Mar 272008

My college-age son tells me that one of his professors recently pointed to a segment that Amy Goodman did on the Winter Soldier campaign and how the mainstream media isn’t covering it to talk about how stories get routinely disappeared by the forces of media as it were. I also pointed that out in a brief mention of how so much of women’s history has been disappeared and how it continues to be ignored.  But there is nothing unusual in significant stories not being reported.  The amount of significant human reality that is routinely and purposely not reported by the so-called purveyors of news is truly is beyond  belief, and the damage that does to our perception of what is real is truly devastating.
The following is yet another story that the mainstream press has blown off. Leuren Moret is a noted expert on depleted uranium. What she says in this interview is critically important, and for that reason we include it here in  its entirety. Yet please note the link–I found it in The Tehran Times!

Aishah Ali’s Interview with Geoscientist Leuren Moret

Originally published in Madame Chair Magazine (with apologies, I could not find a link for this)

“Ever since she knew about the devastating effects of radiation and depleted uranium pollution on the world as a result of nuclear weapons, geoscientist Leuren Moret has been on a crusade to stop wars and weapons testing.
The War Crimes Conference and Exhibition held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur recently was eye-opening and conscience-raising in its condemnation of the atrocities of war. During the three-day event, attendees gained insight into the horrors of past conflicts and the impending threat to our future if wars continue. Among the many impassioned pledges was a move to establish a War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia this year and try U.S. President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard for their roles in initiating the illegal Iraq war.

The Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalize War is a global movement introduced several years ago by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia. The February War Crimes Conference is the most recent of the annual events organized by the Perdana Global Peace Forum. The event fielded distinguished speakers who shared their expertise and showcased a number of war victims from Iraq and Palestine who gave a human face to the grim discourse with their heartrending testimonies.
Continue reading »

 March 27, 2008  Posted by on March 27, 2008 Comments Off on Interview With Leuren Moret on Depleted Uranium–The Tehran Times Covers This Critical Story That Is Ignored By Mainstream U.S. Media
Mar 262008

Wow, think I’ll stay out of Oklahoma for the time being…

“A man accused of using a camera to take pictures under the skirt of an unsuspecting 16-year-old girl at a Tulsa store did not commit a crime, a state appeals court has ruled.

The state Court of Criminal Appeals voted 4-1 in favor of Riccardo Gino Ferrante, who was arrested in 2006 for situating a camera underneath the girl’s skirt at a Target store and taking photographs.

Ferrante, now 34, was charged under a “Peeping Tom” statute that requires the victim to be “in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Testimony indicated he followed the girl, knelt down behind her and placed the camera under her skirt.”

“In January 2007, Tulsa County District Judge Tom Gillert ordered Ferrante’s felony charge dismissed. That was based upon a determination that “the person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy,” according to the appellate ruling issued last week.”

In a dissenting opinion, Appeals Judge Gary Lumpkin wrote,

“In other words, it is open season for peeping Toms in public places who want to look under a woman’s dress.” 

And according to defense attorney Kevin Adams,

“I think it is a scenario where the law has not caught up with technology.”

Oh what is wrong with this, let me count the ways…First of all, where exactly was this perv that he could get photos under the victim’s skirt–presumably somewhere down on the floor?  Seems to me that you do indeed have a reasonable expectation of not finding someone in that location taking pictures up your ass  while you are shopping. But lets not diminish the crime by calling this guy a peeping Tom, sounds much to neighborly  for a deviant violator of human rights.  And that is the precisely the point.  This isn’t a case of the law not catching up with technology, this is a case of not catching up with common sense, basic decency and women’s human rights.

 March 26, 2008  Posted by on March 26, 2008 1 Response »
Mar 262008

If anyone wants to help me figure out how to put YouTube videos in these posts, please feel free to chime in, but in the meantime, check out this great video from Feminist Majority via the wonderful women at Beauty and the Breast.

 March 26, 2008  Posted by on March 26, 2008 Comments Off on This Is What A Feminist Looks Like
Mar 262008

According to Al Jazeera,

“A recent editorial in the government-owned Kabul Times offered a stark reminder of the widespread acceptance of violence against women in Afghanistan. The editorial, which ran four days after International Women’s Day on March 8, was titled “A few reasons for violence against women.”

“We always condemn men who beat their wives or sisters … but overlook what some women do to invoke men’s ire. To begin with, there are numerous obstinate, groggy, nagging, quarrelsome, stingy and arguing women in this country who disturb the peace in their families. When they get charged they go on and on till they provoke their husbands to beat them black and blue.”

The apparent justification of violence against women was written by Abdul Haq, the English-language newspaper’s editor-in-chief. The acting editor, S. Ghiassi, told Al Jazeera that Haq could not comment on the issue because he was ill and hospitalised.”

Unfortunately, that attitude is all too indicative of the reality of women’s lives in Afghanistan and the violence that is perpetrated against women has nothing to do with how they conduct their lives. Rather, its cause lies in deep-rooted misogyny that continues despite the so-called liberation of Afghan women.

“A Unifem study, based on a primary database of violence covering 21 districts over a year-and-a-half during which 1,011 cases were registered, found that most of the cases of violence were a result of forced marriages.

The report also stated that the incidence of forced marriages is as high as 70 to 80 per cent, while 57 per cent of marriages are estimated to be before the legal age of 16.

“Afghanistan also suffers one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates – one woman dies every 29 minutes during child birth – and a female literacy rate that stands at 15.8 per cent, nearly half that of men.”

“A United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem) report cites documented cases of women who were killed after returning home.

“The initial violence is compounded by further violations of the victim as she approaches or comes into contact with different institutions of the State of community,” the report stated.”

“When the women or girls seek recourse from the government, they are further molested by the government representatives” and “most of the time women who report incidents of violence to the police end up in prison themselves”.

“An earlier report by the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also found that the majority of women prisoners in Afghanistan were being held for violating social, behavioural and religious norms.

Suzana Paklar, the head of Medica Mondiale, an NGO that provides support to women in war and crises zones, told Al Jazeera: “There is systematic oppression of women based on the deep-rooted belief that women have a lesser value.”

A woman is perceived as an ‘it’ rather than a ’she,’ Paklar said, adding that the problem in addressing the issue of violence against women in Afghanistan is that “we don’t have real options to offer women”.

“There is nothing really functional as protection,” she said.

The strong shame associated with a woman leaving her home, even if as a victim of abuse, makes reintegrating into society and family nearly impossible.

If she returns home, the victim may be killed. If she does not return home, it is likely she will face more violence as a result of being an ‘unattached woman’.

Currently, Afghanistan has only short-stay provisions for emergency cases, most of which do not allow women to keep their children.”

 March 26, 2008  Posted by on March 26, 2008 2 Responses »
Mar 252008

In the most recent Breast Cancer Action newsletter, BCA Executive Director Barbara Brenner notes that,

“A double standard seems to be operating that means far too many people are getting treatments that are not only very aggressive, but are also unnecessary and of no benefit. The double standard has to do with how little evidence is needed to bring a new treatment into regular use versus how much evidence is needed to stop a treatment once it’s been shown to be ineffective in a group of patients.”

By way of example, Brenner points to the use of the commonly used anthracyline Adriamycin (generic name doxorubicin) despite the fact that,

“For several years, Dennis Slamon, the person credited with the development of Herceptin, has been reporting on research that shows that women whose breast tumors overexpress the Her2/neu protein (HER2-positive) benefit from anthracyclines, but those whose breast tumors are HER2-negative do not. As Ralph Moss reported in his Cancer Decisions Newsletter in July 2007, a number of studies now support this conclusion and lead inevitably to the observation that women who do not overexpress Her2/neu (and an additional gene known as Topoll-2–topoisomerase II alpha) should not receive anthracyline treatment, because they won’t derive any benefit from the drug.

Then there is Taxol, that continues to be widely prescribed although “fewer than 20 percent of women with breast cancer have benefited from adding Taxol to adjuvant chemotherapy.

BCA also reports that,

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in January that it is reviewing two new studies that provide further evidence that the anemia drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) could be dangerous to breast cancer patients who receive them for treatment of chemotherapy-induced anemia.

The studies showed that patients with breast or advanced cervical cancers who received Aranesp, Epogen, or Procrit died sooner or had more rapid tumor growth than similar patients who did not receive the anemia drugs.

So why do doctors continue to prescribe these drugs even when their benefit is nil, and they may in fact be harmful? As Brenner observes,

“Why does it take so little to add an aggressive therapy to treatment, but so much to remove one when evidence shows that it’s not working? I think there are two reasons. One is that U.S. doctors in particular have been trained (as have many patients) to believe that hitting cancer as quickly and with as much treatment as possible is going to be more successful in saving lives than a less aggressive approach. Given this training, doctors probably fear giving up on a treatment that they think might help some patients. Making a mistake could have big consequences if it turns out that the indications for nontreatment are wrong, or if a patient has a recurrence that might not have happened with treatment and sues for malpractice.

The other is that there is a huge investment in these drugs, and a lot of money being made in producing and administering them. Financial interests stand in the way of many changes. They create a large ship that is very hard to turn in a new direction.”

 March 25, 2008  Posted by on March 25, 2008 Comments Off on Some Breast Cancer Chemo Drugs More Beneficial To Big Pharma Than To Patients