Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Via Red Light Politics
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Let me be a white, middle-class woman in a long-term heterosexual relationship who is jogging to the gym at 6:30 on a week night, stone-cold sober, in a lovely little historic neighborhood, who is hit over the head in some back alley by some drugged-out crazy fuck with a criminal history who drags me behind a dumpster and beats me senseless before he rapes me. Because then I will not have to apologize for getting myself raped and no one will wonder if I made it up because I was mad, because I was drunk, because I dressed like a skank, because I was a sex worker, because I was in the wrong neighborhood, because I was ashamed, because well, that is just what women do, the silly things what can’t tell the difference between sex and rape.
I was on that beastly stair-stepper-elliptical-machine-thing, and to the beat of my workout, I kept hearing in my head, Who will rape me? I thought of all the different women I knew of who’d been raped, women I knew and women I’d only read about–inspired probably by this Sady Doyle post–and I wondered, fuckinghell, when does this happen to me?
Who will rape me?
How #MooreandMe Worked
Despite the derision that Twitter-based campaigns tend to attract (chiefly as a lazy and ineffective form of activism), #MooreandMe has been a remarkably effective and steadfast protest (thanks largely to the dogged persistence of Sady Doyle and Kate Harding, whose prolific Twitterfeeds will quickly dispense with any and all accusations of laziness). It’s been an astoundingly efficient recruitment tool, it has raised funds, it has been covered everywhere from Salon to Mediaite to The Atlantic, and it has succeeded (as of this writing) in getting at least partial acknowledgment from Keith Olbermann.
Well, Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.
Read the rest
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
- Say you’re watching the news, and the story of Assange’s arrest comes on, and you say to your spouse, or the cat, I don’t care who, pffft, what a CIA conspiracy, there’s no way he’d ever rape anyone and your thirteen year old daughter hears you. What does she learn?
- Say you’re at the pub, and you say to your colleague, those women just felt pissy when they found out he’d slept with both of them. That’s not called rape, it’s called regret and the woman serving you your beer was raped two weeks ago but has been too afraid to report it because her friend reported a rape once and wasn’t believed by the police. How does she feel?
- Say you’re at the same pub, and one of your colleagues says yeah, and one of them was asleep apparently. Who hasn’t done that after a drunk night out hahahaha and you laugh, because it seems funny after the beer, and you like that guy. That guy, the one that you like, has actually raped an unconscious woman and now thinks you’re all a-okay with that, because it’s just what blokes do, and you laughed. What does he learn?
- Say you’re at a family barbecue and someone mentions that one of Assange’s accusers was a feminist who wrote about taking revenge on men, and you say yeah, rape is terrible but so is being wrongly accused. So many women just cry rape to get the attention, it’s disgusting and your mother-in-law leaves the room because she was raped many years ago by a trusted family friend and nobody believed her, but you don’t know that story, because you never asked. How does your mother-in-law feel, how does she feel about you being the parent of her grandchildren?
- Say you’re on Facebook and someone posts a joke about the blonde, tight-clothes wearing Swedish women Assange is alleged to have assaulted and you hit Like on it because it’s funny, you know?, and then one of your male friends unfriends you the same day and you never notice the coincidence, because you don’t know that he was sexually abused as a child, and now he will never tell you because you think rape is funny and you can’t possibly conceive of his pain, you can’t even touch it, you don’t even know it exists because to you it’s a punchline or it happens to women, only women or maybe in prison, and only when it’s deserved. How does that feel?
- Say you’re on Twitter, and you are enraged, and you retweet some posts that muck-rake about Assange’s accusers and their sexual histories or their clothing or their feminist leanings. You’re probably being unfair to those women but you don’t care, you don’t have to care, this is Assange, this is WikiLeaks, this is important. You don’t know that many of your Twitter followers have been raped and have been through various traumatic experiences from dealing with police and legal process and maybe even the media and how do they feel that this is being dragged up again in their Twitter feed? How do they feel, that you don’t even care about them (and you don’t care, because the only way you could possibly fail to know that a shockingly high percentage of women have been sexually assaulted, even women you know, would be if you didn’t care).
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Glee: A Very Glee Christmas...I think it’s interesting that they chose to have the desexed gay boys sing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ as a duet. There are pretty solid grounds for thinking of the song as a rape anthem, considering that it involves lines like ‘Say, what’s in this drink’ and ‘Beautiful, what’s your hurry’ (to someone who expresses a desire to leave, and is then told to drink some more) and ‘Baby, don’t hold out.’ The show has yet to show us any serious nonheterosexual making out although it’s happy to show us het people rolling around on various beds, but I guess it’s fine to use the gay characters as a vehicle for…yeah. I don’t even know.
"Prince Charles's car kicked in tuition riot:
British lawmakers pass controversial law"
Beastie Boys making 'Fight For Your Right' film with Elijah Wood
|Date / Time||Venue||Town/City||Seetickets||Viagogo|
Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch is to write and direct a short film, set to star Elijah Wood, about the band's 1987 music video '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)'.
The film, called Fight For Your Right Revisited, will premiere at the Sundance Short Film Festival, which runs from January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.
Although details about the short are scant, Sundance.org reports that Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C Reilly and Jack Black will also feature in it. The film has the tagline: "After the boys leave the party".
Palin to visit Haiti for "humanitarian effort" (derisive quote marks mine)
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to visit Haiti amid a period of political upheaval this weekend to aid humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean country.
A Palin staffer confirmed Thursday that Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and a potential 2012 presidential contender, planned to travel to Haiti with the Rev. Franklin Graham as part of the outreach of his Samaritan's Purse relief organization.
Yes, this is the same Franklin Graham who is totally concerned about women's rights in the Islamic world. The evil, warlike Islamic world. It's interesting how the fundamentalist right wing drags out the rights of women when it's convenient to deride other cultures. Funny coincidence that. And yes, this is also the preacher who kept repeating the easily, often and thoroughly debunked "Obama is a Muslim" meme, which led to him being disinvited from a Pentagon prayer breakfast in May. Please don't spend any time contemplating the fact that the PENTAGON has an official Christian Conservative prayer breakfast. You'll just do yourself damage. Graham prayed in the parking lot with the other psychotic zealots.
Not that there is any question about the kind of company Sarah Palin keeps, nor is there any doubt about the agenda of her backers and handlers, but it's nice to keep these things in mind when you're trying to one-up your friends and co-workers in your daily "the world is coming to an end, for real this time and not in a Christian way" contest.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
AS HAITI'S deadly cholera epidemic spreads, it may seem irrelevant to ask where the disease came from. The World Health Organization certainly thinks it is, describing the question as "unimportant".
That could not be further from the truth. Haitians themselves care deeply about how their country got cholera. There is widespread suspicion that the disease was brought in by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal, and that the UN is now covering it up. This suspicion has sparked riots that have killed people, both directly and by impeding medical efforts.
We should care too. Haiti's cholera tragedy - more than 1600 dead and 30,000 hospitalised as New Scientist went to press - tells us something important about our highly interconnected planet, and how we should - but still don't - govern it.
Cholera bacteria thrive on poverty and disruption, and Haiti has plenty of both. The country was free of cholera when the earthquake struck in January, but when the disease broke out in October it quickly took off.
When the news broke on 20 October, suspicion fell rapidly on 454 Nepalese UN peacekeepers based in the town of Mirebalais, 60 kilometres north of the capital Port-au-Prince. Haitian officials tested the river by the base two days later.
There were reasons to suspect these Nepalese. Cholera, which is carried by faeces-tainted water, is endemic in Nepal: there was an outbreak in Kathmandu, the country's capital, just before the peacekeepers flew in from there between 9 and 16 October. Their camp in Mirebalais dumped sewage straight into a stream that led to Haiti's main central river. The first cases were in Mirebalais and downstream, areas barely touched by the earthquake. What is more, the DNA in Haiti's cholera shows it was a single, recent introduction of a strain from south Asia, though we don't know if it is circulating in Nepal.
All of this is just circumstantial evidence, of course. The UN insists it is in the clear because the tests on water on or near the base did not find cholera, and none of the peacekeepers had symptoms.
Yet this doesn't clear the matter up. Many people with the strain now circulating in Haiti do not develop symptoms but shed bacteria in their faeces up to two weeks after infection. Nor are negative water tests conclusive: cholera researchers say the bacteria are hard to find in fast-flowing rivers. To settle the matter, the Nepalese soldiers themselves should have been tested, promptly.
A single positive swab from a soldier early in the outbreak would have strongly suggested they were the source. A negative result would not have entirely cleared them - tests can produce false negatives - but it may well have calmed public suspicion.
But no such tests were done. The Nepalese government claims the water samples alone prove that its troops are not the source. The UN Mission in Haiti even phoned me out of the blue to claim that tests cannot detect cholera in symptom-free people.
They can. That is an elementary scientific fact about cholera.
Why would the UN go to such trouble? I can only conclude that they are trying to protect themselves and their people. Many Haitians dislike the UN force; dozens of peacekeepers have been killed in violent clashes since the mission arrived in 2004 to stabilise the country in the face of political upheaval.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative
My first thought connected to this whole mess, back in the summer when these charges first emerged, I'll admit it, was "That scumbag!" Such is the power of an accusation of rape. My second and third and fourth...mostly concerned the CIA and some head-shaking and dark muttering about the CIA.
Why has this salacious story hijacked most of the popular commentary around WikiLeaks? If the CIA is involved and their operative "laid a honey trap" (hello problematic phrasing!) and then "cried rape"... huh. I can't even type that sentence out without a long, slow head shake. There is a possibility this may be true. Many things are possible. It would be very clever to use a really tired trope that manages to devalue women's experiences of rape at the same time it congratulates a fiendishly clever temptress. Jesus. You couldn't go with murder, CIA?
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Ecuador offers WikiLeak's founder Assange residency, no questions asked
AFP - Read allQUITO - Ecuador on Monday offered Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has enraged Washington by releasing masses of classified U.S. documents, residency with no questions asked.
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told the Internet site Ecuadorinmediato.
"We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums," he said.
“Privilege Denying Dude” and the Fight for the Right to Snarkby Channing Kennedy
Sites like the massive anonymized bulletin board 4chan and the image-captioning Web utility Memegenerator are popular examples of an online community that’s open to everyone in theory, that’s admirably participatory in many ways, and that’s accomplished some amazing things. 4chan says it draws more than 10 million users globally a month. And in all seriousness, no thinking person should dismiss the community systems that invented LOLcats.
Dig deeper, though, and such sites are bursting with Southparkian “ironic” bigotry, rape humor, and other jokes that are easier to laugh at when you aren’t the butt of them. The humor isn’t entirely without precedent; in many ways, it’s the same targeted offensiveness of now-embraced comedians like Richard Pryor and George Carlin—saying the nastiest thing you can think of, so you can feel relieved that it isn’t true and prove it has no foothold in you. Old-standby jokes—“there are no black people on the Internet [so say whatever you want about them]”—exaggerate real inconsistencies in the medium itself. However, when looking at a hundred black-people-eating-fried-chicken photos on the same page, one wonders if those noble intentions haven’t gotten lost along the path to funny.
Which brings us to last week’s hottest and most hated new image meme, Privilege Denying Dude, and his creator, 20-year-old SoCal Web developer and vegan feminist Diana Lopez.
For the uninitiated, think of a meme (rhymes with gene) as a running joke that cross-pollinates and mutates as it circulates the Web; memes are those things that “go viral” in popular culture. And millions of microbloggers are trying to produce next week’s most retold cyber-gag.
Lopez’s Privilege Denying Dude follows the aesthetic signifiers of the long-popular Advice Dog-style image memes—a photo cutout (in this case, of an iconic hip young white dude) and colorful background, with the joke’s setup at the top and punchline at the bottom. What made PDD, as he’s abbreviated, stand out is that he directly, and strikingly, parodied the frat-boy culture that fuels much Internet comedy in the first place—privileged, incurious, and ready to educate you about what your problem is.
In short, PDD is hilarious. And it hit a nerve.
“I was only trying to create something enjoyable,” says Lopez. “I began realizing I hijacked something when I got my first rude messages. Eventually, I felt like blasting a ‘Whoops, sorry for molding your outlet for rape, ‘retard,’ child molestation, and (men’s) masturbation jokes into something useful, guys.’ That’s a grand frustration, isn’t it?”
“The Internet has carried over the ‘neutral’ we’ve always seen, meaning that if it’s online, it better appeal to straight white men before and above anyone else. A lot of us hate it. We find humor in other memes, but sometimes we see a misogynist or homophobic joke in the bunch… and we just scroll on past it. It’s disappointing how used to that we are.”
Within a week of releasing her image template into the wild, Lopez saw PDD get featured on Jezebel and Tiger Beatdown. Traffic skyrocketed on the Tumblr blog she’d set up to showcase the best submissions, and feedback poured in; people were thrilled and grateful to see a meme of their own. Over 1,500 PDDs were made by folks around the world.
The backlash came swiftly from privilege-denying dudes and dudettes who suspected that they were being mocked by their own Internet.
“I decided to stay away from places where privilege denying dudes spent time discussing Privilege Denying Dude, for my own mind’s safety,” says Lopez. “Some straight white men, on the contrary, did try to do me the favor of validating my work by associating with it, to which I wanted to say, ‘Thanks. (But I got this.)’ Another form of feedback, which was my favorite, was when people asked why PDD saying a certain something was bad, and boom, extensive discussion [followed]. It was great.”
Lopez notes the hypocrisy in the reaction from many of the straight white men who felt burned by PDD. “The result [of a previous feminist pushback against a rape joke] was one of those ‘sorry if you got offended’ mock apologies. That was it. Life went on. What I saw with PDD was straight white men specifically displeased, speaking out about [the joke being on them], and demanding results,” Lopez says. “They felt entitled to their space, the Web.”
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Similar to the famous clock that counted down the seconds to nuclear Armageddon, this clock would grade how close Canada creeps toward a dictatorship, said the famous Canadian author Friday in a speech to an audience at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.
A public debate would be needed to judge how much closer the meter would tick after parliament is prorogued, not just once, but twice, she said...
And she did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”
As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”
She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.
“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”
Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, said at the beginning of the talk that many of us used to proudly wear a Canadian flag on our backpack when we travelled abroad. But no more.
“Canada is on the wrong side of almost every international issue,” he said.
Among the many issues he listed were climate change, recognizing aboriginal rights, and killing deep oceans and river systems with toxic waste and tailings ponds.
PPD has been shut down after a complaint by the photographer of the above image. Although the creator of Privilege Denying Dude mentioned several times she bought the rights to the stock photo, there are apparently contractual implications regarding usage of images in a meme, to put it bluntly.
A Jezebel commenter takes us to school:
"I license images for my job (and often use iStock), so maybe I can help explain what is going on here. I assume it is this prohibition in the iStock license that is causing a problem:
incorporate the Content in any product that results in a re-distribution or re-use of the Content (such as electronic greeting card web sites, web templates and the like) or is otherwise made available in a manner such that a person can extract or access or reproduce the Content as an electronic file
The copyright holder is probably arguing that since it is being reproduced on memegenerator it is a violation of the iStock contract.
She does explicitly state that the person is a model and it is a stock photo, so a reasonable person wouldn't assume that the model is endorsing the views expressed, nor could it be considered libel."
Read the rest of the discussion here.
Hope you make it back soon, Privilege Denying Dude. Of all the memes in all the internets, it seems a little suspicious that the feminist one garnered such blowback.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
1. Social Security reform that guarantees my current level of benefits, alters someone else's, and cuts everyone's Social Security taxes to boot.
2. A world-class national infrastructure that can be built and maintained without tax dollars.
3. A balanced budget that doesn't sacrifice any of the government programs – especially the sacred military-industrial complex and the various old age benefits – that we like.
4. Clean air without pollution controls, clean water with a neutered and underfunded EPA, and businesses that do socially responsible things without any regulation whatsoever.
5. Consumer goods at Made in China prices that create high-paying jobs in America.
6. Giant trucks and SUVs that drive like Formula One race cars, look cool, fit into small parking spaces, cost under $18,000, and get the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius.
7. Complete freedom and complete security at the same time.
8. An America that acts like a swaggering, sociopathic asshole on the global stage yet is beloved by all the nations of the world.
9. Wars against every enemy, real or imagined, all of the time, with no U.S. casualties and no effect on the budget.
10. Incredibly rich and rewarding professional lives while supporting our employers' right to do whatever they want to us without recourse.
11. A vibrant, consumption-based U.S. economy with good jobs for anyone willing to look for one resulting from free trade policies that encourage money and capital flows to cheap labor markets.
12. A highly educated workforce produced by a school system that requires no tax dollars to achieve excellence, students who have no interest in learning, and a virulently anti-intellectual society.
13. Closed borders and an endless supply of cheap labor to keep prices low.
14. To buy whatever we want irrespective of what we can afford while maintaining the drumbeat of personal responsibility.
15. Health care that is cheap, superior, and readily available to me without the danger of the same being enjoyed by anyone I deem undeserving.
It couldn't be any clearer: we want a government that will resolve every problem we currently face with solutions that require no effort, no sacrifices, and no money. And I have no doubt that we have elected a group of people brave enough to promise exactly that.
- from ginandtacos
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Read the above again. This is an official statement by a ruling army in a country where 1.3 million citizens have no papers and live in crude tens, ten months after a major earthquake. A protest against the presence of peacekeepers who may have brought the cholera epidemic to Haiti is spun to look like a paid demonstration by the "enemies of stability and democracy". They aimed to create a climate of insecurity? They needn't work so hard! Whenever Haitians take to the street to protest the UN mission in Haiti, PR flacks work overtime to assure the mostly indifferent world that these are either paid operatives (presumably of Aristide, that troublemaker) or dangerous thugs trying to stop the good work of the UN. Firing into a crowd of protesters at breast height would seem to be the rules of engagement for MINUSTAH. It is interesting how any time people come to object to how their country is being run that they are paid malcontents interfering in the smooth administration of Haiti. Smooth? Stable? Democracy? Do these words have any meaning for UN officials? There is no democracy in Haiti! Holding an election does not mean there is freedom! There is an epidemic in the country that has killed 900 that was predicted by many months ago. Money pledged by the developed world is held up in congresses and escrow accounts. The Red Cross is getting into the business of natio-building - something it knows nothing about.
To dismiss the protests of a group of Haitians peacefully assembled to tell the UN that they are failing at their job is the worst kind of spin. It makes it apparent that Haitians are not the target of any of the UN's communications - these messages are meant for the international community. There is no such thing as a legitimate protest in the eyes of MINUSTAH. Someone needs to educate these peacekeepers from such thriving democracies as Nepal and Jordan how peaceful protests work.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.
It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.
The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.
Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.
The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.
The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
But the sheer volume of earmark requests by individual lawmakers for the 2011 fiscal year underscores questions about whether Congress intends to fulfill past vows to curb such spending. Draft appropriations legislation for homeland security contains tens of millions of dollars in other earmarks not addressed by Coburn’s proposal. Just seven of the total 100 homeland security earmarks disclosed by Congress carry the names of Republicans. The rest are being sponsored entirely by Democrats.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The brief statement from Bush will say:
"Greetings, Jean-Bertrand, it's George Bush here... Jr. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my Embassy goo-oo-n… personnel. Why didn't you have the sense to leave immediately? Why did you have to be "persuaded" to sign that resignation letter and get on that plane? So what, you weren't told where we were taking you and your family? Why didn't you just trust that the U.S. had your best interest at heart when we took you "back to Africa" as it were? After all, they do speak French in the Central Republic of Africa.
So give it some thought and certainly pray about this... ah I know you were ex-communicated by the Catholic Church for your political activism on behalf of the poor, but still do pray on it, won't ya? Do come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day there in South Africa. Say hi to that guy who was on the terrorist watch list for most of my presidency… ah what's his name, Mande... ah something."
Almost a month ago the Associated Press published the results of their investigation into the US Congress' failure to approve the release of aid to Haiti. Jonathan Katz and Martha Mendoza reported the $1.1 billion pledged by Secretary of State Clinton was being held up in the Senate by the junior senator from Oklahoma, Republican Tom Coburn (aka Dr. No). Katz and Mendoza seem to have got it wrong.
Twenty-two days later Coburn has written a response in the Washington Examiner to deny he is responsible and explain how if he were responsible he would be right. The column is a curious blend of pious concern for the federal deficit and a sort of pretend reasonableness designed to mislead the casual reader. Coburn’s reason for blocking the passage of the authorization bill? He’s not blocking the bill! It’s the State Department’s fault, and anyway, the US has already spent over 2 billion on relief for Haitians.
The crux of Coburn’s argument is NO NEW SPENDING. That’s right. The US government should authorize no new spending until…well, he doesn’t really make it clear. Coburn writes “…It is grossly irresponsible to for Congress to authorize or appropriate any new spending when we have a $13.6 trillion national debt that is strangling our economy.” Any new spending?
Coburn has a long list of wasteful projects Congress should cut before it authorizes any more expenditures - including fulfilling Clinton's promise. He offers two: cutting the funding of a Hawaiian think tank and eliminating the Overseas Private Investment Corp. funding. If this funding was cut Coburn would be perfectly happy to authorize the aid going to Haiti.
The bill Coburn is holding up is the $500 million dollar “Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding Act” sponsored by Senator John Kerry. Coburn considers this bill, since it is not funded by cutting existing programs, to be “at the expense of the next generation”. This is the bill that will establish funding priorities for the next fiscal year.
“I do not object to fulfilling our pledge to assist Haiti recover. However, I believe our charity today should not come at the expense of the next generation. Therefore, any additional aid we provide must be paid for with cuts to lower priority programs elsewhere within the federal government’s bloated $3.7 trillion annual budget.”
Perhaps Senator Coburn would withdraw his objection if he was aware that the US occupation of Haiti and support for 35 years of brutal dictatorship had more to do with the state of Haiti than the earthquake.
Tom Coburn is playing politics with the people of Haiti in a shameless attempt to negate the entire concept of foreign aid and emergency assistance.
Today 19 human beings died from what is probably cholera in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti from tainted water, hundreds are sick, and 1.3 million Haitians are sleeping and going hungry in tents. I don’t care which bill you’re blocking, Mr. Coburn – you should be ashamed of yourself.
Continue reading the main story
* Haiti: Aid effort six months on
* Quake-hit Haiti slowly rises from the rubble
* Worst of places for a big tremor
"It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked," said Mr Clinton, a frequent visitor to Haiti.
"I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did."
The aid agency says the $434m (£274m) paid annually in domestic US rice subsidies is more than the total US aid to Haiti of $353m.
The Oxfam report said subsidies paid to American farmers meant the rice they export to Haiti - known locally as Riz Miami or "Miami Rice" - is cheaper than locally produced rice.
The foreign rice that is "dumped" in Haiti therefore exacerbates the rural-urban drift that has seen the population of the capital Port-au-Prince balloon out of control as farmers who cannot feed themselves move to the city in search of employment.
But the Koch event appears more political than, say, the Aspen Ideas festival. In its own invitation, it was described as a "twice a year" gathering "to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it." In addition, it's not entirely clear what the two Justices did at the Koch event. A copy of the invitation that served as the basis for the Times's report was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. It provided no additional clues. A call to the Supreme Court and an email to a Koch Industries spokesperson meanwhile were not immediately returned.
Faced with a lack of concrete information, and cognizant of Koch's fairly intense history of political involvement, legal ethicists are urging for more disclosure.
"This is certainly worth more reporting," said Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University. "It is intriguing because the Koch brothers are so politically active and identify with a point of view. I know I would be curious to know exactly what forums the Justices went to. Obviously they could not go to a strategy session about how to elect more Republicans. On the other hand if it was a forum on the meaning of the First Amendment and it didn't involve strategy or fundraising a Justice could appear... It's fascinating and it merits more reporting."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground
Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mark Owen
OBION COUNTY, Tenn. - Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.
A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.
The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.
Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.
The mayor said if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck.
This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property, that anyone would respond.
Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.
"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.
Because of that, not much is left of Cranick's house.
They called 911 several times, and initially the South Fulton Fire Department would not come.
The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house.
"When I called I told them that. My grandson had already called there and he thought that when I got here I could get something done, I couldn't," Paulette Cranick.
It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn't.
We asked him why.
He wouldn't talk to us and called police to have us escorted off the property. Police never came but firefighters quickly left the scene. Meanwhile, the Cranick home continued to burn.
We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.
"Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't," Mayor David Crocker said.
Friends and neighbors said it's a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don't blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.
"They're doing their job," Paulette Cranick said of the firefighters. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault."
To give you an idea of just how intense the feelings got in this situation, soon after the fire department returned to the station, the Obion County Sheriff's Department said someone went there and assaulted one of the firefighters.
Watch the video
By FRANK RICH
While O’Donnell’s résumé has proved largely fictional, one crucial biographical plotline is true: She has had trouble finding a job, holding on to a home and paying her taxes. In this, at least, she is like many Americans in the Great Recession, including the angry claque that found its voice in the Tea Party. For a G.O.P. that is even more in thrall to big money than the Democrats, she couldn’t be a more perfect decoy.
By latching on to O’Donnell’s growing presence, the Rove-Boehner-McConnell establishment can claim it represents struggling middle-class Tea Partiers rather than Wall Street potentates and corporate titans. O’Donnell’s value is the same as that other useful idiot, Michael Steele, who remains at the Republican National Committee only because he can wave the banner of “diversity” over a virtually all-white party that alternately demonizes African-Americans, Latinos, gays and Muslims.
O’Donnell is particularly needed now because most of the other Republican Tea Party standard-bearers lack genuine antigovernment or proletarian cred. Joe Miller and Ken Buck, the Senate candidates in Alaska and Colorado, actually are graduates of elite universities like those O’Donnell lied about attending. Rick Scott, the populist running for governor in Florida, was chief executive of a health care corporation that scooped up so many Medicare and Medicaid payments it had to settle charges for defrauding taxpayers. Rand Paul, the scion of a congressman, is an ophthalmologist whose calls for spending restraint don’t extend to his own Medicare income. Carl Paladino, the truculent man of the people in New York, grew his fortune as a developer with government handouts and favors. His California bookend, Carly Fiorina, received a golden parachute worth as much as $42 million from Hewlett-Packard, where she liquidated some 20,000 jobs.
The O’Donnell template, by sharp contrast, is Palin. It was Palin’s endorsement that put O’Donnell on the map, and it’s Palin’s script that O’Donnell is assiduously following. The once obscure governor of Alaska was also tripped up by lies and gaffes when she emerged on the national stage, starting with her misrepresentation of her supposed opposition to “the bridge to nowhere.” But she quickly wove the attacks into a brilliant cloak of martyrdom that positioned her as a fierce small-town opponent of the coasts’ pointy-head elites. O’Donnell, like Palin, knows that attacks by those elites, including conservative grandees, only backfire and enhance her image as a feisty defender of the aggrieved and resentful Joe Plumbers in “real America.”
The more O’Donnell is vilified, the bigger the star she becomes, and the more she can reinforce the Tea Party’s preferred narrative as “a spontaneous and quite anarchic movement” (in the recent words of the pundit Charles Krauthammer) populated only by everyday folk upset by big government and the deficit. This airbrushed take has had a surprisingly long life even in some of the nonpartisan press. In a typical example just three weeks ago, the influential publication National Journal delivered a breathless report on how the Tea Party functions as a “headless” movement where “no one gives orders.” To prove the point, a head of the headless Tea Party Patriots vouched that “75 percent of the group’s funding comes from small donations, $20 or less.”
In fact, local chapters of Tea Party Patriots routinely received early training and support from FreedomWorks, the moneyed libertarian outfit run by the former Republican House majority leader and corporate lobbyist Dick Armey. FreedomWorks is itself a spinoff from Citizens for a Sound Economy, a pseudo-grassroots group whose links to the billionaire Koch brothers were traced by Jane Mayer in her blockbuster August exposé in The New Yorker. Last week the same Tea Party Patriots leader who bragged to the National Journal about all those small donations announced a $1 million gift from a man she would identify only as an entrepreneur. The donor’s hidden identity speaks even louder than the size of the check. As long as we don’t know who he is, we won’t know what orders he’s giving either.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
It has been more than 1 1/2 years since the skeletal remains of 11 women were discovered buried in shallow graves on a mesa in Albuquerque, N.M. Some of the victims' families say police and the media haven't paid enough attention to the killings.
A local protest band called the Raging Grannies headlined a demonstration on a recent Saturday morning in front of police headquarters in downtown Albuquerque.
Brightly colored women's dresses tied to pink crosses fluttered above the 80 or so people who showed up. Demonstrators called for police to step up their investigation into who killed nearly a dozen women in the city.
"What p - - - - - me off the most is apathy," said Donna Roe, director of a local youth advocacy organization. "It's killing the people we love, the people I've worked with."
Thursday, September 30, 2010
At the time of this writing President Rafael Correa is a prisoner of the Quito police. Correa was taken under armed guard to the police hospital and has been held prisoner there since this morning. The police are protesting budget measures that cut bonuses and medals given with promotion.
The hospital is surrounded by armed and striking police. The country is without police protection and bank robberies and rapes have been reported in major cities. In what may be a first, the government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency via Twitter. The OAS is meeting now is Washington to discuss the crisis - countries around the world are condemning this coup attempt. President Correa spoke with the PM of Chile this morning, confirming this was a coup attempt. The Chilean president has affirmed his country's support of the democratically elected government of Correa joining a chorus of condemnation from around the world.
Monday, September 27, 2010
First post-quake election campaign opens in Haiti: Ceant leads the pack with 50 % poll
By Clarens Renois (AFP) – 10 hours ago
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Campaigning is getting under way in Haiti’s first election since the devastating January earthquake, amid security concerns and with many of the country’s 4.5 million eligible voters living in refugee camps.
Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for November 28 in a country still recovering from a massive quake that killed at least 350,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless; 50,000 amputees.
Two million people do not have the papers necessary to vote and no progress has been made with two months to go. The international community is waiting for a peaceable transition of power before releasing desperately needed aid money. Candidates from Fanmi Lavalas are still banned from running in this election. This is a mockery of the word democracy.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
"Before I had any right to dismiss Twihards or criticize the psychologically unhealthy relationship model that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen present, I felt obliged to read the books. So I did. All five. The content lived down to my expectations, but I was unprepared for how poorly crafted the saga is."