Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Classic Jim Starlin.
You can do this on the net somewheres but I forgot where...
Back From Memorial Day Vacation Around the Internets
Let's start light.
If you didn't know this Joss Whedon is continuing Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a comic. I liked the show and thought it got better the longer it went on. It wasn't entirely original, but he stole from many of the science fiction sources that I respect. The first three issues are out. Joss is writing one cycle of the "new" season eight and then turning it over to other writers. I think he writes the final cycle of the series as well. There's an interview with him here.
I like the first three issues. The art could be better. It definitely feels like the show. Most of your fave characters are back. Still no sign of Angel or Spike except in a dream sequence. Remember the bad witch who was turned into a gerbil for awhile? She's back. Remember that guy that
Meadow Willow skinned alive? He's not entirely dead. Nuff said. Definitely worth picking up.
I should have published this on Memorial Day. Its Mark Twain's war poem. More info about this here. It wasn't to be published until after his death, which apparently wasn't exaggerated.
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
I guess I don't have anything respectful to say about Memorial Day,(see above post), at least not when it comes to recent wars. You'd have to be an idiot to enlist now. I can understand why gangs are sending their members into the militia to learn skills. I imagine that its always helpful to learn as many ways to kill someone as you can when you're engaging in criminal activity (Can't wait to see those IEDs on American streets. Should make my bus commute more interesting.) but what's everyone else's excuse? If you fight in Iraq then you're fighting to terrorize and murder sand niggers and protect oil company profits. It has nothing to do with democracy. Period. The war should have ended long ago because they shouldn't have found enough people to enlist in the ranks.
Speaking of the true motives behind the Iraq War, its to keep the agreement in place that gives the Iraqi oil reserves to multinationals. If you want this in cartoon form, then Jim Hightower can explain it. If you like your truth in essay form:
This war will wind down when the oil distribution law, or whatever they call it, is signed. It was all about the oil, from day one (really from before day one). Once it is passed by the Iraqi Government that we set up for just this very reason, we will start winding down and leave just enough troops in Iraq to make sure that they don't renege on the law, and to keep Iran in line. If this turns out to be the case, than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and everyone else in government and the oil companies should be put on trial for murdering almost a million human beings for profit. Big Oil has gotten its hands on all that light crude and can pump for another twenty years.
Bush will claim that we have done all we can do to bring democracy to Iraq. He will claim that he doesn't want to waste more "innocent" lives for people unwilling to stand up for themselves and turn to the Iraq Study Group's recommendations (that was put together by James Baker III, THE NO1 Oil Man), and take our troops out of the hard fighting in the cities and they will stay on the big military installations with the premise that we are there to make sure that Al Qaeda will not use Iraq for a training ground.
From Tom Moody, who got it from an unknown artist.
I just think there's a real need for a viable third party right now. We certainly needed it locally. (Did the Greens run a candidate for mayor?) And I think we need it nationally. Here's the trick: It probably can't be done by the usual suspects with your crazy ACORN/PIRG types and your wish fulfillment candidacies. You don't have to win every seat. You need to vie for 25 House seats and 5 Senate seats nationally. You need to work with the dems and focus on republicans and whatever dems voted for continued funding. There needs to be a third option, certainly for progressives but really for everybody.
You need 1 million dollars to run a viable house campaign at the federal level and you need 2 million dollars to run a viable race at the senate level. Period. Otherwise you're being silly. That's about 35 million. That's a lot of money, but not an impossible amount of money to raise. What to call it? "The New Party" is taken but they haven't done anything "new" in years. We've seen where the Green's all volunteer efforts have taken us: nowhere fast. (New Rule: Build a new party around the canvass. Pay your workers and occasionally ask them to pay themselves. Use Progressive Discipline in firing and not the crazy cultlike ACORN/PIRG rules.) How about "The Enlightenment Party"? Turn that new science lobby into something bigger...
More on this later. I'm going to codify these rules when I have some more time.
Jim Hightower on Walmart. Well done.
David Sirota has the best wrap up of the carnage.
It is a dark day in our nation’s history. That sounds melodramatic - but it is true. Today America watched a Democratic Party kick them square in the teeth - all in order to continue the most unpopular war in a generation at the request of the most unpopular president in a generation at a time polls show a larger percentage of the public thinks America is going in the wrong direction than ever recorded in polling history.
The numbers are not pretty. First, 216 House Democrats cast the key vote to send a blank check Iraq War funding bill over to the Senate. As I reported at the beginning of the day and as the Associated Press now confirms, the vote on the rule was the vote that made it happen. As the AP said: “In a highly unusual maneuver, House Democratic leaders crafted a procedure that allowed their rank and file to oppose money for the war, then step aside so Republicans could advance it.” Nauseating.
In the Senate, we saw lots of promises and tough talk from senators telling us they were going to do everything they could to stop the blank check. Some of them bragged that they were going to vote against the bill - as if that was the ultimate sign of heroics. Then, not a single senator found the backbone to stand up to filibuster the bill a la Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Apparently, Senate club etiquette comes even before the lives of our troops. The blank check sailed through the upper chamber on a vote of 80-14 with 38 Democrats (the majority of the party) voting yes. In all, at a time when 82 percent of Americans tell pollsters they want Congress to either approve funds for the war with strict conditions or cut off all funding immediately, 90 percent of House and Senate Democrats combined voted to give George W. Bush a blank check.
The worst part of it all was the overt efforts to deceive the public - as if we’re all just a bunch of morons. House Democrats have the nerve to continue to insist the blank check they helped ram through the House was all the Republicans doing, and that a sham vote on a GOP amendment today - which most Democrats opposed for show - was the real vote for the war. But, again, as the AP reported, it was their parliamentary motion - passed so quickly and under the devious pretenses of mundane procedural necessity - that showed their calculated complicity. Now, tonight, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is actually sending out fundraising emails, claiming: the House just passed legislation that will go to the White House that includes critical issues Democrats have been fighting for including canceling the President’s blank check in Iraq.” Beyond nauseating.
I’m not a purist nor am I a “pox on both their houses” kind of guy. I have worked to elect Democratic politicians and I supported Democratic leaders when they pushed an Iraq funding bill that included binding language to end the war. But what happened today was perhaps the most stunning travesty I’ve seen in a decade working in Democratic politics. A Democratic Party that six months ago was elected on a promise to end the war first tried to hide their complicity in continuing the war in the House, and then gave a few token speeches as the blank check sailed through the Senate club. And it all happened, as the New York Times reported today, because these Democrats believed criticism from President Bush - the man who polls show is the most unpopular president in three decades - “seemed more politically threatening to them than the anger Democrats knew they would draw from the left.”
Of course, according to Real Journalist Greg Palast, the republicans are already trying to purge 8 million voters for the 2008 election. Palast has to have a hacker under his hire. How does he do it.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast says 4.5 million votes will be shoplifted in 2008, thanks largely to the “Rove-bots” that have been placed in the Justice Department following the U.S. Attorney firings. Being the guy who uncovered the voter “purge lists” of 2000 that disenfranchised black voters, he’s worth listening to, even if the mainstream press chooses not to.
This time around, he claims to have the 500 emails that the House subpoenaed and Karl Rove claims were deleted forever. They prove definitively, says Palast, that the Justice Department is infested with operatives taking orders from Rove to steal upcoming elections for Republicans and permanently alter the Department.
The “clownocracy” of Bush and Rove is criminal and even evil in its attempts to steal past and future elections, according to Palast, and can only be stopped if “Democrats…find their souls and find their balls.”
In an updated new version of his best-selling book, Armed Madhouse, Palast lays out the case for the future theft of the presidency, along with lots of other Executive malfeasance. I chatted with him about the role of the Justice Department in this scheme, and what it means for the viability of our “democracy.
Read the whole thing. No matter how depressing.
From Paul Pope, a great comix and science fiction artist who has a blog.
Stunning video profile of Hugo Chavez by Real Journalist Greg Palast. There are three parts (part one here and part three here) to the interview at the Youtubes. Part two is what I'm showing here. Contrast this with the Hightower vid of what we're doing in Iraq and what we would probably like Venezuela to be. The United States, especially under this particularly vile Republican crew, has become a force for evil in this world. There really isn't any other way to put it.
Yep. Those Republicans are completely evil. So the Democrats wouldn't give President Bush a blank check on the war, right? Wrong. It looks like they're folding big time. Way to fight fellas. The reviews, from people who have, quite frankly, been apologists for the dems so far, have not been kind.
Let's try Buzzflash first:
From Oliver "Let's Not Pick on Joe Leiberman" Willis:
They never learn. They just never f*cking learn. They get the majority and they still act like they're in the minority. It's ironic that right before Memorial Day they vote to give this president a blank check to send more good men to Arlington Cemetery.
STOP THIS WAR.
The only reason the Democrats aren't going to suffer electorally for this is because next year is a presidential year, and a Democratic president must end the war or suffer punishment like impeachment.
But I don't get the Democrats. I just don't get them. They've added almost a whole Friedman (until September) and what do they think is gonna happen then? The right will claim the surge is working even though it isn't, they'll request six more string-free months, and more Americans die for no damn reason.
Makes me sick.
From a poster at the Booman Tribune:
Actions speak louder than words.
And yet without the Democrats, we would have not invaded Iraq. Without their votes they would not have the supplemental funding for the last 4 years. Without their compliance and complicity there would not be the structure in place now for Bush to declare himself Maximum Leader for life.
Why. Why is ANYONE here surprised that the Dems caved? What actual hope did any of you have? Actions are louder than words, and the actions of the Democratic Party in the last five years are "We made a good show of this but we're going along because dammit, we want the power Bush is accumulating. We like his soft fascism. We want to use it against our own people because they don't know best...we do."
And they will keep taking us for granted, because our other choice is letting the GOP keep control.
I'll comment more on this later.
Late Sunday Night Around the Internets
Also crossposted at my high brow dirty page: the Red Light District. Hey it was well drawn and while prurient acceptable to general audiences.
It looks like Tuesday's elections had some good results. It would have been nice to see some competition at the higher level races, but it looks like we lose two less than great councilmen and get some people who might actually do some good. Election reactions from the usual suspects here and here.
Meanwhile, over at the Booman Tribune, they've discovered that Chairman Kos and his henchmen (and henchladies) ban people who speak critically of Israel. That's why I got banned so I should know. Here's one of the writers at Booman:
Tue May 15th, 2007 at 05:22:03 PM EST
If Daily Kos' banning of Steve Amsel and Eileen Fleming, two peace activists who support the rights of the Palestinian people, a few days ago, and three other peace activists that preceded them, were not enough, today Daily Kos banned two Palestinian peace activists. This action was taken in an apparent attempt to appease a small group of right wing proIsrael supporters who have invaded Daily Kos. If anyone believes that of course they should probably take ownership of the Brooklyn Bridge. The true source of all of these banning is not yet evident, but no one is ready to believe that Daily Kos is getting ready to be sold to an AIPAC subsidiary.
As for Daily Kos' investment in progressive and liberal issues like civil and human rights, the word is that Kos the owner doesn't care one way or another about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though it is a core issue in American foreign policy. That's an interesting prospective when a Left Wing Democrat does not care about human rights issues. Because many people believe that the Left Wing of the Democratic party is taking its lead from the netroots, places like Daily Kos, which is the largest political blog on the internet, not giving a damned one way or another about human rights issues is not exactly what a typical liberal or progressive Democrat would expect from a blog that purports to be liberal or progressive. Leadership in civil and human rights is certainly not what any liberal or progressive Democrat will find at Daily Kos.
Here are the obituaries for the most recent voices snuffed out by Daily Kos, both of whose writings cried out for justice for the Palestinian people, especially because they are both Palestinian.
Read the whole thing here. As I've said before, at the bottom of this page: "Bottom Line: Despite all the mean things I've said I read Kos daily. You kind of have to. But I don't think he can be a leader for all democrats and certainly not for progressives."
Related, at Muzzle Watch (reminds me of what Hesh of the Sopranos said of the Christian Right's love of Israel: "Just wait."):
The recent death of Jerry Falwell can serve as an opportunity to reflect on the growing Christian Zionist (CZ) movement and how such a movement is related to other establishment pro-Israel groups such as The David Project, ADL and AIPAC. To be clear, there is a Faustian bargain being forged, for short term political and financial gain, Israel and the American Jewish establishment are willing to engage with people such as John Hagee of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) “who is contemptuous of Muslims, dismissive of gays, possesses a triumphalist theology and opposes a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
This bargain also entails muzzling - American Jewish leaders who have been critical of CUFI sponsored local “Nights to Honor Israel” say they have been pressured into silence.
“The pressure has been enormous,” said a prominent Jewish leader who said he was contacted by local community officials after he raised questions about a local Christians United For Israel (CUFI) event. “I can’t even talk about it now; I feel a real sense of intimidation because people in our own community are saying I’m opposing something that’s good for Israel, that I’m hurting Israel.”
In terms of Falwell specifically, although their relationship has not been seamless, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has called Falwell a “towering figure of the religious right” and a “dear friend of Israel”
The fly in the ointment, beyond the occasional “oopsy” anti-Semitic utterances, eg, “the antichrist is probably a Jewish man alive today,” (condemned by Foxman of the ADL), is that the relationship between the Christian Zionists (like Falwell, Pat Robertson and Hagee) and Jews is roughly that of Germany to the Soviet Union before Germany invaded its ally. Christian Zionists believe that as one large piece of the Apocalypse endgame, a unified Jewish state must exist over all of what is now Israel and Palestine and that a new temple must be built on temple mount. The important take home point is that within the framework of Christian Zionist belief is the notion that at the time of Christ’s second coming, Jews will be offered a choice to convert to Christianity or immediately be condemned to hell or some reasonable facsimile.
Speaking of the Sopranos, good episode tonight. I do see an out for Tony. Kill Phil first and that leaves the movie producer as the head of New York, a guy that Tony can work with. He also quiets down the need for a New York retaliation. I can't believe somebody went after Meadow. Tony was in the right. He was there for both of kids tonight. I guess that's what makes the series so interesting. He's not always evil.
I'm just awaiting the election results like everyone else.
Meanwhile, I've been reading this Business Week piece about how the poor are being fleeced by a number of predatory companies.
And I've been watching this explanation by Jim Hightower as to why we're in Iraq. You'll all be shocked to learn that it has nothing to do with democracy, but its direct opposite.
Funny toon by Stephanie McMillan.
Mean Ol Richard Dawkins talks about why he isn't like a fundamentalist. (I don't think he says this but atheists don't have real political power. I think that's the real difference. I suppose if we were footsoldiers in the republican party...)
You’re preaching to the choir. What’s the point?
The nonbelieving choir is much bigger than people think, and it desperately needs encouragement to come out. Judging by the thanks that showered my North American book tour, my articulation of hitherto closeted thoughts is heard as a kind of liberation. The atheist choir, moreover, is too ready to observe society’s convention of according special respect to faith, and it goes along with society’s lamentable habit of labelling small children with the religion of their parents. You’d never speak of a “Marxist child” or a “monetarist child”. So why give religion a free pass to indoctrinate helpless children? There is no such thing as a Christian child: only a child of Christian parents.
You’re as much a fundamentalist as those you criticize.
No, please, do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may “believe”, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will.
I’m an atheist, but people need religion.
“What are you going to put in its place? How are you going to fill the need, or comfort the bereaved?”
What patronising condescension! “You and I are too intelligent and well educated to need religion. But ordinary people, hoi polloi, Orwellian proles, Huxleian Deltas and Epsilons need religion.” In any case, the universe doesn’t owe us comfort, and the fact that a belief is comforting doesn’t make it true. The God Delusion doesn’t set out to be comforting, but at least it is not a placebo. I am pleased that the opening lines of my own Unweaving the Rainbow have been used to give solace at funerals.
When asked whether she believed in God, Golda Meir said: “I believe in the Jewish people, and the Jewish people believe in God.” I recently heard a prize specimen of I’m-an-atheist-buttery quote this and then substitute his own version: “I believe in people, and people believe in God.” I too believe in people. I believe that, given proper encouragement to think, and given the best information available, people will courageously cast aside celestial comfort blankets and lead intellectually fulfilled, emotionally liberated lives.
Mike Moore responds to the threats of the justice department. Some graphs here:
First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.
Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles.
It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry's main recipient of its contributions -- President Bush -- would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.
And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.
Read the whole thing as they say....
Fitrakis and Wasserman argue that vote theft has gone worldwide:
Now similar cries are coming from Scotland and France. May 3 elections in Scotland using new electronic counting systems resulted in as many as 100,000 votes being classed as "spoilt papers." (About 90,000 such ballots from Ohio 2004 remain uncounted to this day).
Complex methods of tabulating and weighting the Scottish votes yielded "chaos." Several vote counts were suspended. In some races the tally of rejected ballots was greater than some candidates' winning margin. "This is a temporary interruption to one small aspect of the overall process," says a spokeswoman for DRS, the company responsible for the vote counting technology.
The language in France has not been so polite. A watershed presidential election has just been won by Nicolas Sarkozy, a blunt right-wing Reagan-Bush-style extremist over the socialist Segolene Royal. Sarkozy is a hard-edged authoritarian whose intense anti-immigrant rhetoric matches his support for the American war in Iraq and his avowed intent to slash France's social service system, including a public health program widely considered among the best in the world.
Like the balloting in Ukraine, the US, Scotland and Mexico, Sarkozy's victory was marred by angry, widespread complaints about dubious vote counts whose discrepancies always seem to favor the rightist candidate. Throughout France, the cry has arisen that the conservatives have done to Segolene Royal what Bush/Rove did to John Kerry.
In the not-so-distant past, other elections were engineered by George H.W. Bush, head of the Central Intelligence Agency and father of the current White House resident. During the Reagan-Bush presidencies, in the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and other key third world nations, expected leftist triumphs somehow morphed into rightist coups. "CIA destabilizations are nothing new," said former CIA station chief and Medal of Merit winner John Stockwell in 1987. "Guatemala in 1954, Brazil, Ghana, Chile, the Congo, Iran, Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay---the CIA organized the overthrow of constitutional democracy."
The recent trend to privatizing vote counts, with corporations claiming "proprietary rights" to keep their hardware and software covert, has added a new dimension to an old tradition. The recent "e-victories" in the US and France have significantly tipped to the right the global balance among the major powers. So while Ohio and California conduct their studies of electronic voting, the whole world will be watching.
Late Thursday Night Around the Internets
Here's a few graphs:
For over a decade, given the failures of elected politicians, Mike Gravel has been engaged in some extraordinary research and consultations with leading constitutional law experts about the need to enact another check to the faltering checks and balances--namely, the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposed law that empowers the people as lawmakers.
Before you roll your eyes over what you feel is an unworkable utopian scheme, go to http://nationalinitiative.us to read the detailed constitutional justification for the sovereign right of the people to directly alter their government and make laws.
Among other legal scholars, Yale Law School Professor, Akhil Reed Amar and legal author, Alan Hirsch, have argued that the Constitution recognizes the inalienable right of the American people to amend the Constitution directly through majority vote. What the Constitution does not do is spell out the procedures for such a sovereign right.
Here are the roundup of those online illegal campaign worker stories. I think Agent Ska had it first. Then the 2 PJs came in, but they added a broader legal context. I think the best analysis came from the admiral, who clued me into this union angle I had never even imagined...who is the admiral? How does he know so much about the city's players? Curious.
What's also revealing is that the photos were leaked to online sources. I guess that's the future...
A Quiet Sunday Around the Internets
I hope cranky dem presidential nominee Mike Gravel talks more about creating a nationwide ballot initiative. He makes sense. This can also be seen at the best television music and politics station that I have ever created.
CORY DOCTOROW, BOING BOING - Michael Ayers, the chairman of the AACS-LA (the organization that sent hundreds of legal threats to websites that published the random 16-byte number that represented one of the keys for cracking the copy-prevention on HD-DVDs) has given an interview to the BBC in which he vows to use technical and legal means to shut down the 802,000+ websites that have reproduced the key. Michael says that this doesn't impact free speech -- that it's possible to discuss the crack and DRM in general without reproducing the key. I think he's wrong. I just taught a class at USC where we talked about this crack as part of our coursework, and part of my lesson was talking about the ease with which this information can be retrieved and spread -- and how that makes anti-copying systems futile. For my students, seeing just how little information was needed to undo the AACS scheme was critical to understanding its fragility. Indeed, one of my students posted this key to the class blog to show his fellow students how trivial this was, prompting AACS to threaten me with legal action as well. . . The companies that made AACS spent millions and years at it. The hackers who broke it did so in days, for laughs, for free. More people now know how to crack HD-DVD than own an HD-DVD player.
Cold Fusion is back! Maybe...
Riverbend and her family have decided to leave Iraq, probably because nothing makes you say "Let's go" more than roving fundamentalist death squads. Here's a snippet:
I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq). They refuse to believe that their religiously inclined, sectarian political parties fueled this whole Sunni/Shia conflict. They refuse to acknowledge that this situation is a direct result of the war and occupation. They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there.
I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.
Speaking of the wonderful role that religion plays in demonizing women, there's this great new site called Madre. Here's a snippet from one article that involves Iraq and how you can teleport a smart computer programmer like Riverbend to the 14th century:
This campaign of gender–based violence was intended to subjugate women as a first step in the creation of an Islamist state. As Mithal Alusi, one of 30 Iraqi legislators who called for the protection of women's human rights in a 2006 declaration said, "These attempts to intimidate women are attempts to terrorize society."26 In fact, violence against women is a primary weapon in the arsenal of fundamentalists of various religions, who seek to impose their political agenda on society. Often, the first salvo in a war for theocracy is a systematic attack on women and minorities who represent or demand an alternative or competing vision for society. These initial targets are usually the most marginalized and, therefore, most vulnerable members of society, and once they are dealt with, fundamentalist forces then proceed towards less vulnerable targets.
"This campaign of gender-based violence
was intended to subjugate women as a first step
in the creation of an Islamist state."
In Iraq, women, Christians, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTTI) Iraqis have been among the Islamists' first targets of violence. For example, the Mujahadin Shura Group vows to kill any woman seen in public without a headscarf. Mujahadin Shura listed among its reasons for opposing the January 2005 Iraqi elections the need to prevent Iraq from "becoming homosexual. " In the northern city of Mosul, the group has targeted Christian women with a campaign of murder, kidnapping, rape, and sexual enslavement. According to the Union of the Unemployed,27 groups such as this use the most violent and inhumane methods to impose their will, targeting "anyone who disagrees with them and does not observe their way of living."28
But wait there's more. They also did a great article called:
It's Not Just an Abortion Ban: The Christian Right's Global Agenda
Bringing It All Back Home
For the most part, policies such as these did not cost the Republican Party votes because they didn't impact women in the USâ€”at least not at first. But the US attack on women's reproductive rights abroad followed by the recent Supreme Court ruling is a stark reminder that ideologically speaking, there's no such thing as foreign policy. The Christian Right seeks to restrict women's rights domestically, just as they have internationally—as part of one coherent "vision" that includes much more than a world without abortion.
We only need to look at countries where religious fundamentalists have gained the upper hand in policymaking to see where the US Christian Right would like to take us. Fundamentalists of different religions draw on different texts and operate in diverse cultures and contexts. But when it comes to their rigid and retrograde gender ideology, they show a lot more commonalities than differences. The Christian Right's agenda extends to restricting women's rights to work, equality before the law, education, and freedom from a range of gender-based human rights abuses, including domestic battery and marital rape. And the Christian Right's "vision" goes beyond attacks on any narrowly construed notion of "women's rights." They're angling for more of the kind of messianic militarism that characterized Bush's response to 9/11 (which he originally called a "crusade"), and more neoliberal economic policies that promise greater ruin to the world's poor people and ecology.
Friday Art Break
From Boing Boing. How to make every movie poster a grindhouse poster.
From Tom Moody: First piece: some of Tom's Art. Second piece: Rube Goldbergesque baby torture machine.