The idea, of course, is that only virtuous women can be “really” raped, that prostitutes are public property and thus, the only injury they suffer from rape is economic, since they didn’t get compensation for what they’re putting out there on the market.
So earlier this year Thailand announced it would begin importing/manufacturing generic Kaletra (an AIDs medication), and while it was done without the consent of Abbott Laboratories (the patent holder), international trade law allows it in cases where the country deems it necessary in order to protect the health of its citizens.
So then of course Abbott Laboratories responded with, "Fuck you, no new drugs for you!"
Because Big Pharma doesn't care who suffers when they feel the need to make the point "You don't mess with us."
But then large groups of AIDS activists were like, "The fuck?" So Abbott was like, "Fine, we'll give them to you if you promise not to do it again."
New Postal Rates Threaten Future of Small Magazines The U.S. Post Office is in the process of implementing new postage rates for magazines in a move that could put many independent and small publications out of business. According to the advocacy group Free Press, the rate change was proposed by Time Warner and was developed with no public involvement or Congressional oversight. Postal rates for smaller periodicals could increase by as much as 30 percent while some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent. Free Press founder Robert McChesney says the new postal rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate. Free Press is calling for a congressional hearing on the changes. The group has just launched a new website at stoppostalratehikes.com.
Land of the free. Other Nations Justify Torture Citing U.S. Policies The UN Special Rapporteur on torture said Monday that the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terrorism has allowed other countries to justify using torture. Manfred Nowak said, "Today, many other governments are kind of saying: 'But why are you criticizing us? We are not doing something different than what the United States is doing.'" Nowak said that because of its prominence, the United States has a greater responsibility to uphold international standards.
U.S. Drops to #53 on World Press Freedom Index List Reporters Without Borders has released its fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index and it shows the level of press freedom in the United States continues to fall. In 2002 the U.S. was rated as having the seventeenth freest press – now it is ranked fifty-third. Reporters Without Borders criticized the Bush administration for using the so-called war on terrorism to crack down on press freedoms. The report also criticized the United States for jailing journalists at home and abroad. Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf remains in a San Francisco jail for refusing to hand over video to the police. Al Jazeera camerman Sami Al Haj has been locked up at Guantanamo for over four years. Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held in Iraq since April. Neither Al Haj or Hussein have ever faced charges. Reporters Without Borders found that the nations with the freest press were Finland, Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands. North Korea was rated as the worst upholder of press freedom.
AFL-CIO Files UN Complaint Over New Labor Rules The AFL-CIO has filed a complaint with the United Nations over a new federal labor ruling that could block millions of American workers from joining a union or being protected by the nation’s labor laws. The Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board recently broadened its definition of who can be considered a supervisor to include workers with incidental oversight over coworkers. Under federal law, employees defined as supervisors aren't entitled to legal protections ensuring their right to join unions. The AFL-CIO filed its complaint with the International Labor Organization of the United Nations. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch has also criticized the labor board’s decision saying it puts the United States in violation of its labor and human rights obligations under international law. The group said the ruling creates a new category of employees -- people without the authority of real supervisors and without the rights of ordinary employees.
Green Party Candidates Blocked From Debates In election news, a number of Green Party candidates are being blocked from taking part in debates. In Washington state, Aaron Dixon was arrested last week after he tried to enter the TV studio hosting a three-way debate between the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates. Meanwhile in New York, the League of Women Voters withdrew its support for two Senatorial debates between Hillary Clinton and Republican challenger John Spencer because Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins was not invited to participate.
Things the president says. President Bush: The only way to protect our citizens at home is to go on the offense against the enemy across the world. When terrorists spend their days working to avoid capture, they are less able to plot, plan, and execute new attacks on our people. So we will remain on the offense until the terrorists are defeated and this fight is won.
Is it that he has no concept of reality or that he thinks we're all idiots?
You can't eradicate terrorism by strong-arming individuals. In fact, it's the most effective way to create more terrorists. To eliminate terrorism, we would have to acknowlege the reasons terrorists do what they do, and change the things that we do to make people react to us that way. To try to end terrorism by blowing up the aftermath of our own actions is just retarded.
But actually solving problems isn't the point is it? The point is that we be allowed to keep doing what we're doing. That the richest and most privilaged continue to be the richest and most privilaged, fuck everybody else.
This is your fucking white history, my friend. So why don't we start making a history worth being proud of and start fighting the real fucking enemy: the white male capitalist supemacist.
The News (Just the Parts about Israel) Death Toll From Israeli Assault on Lebanon Reaches 215 At least 215 people have now died during Israel’s seven-day-old assault on Lebanon. All but 14 of the dead are civilians. The Israeli bombings have displaced more than 400,000 Lebanese residents from their homes. Tens of thousands of foreigners are trying to leave the country to escape the daily air strikes. Early this morning Israeli warplanes killed at least 11 people including seven civilians from the same family in southern Lebanon. On Monday, Israeli attacks killed at least 42 people making it one of the deadliest days of the week-old invasion. Among the dead were 12 civilians who were killed when an Israeli bomb hit their minivan just south of Beirut.
U.S. & Israel Reject Calls for Cease Fire Calls continue to mount for the international community to do something to stop the bloodshed but there has been little progress on the diplomatic front. The cover of today’s Guardian newspaper shows a photograph of a bombed-out section of Beirut under the headline "Lebanon: The World Looks On." Israel is refusing to rule out a massive ground invasion of Lebanon. The Israeli military has been massing troops, tanks and artillery pieces along the border. The military has also called up thousands of reserve troops. On Monday Israeli troops briefly crossed the Lebanese border but then returned to Israel. The Washington Post has reported that Israeli and U.S. officials are privately saying the Israeli bombing of Lebanon is expected to continue for several weeks. The paper also reports that the U.S. is supporting Israel in its refusal to agree to a ceasefire. On Monday President Bush was caught on tape privately telling Prime Minister Tony Blair that he felt UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s call for a ceasefire "seems odd." Then Bush proceeded to curse as he blamed Syria for what was happening.
Olmert Vows To Continue Attacks on Lebanon During a prime-time televised address Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to continue the bombardment of Lebanon until Hizbollah is crippled. On Monday Hizbollah fired 50 rockets at Northern Israel. Several injuries were reported. Over the past week Hizbollah rocket attacks have killed at least 24 Israelis including twelve civilians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "Citizens of Israel - there are moments in the life of a nation in which it is committed to look straight into reality and say - that is enough. And I tell everybody this is enough, Israel will not be taken hostage, not by terror gangs, not by a terror authority and not by a sovereign country."
Israel says it will continue its assault until three conditions are met: the release of the two captured Israeli soldiers; the disarmament of Hezbollah; and for the Lebanese Army to take control of southern Lebanon.
Lebanese PM: "Israel Now Is A Terrorist Country" Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Israel of trying to turn Lebanon back fifty years.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora: "Israel now is a terrorist country that is committing everyday a terrorist act."
Air Strikes Cripple Lebanese Civilian Infrastructure A new report by the Lebanese government shows that the Israeli air strikes have devastated the country’s infrastructure. Lebanon’s airports and seaports have been destroyed. Thirty-Eight roads have been cut off by bombs or shells and 42 bridges have been destroyed. Power stations, water-processing plants, grain silos and gas stations have also been targeted as well as communication and television antennas. The Daily Star newspaper in Beirut has accused Israel of violating the Geneva Conventions by attacking Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.
900,000 Lebanese Expected to Be Displaced From Homes The United Nations is warning of a looming humanitarian disaster. The World Health Organization expects the number of Lebanese residents displaced from their homes to reach 900,000 by the end of today. Over one hundred thousand people have already fled to Syria. Public parks in Beirut now resemble refugee camps filled with displaced residents. The UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon has said it has been unable to deliver humanitarian aid to stranded civilians because Israel would not guarantee the safe passage of the aid workers. Last week Israeli fire hit an ambulance run by the Lebanese Red Crescent. Aid organizations report many injured people are also unable to reach hospitals because so many roads and bridges have been bombed. Food and medical supplies are also running out in areas.
Only 64 Americans Evacuated As of Monday Night Tens of thousands of foreigners have begun fleeing the country in what has been described as one of the largest mass evacuations by sea in world history. Foreign embassies around the world have been sending in boats and helicopters to rescue citizens trying to escape the bombing. But the Bush administration is being accused of moving too slow. 25,000 U.S. citizens are believed to be in Lebanon. According to the Detroit News, only 64 Americans had been evacuated as of Monday night.
Report: Israel Using Banned Phosphorus Weapons Lebanon’s Information Minister Ghazi Aridi has accused Israel of using banned weapons in violation of international law. Reports in the Lebanese media have claimed that Israel has used phosphorus incendiary bombs and vacuum bombs that suck up air and facilitate building collapses. The use of incendiary weapons against civilians has been banned since 1980. The U.S. military used similar phosphorous weapons during the siege of Fallujuah in Iraq.
Israel Accused Of Breaking U.S. Law By Using U.S. Weapons on Civilians Several legal experts in the United States have accused Israel of violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act by using U.S.-made fighter planes and missiles to kill civilians and to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure. Defense experts say Israel has over five-hundred F-16 and F-15 fighters planes – all of them supplied by the United States.
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee to Protest Outside White House In Washington, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is holding a peace rally outside the White House at 5 p.m. today to protest the Israeli military action in both Lebanon and Gaza. The group is the largest American Arab civil rights organization in the United States.
Sen. Hillary Clinton Vows Support for Israel At Rally Meanwhile on Monday thousands of supporters of Israel gathered in New York. Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton addressed the crowd vowing support for Israel.
Sen. Hillary Clinton: "We will support her efforts to send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iraniains, to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom that we will not permit this to happen and we will take whatever steps are necessary."
Prior to the rally, Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch threw a fundraising breakfast for Hillary Clinton in New York.
Some DemocracyNow! headlines for June 12, 2006. Three Guantanamo Detainees Commit Suicide The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced it is sending a team to investigate conditions at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay following the suicide of three detainees on Saturday. The military reported the men hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes. They are the first reported deaths at Guantanamo. There had been 41 previous suicide attempts as well as widespread hunger strikes. Two of the men were Saudis, one was from Yemen. They had been held at the prison for up to four years and never charged with a crime. One of the men – 21-year-old Yassar Talal al-Zahrani – was first detained when he was a juvenile. One of the other men who committed suicide was due to be released - but did not know it.
Iraqis Claim U.S. Soldiers Beat Zarqawi to Death New Questions are being raised over the circumstances of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. U.S. military officials initially claimed that Zarqawi died when a U.S. F-16 dropped two 500 pound bombs on his hideout outside of the town of Hibhib. But on Friday the military admitted Zarqawi survived the initial bombing and was semi-conscious when Iraqi and U.S. officials arrived at the scene. The U.S. maintains he died on a stretcher while being treated by U.S. personnel. But an Iraqi police lieutenant told the Los Angeles Times that Zarqawi died after a U.S. soldier repeatedly stepped on his chest, causing blood to flow from his mouth and nose. The officer said U.S. troops removed Zarqawi from an Iraqi ambulance and placed him on the ground. Then a U.S. soldier tried to question Zarqawi and began stepping on his chest. Another Iraqi man who lived nearby told Associated Press Television News that he had witnessed Americans beating Zarqawi. He said "They stomped on his stomach and his chest until he died and blood came out of his nose." The top American commander in Iraq on Sunday rejected these accounts saying they were "baloney." General George Casey said, "the idea that there were people there beating him is just ludicrous." The U.S. military has finished an autopsy on Zarqawi but has not released the findings.
Bush Considers Keeping 50,000 Troops In Iraq Indefinitely In other news on Iraq, President Bush is planning to meet today at Camp David with top military and civilian advisers today to discuss the future role of the United States in Iraq. This comes as the New York Times reports that the Bush administration is considering keeping at least 50,000 troops in Iraq for years to come, possibly for decades – just as it has in Korea.
GOP Lawmakers OK Permanent Military Bases in Iraq Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers appear to be giving the Pentagon the go-ahead to build permanent military bases in Iraq. Last week lawmakers quietly removed a provision that would have blocked the military from establishing permanent bases in Iraq. Congresswoman Barbara Lee criticized the move. She said "The perception that the U.S. intends to occupy Iraq indefinitely is fueling the insurgency and making our troops more vulnerable.”
U.S. Begins Bombing Residential Areas Of Ramadi Fears of an imminent U.S. assault on the Sunni city of Ramadi are increasing. On Saturday U.S. and Iraqi forces cordoned off the city of 400,000 people. The Los Angeles Times reported that fleeing residents say the U.S. has begun bombing residential areas. Thousands of families are reportedly trapped in the city and facing a mounting humanitarian crisis. Food and medical supplies are running low. Prices for gas have soared because of shortages. The Iraqi government has tried repeatedly to send medical and food aid into Ramadi, but it has been thwarted by insurgent attacks. A former governor of the city said that people in Ramadi are caught between two plagues: the vicious, armed insurgents and the American and Iraqi troops.
Israeli Shelling Kills Eight Palestinians On Gaza Beach Eight Palestinian civilians – including three children – died Friday after being apparently hit by shells fired by Israeli gunboats. They died while picnicing on a beach in northern Gaza. One seven-year-old Palestinian girl lost her father, step mother and five siblings. Images were broadcast around the world of the child, Huda Ghalia, wailing near the body of her deceased father. At least 40 people were also injured in the shelling. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning to mark what he called a “bloody massacre.” Abbas met with the seven-year-old orphan and vowed to care for her. Israel has admitted it was firing shells in the area in order to stop Palestinians from staging rocket attacks. But the Israeli military maintains the explosion on the beach may have been caused by Palestinians.
Hamas Ends 16-Month Truce; Fires 17 Missiles at Israel In response to the killings, Hamas announced an end to its 16-month truce and declared the Israeli attack to be a war crime. Over the weekend Hamas fired at least 17 missiles targeting southern Israel. The killings of the Palestinian civilians were widely condemned by the international community.
200 Israeli Pacifists Protest Gaza Killings Outside Army Officer’s Home In Tel Aviv, about 200 Israeli pacifists gathered outside the home of the Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chanted "murderer." Among the demonstrators was Dana Olmert, the daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Five leading Israeli human rights groups also called on the Israeli military to stop killing Palestinian civilians. The groups estimate that since October 2000, the Israeli military has killed over 1600 Palestinian civilians. In just the past two months, Israel has fired over 6,000 shells into the Gaza Strip. For the Ghalia family, which lost seven members on Friday, this marks the second time it has suffered a major tragedy. Less than two years ago four members of the family died when an Israeli Army shell hit the family farm in northern Gaza.
Abbas Sets July 26th for Referendum Vote In other news from the region – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has set a date of July 26 for a vote on whether to establish a Palestinian state and implicitly recognize Israel. Hamas has accused Abbas of pushing the referendum in an attempt to undermine its new government.
Tens of Thousands Attend Samhadana Funeral Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered on Friday to attend the funeral of Jamal Abu Samhadana, founder of the Popular Resistance Committees. He was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike on Thursday.
U.S.: 500 Die in Afghanistan Over Past Three Weeks In Afghanistan, U.S. officials are now saying 500 people have died in fighting over the past three weeks. It has been the deadliest period of the war since the fall of the Taliban over four years ago. The Washington Post reports Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to begin giving weapons to local tribesmen to help fight the warlords. But critics of the plan say it could fuel factional fighting.
Maryland Man Arrested in Bomb Abortion Clinic Plot And a 25-year-old Maryland man will be in court today on charges connected to a plot to bomb an abortion clinic in College Park Maryland. The man Robert Weiler was arrested last week after his own father contacted the FBI. Police said Weiler admitted he was planning the bombing and told investigators that he also intended to "shoot doctors who provided abortions." Last week police detonated a pipe bomb that Weiler had built at a friend’s house. According to the National Abortion Federation there have been 11 bombings, 25 attempted bombings and 35 arsons at the offices of abortion providers nationwide over the past decade.
Exxon Posts $8.4B Quarterly Profit As gas prices continue to soar, the world’s largest oil company has once again announced record-breaking profits. On Thursday, Exxon Mobil reported a quarterly profit of $8.4 billion dollars -- the fifth-highest quarterly total for any public company in history. In January, Exxon posted profits of almost $11 billon dollars, which stands as the highest quarterly profit of any company ever.
Insurance Companies Post Record Profits The Los Angeles Times is reporting US insurance companies posted records profits last year -- despite the huge damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. In total, the insurance industry pulled in a record $44.8 billion profit – an 18% percent increase over the year before. The Los Angeles Times says the profits reflect a broader trend of "a shift of financial risks from business and often government to individual households." Fred Cripe, the Vice President of insurance giant AllState said: "If last year's hurricane season had occurred 10 years ago, it would have been devastating for the company. Last year, it was merely disappointing."
To quote Jello Biafra: "It's begining to look a lot like '1984'..." I noticed tonight, while logging onto the internet, a news post on Yahoo with the title something along the lines of "Historians Say We Live Better Then Past Eras". Even though this statement seems innocent and seemingly true, I was reminded of something from a novel I had read. I first thought it was "1984", but then I realized it was not that, but another of George Orwell's parables, specifically "Animal Farm". The scene of which I am talking about involves Squealer, the pig that operates basically as propaganda minister for the farm. He would parade out weekly into the farm and read off seemingly endless pages of statistics to the other farm animals, besides pigs and dogs, that life was becoming better and better after the revolution that had rid the farm of humans, even though, in truth, it had become even worse then before.
Does anyone else see a connection?
I do, as the media becomes more and more under the control of the fascists in the White House, corporations, and Christian fundamentalists. "Real" news is almost exclusively the domain of the internet now, due to pressure from the three aforementioned groups. Often on television, news programs love to whip out statistics about this and that, and with quite a few, you must question their legitimacy. One such poll was aired today on the evening news on ABC. It was about how many Afghanis approve of the work that the U.S. has done in their country. It stated that something around 80% do, which I find incredibly hard to believe from what I know of what is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, it seems unlikely that the Afghanis are very fond of Bush appointed crony Hamid Karzie ruling over their country.
Free media is essential to democracy, and with the corruption of it, we are one step closer to horrors of fascism. Soon, more and more connections with the novels of George Orwell will become apparent. We are already embroiled in a "War Against Terrorism", which, like the wars in "1984", has no foreseeable end, and the use of the threat that one of our enemies could wage an attack on us has us running to Bush for protection. Are we to do anything about this? Hopefully, if we are not to become another Nazi Germany.
Oh Walmart, why are you so wonderful? The Baltimore Sun reports Wal-Mart has quadrupled the number of lobbyists it has in Maryland in order to fight a state law that would force the retail giant to offer better benefits. Wal-Mart has hired nine lobbyists in the past six weeks bringing the company's total to 12 in the state. The Fair Share Health Care Act would require companies with 10,000 or more employees in the state to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on worker health care or pay the difference to the state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, six other states are considering similar bills.
73 year old woman held for looting food. More information is emerging from New Orleans over how the police are treating people accused of looting. A 73-year-old woman remains in jail on a $50,000 bond after police arrested her for looting sixty dollars worth of sausage. At the time of her arrest, the woman -- Merlene Maten -- was staying in a hotel with her 80-year-old husband. She said they had followed orders to stock up on food and had stored some sausage in her car. After she took the sausage from the car, she says police handcuffed her and threw her in jail. A judge then set the bail at $50,000 -- 100 times the maximum $500 fine under state law for minor thefts.
Oh America, so special. "A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll has found that a majority of Americans believe that Karl Rove should leave the White House for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. But only half of those surveyed say they are following the story closely, while a quarter said they had never even heard of Karl Rove."
Report: 128,000 Iraqis Have Died Since U.S. Invasion A new study from an Iraqi humanitarian organization is estimating that 128,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invaded in March 2003. The group -- Iraqiyun -- estimates that 55 percent of those killed have been women and children aged twelve and under. Meanwhile the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies has also attempted to estimate the number of Iraqis killed. The organization recently estimated that 39,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since the war began.
-Democracy Now, 07-13-06
That is soooo many people. How is that acceptable?