This is a personal blog. I talk sense and nonsense.
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Using feminist causes for propagandistic ends should not be confused with genuine feminism…since it undermines efforts to reach gender equality in two ways.

First, it perpetuates conflict through stereotyping and emnification, conflicts in which women often suffer disproportionately. If we are following global affairs critically, we should be conscious of these dynamics and find ways to promote women’s human rights without contributing to war propaganda. Second, pointing fingers at “Them” blinds “Us” to ways in which our own institutions and policies also perpetuate harmful gendered practices. Too often the media spotlight on barbaric foreigners closes the space for feminist activists on the home front to press for greater gender equity at home. And simplistic narratives of bad men oppressing women in foreign lands obscure the complexity of these practices – which implicate and affect men as well as women – and too often substitute for exploring efforts at change.

Charli Carpenter on that BS story about ISIS and FGM that was circulating last week

I think this commentary also applies to much of the western conversation around head-covering by Muslim women.

Paul Ryan: “My plan will end poverty by forcing the poor to sign contracts saying they will get off food stamps and start a hedge fund.”

Story:

The Worst Part Of Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is Based On A Media Myth

(via teapartycat)

The “discussion draft” submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the House Budget Committee on potential solutions to poverty in America includes the proposal that low-income Americans would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps, or SNAP. The contract would include: benchmarks, such as finding a job, enrolling in employment training, or even meeting “new acquaintances outside circle of poverty”; a “timeline” in which individuals are contractually-obligated to meet those benchmarks; bonuses for meeting benchmarks early; and “sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract”:

I’m sure giving the impoverished even more paperwork to deal with will help them not be poor anymore. As with almost all libertarians, Paul Ryan is secretly a major fan of big government—as long as it’s used to crush people other than him.

It’s funny that Ryan is so hellbent on ‘reforming’ entitlements like Social Security. It seemed to work fine for him. You all remember that he paid for college using Social Security survivor benefits, right?

(via mediamattersforamerica)

Hamas Didn’t Kidnap the Israeli Teens After All →

When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay,” he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region.

This is a “conflict” that has resulted in the deaths of over 800 Palestinians, most of them civilians (~80%), and many of them children (about 192). There have been 36 Israeli deaths. Most of them were soldiers and most of them occurred after the ground invasion of Gaza. Given those details, does this look like merely a “conflict” to you or a massacre?

I do not normally indulge in this kind of speculation, but given how Israel has been behaving lately, I would not be surprised if these allegations are true:

Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora. Writing for Al Jazeera, Musa al-Gharbi argued that Israel was deliberately provoking Hamas:

All the illegal and immoral actions related to Operation Brother’s Keeper were justified under the premise of finding and saving the missing teens whom the Israeli government knew to be dead — cynically exploiting the tragedy to whip up public outcry in order to provoke and then confront Hamas.

Never forget that American arms, money, and political support are helping enable Israel’s godforsaken butchery.

knitmeapony:

dynastylnoire:

hikergirl:

Here is the link to the City Lab article and the link to the actual website, Turn On Detroit’s Water.
h/t to amomenttothink for retweeting this.

boooooooooooooooooost

IMPORTANT.

knitmeapony:

dynastylnoire:

hikergirl:

Here is the link to the City Lab article and the link to the actual website, Turn On Detroit’s Water.

h/t to amomenttothink for retweeting this.

boooooooooooooooooost

IMPORTANT.

(via youcrashquimssaysfuckthepolice)

…[B]y this weekend Israel was so clearly losing the public relations war that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to reporters, tersely, that Hamas uses “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.”



If Netanyahu is so bothered by how dead Palestinians look on television then he should stop killing so many of them….

aka14kgold:

noor3amoor:

If these font sizes don’t speak to the relative value of Palestinian life, I don’t know what does.

Not just the font—after all, “Hamas militants step up attacks”? Yeah, that’s not really the problem. Note, as well, that they never say Palestinians are killed, just the death toll itself.

They’re just trying to be fair and balanced. Everyone knows 1 Israeli life = over 165 Palestinian lives.

aka14kgold:

noor3amoor:

If these font sizes don’t speak to the relative value of Palestinian life, I don’t know what does.

Not just the font—after all, “Hamas militants step up attacks”? Yeah, that’s not really the problem. Note, as well, that they never say Palestinians are killed, just the death toll itself.

They’re just trying to be fair and balanced. Everyone knows 1 Israeli life = over 165 Palestinian lives.

(via teallikethecolor)

smdxn:

Largest US sentence reduction in history approved for drug offenders

The federal agency that sets criminal sentencing policies for judges voted on Friday to allow tens of thousands of inmates serving time for drug crimes to apply for reduced sentences, the largest such sentencing reduction in modern U.S. history.
The unanimous vote by the seven members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission will apply to most drug offenders in federal prisons, according to the commission.
Their decision came after the commission studied the results of a similar 2007 vote that affected only those serving time for crack cocaine offenses and found that inmates released early posed no greater risk of committing another crime than those who served their full terms…
Congress has until November 1 to disapprove of the commission’s decision. If lawmakers let the new rules stand, judges across the country can begin considering individual petitions from inmates for sentence reductions, but no prisoners can be released until Nov. 1, 2015, according to a special rule added by the commissioners.

smdxn:

Largest US sentence reduction in history approved for drug offenders

The federal agency that sets criminal sentencing policies for judges voted on Friday to allow tens of thousands of inmates serving time for drug crimes to apply for reduced sentences, the largest such sentencing reduction in modern U.S. history.

The unanimous vote by the seven members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission will apply to most drug offenders in federal prisons, according to the commission.

Their decision came after the commission studied the results of a similar 2007 vote that affected only those serving time for crack cocaine offenses and found that inmates released early posed no greater risk of committing another crime than those who served their full terms…

Congress has until November 1 to disapprove of the commission’s decision. If lawmakers let the new rules stand, judges across the country can begin considering individual petitions from inmates for sentence reductions, but no prisoners can be released until Nov. 1, 2015, according to a special rule added by the commissioners.

(via cognitivedissonance)

US terrorist database growing at rapid rate →

The U.S. government is rapidly expanding the number of names it accepts for inclusion on its terrorist watch list, with more than 1.5 million added in the last five years, according to numbers divulged by the government in a civil lawsuit.

About 99 percent of the names submitted are accepted, leading to criticism that the government is “wildly loose” in its use of the list.

There’s no public, official way of challenging your status or getting yourself off of this list. The government is trying to have this civil suit dismissed because they claim it will expose state secrets if it proceeds.

Gadeir Abbas, who is representing the plaintiff in this case, said in response to the disclosure,

"There aren’t 1 million people who are known or suspected terrorists," Abbas said after the hearing. "This suggests the standard the government is applying is wildly loose."

To put this number in perspective, the population of Philadelphia—the fifth largest U.S. city—is roughly 1.5 million. And those are just the people who have been added to this secret list in the last five years. If there are that many known or suspected terrorists running around, then I reckon we should have been experiencing terrorist attacks on a near-daily basis.

thinksquad:

Portraits of four Pennsylvania lawmakers that hang in the State Capitol building in Harrisburg will now indicate they were convicted of a crime.

“There was a question: ‘Do you remove the portraits or do you do something else?’” said Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Speaker Sam Smith, a Republican from Punxsutawney. “You can’t change history, whether you like it or not. There was a feeling you should keep the portraits out there and let people make up their own mind.”

The lawmakers’ criminal activity will now be inscribed on a plaque that identifies their portraits, and is a result of several members concern over what to do following the two most recent convictions in 2011 and 2012.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/07/17/pennsylvania-will-now-shame-convicted-lawmakers-with-plaques-that-note-their-crimes/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

Monopolies bad, libraries good

This post about libraries reminded me of this story about how Netflix is ending Saturday shipments.

Kevin Drum predicts,

And so it begins. A few years from now, I assume Netflix will be out of the physical disc business entirely, which means it will be impossible to watch anything more than a few years old.

Well no, not as long as public libraries are still around. Though big business interests are doing their best to keep urging tax cuts that end up closing libraries.

So here we are. Netflix has helped drive video rental places like Blockbuster out of business. Then Netflix begins to phase out DVD delivery to focus on their streaming business. Yet there’s strong evidence that internet providers like Verizon are deliberately throttling Netflix streams. And they’re also shifting customers to plans that resemble the ones for our mobile phones, with built-in caps and all kinds of extra fees and penalties for going over your allotted amount. Meanwhile, the U.S. has some of the worst internet service in the world.

Yeah, the unrestrained “free market” has done a wonderful job of providing us with all the books and movies we need in the most efficient manner.

…The Congressman was trying to pester [Tianna Gaines-Turner] on the whole “government dependence” bore…In response to the pestering, she says that she isn’t “dependent on the program,” but [is] in fact “independent on the program.” This is an impressively clever retort that deserves to be popularized.

Matt Bruenig on the brilliant ways Gaines-Turner, a woman who testfieid about her experiences with poverty at a congressional hearing, responded to Republican assholery. Democratic leadership could learn a thing or two from her!

To be fair though, outsmarting a congressional Republican is probably easy compared to the rigors of dealing with poverty on a daily basis.

We have always been a nation of immigrants… who hate the newer immigrants.

On the Republicans’ hatred of immigrant children coming to the U.S. hoping for a better life, JON STEWART, The Daily Show (via inothernews)

…the Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule…

— From a White House memo opposing H.R. 5016 which, among other things, would block funding for D.C.’s marijuana legalization bill. I love that the administration is flat-out trolling Republicans these days.

…At the time of writing this blogpost, the current death score is 159-0…Anybody who is not parti pris can see that the Netanyahu government has partially contrived and partially been trapped by a domestic political climate that requires them to kill numbers of Palestinians in order to satisfy the Israeli electorate. Of course there’s the usual blather about “operatives” and “terrorist infrastructure”, but it is hard to take seriously the idea that anyone believes this as a description of Israeli aims…lots of people in political power in the West think they have to go along with the story and pay lip service to Israel’s “right to defend itself”, even though concretely this takes the form of airstrikes against densely populated urban areas with predictable civilian deaths. Meanwhile, those who speak for the Israeli government go around claiming that no state could tolerate missiles being fired into its territory and that any state would have to retaliate. This is false, indeed absurd: much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic.

Chris Bertram, “Bullshitting About Gaza

Bertram posted this yesterday. The “death score” is now 175-0.

memegop:

‪#‎MemeGOP‬ ‪#‎UniteBlue
From HPayne@14ufs

Cubans are treated as a special case because of the conservative fear/hatred of communism + the fact that Cubans are basically the only Latin@s in this country that consistently vote Republican
If you’re a refugee and your plight doesn’t resonate with conservatives’ greed, fear, or desire to warmonger, then you’re out of luck.

memegop:

‪#‎MemeGOP‬ ‪#‎UniteBlue

From HPayne@14ufs

Cubans are treated as a special case because of the conservative fear/hatred of communism + the fact that Cubans are basically the only Latin@s in this country that consistently vote Republican

If you’re a refugee and your plight doesn’t resonate with conservatives’ greed, fear, or desire to warmonger, then you’re out of luck.

(via apsies)