Sep 302007

If your understanding of what is happening in Myanmar/Burma boils down to thousands of marching monks in brightly colored robes, a military junta who is trying to stop them and one lone beloved, imprisoned woman who happens to be a Nobel Laureate, you are not alone. News reports make little mention of the many other women who are involved in this struggle. Yet as The Irrawaddy reports,

“Among the Burmese pro-democracy activists in hiding are many courageous and committed women who have played leading roles in the recent demonstrations against sharp price increases in fuel, which began on Aug 19.Authorities have been hunting down at least two dozen activists.

Pictures of leading activists, “wanted persons,” have been distributed to checkpoints in Rangoon and other cities.

The Irrawaddy is honored to profile a number of these exceptional women activists who are on the front lines in the struggle for democracy in Burma .”

Please follow the link to read the complete profiles of these women, but we name them here because it is so important that their lives and their work be a visible part of this struggle. The women profiled in the Irrawaddy article are:

Nilar Thein

Su Su Nway

Mie Mie

Phyu Phyu Thin

     September 30, 2007  Posted by on September 30, 2007 1 Response »
    Sep 282007

    Check out the following transcript of author Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman on Democracy Now verbally skewering (that’s probably putting it politely) former Fed chief Alan Greenspan. I thought it was quite brave when Greenspan appeared on Jon Stewart recently to plug his new book, but compared to the grilling he got from Goodman and Klein, Stewart’s swipes pale severely. Here are a few snippets:

    “NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I’m just wondering if it troubles Mr. Greenspan at all that wars over resources in other countries are actually illegal. Mr. Greenspan has praised the rule of law, the importance of the rule of law, in his book. But in his statements about the reasons why this has not been publicly discussed, he has said that it’s not politically expedient at this moment. But it’s not just that it’s not politically expedient, Mr. Greenspan. Are you aware that, according to the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?

    ALAN GREENSPAN: No. What I was saying is that the issue which, as you know, most people who were pressing for the war were concerned with were weapons of mass destruction. I personally believed that Saddam was behaving in a way that he probably very well had, almost certainly had, weapons of mass destruction. I was surprised, as most, that he didn’t. But what I was saying is that my reason for being pleased to see Saddam out of office had nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction. It had to do with the potential threat that he could create to the rest of the world.

    NAOMI KLEIN: Yes, I realize that, but he was not simply deposed. The US invaded Iraq, occupied it and took control over its resources. And under international law, that it is illegal to wage wars to gain access to other countries’, sovereign countries’, natural resources.”

    and then there is this:

    Continue reading »

     September 28, 2007  Posted by on September 28, 2007 Comments Off on And What About Naomi?*
    Sep 272007

    It has been a VERY perilous week for free speech.  The New York Times reports that,

    “Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

    The other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program, which allows people to sign up for text messages from Naral by sending a message to a five-digit number known as a short code.

    Text messaging is a growing political tool in the United States and a dominant one abroad, and such sign-up programs are used by many political candidates and advocacy groups to send updates to supporters.”

    Of course  like most cell phone service providers, downloading porn to a Verizon phone is a piece of cake and  obscene text messages  from spammers is a regular occurrence.  Did I mention my contract is coming due soon?

     September 27, 2007  Posted by on September 27, 2007 2 Responses »
    Sep 272007

    Many thanks to Heart for her post on how to assist the New Jersey 7. As one of the comments on her blog points out,

    “There are (two separate) online petitions for the Jena Six and for the New Jersey Lesbian Four ( The last I checked, the Jena Six petition had something like 119,000 signatures. The imprisoned lesbians have exactly 528 signatures.”

    These women need our help!

     September 27, 2007  Posted by on September 27, 2007 2 Responses »
    Sep 272007

    Riane Eisler has an excellent piece posted on Alternet that examines the intimate relationship between porn and militarism:

    “But if war propaganda is effective in dehumanizing members of “enemy” nations to make it possible for men to hurt, kill, and degrade other human beings — as it clearly is — why would images of women as merely body parts for male sexual use and abuse not have similar effects? Why, like other propaganda, would stories and images that dehumanize women not blind people to the reality of women’s suffering? If linking sex with violence had no effect on behavior, why would savvy media professionals link sex with whatever they are trying to sell — from cars to Coca-Cola — to influence peoples’ behavior?”

    She also asks some hard (and totally on the mark) questions about why so many liberals insist on seeing porn as a free speech issue:

    “It’s time liberals come out of denial about pornography. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves that linking sex with cruelty and violence has no real effect.Chaining, whipping and even killing people in the name of sexual pleasure is sadism. But liberal groups like the ACLU still go to court to protect violent and degrading porno on the grounds of free speech. Of course, we want free speech. But there have always been legal limits to speech. The basis of libel and slander suits, for example, is that you can’t use speech to vilify and harm others. Porno vilifies and harms women. And it harms us all. It’s not accidental that the period leading up to the Iraq war coincided with the proliferation of degrading and violent porno. Social scientists have shown that a rise in images of sexual conquest and domination historically presage periods of repression and war.”

     September 27, 2007  Posted by on September 27, 2007 Comments Off on Riane Eisler on War, Porn and Free Speech