Reposted from ShoshannaD by ShoshannaDEditor's Note: One year, let's hope we don't see another one/sh -- ShoshannaD
This is an anniversary no one, no one would want.
It has been a year since the girls in Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram. As we know a brave and fortunate small group of them escaped almost immediately. But there are still over 200 girls who are lost to their families. Whose whereabouts we don't know. Along with so many others.
Although I am not a big fan of military action, I was pleased to see that a coalition that included Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon worked together to take back some of the ground seized by Boko Haram. So far, however, they have not located the girls. And while the newly elected President has promised to do whatever they can to find them, he was careful not to promise to bring them home.
But I continue to hope. I continue to remember. Facebook link to the Bring Back Our Girls page below the fold if you want to follow it. And there is a link to an Amnesty International article with a link to take action (please be warned, this article is quite disturbing). Home, we all want them home.
And I'm gonna keep on writing about her, and signing petitions, and making phone calls to the Senate (The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121). Every day that passes we learn of new atrocities taking place against members of our community, and the god-damned vicious petty demagogues who sit on their larded behinds in seats paid for by our tax dollars refuse to fill one of the most important cabinet positions in this nation. They got no shame.
Those are the words used by the Federation of South African women when they marched 20,000 strong in 1956 protesting pass laws. These words were echoed in the outcry of women in North Carolina recently...angry about the continued delay in confirming their sister North Carolinian to become Attorney General of the United States.
While the Senate fiddles its chorus of hate and division, many segments of our nation are burning. Relations between people of color and the broken “justice” systems in our cities are strained. Thoughtful Justice Department guidance about fixing these dysfunctional systems needs strong, sensible and sober leadership now.
I don’t believe it’s Lynch’s color that has led Burr and Tillis to oppose her for the position, but rather their fear of her character, courage and commitment to enforce the law and Constitution that have been shaped by her upbringing in the crucible civil rights struggle. They have both acknowledged that she is highly qualified and that she would enforce the law. Yet they have also both passed and supported voter suppression laws and positions on civil rights as it relates to immigrants, LGBT people and women that are regressive and currently facing serious legal scrutiny.
I believe they are afraid of an attorney general who will enforce the Constitution to its fullest and not turn a blind eye to the law or blatant discrimination. And in this sense, their opposition to her is about race. It is the attorney general who has the ability to address systemic inequality, which includes racism, sexism, classicism, homophobia, immigration fearmongering or any other “ism” that violates the right of all citizens to equal protection under the law guaranteed by our constitution.
Which is why the delay in the Senate is a shame – for Lynch, for the Department of Justice, for North Carolina and for our nation. Her story personifies the success those in our communities can see when we create opportunity instead of division. When Burr and Tillis return to the Senate after recess, they should lead with a higher moral conviction and confirm their fellow North Carolinian to be the next attorney general.
The news media, and major blogs haven't been ignoring this. The bullshit Republican promises made that this would be settled as soon as their eminences got back from Easter break have been broken.
Hundreds of miles from Washington, longtime residents of Durham, North Carolina, were beaming with pride. Lynch's family moved to the city when she was a child. Her parents, married for 60 years, still live there. They watched the announcement on television.
"That was encouraging but I knew then that we had a fight on our hands," said Lynch's father, the Rev. Lorenzo Lynch. "I've been in politics most of my life. I know that nothing is certain, and I know that nothing is easy."
Lorenzo Lynch, 82, is a retired Baptist preacher and was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor of Durham in 1973. For the next round of his daughter's "fight," he traveled to Washington in late January to attend his daughter's confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee.
"I heard a lot at that hearing that I've heard since childhood. That is the presupposition of the mindset," Lorenzo Lynch said. "The dual system or the dual treatment."
When asked to provide specific examples, Lorenzo Lynch deferred to the state branch of the NAACP and E. Lavonia Allison, a Durham activist who has known Loretta Lynch since the family moved to Durham. "I don't want to think about the epidermis, but some people are thinking that way," Allison said, suggesting that Lynch's confirmation vote has been delayed because Lynch is African-American.
"When it has taken so long, when it has been so different from any other person who has been nominated ... how else can we interpret that it is so different?" Allison said.
Lawmakers return to Washington this week following a two-week spring break. Loretta Lynch, meanwhile, remains stuck in procedural purgatory with little to suggest that the partisan fighting that has trapped her there will end anytime soon.
It has now been more than five months since President Obama formally tapped Lynch to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder atop the Department of Justice, and more than one month since the Judiciary Committee finally got around to officially signing off on her nomination. Despite that extended delay—which has now lasted longer than the combined time the previous eight nominees for the job had to wait for confirmation—Senate Republicans have made it clear that they won’t give Lynch a vote until the chamber settles an unrelated, and potentially unending, fight over abortion funding in a human trafficking bill currently stalled in the upper chamber.
Kentucky was not an accidental choice by Toni Morrison for the horrific origin of her Nobel-prize winning classic, Beloved. Sweet Home, the Kentucky plantation in Morrison's story, represents America and how the depravity of American slavery required destroying any sign of excellence among Africans who lived there.
Fast forward more than 100 years from Morrison's novel: the United States Senate, still in the first days of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's leadership, has chosen to advance this shameful legacy of ignoring black excellence by delaying the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to the position of attorney general. The Senate leadership's deafening silence over the past four months extends a disgrace that predates this nation's Constitution.
Lynch has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues, supervisors and even the Senate Judiciary Committee over her spectacular career. Her recent prosecutions of Citibank and HSBC demonstrate a commitment to the law that will inspire a new generation of legal minds in the 21st century. Her record of sustained excellence does not deserve the smug derision that partisan senators have offered this year. Yet, their recalcitrance should have been anticipated, as this continues the historic demagoguery we have witnessed over the last six years.
In their blind devotion to saying no to all-things-Obama, members of the right wing have proven yet again that they are willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of our democratic system to draw blood from their commander in chief as he prepares to leave the White House in just two very short years. But in bludgeoning Obama, they also bloody the republic, dismantling the rights and protections of women and minority groups in their bumbling effort to get the man who could not be gotten. Are these extremists racists? Are they sexist? These become moot points when they are willing to directly assault those most different from them to get to a man they were unable to defeat in 2008 or 2012.
Republicans have been unsuccessful in all of their attempts to beat the president at the ballot box, break him or get him to genuflect as they see fit. He’s taken them head-on and refused to bow or accept their disrespect. So great is the hatred of some against the president, that they are willing to keep the much-maligned Eric Holder in place rather than give the president a vote on his nominee.
This strategy would make sense if it were a winning one, but in light of changing demographics, it trades logic for the instant gratification of trolling Lynch’s nomination with abortion fights and amnesty digs, believing they will only be riling the opposition, forgetting all the women, African Americans, Latinos, LGBT people and others caught in their wake of hate.
These fools think they are simply dissin' the President. Well they are dissin' us all.
Celebrated globally on 8 March, International Women's Day will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women's rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This is the time to uphold women's achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women's rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in her message to the world for International Women's Day 2015, said, "We call on countries to 'step it up' for gender equality." She speaks of the goal to reach "Planet 50:50" before 2030.
Follow me below the fold for both the history and current events around the nation and in the rest of the world for International Women's Day and beyond.
Reposted from Meteor Blades by ShoshannaDEditor's Note: They still need us/sh -- ShoshannaD
Women and children gather around burnt homes in Baga, Nigeria, last April after an attack by Boko Haram killed an estimated 200 residents. Reports are that perhaps 2,000 were killed in attacks there nine days ago.
Faith Karimi and Aminu Abubakar of CNN report that nine days after the ultra-extremist gang Boko Haram slaughtered an estimated 2,000 Nigerian civilians in Baga Jan. 3, the bodies are still scattered around the town and authorities and surviving residents fear going there to bury them.
Baga is located in Borno state, on the shores of Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria where the boundaries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon intersect. The self-proclaimed Islamicist group has been kidnapping and killing civilians in the area since 2009. Nine months ago, it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. Some have escaped. It is said that many of those still held have been forced into marriages with Boko Haram fighters whose exact numbers are unknown but probably amount to a few thousand:
No emergency crews will enter the villages where militants are still running amok, local authorities said.
"Baga is not accessible because it is still occupied by Boko Haram," said Sen. Maina Ma'aji Lawan of northern Borno state. […]
Amnesty International called the massacre Boko Haram's "deadliest act."
"If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as 2,000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram's ongoing onslaught," said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
Some 30,000 residents of Baga and the surrounding villages have fled, authorities say. An estimated 1,000 went to an island in Lake Chad and are now cut off.
Please head below the fold for more on this story.
August 26, 1970 Women’s March for Equality, Fifth Avenue, NYC,
on the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Photo: Diana Davies
More than 20,000 people, mostly women, marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City on August 26, 1970, for the largest gathering ever seen at that time to demand reproductive rights, repeal of anti-abortion laws, creation of child-care centers, and equal opportunity for women in jobs and education. It was called the "Woman's Strike for Equality," and there were similar events taking place across the nation. The march in New York City was scheduled for 5 PM so that working women could attend. It has been spoken of as the seminal event of what is referred to as the "second wave" of feminism.
History was made that day, but too few of these "her-stories" have been passed on to a new generation of women and men who are facing a wave of repressive right-wing legislation aimed at rolling back our hard-won gains. Each year that I teach in an introduction to women's studies class, I am stunned at how little students know about what is, to me, recent history.
Most high school curricula give the women's movement short shrift, and pay even less attention to discussions of feminism. That needs to change, and change it will if we take our daughters and sons and nieces and nephews and grandchildren to the movies this holiday season (and beyond) to see the documentary film, She's Beautiful When She's Angry, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles and should soon be available in a theater near you. My students are telling their younger brothers and sisters to demand this history be taught. And the first step is to realize it exists.
In an intense conversation last week with a group of my students about issues surrounding rape and sexual assault, one of the young women in the group shared her experience with having been roofied at an off-campus frat house party. She was one of the the lucky ones—she wasn't raped—a friend got her out of there. She was made violently ill by what had been slipped into her drink. She could have died. Her disclosures gave other young people listening to her story permission to share their own.
Too many had stories to tell.
We talked about what they do at parties, safety measures they take to protect themselves, and what they can do to take action. Every year we hold these discussions, and every year too many young women, and some of the young men, have had personal experiences with being raped and violated. All of my students know someone who has been attacked.
I walked out of there angry—as I am every semester. Before I left I asked if they were aware of the new White House initiative around campus rape and sexual assault?
Few were. Now they all are.
It's on us to spread the word about It's On Us and other initiatives across the nation and around the world. Last week here in the U.S. there was a National Week of Action:
...an effort to mobilize students to take action to prevent sexual assault. This week, colleges and universities will host more than 130 events and over 40 schools have created their own It's On Us PSAs, including GW, MIT, Northwestern and UCLA.
Jon Hamm, Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne, Questlove and others join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in support of the It’s On Us campaign, imploring all of us to stand up, step in, and stop sexual assault.
Corporations get enormous benefits that regular “persons” do not. One of the biggest is limited liability. This means that the shareholders are not liable for the debts of the corporation. A corporation can get in a lot of trouble, financial and otherwise, and then just close up shop, divide its assets to its creditors, and the shareholders can just walk away losing only the money they originally put in. While it might be a “person” to certain members of the Supreme Court, there is no person to be made to work off the debt or to put in jail.
Corporations also enjoy lower tax rates than people do. (Except for the people who make a gain from the shares: they get a special, even lower tax rate called “capital gains.” Why is this? The capital gains tax rate is lower because the wealthiest make most of their income from capital gains, and the wealthiest make most of their income from capital gains because the capital gains tax rate is lower.)
And of course, corporate “persons” never have to die.
In return, we the people of the United States ask corporations to pitch in to help pay for the roads and courts and schools and scientific research and government contracts and the rest of the things that have helped make them the prosperous entities they are. But a number of American corporations are so fed up with the idea that should pay their taxes that they are actually renouncing their U.S. citizenship. These corporations are “leaving” the U.S. to dodge taxes—but their executives, employees, offices, stores, customers etc. are still here. The only thing that is really leaving the country is the requirement to pay U.S. taxes.
These corporations are able to “leave” the U.S. by engaging in something called inversion. Explaining an inversion is a bit complicated. A U.S. company buys or merges with a non-U.S. company, and the result is that the U.S. company can be considered to be a company from the other country. But at the same time the company keeps most of its operations, etc. inside the U.S. The result is that it might still owe taxes on income reported as made in the U.S., but it owes no taxes on income elsewhere.
Here are five companies—only a handful of the total—that have or are trying to renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes to help cover the benefits they receive.
In early July the House passed an amendment by a vote of 221-200 denying federal contracts to American companies that have reincorporated in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands. This is not yet law, but is attached to the Energy/Water appropriations bill. It is a beginning, but only lists these two tax haven countries and won’t affect Walgreens, should it make itself appear to be a Swiss company.
The Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014 is a more comprehensive effort that “increases the needed percentage change in stock ownership from 20 percent to 50 percent and provides that the merged company will nevertheless continue to be treated as a domestic U.S. company for tax purposes if management and control of the merged company remains in the U.S. and either 25 percent of its employees or sales or assets are located in the U.S.”
Republicans will obstruct the bill. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the legislation would save $19.5 billion over 10 years.
This would be a start toward fixing this problem. A small start, admittedly, but a start.
Activists to seek more attention for Nigerian girls on their 100th day of captivity.
Wednesday, July 23, marks the 100th day of captivity for the Nigerian girls abducted by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. On the night of April 14-15, 276 girls were taken from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok. Since then, 57 have escaped, but 219 are still captives. Since they were taken, seven of their fathers have been killed in the siege of their town and four other parents have died from heart attacks and other stress-related ailments authorities are blaming on the kidnappings.
The Bring Back Our Girls Campaign has planned a number of Wednesday events in Nigeria and several other countries to focus renewed attention on the situation.
In the United States, a candlelight vigil will begin at the Nigerian Consulate in New York City at 4 PM ET. The purpose is to encourage the federal government of Nigeria to deploy more resources to bring the missing girls home. The consulate is located at 828 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—AK-AL: Palin scandal shakes up House race:
Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska, and a hugely popular one, with approval ratings hovering in the 90 percent range. She was even discussed as a potential VP pick for McCain.
Or, that used to be the case, as her administration is rocked by revelations that she and her family used the governor's office to carry out a vendetta against a policeman who was a former brother in-law, up to firing the public safety commissioner because he wouldn't fire the trooper. The top wingnut radio host in the state, a huge fan, has turned on the governor big-time, declaring her a one-term governor. The Republican-dominated state legislature is talking investigations. For a state party rocked by scandal, who had seen Palin as a savior—clean and new, this abuse of power scandal has to be crushing.
Palin doesn't face the voters for another two years, but this scandal has more immediate aftershocks.
We all want Rep. Don Young in the general, as his years of corruption have caught up to him. Polls are showing that Alaskans want change, and Democrats are poised to pick up the seat. Threatening those plans are a competitive Republican primary, as the GOP desperately tries to oust Young and replace him with a less tarnished name.
Lucky for us, two Republicans entered the fray, splitting the anti-Young vote. But one of those two was a top contender—Lt. Governor Sean Parnell. Can you see where this is going?
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, following historical precedent, Republicans who predicted doom in the passage of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Clinton budget & stimulus program, and the Obama stimulus plan, and were wrong on each count, are now also wrong on predictions of skyrocketing premium costs under the ACA. Greg Dworkin discusses this, GA-Sen., Schumer's op-ed backing "top-two" open primaries, and the still-imaginary Elizabeth Warren candidacy. Later, we respond to listener comments, critique the Schumer op-ed, announce the Halbig news, and clarify yesterday's information about Iceland's protest political party, the "Best Party."
For two weeks, retired teacher Samson Dawah prayed for news of his niece Saratu, who was among more than 230 schoolgirls snatched by Boko Haram militants in the north-eastern Nigerian village of Chibok. Then on Monday the agonising silence was broken.
When Dawah called together his extended family members to give an update, he asked that the most elderly not attend, fearing they would not be able to cope with what he had to say. "We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls. They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants," Dawah told his relatives.
Saratu's father fainted; he has since been in hospital. The women of the family have barely eaten. "My wife keeps asking me, why isn't the government deploying every means to find our children," Dawah said. The marriage reports have not been confirmed officially, and rely on eyewitnesses.
Now I wanna tell you a story. I'm gonna ask ya'all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.
So said the character Jake Tyler Brigance in the movie A Time to Kill (1996).
I want to invite you to try out a similar exercise. I want to tell you about the horrific case of the mass abduction of over 200 school girls. Some of you on here may have heard about this before. Kossack terrypinder told their story here
Last Monday marked two weeks since the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has been holding up to 191 teenage girls hostage with total impunity in the Sambisa Forest. The girls, aged mostly between 16 and 18 years old, haven’t been heard from since April 14, the night before their final exam at the Government Girls Secondary School in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok when they woke to the sound of gunmen bashing in windows and setting fire to their classrooms. Within hours, 234 of them were herded into trucks headed for the jungle. As many as 43 managed to escape. Some swung down from trucks in the slow-moving convoy; others ran off when they reached the forest.
Hundreds of girls ranging in ages 16 to 18 were kidnapped, faced rape and death and nary a peep from the US media? But, you say, this didn't happen here, why are you so hard on our news organizations? True, but did you see the amount of man hours and resources devoted to the missing plane by our media? The amount of breaking news banners unfurled by cable news? What about the sinking of the South Korean ferry? The missing English girl, Madeline McCann, in Portugal? The case of Maria, a beautiful white child who was found with a Roma family in Greece? See? I knew her name and I knew it because the media covered the story from every angle.
Now a series of questions for you: Do you know the name of any of the over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram? Have you seen any pictures of them? Have you met any of their parents? Teachers? Have you seen any breaking news banner on CNN about them?
Now close your eyes and let's go back to John Grisham:
(Paraphrasing) Can you see them? I want you to picture those girls. Now imagine that they are white. The defense rests your honor.