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A massive feminist protest? When? Where?

Last Wednesday, a massive feminist strike paralyzed the streets of Barcelona, with thousands of women and their allies shutting down traffic and the subways, spray-painting feminist slogans all over city walls and occupying the offices of powerful political and economic institutions.

What massive feminist strike, you say? Maybe you didn't hear about the thousands of Spanish feminists taking over Barcelona because not a single major English-language news source reported on it.

The strike was part of a series of protests in Spain recently regarding the painful economic situation there - which may be something we'll see here in the Unites States in the not-too-distant future.

Spain has seen many labor-related general strikes in recent years, but rarely do those acknowledge women's issues. The list of problems left out of the conversation, according to the site, includes (roughly translated from Catalan) "compulsory maternity," violence against women, "labor reforms that deepen inequality already faced by women" and the cuts to social welfare and utilities that "increase the hours women devote to the care and attention of people."

While [you] may have read about Spain's three-day student strikes that also took place this week, you probably...didn't read that Wednesday's Vaga De Totes ("Everything Strike") brought together more than 600 different feminist and community groups over the course of a year of organizing that culminated in one riot grrrl-like takeover of Barcelona.

Take a look at the entire article. There are photos, links, and a video.
Vaga De Totes says they are organizing an even bigger women's strike in the spring of 2015. Maybe by then, the international press will have learned to care about masses of women marching through the streets.
Spread the word!

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM PDT

The Arab World is Disintegrating

by J Graham

According to this piece in Politico, it is, and Obama will be fighting a losing battle:

With his decision to use force against the violent extremists of the Islamic State, President Obama is doing more than to knowingly enter a quagmire. He is doing more than play with the fates of two half-broken countries—Iraq and Syria—whose societies were gutted long before the Americans appeared on the horizon. Obama is stepping once again—and with understandably great reluctance—into the chaos of an entire civilization that has broken down.

Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world...

No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century.

The writer goes on to talk about the power-shifts over time from monarchies to secular dictators to Islamist fundamentalist groups, and though it became clear in 2011 with the Arab Spring that there is a deep desire among the Arab people for democracy, for the moment democracy seems like a distant dream.  He concludes his article, in part, with this:
Almost every Muslim era, including the enlightened ones, has been challenged by groups that espouse a virulent brand of austere, puritanical and absolutist Islam. They have different names, but are driven by the same fanatical, atavistic impulses...

Yes, it is misleading to lump—as some do—all Islamist groups together, even though all are conservative in varying degrees. As terrorist organizations, al Qaeda and Islamic State are different from the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative movement that renounced violence years ago, although it did dabble with violence in the past.

Nonetheless, most of these groups do belong to the same family tree—and all of them stem from the Arabs’ civilizational ills...

My generation of Arabs was told by both the Arab nationalists and the Islamists that we should man the proverbial ramparts to defend the “Arab World” against the numerous barbarians (imperialists, Zionists, Soviets) massing at the gates. Little did we know that the barbarians were already inside the gates, that they spoke our language and were already very well entrenched in the city.

What do you think of this?  Please join me for more below the fold.
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National Public Radio reported yesterday about a new bill in Tennessee waiting for the governor's signature that will make it a crime for women to give birth to drug-addicted babies. Though the bill contains a provision that would allow pregnant mothers to seek treatment instead of doing jail time - up to 15 years if convicted for aggravated assault - the new law is expected to deter women from the treatment they might otherwise have sought out if not for the threat of punishment. Sadly, this bill "enjoys bi-partisan support - despite objections from doctors."

As anyone in the addiction field could tell the Tennessee legislature, addiction is an illness, not a crime. The lack of understanding of medical science combined with sexism and a need to blame has resulted in a bill that will create more suffering and more crime when it becomes law.

It seems that Democrats are not immune to making bad choices for women.


The short answer is that no one knows.

Much has been written recently about the radioactive ocean-water plume that is due to hit the west coast sometime this year, possibly as soon as next month. The problem is that although we have models that predicts its arrival, we don't know exactly what the amount of radiation will be or where along the coast the radiation will end up.  

Higher-than-normal levels of radiation have already been detected in tuna and kelp in various places along the North America west coast, from Canada to southern California, most likely as a result of radiation contamination brought from Fukushima by air currents. But a big blast from the destroyed nuclear plant is arriving by sea now.

It's estimated that we will receive higher levels of radiation for 6 - 9 years, but that estimate may be based on the single event of the March 11, 2011 explosion.  Radiation-contaminated water has been leaking continuously from the damaged plant since the explosion.  And Tepco, the owner of the Fukushima plant, is planning to dump all of the radioactive water still housed there into the ocean, at some point.

How much exposure are we receiving? How bad is it going to get? What can we do to protect ourselves? These questions have not been satisfactorily answered. Conspiracy theories abound, people are taking their own Geiger counters to beaches to test for radioactivity, blogs are written predicting one million future deaths from radiation, articles are written counseling calm in the face of uncertainty.

What's lacking is an ocean-water testing program by the federal government.  The reason for this is that, unlike airborne radiation testing, testing for radioactivity in ocean water is not covered by any existing government agency! This has essentially fallen through the regulatory cracks. One ocean-radiation scientist, Ken Buessler, has taken it upon himself to do the testing. He is asking people to donate to his efforts. Another scientist is planning to test kelp in the waters off the California coast.

It's time to put pressure on our public officials to fund a testing program!

Other links of interest:

Five Things You Need to Know About the Radioactive Plume Approaching the West Coast

What Is The ACTUAL Risk for Pacific Coast Residents from Fukushima Radiation?

Fukushima Radiation Hits US West Coast

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