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  • (9)

    Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, were secretly ferried out of the country immediately after 9/11? It was asserted by Michael Moore, and it was scoffed at by conservatives ... but it was a Freedom of Information request files by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, that undearthed this:

    The material sheds new light on the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and it provides details about the F.B.I.'s interaction with at least 160 Saudis who were living in or visiting the United States and were allowed to leave the country. Some of the departing Saudis were related to Osama bin Laden.

    The Saudis' chartered flights, arranged in the days after the attacks when many flights in the United States were still grounded, have proved frequent fodder for critics of the Bush administration who accuse it of coddling the Saudis. The debate was heightened by the filmmaker Michael Moore, who scrutinized the issue in "Fahrenheit 9/11," but White House officials have adamantly denied any special treatment for the Saudis, calling such charges irresponsible and politically motivated.

    Ah, but what if the charges are true? Politics is politics, but that's no excuse for compromising our national security. Read on....

  • (9)

    Time to review the conservative "values" and perceptions of reality:

    1. Torture is okay as long as we do it. If we didn't torture bad guys -- and if we caught them, we know that they're bad guys -- we'd be "too civilized."
    2. Amnesty International is offensive if it criticizes anything that the Bush Administration does, but it's the bee's knees for all its criticisms of regimes we don't like (like Saddam Hussein's rule).
    3. Feminism is a result of hormonal imbalances making women want to be men.
    4. Women dominate universities. In fact, women in universities are picking on men. Poor men!
    5. Women debase our society by seeking to acquire birth control.
    6. Abused women should be imprisoned for failing to prevent abusive men from abusing their children.
    7. Women are rabid abortionists who must be stopped by Constitutional amendment.
    8. In fact, women are just wrong in every way.
    9. Fiscal responsibility is only important if the Democrats are in power.
    10. Saying something over and over and louder and louder makes it true.
    11. Ethics are for wussies.
    12. Chicken hawks who never served in war are the best people to decide whether we should go to war, and how to wage the war.
    13. Party loyalty is more important than national interest.
    14. "Deep Throat" was a fucking traitor and rat.
    15. It's not fascism if it has an American flag on its lapel.
    16. The corporate owned and operated media conglomerates have a liberal bias.
    17. Christianity means being able to hate righteously.
    18. Islamic fundamentalism is bad, but Christian fundamentalism is salvation.
    19. Armageddon is coming, so shut up already about the environment! God gave us the environment to fuck up!
    20. Shut up!
    21. Freedom in other countries is the best hope for the world, but freedom in America is a sign of weakness.
    22. Thinking is a sign of weakness.
    23. Reality is irrelevant.
  • (9)

    The Japan Times Online :

    "According to a report prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross, titled 'Women and War' and based on two years of research from 1998 to 1999, approximately 80 percent of war victims are women and children. This is mainly because military conflicts now more commonly engulf towns and cities instead of only frontline areas.

    There are many in this world for whom the ravages of war - including arson, looting, murder and rape -- are a way of life. These people have known little else than war all their lives, like their parents before them and their children (if they survive) after them. These generations of war face atrocities on a daily basis, and most of these go unnoticed by the rest of the world.
    --snip--

    While rape can be used to brutalize both sexes, it is usually committed against women during wartime -- males are usually killed or captured. Ongoing conflicts in many countries, including Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan and Congo, have victims of war rapes running into the thousands.
    --snip--

    Rape is a more effective weapon of war than killing. Many victims say they would prefer death over life after being raped." [emphasis mine]

    Read the whole article if you have the stomach for it.

    I'm cross-posting this every damned place I can because I'm sick of people telling me that war affects men and women equally.

    80% Women and Children. Only one in five is a man. War is a Woman's issue. Women's Rights Are Human Rights.

  • (9)

    ...Anti-women, anti-women's-reproductive-rights (yeah I may seem a little late at this but still). What did you expect out of judge nominated by Bush? Women's reproductive rights truly are endanger. Don't believe me? Take a look at his record...because history repeats itself. (via NARAL Pro-Choice America)

    --As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court (in a case that did not implicate Roe v. Wade) that “[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled…. [T]he Court’s conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion… finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.”

    --In Rust v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court considered whether Department of Health and Human Services regulations limiting the ability of Title X recipients to engage in abortion-related activities violated various constitutional provisions. Roberts, appearing on behalf of HHS as Deputy Solicitor General, argued that this domestic gag rule did not violate constitutional protections.

    --Roberts, again as Deputy Solicitor General, filed a “friend of the court brief for the United States supporting Operation Rescue and six other individuals who routinely blocked access to reproductive health care clinics, arguing that the protesters behavior did not amount to discrimination against women even though only women could exercise the right to seek an abortion.

    --The Court was so accustomed to the Solicitor General and the Deputy Solicitor General arguing for the overturn of Roe that during John Robertss oral argument before the Supreme Court in Bray, a Justice Asked, Mr. Roberts, in this case are you asking that Roe v. Wade be overruled? He responded,No, your honor, the issue doesnt even come up. To this the justice said, Well, that hasnt prevented the Solicitor General from taking that position in prior cases.

  • (9)

    On my way home from Wegman's today to buy fruit for what will undoubtedly be a fabulous fruit salad, I was stopped by two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mormons.
    Now, they seemed friendly enough, so I stood and chatted (in the blistering sun) with them for a few minutes.
    I told them I was a Baha'i (not entirely true, since the Faith doesn't technically accept homosexuality as a lifestyle...yet...but it is for the most part true).
    They had no f-ing clue what the Baha'i Faith was (you'd think they'd require missionaries to be a little more informed on the world's major religions, of which the Baha'i Faith definitely is), so I informed them.
    They claimed that their beliefs were similar to the Baha'i Faith (lie), and said that they'd love for me to join them at their church. (At this point, I realized they were travelling missionaries, because they had to look up the location of the church. So I decided to have a little fun with them and their not-acquainted-with-Ithacan-etiquette.)

  • (9)

    I watched A Bunny's Tale on Lifetime the other day. I've seen it before and as a made-for-tv movie, it's pretty good. Kirstie Alley plays Gloria Steinem undercover as a Playboy bunny and wrote a two part article on it which stirred up some shit and even generated a response from heffner himself, who eliminated the GYN exam from the interview process.

    So, I decided I'd like to read Steinem's article as I haven't yet. I googled it and come up with several references to the movie. I read one criticism that said by the time the movie was made, these issues weren't important any more. As I'm sure any new movies on slavery in American are irrelevant. PS: I choked on his review as I am a cocktail waitress and no, it hasn't changed very much. Not really. I won't even go into it unless someone asks.

    Eventually I find the National Women's History Project and look up Steinem
    which had no copy of the article and barely a mention other than it embarrassed her for some time as she lost many future serious journalist assignments. So I wrote the site asking where I could find a copy of the article and received this response: "I suggest you go to a search engine like google.com and see if you can find a copy or at least a reference on line."

    !!!!!!

    I wrote back that I did google it and that's how I found them.

    A friend suggested I get a copy of "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions" which apparently has the article.

    Still, how is this article, a major cornerstone and the beginning of Steinem's life as a feminist not recorded here at this Women's history Project? WTF???

  • (9)

    (This is a REPRINT from 2004)

    Have you ever been to an abortion clinic? Not the kind frequented by wealthy women with insurance - I mean the kind where poor women beg for an appointment and don't dare miss it. The kind where you wait in line some Saturday morning, and hopefully get in before the Christian fanatics show up to harass, intimidate or murder you. The kind where they do the procedure with only a local anesthetic.

    Think about that one for a minute: only a local anesthetic. You see, poor women don't get the "luxury" of general anesthesia. The dignity and comfort- not to mention humanity- of sleep cost extra. A Poor woman has to stay awake. She feels the cold of the famous (or should I say infamous) stirrups in a room full of doctors and technicians. She endures seven needles plunged into her cervix. Men don't even have a body that comes close to causing that kind of pain. Some men will pierce their penis or scrotum for social or decorative reasons. True, you can't see the cervix, but as the owner of one, I can tell you, it's not a place you ever want to feel a needle. Men cannot begin to perceive what it's like, which is one of the main reasons they shouldn't be allowed to make decisions about abortion. To quote Rachel on FRIENDS : "No uterus, no opinion." Once the shots have been administered, and the "numbing" begins hard metal is used to pry open the cervix to allow access to the uterus. Penetration of the cervix is not equivalent to anal penetration, so don't dare make that comparison. Again, this is pain only women ever get to know. And I put quotation marks around "numbing" because it's not as if the woman doesn't feel all of this. She does. She feels the center of her being being spread wide and she feels the scraping of her uterus. The scraping of her uterus. Or the "vacuuming". Either way, it's not a way a human should be awake for on a Saturday morning.

    When the procedure is done, the woman walks(!) into a room full of reclining chairs or chaise lounge type chairs with a bunch of other women. Some are crying. Some are sleeping or unconscious. Some are cramping and throwing up- or rather, heaving, because they haven't eaten. When she's feeling stronger, she might have a little orange juice or peanut butter and crackers. After a couple of hours, they send her home. Goddess help her if she hasn't got someone to care for her, or especially if she has children or others that she must care for. Even worse, if she lives alone and begins to hemorrhage in her sleep. You can't call 911 if you can't afford a phone.

    The cruelest thing the anti-choice movement does is to call abortion the "easy way out". There is nothing easy about this process. Aside from the actual physical pain, we need to tell young women about all of the effects of pregnancy. Once a woman has been pregnant, even for only a few weeks, her body may never be the same. The same hormonal changes that cause depression, nausea, weight gain, etc. are active at the earliest stages, and sudden termination of a pregnancy can cause severe postpartum depression and/or psychosis. This is a life altering event. Some women never recover completely, physically or psychologically. Thankfully, the social stigma is gradually going away, but we have a long way to go before this process is guilt-free.

    I wish for a world in which every child born is wanted. Bringing a child into an impoverished, abusive or loveless environment is unnecessary if we will all be conscious of our choices. Accidents do happen, though, under the best of circumstances. When they do, or when a woman is raped, or when the birth control just doesn't work, we can't point to a social system that provides all of the support needed for the mother or the child. We don't have an adequate safety net for families who can't afford another mouth to feed; another mind to educate; insurance, health care or childcare. Unwanted children are a burden on society. They are abused, abandoned, and mistreated in every way possible. In an ideal world, pregnancy would be a gift and we'd have adequate support available for those willing to raise the next generation, but it isn't and we don't. Until we do, I don't want women to die from illegal, back alley abortions; I don't want women to bleed to death from trying to do it alone or with another unqualified person. I don't want poor women enslaved by a power structure in which we have no say.

    The idea that a bunch of rich old white men have any right to tell young women of any color what they can and cannot do with their bodies makes me ill. I am a sentient being. I am not chattle, I am not a slave, and I have the rights to my own body. It's my right to have sex or not; it's my right to host a fetus or not; it's my right to have all of the information I need to make my own choices. So abortion should be legal, and free. And for Goddess' sake, give the girl a general anesthesia. It's the only humane thing to do.

  • (9)

    I have some questions and I'd really like to hear intelligent responses explaining and refuting and otherwise guiding me thru my doubts rather than a heated flame session that leaves nothing of me but a burning cigarette and a scorch mark on my seat. I have cats to feed.

    I have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER learning from what people say, so please tell me.

    I keep thinking about the rapes/throat slitting that was reported from the superdome/convention center and I'm just having some doubts. From everything I saw and read, there wasn't a unpopulated space anywhere in those buildings, they were filled to 10 times the capacity. Someone said that they couldn't go to the bathroom without men because they might be raped and have their throat slit. But I just can't see a time during all this where the bathrooms wouldn't be packed with people. Even the stairwells were filled with people and I don't believe anyone could get harmed in that way while surrounded by so many.

    I'm thinking it was more of a panic based rumor that spread through the large groups of already traumatized people who lost everything and had no access to fresh water and food. Stealing I understand, robbery too. And I do believe that some men were killed by the police. I just can't really follow this other story.

    (If I must say so, I don't walk around doubting the existence of rape or claims outright, just in this case.)

    And I sure hope I don't get kicked off this site for asking.

    Any thoughts? Links? Remember, if you tell me off, I won't learn. You will only have succeeded in telling me off, which isn't discourse.

  • (9)

    I've become disillusioned with the whole "netroots" thing when the biggest and loudest voices on "the left" who claim to represent and lead the "netroots" are pushing so hard to move the Democratic Party rightward while vilifying the real grassroots.

    I feel attacked not only by religious nutjobs, misogynist MRA types, and martinet neo-fascists, but also by the so-called opposition that claims to be "liberal" and/or "progressive" while attacking anyone who actually defends any liberal or progressive values.

    I am very disillusioned by the apparent eagerness to abandon reproductive rights. Despite the fact that most American support a woman's rights over her own body -- and that many, if not most, "pro-(fetal)-life" folks seem to consider abortion bans should not apply to themselves ("I'm an exception," she says to the Planned Parenthood counselor) -- I see the Democrats embracing more and more of these anti-choice folks, and I see the biggest überbloggers scolding us repeatedly for objecting to this.

    Look at the new ads featuring Barack Obama and Wes Clark plugging for anti-choice, homophobic Tim Kaine (Dem candidate for governor of Virginia). Look at the "Democrats for (Fetal) Life" who endorse TRAP laws and are about to make their big push for a new "95-10" anti-choice bill that, among other things, bans parents from taking their daughters across state lines to abort a pregnancy. Look at all the apologists who say such hate should be embraced in "the big tent." Look at all the "liberal" men who say it's only "reasonable" to claim ownership of their women.

    While some of this can be chalked up to mere determined ignorance, most of this comes from people who very much know what they're doing.

    I smell bullshit.

    I can tell you I'm not the only one. We are waking up to this shit. And we are not pleased. My 69-year-old mother, who has never ever voted Republican and maybe once or twice voted for a third party candidate in a minor election, and who has given thousands of dollars to the Democrats every national election, has vowed to never give the Democratic Party a dime ever again.

    That's money, for all you "money is the only important thing" types.

    I'm disgusted. And now going online to many of the bigger SCLB sites has become an exercise in getting my teeth kicked. That's not a pleasant way to start the day. It ruins my coffee. It's bad enough having to face up to all the fucked up things the Republicans are doing, all the corruption, all the welfare for foreign corporations, all the pseudo-Christian dominionist fascist rhetoric, all the lack of accountability....

    And yet so many big voices who have audiences, who get attention from the MSM, are pushing for the Democrats to be more like Republicans. If I want someone like a Republican, I'll vote for a Republican! Yet these voices of hubris, who grew up under Reagan and know scant history, bang the drum against progressive values -- while calling themselves progressive.

    And I feel I'm witnessing the death of the Democratic Party. These asshats and fucktards are destroying it by pushing ever harder to have it represent nothing.

    I'm disgusted and angry and in despair.

    I am a very political person, but right now the voice with the most appeal to me right now is Timothy Leary's. And any readers who don't get that reference need to crack open some history books and learn about the days when liberal and progressive values not only flourished in government policies, but also dominated -- DOMINATED -- all political discourse. If you don't know it happened before, no wonder you don't believe it's possible.

    /rant

  • (9)

    That conclusion must really stir up the holy righteous judgment of the holier-than-thous who demand that the law must prop up their mystical religious beliefs.

    A European Union advisory panel has issued a statement that threatens the rights of medical professionals to refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures that may violate their religious beliefs. The opinion states that denying access to abortion may be a violation of international human rights.

    The EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights released a 40-page opinion on the right to conscientious objection in light of a proposed treaty between the Vatican and Slovakia. The treaty would guarantee that Catholic hospitals and medical professionals would not be legally obligated to "perform artificial abortions, artificial or assisted fertilizations, experiments with or handling of human organs, human embryos or human sex cells, euthanasia, cloning, sterilizations, [and] acts connected with contraception...." The Network was charged with determining whether or not such an agreement would be a violation of EU law.

    We've come a long way since the days when the Vatican attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth I when she refused to bow to the Pope.

    The opinion declares that the "right to religious conscientious objection" "should be regulated in order to ensure that, in circumstances where abortion is legal, no woman shall be deprived from having effective access to the medical service of abortion. In the view of the Network, this implies that the State concerned must ensure, first, that an effective remedy should be open to challenge any refusal to provide abortion; second, that an obligation will be imposed on the health care practitioner exercising his or her right to religious conscientious objection to refer the woman seeking abortion to another qualified health care practitioner who will agree to perform the abortion; third, that another qualified health care practitioner will be indeed available, including in rural areas or in areas which are geographically remote from the centre."

    This is the kind of language that drives the pro-criminalization folks crazy. I think one of the scariest things about the radical right is how they place so little value on human rights. On torture, on reproductive rights, on habeas corpus, on spying on citizens, the right wing is all for more and more State power at the expense of due process, liberty and privacy.

    Good thing the EU doesn't have a Samuel Alito waiting in the wings. What with his determination "to dispel in part the mystical faith in the attending physician," he's the radical right's holy warrior.

    Because only a religious zealot could believe that medical science is a mystical faith and religious conviction is "fact."

    Related: Some background on the Network is here.