Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cindy Sheehan Arrested Before State of the Union Address

Cindy Sheehan, guest of Rep. Lynn Woosley, was arrested as she took her seat in the gallery before the State of the Union Address. Her t-shirt had an anti-war slogan on it, since when is that grounds for arrest? They could have asked her to put her jacket back on, but arrest! What a bunch of crap! Get used to it folks, the next version of the patriot act criminilizes demonstrations/protests at the discretion of authorities.

The Turncoats Who Handed The Last Branch of Government Over to the Fascists

A brave woman in Tucson is taking on this issue. I will provide her contact info as soon as she establishes the contact info. Here is what she is saying:

"The Republicrat Democrats who voted for cloture were extremely sneaky, thinking they could have it both ways: Saying they had voted against Alito, while they surely voted to confirm him by stopping the filibuster.
A Filibuster works like this: If at least 41 senators strongly oppose a bill or nominee, they can vote to continue debate and block a final vote on the issue. A final vote can only be taken if and when the majority wins 60 senators' votes.

In the context of a Supreme Court battle, the filibuster means that 60 Senate votes may be needed to confirm out of the mainstream judicial nominees rather than a simple majority of 51.

Therefore, if ALL Democrats had voted against cloture, the Republicans would not have gotten the 60 votes necessary to vote on Alito, and he would have been kept off the Supreme Court.

Therefore, we MUST HOLD ANY DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR CLOTURE RESPONSIBLE, even if they later voted against Aliito’s confirmation.

We must work to get these folks out of office asap just like we must get as many Republicans out as we possibly can in elections this fall. Of course there are the problems with our elections being rigged, but I am personally considering this autumn's elections the last chance for Democracy. If this year's elections are once again rigged then we all may have to consider changing tactics.

Anyway, here is the list of traitors.


Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Conrad (D-ND)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)


Byrd (D-WV)
Conrad (D-ND)
Johnson (D-SD)
Nelson (D-NE)

More on this subject in the future, no doubt.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stop Loss Policy = NON-Volunteer Army

I picked this up from a post by Chuck on a UFPJ list dealing with recruitment and counter-recruitment.
US Army forces 50,000 soldiers into extended duty

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 2006(Reuters) - The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called "stop-loss," but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat.

The policy applies to soldiers in units due to deploy for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Army said stop-loss is vital to maintain units that are cohesive and ready to fight. But some experts said it shows how badly the Army is stretched and could further complicate efforts to attract new recruits.

"As the war in Iraq drags on, the Army is accumulating a collection of problems that cumulatively could call into question the viability of an all-volunteer force," said defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank.

"When a service has to repeatedly resort to compelling the retention of people who want to leave, you're edging away from the whole notion of volunteerism."

When soldiers enlist, they sign a contract to serve for a certain number of years, and know precisely when their service obligation ends so they can return to civilian life. But stop-loss allows the Army, mindful of having fully manned units, to keep soldiers on the verge of leaving the military.

Under the policy, soldiers who normally would leave when their commitments expire must remain in the Army, starting 90 days before their unit is scheduled to depart, through the end of their deployment and up to another 90 days after returning to their home base.

With yearlong tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, some soldiers can be forced to stay in the Army an extra 18 months.


Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman, said that "there is no plan to discontinue stop-loss."

"We understand that this is causing hardship for some individual soldiers, and we take individual situations into consideration," Hilferty said.

Hilferty said there are about 12,500 soldiers in the regular Army, as well as the part-time National Guard and Reserve, currently serving involuntarily under the policy, and that about 50,000 have had their service extended since the program began in 2002. An initial limited use of stop-loss was expanded in subsequent years to affect many more.

"While the policies relative to the stop-loss seem harsh, in terms of suspending scheduled separation dates (for leaving the Army), they are not absolute," Hilferty said. "And we take individual situations into consideration for compelling and compassionate reasons."

Hilferty noted the Army has given "exceptions" to 210 enlisted soldiers "due to personal hardship reasons" since October 2004, allowing them to leave as scheduled.

"The nation is at war and we are stop-lossing units deploying to a combat theater to ensure they mobilize, train, deploy, fight, redeploy and demobilize as a team," he said.


A few soldiers have gone to court to challenge stop-loss.

One such case fizzled last week, when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington dismissed a suit filed in 2004 by two Army National Guard soldiers. The suit claimed the Army fraudulently induced soldiers to enlist without specifying that their service might be involuntarily extended.

Courts also have backed the policy's legality in Oregon and California cases.

Jules Lobel, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who represented the National Guard soldiers, said a successful challenge to stop-loss was still possible.

"I think the whole stop-loss program is a misrepresentation to people of how long they're going to actually serve. I think it's caused tremendous morale problems, tremendous psychological damage to people," Lobel said.

"When you sign up for the military, you're saying, 'I'll give you, say, six years and then after six years I get my life back.' And they're saying, 'No, really, we can extend you indefinitely.'"

Congressional critics have assailed stop-loss, and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry called it "a back-door draft." The United States abolished the draft in 1973, but the all-volunteer military never before has been tested by a protracted war.

A report commissioned by the Pentagon called stop-loss a "short-term fix" enabling the Army to meet ongoing troop deployment requirements, but said such policies "risk breaking the force as recruitment and retention problems mount." It was written by Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer.

[Lexington Institute's Loren] Thompson added, "The persistent use of stop-loss underscores the fact that the war-fighting burden is being carried by a handful of soldiers while the vast majority of citizens incur no sacrifice at all."

List of Grievances Appropriate to Give to a Tyrant

These are the original Grievances that our Founding Forefathers gave to Thomas Jefferson and from which he wrote the Declaration of Independence and that he chose to include within the Declaration.

Some present day writers have chosen to rewrite these Grievances. I believe it is important for all Progressives to review the original Grievances and note similarities and differences with our present day Grievances with George Bush II.

The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

How to Foil Search Engine Snoops

If you are concerned about government agencies and this current administration's "if you have nuzzing to hide, you should not mind if zwe search" fascistic policies, you might be interested in this Wired article.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Warming Globe, Cooling Freedoms

I am not happy this morning. Read the article, James Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years ( attached at the end of this article.) Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis which states that the world is one huge inter-connected living system, now says we will experience global warming from 5 to 8 degrees C. in the this century. That is beyond the point of no return. We are headed to a totally new equilibrium. There is no way to predict what will happen and no specific way to plan for it.

The most egregious crime that is transpiring right now is that resources that should be directed to renewable, sustainable energies to create a requisite simpler planetary lifestyle built upon those technologies, are being gathered, consolidated, and secured under the control of a very small group of corporate and political individuals and families. Abramoff and Delay are just the tip of the iceberg.

Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), lobbyist Bill Lowery and Mr. Lowery’s firm, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, and staffer Jeffrey Shockey who has moved back and forth between these offices, and now has his wife working for the lobbying side and working with staffers under his control. This must be investigated! These people who fancy themselves an aristocracy are sabotaging the potential survival of the human race by squandering all of our resources. My own jaded opinion is that they know what is coming and they really don't care about future debt, exploitation, or totally selfish actions.

These folks are capable of doing this because they are in office. It is becoming more and more clear that there was a carefully orchestrated campaign of fraud to bring these traitors into office. (See this, this , this (click picture under 14) and this for a start.) We must impeach and return to paper ballots. If this next election returns questionable results, Goddess help us all.

James Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years
Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilisation for as long as they can

Published: 16 January 2006
The Independent online

Imagine a young policewoman delighted in the fulfilment of her vocation; then imagine her having to tell a family whose child had strayed that he had been found dead, murdered in a nearby wood. Or think of a young physician newly appointed who has to tell you that the biopsy revealed invasion by an aggressive metastasising tumour. Doctors and the police know that many accept thesimple awful truth with dignity but others try in vain to deny it.

Whatever the response, the bringers of such bad news rarely become hardened to their task and some dread it. We have relieved judges of the awesome responsibility of passing the death sentence, but at least they had some comfort from its frequent moral justification. Physicians and the police have no escape from their duty.

This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician
and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.
The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.

Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics. Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.

Curiously, aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This "global dimming" is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.

By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life.
A task we would soon find impossible - and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us.

To understand how impossible it is, think about how you would regulate your own temperature or the composition of your blood. Those with failing kidneys know the never-ending daily difficulty of adjusting water, salt and protein intake. The technological fix of dialysis helps, but is no replacement for living healthy kidneys. My new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognise the true nature of the Earth. I think it is because Darwin's vision was so good and clear that it has taken until now to digest it. In his time, little was known about the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, and there would have been little reason for him to wonder if organisms changed their environment as well as adapting to it.

Had it been known then that life and the environment are closely coupled, Darwin would have seen that evolution involved not just the organisms, but the whole planetary surface. We might then have looked upon the Earth as if it were alive, and known that we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin - its forest and ocean ecosystems - as a mere source of products to feed ourselves and furnish our homes. We would have felt instinctively that those ecosystems must be left untouched because they were part of the living Earth.

So what should we do? First, we have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act; and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can. Civilisation is energy-intensive and we cannot turn it off without crashing, so we need the security of a powered descent. On these British Isles, we are used to thinking of all humanity and not just ourselves;
environmental change is global, but we have to deal with the consequences here in the UK. Unfortunately our nation is now so urbanised as to be like a large city and we have only a small acreage of agriculture and forestry. We are dependent on the trading world for sustenance; climate change will deny us regular supplies of food and fuel from overseas.

We could grow enough to feed ourselves on the diet of the Second World War, but the notion that there is land to spare to grow biofuels, or
be the site of wind farms, is ludicrous. We will do our best to survive, but sadly I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time, and they are the main source of emissions. The worst will happen and survivors will have to adapt to a hell of a climate. Perhaps the saddest thing is that Gaia will lose as much or more than we do. Not only will wildlife and whole ecosystems go extinct, but in human civilisation the planet has a precious resource. We are not merely a disease; we are, through our intelligence and communication, the nervous system of the planet. Through us, Gaia has seen herself from space, and begins to know her place in the universe.
We should be the heart and mind of the Earth, not its malady. So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone, and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia. We must do it while we are still strong enough to negotiate, and not a broken rabble led by brutal war lords. Most of all, we should remember that we are a part of it, and it is indeed our home.

The writer is an independent environmental scientist and Fellow of the Royal Society. '
The Revenge of Gaia' is published by Penguin on 2 February

Thursday, January 19, 2006

SDS, Comix and Women

Last night a conference call demanded my attention so I could only strafe over the topic of the apparent reemergence of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) as a coordinating body for counter-establishment sentiments and actions. This deserves examination, but I want to look at it in light of today's article in the San Jose Mercury News, Feds Go After Google Data and some general connections about networks.

This, it turns out, segues into my post on feminism, sex, and politics of a few days ago. My first thought when I read in demleft's Democratic Left Infoasis about the SDS and his reference to Deanna Zandt's Missing women at progressive conference that refers to the ITT List post "Leaving women out of the progressive movement" prompted her to write and me to rant. We are both saying the same thing, but differently, I think. I would make the argument that using the word "leaving" shows the perspective of the people involved to be that of a hierarchical male group. I can't tell if this comes from ITT or their source. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that some group is attempting to co-opt progressive language for use by the same old, same as it ever was, purportedly "liberal" folks who run Washington when the current group isn't in power. Movement isn't the right word either. Movements arise spontaneously, they are not orchestrated in conferences.

This actually relates to the SDS. I'd have to be an amnesiac to forget all the reports of totally sexist practices of the male members of such groups in the 60s. I was a child then, but I remember a lot. My own take on some of this is that much of the Early Feminism of the 70s was in reaction to the sexism of the 60s "counter" culture. Separatist action was seen as one way to counter the embedded structural sexism in any political action that arose at that time. Remember -- at the start of the 1960s women's suffrage in the U.S. was only 40 years old. Not everyone then, or now, trusts such a new phenomena to stick around just because it exists now.

We've come a long way baby, but not far enough. What I think I'm seeing now is a resurgence of the international women's rights movement of the 1800s with a new focus. Women's rights are nothing more than human rights with the twist -- the folks involved believe women must be leaders if peace and justice are ever to come about on our world. The international women's movement focused on suffrage until the mid 20th Century when that no longer was an issue except in a few extremely repressive countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Another issue (not a new one) is now becoming the primary focus of the resurgent international women's movement.

I'm really looking forward to International Women's Day this year when Women Say No To War will try to bring the concept of peace joined together with women's rights to the forefront of the world's consciousness by a truly international campaign to stop the war on Iraq. (That is .org after Women Say No To War, not .com -- right wing scumbags grabbed up .com and pointed the site to Bill O'Reilly. Those big bad right wing men are afraid of pacifist women! Is that a hoot or what?)

Just like the Hippies had hierarchical problems with sexism, many feminists have hierarchical problems with sex. I hope that this time around the movement will reach out to all women including the women with whom the 70s feminists had a hierarchical problem. Many "old guard" feminists truly look down on sex workers. Too often in the past women of high status (and that is almost all feminists in the U.S.) have looked down on women in sex work. Hierachy is garbage. Hierarchy always involves judgment and that most often involves negative assumptions and pronouncements about those excluded from the higher levels of the hierarchyical system. I cannot condone that and that is why I think it is essential to read things like the statement on the Feminist Sex Workers blog.

I seriously think there is a good chance that this time through the cycle of cultural action and reaction that women will incorporate more egalitarian understanding and consequentially peace could be much closer than if only peace alone was incorporated. I suspect that a neocon women's subset of "the movement" this time may be the most likely stumbling block that could derail significant cultural change, much like the temperance movement was when the overall goals of women's rights confused temperance with morality. The women's movement might want to watch for analogous confusion of censorship with morality. Today as I watched C-Span I watched what could very well be the beginning of such a reaction when Ted "Boondoggle" Stevens (R Alaska) questioned folks from various communication groups (CBS, SAG, and NAB, Parents Television Council, ) and others during a hearing about decency in the media and in another about internet child pornography.

This is all related folks, just keep your knickers on! During the McCarthy Era there was "outcry" (largely the product of Sen. Estes Kefauver , who according to Law and Everything Else "had his eye on the Presidency and actually ran for it in 1956. He's the clown who wore a coonskin cap in '56, hoping to capitalize on the Davy Crockett Craze of 1955-56.) about the horrible way comics were corrupting our youth. The outcome of this Kefauver Commission was the ratings system and censorship of comics that drove most creative cartooning underground. Thus the simultaneous birth of comix, or underground comix, that were far more out there than the originally "problematic " comics. The same process can be found in the U.S. Prohibition (of alcohol) or the "criminalization" of Marijuana. If you want to increase the severity and probably the quantity of something, just outlaw it.

There is a real danger that censorship of media/internet will be the tool with which the corporate male status quo attempts to subvert this resurgence. Just take a look at that San Jose Mercury article I mentioned as I began this epistle. It deals with the Feds trying to stomp down on the media and internet and using child pornography as an excuse.

We're on to them this time -- but knowing what they are up to isn't enough. We have to act. (Remember that is act, not react.)


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wowie Zowie! The SDS Is Back

Many folks who stumble across this won't even know what the SDS is/was. Students for a Democratic Society were pretty big players in the Vietnam Anti-war Movement and were a bit left of center... and well a bit left of left. Well I stumbled (as I am so very good at doing) across this site that says the first national gathering for this group since 1968 is being planned for this summer.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Holy Crap, Batman, Privacy is Extinct!!!

Just a few links to today's articles on the use and abuse of private, personal information by Federal and State Agencies.

You and your children cannot opt out of a vast Pentagon database of extremely broad types of information about our nation's children.

License data for sale in Minnesota. "A business can buy the personal data, height, weight, address and driver's license number, of the state's (MN) 3.5 million driver's license holders for $1,500. Not only have a number of businesses already received this information, but officials say it has also ended up on PublicData.com, a website they call a known tool for identity thieves."

Medical records, apparently, are also perused by the government. Those of us old enough will remember the status 4F (and probably all the other folks on the "Group W Bench"). Well such folks now are prime recruits, and according to a conversation I had not so long ago with Salette Latas. Her son, Jesse, got a call from a recruiter who knew all the details of his then current state of being in remission but, but not that he had joined the reserves and was on his way to Iraq "Most of the services required at least five years of remission before considering a cancer patient for enlistment. In the fall of 2004, the Army changed their policy because of low enlistment numbers and recruited Jesse into the Army Reserve." After the conversation with the recruiter who had called for Jesse, Salette, a veteran herself, realized that the recruiter had to have been digging through a pile of cancer kids files who were previously ineligible for duty.

The ethics of sending recent remission status kids to an area of the world where they will be exposed to levels of stress that could jeopardize the remission as well as depleted uranium munitions (that have impact on health that is hotly debated) are questionable at the least. This particular conversation with Salette occurred before Jesse's leukemia returned and he was evacuated to Germany and then Walter Reed. Jesse is now home in Tucson.

These issues are not all leftist in nature, which the current administration would lead you to believe. Jesse's dad and Salette's husband is Jeff Latas, a retired Air Force Colonel who is running to represent AZ District 8 (that just happens to be my district) in the U.S. House of Representatives seat that Jim Kolbe announced he will be leaving. Jeff is among the dozens of Veterans getting in races to fight the GOP in what will be extremely significant November elections.

Of course all violations of privacy are not perpetrated on kids; pacifists get it too.

Of course all those spied upon and those with private data collected are in very good company.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Presidential Succession

Get your position here

Sex Workers, Feminism, and Accounting

Please be tolerant while I pluck what look to me to be salient issues off this brambly thicket of a topic.

I am just thinking aloud, writing aloud:

Many women (and men) are not really comfortable with sex. In this day and age it is not really acceptable to be a prude, so I think that prudish tendencies can and sometimes do disguise themselves as PC outrage over sexuality of a particular kind. Professional sex, or power exchange sex, are today's targets whereas "yesterday" the targets were premarital and same sex activities.

Similarly it is easy to go over the top and be outrageous for outrageousness' sake. Acting out can be very fun, but it is not for everyone. Sometimes it is the right thing for people to do at that moment. If we don't like it, don't partake of it.

Any forced work or coercively induced labor/actions are types of slavery. Much sex work falls into these areas, so does much garment factory work throughout the world. Sex work need not be any more improper or exploitive than garment work. Garment work is most often sweatshop work, and sexwork and sweatshops often exist together as is the case in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands that Delay and Abramoff enabled as exploitation central with their lobbying and purchased votes. (Side note: As a US Territory goods made there can be labeled made in the USA. )

Oppressed can pivot into oppressor more easily than balance can be achieved. Binary on/off, black/white, good/bad dichotomies are artifacts of a Cartesian (from the philosopher Descartes) mindset that divides mind and body, flesh and soul, and the like. This digital divide truly divides us. I cannot think of any single process or issue that is exhibits true duality. Women need to be careful not to use the very tools that have kept us down to beat others down. We need to look for new ways of being by transforming our best into our most... putting quantity behind our quality.

Culture is a tyrannical domesticating force. Culture's job is to transfer non-genetic information to each new generation in turn. It does not attempt to preserve or encourage diversity. It tames us so that the species can continue. Group or individual rights advocates have to understand that we are working for a new level of organization that has never existed in any widespread fashion.

There are no unidirectional processes. It can be comforting to think of oppression as something that can be overthrown, but in truth that just sets up a flip flopping state, which calls for the creation of the next revolution. Transformation is what I think we are after. Transformation is real and its changes last, but as a real process, it has to grow. It cannot be forced. If we stop giving people and groups power then that power will diminish. It is slower and that can make it terribly frustrating, but the up side is that it like any real transformation it is insidious and once it starts, it is difficulteradicateuish or irradicate.

Calling attention to something can magnify or promote growth. Pointing out something horrible can point people toward preoccupation with that horror. Like a disturbed cancer, attempting to excise it can spread the malignant cells to areas that were previously cancer free. We need to be aware that control is a fabricated concept that gives people a sense of stability, but in truth we are parts of a system that is so much larger and more complex than we can hope to comprehend that our actions may always have inadvertent and counter-intuitive consequences.

This relates to many of the current corporate/governmental collusions where spirit of a law is ignored while letter of law is bandied about. Much of today's world relies on artificial checks and balances rather than cultural norms... "Yes, Virginia this is true of feminists, too." Knee jerks and litmus tests come to mind. Entrenchment is deadly. Corporations and governments both routinely sweeten their own pot through manipulation of minutea that are either technically legal but morally reprehensible or illegal but nearly impossible to trace. Normally I would never read accounting journals, but synchronicity works in mysterious ways, but while looking at this state of affairs in light of the culture of corruption I stumbled upon Professor Shyam Sunder's research and publications that discuss this phenomena lucidly even though it is strictly speaking PhD Accounting research. I strongly recommend reading his "Social Responsibility and Terror, September 2001" (PDF). He asks seminal questions and highlights essential points pertinent to the recognition that the mishmash laws, norms, and finances is a serious and pervasive muddle of a problem:

"How and why did written standards replaced norms and responsibility?
"Reliance on standards rooted in a misunderstanding of legal reasoning" that does not balance rule of law with cultural norms (that are laws of a different type.)
"Chasing objectivity without personal responsibility"
"Law, family, neighborhood, drug and alcohol abuse, workplace, dress, table manners, and sports all balance social norms and written standards"
Reacting against a muddle will do no good. We have to build a new system where norms for all groups are balanced with economic accountability that is honest and true to spirit as well as letter of a process. Only then will moralistic judgments that hide exploitation of the worst sort be replaced by peace, justice and a sincere positive morality. Another phrase in Sunders comes to mind: "Why is it that we do not trust ourselves to take the right action individually in circumstances when no government or organization can match our information and act on it?"

Action in and of itself has inherent totally unforeseen dangers. To act is brave.

Be kind and brave as you act my sisters of the world.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Women Say No To War

I'm back from a much needed couple of weeks away from blogging and other tasks that are not directly related to family. I have finally learned one lesson in these past couple of years of activism and that is to take time off when I need to. Now if I can just learn not to over-commit. I've disappointed myself and a few others lately by allowing a few balls to drop in the complex juggling act I attempt from time to time.

So to catch up -- the most important development in the last couple of weeks from my perspective is the announcement of the Women Say No to War campaign that is collecting signatures to be delivered to representatives of the U.S. Government in D.C. and around the world on International Women's Day. Along with the call to end the war there will be gatherings of women across the country and around the world to demonstrate their opposition to the war in Iraq and publicly call for peace.

Three years ago on International Women's Day thousands of people dressed in pink for peace marched in Washington D.C. to protest what we now know was an orchestrated and long-planned invasion of Iraq. The participation in the march was so great that CODEPINK, which was created just to be accompaniment to a vigil begun in November 2002. Meetings hastily called after the phenomenal turnout determined that an organic process was unfolding and CODEPINK happened to provide the niche for the needed process to "colonize." As such recent acts of peace by women typify a new expression of a long-standing movement (not an organization as such) by the women of the world to exert influence in their governance by advancing peace.

The current call reads:

Women's Call for Peace: An Urgent Appeal

We, the women of the United States, Iraq and women worldwide, have had enough of the senseless war in Iraq and the cruel attacks on civilians around the world. We've buried too many of our loved ones. We've seen too many lives crippled forever by physical and mental wounds. We've watched in horror as our precious resources are poured into war while our families' basic needs of food, shelter, education and healthcare go unmet. We've had enough of living in constant fear of violence and seeing the growing cancer of hatred and intolerance seep into our homes and communities.

This is not the world we want for ourselves or our children. With fire in our bellies and love in our hearts, we women are rising up - across borders - to unite and demand an end to the bloodshed and the destruction.

We have seen how the foreign occupation of Iraq has fueled an armed movement against it, perpetuating an endless cycle of violence. We are convinced that it is time to shift from a military model to a conflict-resolution model that includes the following elements:

- The withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq;
- Negotiations to reincorporate disenfranchised Iraqis into all aspects of Iraqi society;
- The full representation of women in the peacemaking process and a commitment to women's full equality in the post-war Iraq;
- A commitment to discard plans for any foreign bases in Iraq;
- Iraqi control of its oil and other resources;
- The nullification of privatization and deregulation laws imposed under occupation, allowing Iraqis to shape the trajectory of the post-war economy;
- A massive reconstruction effort that prioritizes Iraqi contractors, and draws upon financial resources of the countries responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq;
- Consideration of a temporary international peacekeeping force that is truly multilateral and is not composed of any troops from countries that participated in the occupation.

To move this peace process forward, we are creating a massive movement of women - crossing generations, races, ethnicities, religions, borders and political persuasions. Together, we will pressure our governments, the United Nations, the Arab League, Nobel Peace Prize winners, religious leaders and others in the international community to step forward to help negotiate a political settlement. And in this era of divisive fundamentalisms, we call upon world leaders to join us in spreading the fundamental values of love for the human family and for our precious planet.
Things will be happening here in Tucson on March 8th, and I can only hope that this will be mirrored in hundreds of cities around the country, and planet. Women say no to war. Can it be any more clear or simply stated than that?

Women in Tucson last year, in March 2005, invoked the Goddess, in all her forms, just about a year ago with a similar statement and action to contain Bush's agenda.
In that action, women wearing masks created by Lauren Raine invoked the Goddess and marched to and around the Tucson Convention Center singing and holding a banner that read, "The Great Mother Says, "NO!" where Bush appeared to give one of his canned audience performances.

The theme that women must be the ones to bring sanity to the world through peaceful equality reappears time after time through a myriad of expressions. Let us hope this coming one will be the one to truly take hold and grow.