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Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

I have loved Jackie Speier since that terrible day in November 1978 when she accompanied Congressman Leo Ryan to Jonestown, Guyana to investigate Jim Jones and his People’s Temple. Directly subsequent to their visit, Jones ordered his congregation to drink the Kool-Aid,  literally, and it is from that event that the expression derives.  It was reportedly grape-flavored and contained cyanide along with valium and other ingredients. 918 people died including children and infants. Death from cyanide poisoning is said to be excruciating.

Congressman Ryan and his delegation, including Jackie and news staff, were attacked on the tarmac at Port Kaituma while attempting to leave for home after their investigation. At that time, they were unaware of Jones’s suicide order.   You can read a full account here >>>>.

Because Jackie’s name came up in this article that has been circulating,  I thought it might be a good idea to expand a little on this courageous public servant.

She was elected to Ryan’s seat in the House in 2008.

Her given name is not Jackie. She took Jacqueline as her Confirmation name in honor of Jackie Kennedy and goes by that name. Her first husband died in an auto accident when she was pregnant in 1987.

When she lay bullet-ridden at Port Kaituma, she thought she would never live to marry and have children.

You can read an excellent interview with her on the Jonestown events and her life here >>>>

Excerpt:

Congresswoman remembers day of horror

JONESTOWN AND THE CITY HALL ASSASSINATIONS Jackie Speier remembers day of massacre and mass suicide in Guyana

Published 4:00 am, Monday, November 17, 2008

“I’m 28 years old, and I am about to die.”

I was curled up behind the wheel of an airplane on a jungle airstrip in Guyana, South America. This isn’t what I expected when I signed on to work for a United States congressman. Our fact-finding trip to investigate the Peoples Temple in Jonestown had gone horribly wrong. I lay as still as I could, pretending to be dead, as an unknown gunman pumped five bullets into me at close range. Pop-pop. Pop. Pop-pop.

When the shooting stopped, I looked around and saw bodies, including that of my boss and mentor, Congressman Leo Ryan. Wasto investigate  he, too, pretending to be dead? I called his name, but he didn’t respond. Looking down, I saw what appeared to be a bone. It was my own, and it was sticking out of my shattered right arm.

The thought raced through my mind: “I’m 28 years old, and I am about to die. This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen. I will never turn 80, never marry, never have children.”

Read more >>>>

Jackie has never backed down from a righteous battle. She accompanied Congressman Ryan on a Greenpeace mission in March 1978 to investigate the slaughter of baby harp seals in Newfoundland. Not much can be worse than witnessing babies bludgeoned before their mothers’ eyes and being unable to do anything to stop it. But Jackie has been through worse. She thought she would die and never have children. When she knew she would live, she was told she might lose limbs. Her arm and leg were shot up.

But a fighter is a fighter, and don’t tell Jackie she cannot bare arms!

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Says She and Colleagues Felt “Free” on Sleeveless Friday

Women of the House got serious about modernizing a strict dress code on Capitol Hill’s newest holiday.
July 14, 2017 4:08 pm

The Democratic women of the House have instituted a brand-new holiday in Washington: sleeveless Friday. Sparked by California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, several House Democrats arrived to Congress on July 14 wearing sleeveless dresses as part of a campaign to modernize the House dress code.

Female lawmakers began these efforts after a reporter was banned from entering the Speaker’s Lobby last week for wearing a sleeveless dress. The rules, which are enforced only on the House side of the Capitol, are not new—but after the incident last week, Speaker Paul Ryan released an announcement reiterating the dress code, per CBS:

“Members should periodically rededicate themselves to the core principles of proper parliamentary practice that are so essential to maintaining order and deliberacy here in the House.”

Speier and her colleagues took to the Capitol—and to Twitter—to make their opinions heard. On Thursday, Speier released a flyer via Twitter urging other female lawmakers to wear sleeveless dresses this Friday, and to take a photo in their sleeveless finery together Friday afternoon.

Read more >>>>

Yes! Shot up arm and all, Jackie went for “Sleeveless Friday” on the Hill and took her colleagues along with her! Go Jackie! Lead on! you are a hero! We’re so glad you got to be a mom and a leader in Congress!

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Those watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu cannot be faulted for thinking they might be living a cyncial version of the old 1940s “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. (Who gave her that name?!) A movie called “The Road to Gilead.” Emily Peck has other ideas, but there are portents that cannot be denied.

Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” resonates, but there’s reason for hope.

Peck is pretty optimistic positing that the road to Gilead is fraught with lots of potholes and obstructions, but we do well not to focus too narrowly on the falling rock on one side of the highway thereby missing the sheer cliff on the other side.

I am not watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” much as I would like to. I simply refuse to pay another dollar beyond my already expensive FiOS service, so Hulu and Netflix are out for me.  I have, however, read the book. The coincidence of the airing of the mini-series with the Democratic “Unity Tour” should set off some bells and whistles.

This is the axiom Peck offers that Bernie supporters continue to reject.

“Progress does not happen in a straight line. Setbacks are inevitable. What’s critical is what comes next.”

They rejected it during the 2016 primaries renouncing any and all incremental policies proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and stubbornly continued their opposition during the general election.  They persist in their unwillingness to allow the Democratic Party to evolve naturally and have set out to take it over and overturn the common sense principles that have been its warp and woof since the groundbreaking days of FDR.  Rather than empowering women, the party is rolling back its liberating positions on women under the influence of a man who refuses to join the party.  No, this is not a relitigation or extension of the 2016 primaries.  It is a fight for the future.

The parallels between the dystopia Atwood projected and perceived potential effects of the new administration are not limited to Trump’s positions and those of his cronies. The BernieBros continue to have a hand in suppressing female issues, concerns, and voices within the only party likely to continue to highlight them.

Women have a stake in resisting efforts on either side to curtail our rights and freedoms. Resisters must do it for ourselves.  But we must be careful not to lose the party.  That is where the strength is.  The reason the BernieBots are fighting to usurp that power is because they know that a third party will have no muscle except to do what they have done in 2000 and 2016 – split the progressive vote.

We must remember that there was a reason why, at the end of her senior thesis, Hillary Clinton spurned Saul Alinsky’s methods (i.e. change from without the system rather than within) as well as the job he offered her and opted for the discipline of law school instead.  We have to be in it to win it.

Leaving the party  is no solution.  Think hard before you do that because it is not only the Trump crowd that would happily see us in shades of red, blue, green, and stripes according to their designations of how we serve.  We cannot determine our fate from the outside.  The Bernie crowd knows this, and that is why they fight to take over the party.  Let’s not just abandon it to them.

Crossposted at Still4Hill.

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Just going to put this out there #FWIW:  If only Black and Latina women were getting abortions, would the GOP guys be trying to rule women’s bodies?

The answer is no.

What they want is age-old. The Catholic Church rules this way for the same reason.

They want white women to repopulate a diminishing white population – by force and by law if necessary.

Heads up!

White people are inexorably headed to minority status in the United States.

Even if white people remained the majority, there is no evidence that voters would tolerate racist legislation.

A few things are for sure, though.  Women constitute the majority of the electorate, and we don’t care much for white men making decisions about women’s health care.

When they banish funding for Planned Parenthood, they block necessary health care for women and men: testing for STDs and cancer – blocked. Birth control – also blocked.

You balding, white-haired men do not represent women or our best interests in any way. You just want white women to pop out as many babies as possible to sustain a demographic majority in this country. What a poorly considered agenda!

Repopulation by birth rate is a cruel and shoddy agenda. Women are not baby machines.

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The morning after the inauguration of the least popular incoming president in modern history, millions boarded all manner of transportation to head to their nearest (or dearest) Women’s March. Many flew or took trains or buses to Washington, DC for the march there. Others went to cities near them.

The numbers are not in yet but there are estimates – almost all of which exceeded expectations.  Washington, DC expected 200,000. Estimates are that a half a million showed up. In New York City, the crowd was so large that for hours the march could not move appreciably for lack of space. The same thing happened in Chicago where organizers transformed the march into a rally – no space for people to march! Reports are that the same thing occurred in Los Angeles.

Portland ME police estimated this to be the largest demonstration they had ever encountered. Boston organizers think 150,000 attended there. People tweeted pictures of crowds in Denver, Nashville, Asheville, Atlanta, Sioux City, Phoenix, of a human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge. Across the nation they marched – in the rain in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and in the snow in Boise and Anchorage.

There were marches and demonstrations in all 50 states and on every continent, including Antarctica. Look at this map!
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Here are a few of my favorite images from the day starting with a sea of pink pussyhats in the nation’s capital.

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Paris put its message in lights.

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The Brits displayed their characteristic reserve. They had the best signs.

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My favorite Brit marched in New York and declared herself a New Yorker.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Helen Mirren posted “this is amazing!” (Instagram / @helenmirren

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A human traffic jam in Los Angeles.

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A human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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In blinding snow in Anchorage.

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In Boise.

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Antarctica!

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Some awesome folks!

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They weren’t all Democrats!  Ana Navarro posted this selfie!womens_march-01-21-17-15

A note from a flight attendant who had to work to a passenger who was attending.

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The human traffic jam on NY’s 5th Avenue that lasted for hours.

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In Detroit.

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New York City.womens_march-01-21-17-19

This woman tweeted that she wasn’t ovary-acting.

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 How bad is it?
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One guy we know brought his best friend along for his first day as a private citizen.

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His predecessor tweeted her support.

Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values . Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together.

‘Hope Not Fear’ Indeed. And what a beautiful piece by Louisa Cannell. 👊👊🏻👊🏼👊🏽✨

I stand w/ Nora Harren, a 17-year from Boise, ID, & every person marching for our values today. Onward! ✊✊🏾✊🏽✨

There are many more wonderful images of the day here and here.

Here is a report on estimated numbers and the size and scope. These numbers are expected to be revised upwards.

womens_march-01-21-17_macro

On the sidelines, this day, Donald Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast and visited CIA HQ in Langley, VA to tell them what a yuge inauguration he had (it looked like a million – a million-and-a-half people to the guy who saw imaginary thousands in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the towers)  and how spectacular the weather had been (it rained – George W. Bush struggled with a plastic poncho).  Later his Press Sec stormed into the White House press room to scold the media for telling the truth about the paltry attendance yesterday. He said this was the largest inauguration ever. Period. He took no questions and left in a huff.

The rest of the country and the free world was busy having a lovely Saturday all together.  No incidents, no arrests, and according to actress Ally Sheedy, a patrol officer told her how wonderful everyone looked.  Everyone was included – babies in strollers and seniors in wheelchairs. It was a great day in history!

Oh! And THIS!

Crossposted at Still 4 Hill.

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This story is evolving. Women are coming forth with their stories of encounters with Donald in which they were the objects of unsolicited and unwanted sexual aggression, and he was the agent.

Donald Trump has been a deeply flawed candidate from the beginning.  He is a power-mad, thin-skinned bully at every level of interaction in society.  Stories that have come to the fore in the wake of the videotape Friday night assert that his “locker room talk” was more than talk.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign released this statement not long ago.

HFA Response to Tonight’s Troubling Revelations about Donald Trump

HFA Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri offered the following statement in response to the new allegations about Donald Trump’s actions:

“This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women. These reports suggest that he lied on the debate  stage and that the disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape are more than just words.”

Perhaps this is Donald Trump’s actual contribution to society.  If enough decent men turn against the tawdry, dissolute, perverted “model” he represents for young men in this country, maybe he will have performed a service – his first ever – for the nation and society at large.

He should never be president.  His behavior disqualifies him.  His cavalier attitude toward violating women’s privacy and personal boundaries fall far below the bar.  He is, on so many levels, a horrendous choice for the position and the job.  He lies. He invents fiction about his opponent (which his supporters believe even though none of it is true or validated).  His business practices are predatory and dishonest. He knows nothing and does not seek to learn. He holds dangerous positions regarding foreign policy.  I could go on.  I will not. his attitude toward women is sufficient.

Vote.  I will not tell you how to vote, but you should know on which side your bread is buttered.

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Asia & Pacific

Gang rape videos are being sold in India

By Natalie Alcoba

August 5, 2016 | 10:40 am

Gang rape videos are being sold in a northern Indian state, according to authorities who believe rapists are using cellphone clips as a way to keep their victims quiet.

The Times of India first reported on the recordings, which are fetching 50 to 150 rupees, or 75 cents to $2, in Uttar Pradesh, which has seen a spate of recent rapes that have triggered public calls for its chief minister to resign. The clips are being sold “under the counter”, according to the newspaper, to people who come with a customer’s “reference”, and also via social media. They range in length from 30 seconds to as long as five minutes.

“Porn is passe. These real life crimes are the rage,” an unnamed shopkeeper in Agra, home of the Taj Majal, told the Times of India. It reported that police believe the videos are used as blackmail, to prevent victims from reporting the crimes, or to pressure them into further acts.

Read more >>>>

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For my 19th birthday — declare #YesAllGirls

Today — my 19th birthday — I’m in Kenya visiting Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Every year on my birthday I travel to meet girls who are struggling to go to school — to stand with them and to make sure the world hears their stories.

Today in Dadaab I met Rahma Hussein Noor, a 19 year-old who has struggled more than most of us can imagine just to go to school.

Rahma came to Dadaab at age 13, having never set foot in a classroom. She worked hard to catch up with her classmates and, in a few years, graduated primary school.

Rahma then enrolled in a secondary school in Dadaab. But when her family returned to Somalia last year, Rahma could not find another school to attend.

After two months, her father said her education was over and decided to marry her to a man over 50 years old whom Rahma had never met.

Rahma snuck out of her house and took an eight day bus ride back to the refugee camp…all to continue her education.

Rahma is not alone. Many girls from Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world have lost so much and are then forced to fight for a right they already have — the right to go to school.

Last year, the world agreed to provide 12 years of education for every boy and girl. Yet, nearly one year after making the commitment, where do we stand?

We are facing a global refugee crisis and more and more girls like Rahma are at risk of losing their chance to go to school — and their dreams for a better future.

We cannot allow girls like Rahma to fight alone. It’s time to do right by girls — #YesAllGirls.

Today, on my 19th birthday, I’m asking you to stand with me and keep fightng for girls around the world who are denied an education. Will you make a gift today to ensure girls — #YesAllGirls — get the education we promised them?

Nothing would make me prouder on my birthday than knowing we are in this together.

Like this essay and respond to Malala here >>>>

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