Archive for December, 2011

Evidence of Religions Damaging Lives and Brains

Yes, I am editorializing.  All religions do damage, especially to women.  Thanks to Annie Laurie Gaylor, Director of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, for pointing out four articles in today’s New York Times.  Each, from my/our point of view, shows how dangerous religious beliefs are, especially when they are used as the basis of law.

Annie Laurie writes

The lead story on the front page, “For Somali Women, Pain of Being a Spoil of War” details atrocities in the name of religion, starting with a teenaged girl being buried in the sand, and stoned to death for refusing to marry a Shabab commander.

The article details the horrific rise in rape in war-torn and starving Somalia, including the experience of a 17 year old gang-raped by five militants claiming to be on a “jihad, or holy war.”

She points out that

The Old Testament shared in common by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike of course sanctions the use of women as “the spoils of war:”

Not that the New York Times is picking on one, or any, religion; they’re being “objective.”  But you get the sense just in this one day’s news coverage how religious views are shaping public discourse, as much or more than when the Bush regime instituted its offices of public instruction in “abstinence only.”

See

Israeli Girl, 8, Finds Herself at Center of Tension Over Religious Extremism

and

Battling Anew Over the Place of Religion in Public Schools

The Times points out the change in 4 years in  Appealing to Evangelicals, Hopefuls Pack Religion into Ads

Gone are the suggestive and supposedly subliminal images of campaigns past, as when Mr. Huckabee caused a stir in 2007 after releasing a commercial that appeared to show a cross floating in the background.

The new, more pointed religious references reflect how campaigns are scrambling for support among evangelicals who are still divided over whom to support as the caucuses near.

All of this has to be challenged directly if we want a world that values critical thinking and the well-being of women.

 

 

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One Million + Dead & Displaced in Iraq for This?

I can’t tell you anymore than this: The Bush regime’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on lies, was illegitimate, unjust, and immoral from the start.  Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday that the “war is over” is wrong on so many levels.  For those on the ground, the millions in Iraq, and the one million US military sent there, it won’t end.

The wealthiest country and military in the world leaves behind billions of dollars worth of trashed equipment, and civil and physical society in shambles.

A young soldier, Bradley Manning, formerly stationed in Iraq, will begin a court martial Friday at Ft. Meade, because the U.S. military claims he released classified information about the war to Wikileaks.

But today, the New York Times reports that 400 pages of classified documents on the interrogation of U.S. Marines about the notorious massacre of civilians in Haditha, in 2006 were

discovered along with reams of other classified documents, including military maps showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.

Aftermath of U.S. Marine killing of civilians, Haditha, Iraq, 2006

Shaun Mullen, a columnist for The Moderate Voice comments

That the true story of the 2005 massacre of 20 Iraqi civilians, including an elderly man in a wheelchair and women and children, has finally come out because an Iraqi was using transcripts of secret interviews with the Marines involved to cook dinner is a fitting coda to a nearly nine-year war that officially ended today.

Says Leon Panetta, current Secretary of Defense for the Obama administration about the war on Iraq

“the cost was high — in blood and treasure of the United States, and also for the Iraqi people. But those lives have not been lost in vain — they gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq.”

Say what? from 7 of the 8 Iraq veterans CNN interviewed who were deployed to Iraq during the war.  Their one sentence pull-outs mirror everything I’ve heard over 8 years:

“I don’t think that the gravity of what we were doing ever really hit me.” Emily Trageser, Army

“We removed one corruption and replaced Saddam with officials who were just as murderous and evil.”  Nicholas Panzera, Army

“I lost everything.  My wife, my place to live, my friends, and the future I had once seen.”  Marc Loiselle, Army

“I have never felt more proud in my life to be a part of something.” Tyler, Army, who is currently in Iraq shutting down bases.

“Although we did depose a dictator, we ruined the country in the process.”  Eric Sofge, Army

“The principle excuse to invade Iraq to discover WMD was a non-starter from the get-go.”  Jeffrey Tracey, biological weapons inspector

“None of us could see a reason why we were still there.  And it just kept going on and on.” Jim Lewandowski, South Dakota National Guard

“I don’t know any soldiers that really have a positive view on any of it.”  Spencer Alexander, Army

It’s not over, people.  The U.S. is ready to send troops back to Iraq, and will keep thousands on the border of Kuwait.  The ceremony is only for public consumption.

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Report from Guantanamo, Live, Thursday 12/15

GuantanamoThursday evening, World Can’t Wait’s regular national conference call will feature a discussion with Candace Gorman, attorney for Guantanamo prisoners and Adviser to War Criminals Watch.

Candace represents prisoners still held in Guantanamo, 2.5 years after the Obama administration said it would have been closed.  She has just returned from a visit there, and will give us not only the latest news, but her perspective on her years-long efforts to get her clients released.

Anyone concerned about the “rule of law” and the National Defense Authorization Act should join in this60 minute conversation.

Thursday Dec. 15
10 pm EST / 7 pm PST

Read  Candace at GTMOblog.

Write for details to join  the call.

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Who Needs the Far Right when you’ve got birth-control obstruction by Obama?

With kudos to Jodi Jacobsen, I’ve grabbed the last line of her piece Wednesday as inspiration for my title.  “As the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs the far right?”

Wednesday, in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the FDA, Kathleen Seblius announced that the administration will not allow women under 17 to get Emergency Contraception (EC, Plan B) without a prescription.  This makes Barack Obama the first president to counter the FDA by executive order.

His action goes against the science.  There is no medical or ethical reason to impede a woman of any age, who, for whatever reason, wants to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.  How does it help the future of that young woman to put her through more hoops, including a doctors’ visit, potentially leaving her vulnerable to all the complications of a pregnancy for a young person?

The New York Times quoted Dr. Susan Wood, a former F.D.A. assistant commissioner who resigned in 2005 to protest the Bush administration’s handling of Plan B, saying  “there were many drugs available over the counter that had not been studied in pre-adolescents and that were far more dangerous to them.”

“Acetaminophen can be fatal, but it’s available to everyone,” Dr. Wood noted. “So why are contraceptives singled out every single time when they’re actually far safer than what’s already out there?”

Jacobsen says

Experts, noted the statement, “including obstetrician/gynecologists and pediatricians, reviewed the totality of the data and agreed that it met the regulatory standard for a nonprescription drug and that Plan B One-Step should be approved for all females of child-bearing potential.”

This is the president who said while campaigning that his administration wouldn’t listen to the climate crisis-deniers and the gay marriage haters.  Many people thought that Obama meant he wouldn’t cave into the right, but how else do you explain this move?

His action goes against the wishes of a majority of people who think that peoples’ access and use of birth control — and abortion — is their own business. Period.  It’s not the business of the Pope, the Council of Bishops (who directly intervened with Obama on this one), some right-wing fanatics in Congress, or their own partners of parents, and not the president business either.

Jodi Jacobsen yesterday,

Apparently the health and rights of women do not matter, but placating the far right does. Because apparently helping teens actually prevent unintended pregnancies isn’t an authentic a goal of this administration. Perhaps it was among the topics on which President Obama came to “understand the concerns of Catholics [read the 281 bishops],” as Archbishop Timothy Dolan assured the New York Times after his private meeting with the president.

This president, this government, just acted against the interests of all of us who are women, or who care about women’s’ lives, in a craven way which will only give encouragement to those on the right who want to enact even worse measures, including bans on abortion and all birth control.

 

 

 

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On the Crackdown Against the Occupy Movement

Interview with RT today:

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