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ellenrr's Journal
ellenrr's Journal
December 31, 2015

Sex and the Muslim Feminist

On refusing to equate sexual pleasure with freedom.

Instead of taking on the thorny business of how sex itself replicated patriarchy in complex ways, sex was made into a commodity.

The anointing of sex positive feminism has over time permitted the transformation of a deep and complex feminist movement into one that helps brand magazines and sell lingerie to women who can imagine themselves emancipated based on the consumption of sex. In becoming the central metaphor for liberation, it has eviscerated critiques of imperial overtures abroad and encouraged a deliberate deafness toward all the dialects of empowerment that do not translate themselves into its language. Its biggest casualty has been the stereotyping and exclusion of Muslim feminists, whose frontline struggles against terror, against religious obscurantism, and against the weight of patriarchal domination have all been relegated to a position of inferiority, based on their refusal to affirm that freedom essentially and centrally means the freedom to have sex.


The New Republic is mostly a neo-con magazine, but I think the article is very interesting....

December 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders - restoring liberalism to the Democratic Party?

&quot Ted Rall's book, Bernie,) is an argument for placing Bernie Sanders in a particular position in U.S. history, namely as the restoration of liberalism to a Democratic Party that hasn't seen it since the McGovern campaign.

In fact, a huge chunk of the book is not about Bernie at all, but is a history of the rightward drifting of the Democratic Party over the decades. Another big chunk is a history of Bernie's childhood and career. Both of these sections are well done. Then comes the "Return of the Democratic Left," the supposed rebirth of leftism within the Democratic Party.
But is that what Bernie has to do to win? I should think he would have to convince the media gatekeepers that he favors corporate power, that he would have to win over the corrupt super-delegates, that he or a team of lawyers or a movement of activists would have to clean out the bureaucracy of the corrupt Democratic National Committee.
Sanders is doing remarkably well, but when people's televisions tell them they must vote against him, will they disobey? The U.S. public has become intensely obedient. I think it's worth keeping a few things in mind:

December 29, 2015

Mapping Police Violence: New Study Shows Cops Have Killed At Least 1,152 in 2015

Democracy Now

A year-end report from the Mapping Police Violence research project says police killed at least 1,152 people in the United States in 2015. In 14 cities, every single police victim was African-American. Sam Sinyangwe is a policy analyst and data scientist with Campaign Zero and Mapping Police Violence.

Can you talk about these findings? Because there’s been a lot of demand for there even to be data collected in this country around police killings and the racial breakdown of those killings. How did you do this?

SAM SINYANGWE: So, as you mentioned, the federal government, including the FBI, Bureau of Justice Statistics and the CDC, do not collect comprehensive data on police killings nationwide. Fortunately, crowd-sourced efforts, such as KilledByPolice.net, FatalEncounters.org, have actually been able to collect the type of comprehensive data needed to do this type of analysis. What we did was merge those data sets, fill in the gaps, identify folks by race, whether they were armed or unarmed, and then make sense of all the data—understand which places were sort of hotspots of police violence and what some of the racial disparities in the data could tell us about how police violence impacts different communities.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about this number, both the over 1,115 people killed by police in the last year and also this issue of 14 cities, and explain which are these 14 cities, where the only people that police killed were African-American.

December 29, 2015

Arsonists blamed as 130 wildfires raze northern Spain natural parks

What evil heart would compel someone to do this?

At least 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of "extraordinary ecological value" has burned in the region over the past week, much of it located in two natural parks, it added in a statement.

"This threatens the present and future of Cantabria's landscape," the head of the regional government of Cantabria, Miguel Angel Revilla, said after visiting the site of one of the blazes.

He added that "99 percent" of the fires were deliberately set.

"There are arsonists, people with bad intentions who are taking advantage of weather conditions never seen before in Cantabria" to set fires, Revilla said.

Cantabria has since September received scant rainfall with average high temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit), he said.

December 28, 2015

Harvard Medical Scientists Say Police Killings Should Be Recorded As Public Epidemic

Harvard researchers have called on US Public Health Agencies to consider police killings and police deaths public health issues. With that request, researches are also echoing numerous activists who are urging them to begin tracking the number of people killed by police.

The proposal was inspired by a year of continuous protests and public pressure from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which stemmed from the murder of unarmed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, and the consistent police murders and protests that have happened since.

As there are no official numbers, the best available data comes from independent news agencies like the Guardian (UK), who reported that 1,058 Americans have been killed by police in 2015. For African Americans, the number of law enforcement-related deaths per capita is twice as high as it is in the white population.

Their project, “The Counted” also indicates that US civilians are killed by police at an average of about three times a day. It includes cases of police who kill armed suspects, which many vocal police supporters consider justified without carefully examining the situation.


December 28, 2015

Open letter to Rabbi Susan Talve from St. Louis Jews

(It's long - brief excerpt)

We are Jews who, like you, have been on the streets supporting justice for Mike Brown and actively working within our communities to end white supremacy and dismantle structural oppression. We commend your courageous and outspoken stand in support of Black struggle and many other social justice issues.

We are also Jews who stand with the indigenous people of Palestine who have been oppressed for more than 65 years by Zionist policies that privilege Jews over Palestinian Muslims and Christians, including near-daily assassinations, mass incarceration without charge, torture of children, collective punishment, demolitions of families’ homes, destruction of farmers’ olive groves and livelihoods, indiscriminate bombings, tear-gassing of entire villages, segregated roads and legal systems, and denial of access to holy sites, to name just some of Israel’s myriad apartheid policies.

For more than a year, we have struggled to reconcile your righteous stand on challenging U.S. domestic racism with your stated commitment to Zionism and defense of Israel. We have reached out to you, met with you, heard your requests to wait, and to give you more time and to understand how hard it is for you to reconsider your stance on Israel. We found hope when you opened your synagogue to an event by St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace and in the positive response to our words by many of the members of your congregation. We have wanted to trust — and still want to believe — that you too can be an ally in challenging Israel’s system of racial oppression, which is itself a form of white supremacy, as you challenge white supremacy here in the U.S.


December 28, 2015

German experiment will test whether the welfare state can be replaced by a basic guaranteed income


If basic income were to be implemented, the government would ultimately abolish the bureaucratic welfare state and would instead divide the money equally across the total population, without basing the payouts on status or qualifications of the applicant.

"A basic income paid out to everyone could unleash enormous amounts of creativity," said Bohmeyer, who left his internet startup business before forming his basic payment experiment, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Every few weeks, Bohmeyer picks more people through drawings to receive the monthly checks. The experiment team picks from a pool of more than 66,000 applicants. Drawings take place whenever enough donations are collected. So far, a total of 31,449 people have made donations.

Germany is not the only country considering implementing universal basic income; several other European countries have floated the idea, too.

December 27, 2015

Why Living in a Poor Neighborhood Can Make You Fat

The sheer stress of an environment contributes to obesity and diabetes.

Called “Moving to Opportunity,” the study was designed to answer a question that had divided social scientists and policymakers for decades: Did getting people off of welfare and other forms of social assistance depend on changing their social context?

More than a decade later, the researchers found that a lot of things hadn’t changed. Many people offered housing vouchers didn’t move. The people who did move to better neighborhoods didn’t change their diets or daily lifestyles. Their kids showed no improvement in reading or math scores. And moving didn’t make people any more or less economically self-sufficient, the question the study was designed to answer.

But as the experiment went on, researchers began encountering anecdotal evidence that surprised them. The people who moved out of poor neighborhoods were healthier. When they went back and measured the differences between people who got vouchers and people who didn’t, the results were remarkable: The people who got vouchers to move to low-poverty neighborhoods had significantly lower rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.


December 27, 2015

Flooding 'worst in 50 years', as 150,000 flee in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay

Days of heavy rains brought on by the El Nino weather phenomenon have caused three major rivers to swell, and officials report at least six deaths.
A state of emergency is in force in Paraguay, the worst hit nation, where 130,000 people have fled their homes.
In northern Argentina, some 20,000 people have left their homes.
Dry weather is forecast for the Brazil-Uruguay border region in the next few days, but in Paraguay and Argentina water levels are still expected to rise.


December 26, 2015

Black Lives Matter Protests Roil Cities Across The US

Demonstrators protesting police shootings of black men confronted last-minute holiday shoppers and travelers in California and the Midwest this week, seeing the crowds as an opportunity to draw attention to their cause.

In Chicago on Thursday, more than 100 demonstrators marched down North Michigan Avenue, the city’s premier shopping corridor, and laid down on the street for a “die-in.” They also blocked access to some stores where Christmas Eve shoppers were hoping to wrap up their tardy gift-buying.

A day earlier, shoppers and travelers also encountered demonstrators in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

On Wednesday afternoon, activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement shut down the southbound lanes of the 405 Freeway in Westchester for about 10 to 15 minutes, writing chalk messages on the pavement. Up to nine demonstrators were arrested.

“On one of the busiest travel days of the year, Black Lives Matter is calling for a halt on Christmas as usual in memorial of all of the loved ones we have lost and continue to lose this year to law enforcement violence without justice or recourse,” a statement from Black Lives Matter organizers said.


Emily Grossman, 36, was kept from getting an iPhone at the Apple Store. “I hate to put myself first, but this is BS,” she said.
Yeah, a-hole, yr i-phone is definitely more important than Black lives.

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