Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland. One day in his enclosure he discovered an abandoned paddleboat smeared with strawberry jam and grapes. Park spectators were slightly concerned.
Skippy Jessop. So many things can be said about this guy. We’ll start with the highlights: Showcased on TLC’s Virgin Diaries. Lives in his parent’s basement. Collects his own belly button lint.
Skippy is current thirty-four years old. He lives in Orem, Utah, and after repeated attempts at fame Skippy was finally featured going after girls and talking about his virginity on TLC’s hit new show. But there’s more to Skippy than reality shows and desperately wanting to lose his virginity. Or at least we think there is.
I requested an interview with Skippy, but he never responded–and thanks to Facebook’s new messaging features I know he read it. Hey Skippy, let us interview you. We promise we’re just as good as The View.
Until Skippy responds, we’ll make do with Skippy trivia courtesy of Google:
Skippy is Mormon, but on Facebook he describes his religion views as “Oprah.” A couple years ago Skippy publicly blogged about asking a girl on a date and publicly posted her private e-mail to him, complete with an invasive link to her Facebook profile, and weirdly asked his readers for input. Also while delivering pizza in 2006 Skippy helped police catch a purse-thief like a superhero and was featured on local news.
Clearly Skippy is a complicated guy. Hey Skippy, let me interview you.
Bloomberg Businessweek released an early mock-up for the cover of its next issue which will feature the cover story, “Latter-day Lucre: How the Mormon Church Makes Its Billions,” by Caroline Winter. The article itself, which has been online since Tuesday, seems relatively balanced and non-controversial, and the online version is simply titled, “How the Mormons Make Money.”
The mock-up for the next Businessweek cover, however, is something different. It features an 1898 lithograph of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood by the angelic John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, a sacred and important event in Mormonism’s origin story. However the Bloomberg mock-up features speech-bubbles of the angel saying, “…and thou shalt build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King, and open a Polynesian theme park in Hawaii…,” with a speech-bubble over Joseph Smith saying “Hallelujah.” The bottom of the cover is captioned in large capital letters, “INSIDE THE MORMON EMPIRE.”
The logic behind the offensive cover presumably is to stir up a small amount of controversy in order to get attention for an otherwise relatively objective article on the finances and investments of the LDS Church.
Yesterday Corner Drug in Driggs, Idaho posted this photo to their Facebook page with the following caption:
We have had a couple of distinguished visitors to the soda fountain this week. This gentlemen enjoyed his Lime Freeze from Corner Drug. Hope the fishing on the river was equally as good!
In about 18 hours the photo received almost 500 shares and over 1,000 likes.
Last week the National Ocean Service, which is a subdivision of the U.S. Commerce Department, declared the following on its website:
“Mermaids — those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea — are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial. … No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.”
The new post about mermaids is filed on the website under “Ocean Facts.” No one is really sure why the National Ocean Service suddenly felt the need to inform the American populace the mermaids are indeed fictional, but it could be due to a recent Discovery Channel show that argued for the existence of mermaids and which left many people wondering whether aquatic humanoids could in fact exist. Reportedly the National Ocean Service received a number of inquiries about the evidence for mermaids’ existence after the show aired.
Or the sudden pronouncement could be due to the more obvious fact that the National Ocean Service has indeed confirmed the existence of mermaids and are now beginning an extensive and elaborate covert government cover-up.
(Photo from Deseret Book.)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was invited to throw the first pitch at the Las Angeles Dodgers game this past Friday for the stadium’s popular “Mormon Night.” The ceremonial pitch was caught by a local Area Seventy of the Church.
Also for the stadium’s “Mormon Night” Alex Boyé sang the national anthem, and the name of each local stake appeared periodically on the stadium’s scoreboard throughout the game.
Last year Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve was invited to throw the first pitch.