September 2006

Courtesy of Dr. Doom, here is a lovely graphic in honor of Congressman Foley. Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner provide further proof that Republican party loyalty is more important than the safety of US citizens, and especially more important than the safety of children. The Republican House booed mothers and grandmothers as Pelosi asked for an investigation.

Enjoy a laugh, though some are more true than funny.

The following gives a statistical overview of women’s rights, and how women are doing around the world. There is a lot of room for improvement.

Here are some current laws and statistics suggesting that there has been progress, but that there remains significant room for improvement.

Since the 1995 Beijing Conference, 58 countries have adopted national legislation or policies to address women’s rights.
The United States is among those countries that do not constitutionally guarantee equal rights for women.

Since 1995, 26 countries have passed laws to curb domestic violence.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of death for women ages 14-44 around the world.

Women’s economic activity has increased worldwide, with their labor force participation rate increasing from 35.6% in 1970 to 39.5% in 1990.
Today, women’s earnings equal only 75% of men’s earnings for equal work. More than 70% of the 1.3 billion people in the world that live in poverty are women.

Global rates for female literacy have increased by more than two thirds in the past two decades. In developing countries, the gaps between women and men in adult literacy and school enrollment were halved between 1970 and 1990.
More than two-thirds of the world’s 960 million illiterate adults are women. Nearly 40% of the female population in developing countries is still illiterate. While 96% of boys receive at least some level of primary schooling, only 76% of girls do.

Only 9 out of 173 parliaments worldwide do not have women members.
The percentage of women in parliament around the globe has declined from almost 15% in 1988 to less than 12% in 1997.

There has been a sharp reduction in global fertility rates over the past two decades.
More than half a million women die each year for want of adequate reproductive health care.

SOURCES: United Nations Human Development Report (1995 and 1998); The State of World Population 1998 (UNFPA); Survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Geneva), 1997; International Labor Organization Press Release, 1995.

Literally, George Allen spits chewing tobacco at women’s feet. There are already four documented cases of him spitting tobacco at the feet of women, and in one case a young girl, with the obvious intention to insult and demean.

Torture, and suspension of habeas corpus were approved by the Congress today. It seems there are no true conservatives left, certainly not in the Republican party. ALL of Congress has the duty and responsibility to uphold the Constitution. I have found myself unable to say much about it, I have no words that are adequate. I am deeply shocked and ashamed of this. I have been reading what others have written. Christy Hardin Smith may give us some perspective, writing at Firedoglake:

Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution states as follows:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

It expressly forbids suspension of the writ of habeas corpus except under very specific and highly limited circumstances – and as we are neither dealing with a case of rebellion or invasion at the time of this attempted enactment of this torture law in Congress, I am really wondering on what leg they propose to stand when arguing constitutionality at the first legal challenge to this law.

But the analysis by Steve Gilliard struck me as particularly appropriate:

Led by cowards

Bush is, was and will remain a coward as long as he lives.

The torture bill is a cruel joke, so riddle with flaws, so uncostitutional, it won’t survive the District Court. Which is the calculation Dems in tight races made.

They once read people the first Amendment and most of them thought it should be outlawed. Given a choice between politics and right, politicians choose politics. So they duck their heads and pray. Don’t be shocked. We elect politicians to do our bidding and can be fired. And some will certainly be.

Debating torture is pointless. Because Bush cares only about power, not the law. so if he has to strap the electrodes to gonads in Poland or Uzbekistan, well, that’s that. You cannot debate torture with Bush. You can only expose it and shame him. Because as bad as this is, and it’s akin to the Japanese internment or the forced removal of the Indians by Andrew Jackson, it is nothing compared to what is happening in Iraq.

If people knew the stakes of the war in Iraq, they would be outraged at the squandering of the Army, the way Bush is wrecking it by sending it to fight a war where 70 percent of the people want us to go and 60 percent support the resistance. What Bush has done is not only ruin the reputation in the United States, but endanger our allies like Egypt.

Not only are the Taliban learning to fight the US from Iraq, they’re training there and probably coming home with the RDX we didn’t secure in 2003.

Things could not have gone more wrong. No call for sacrifice, no sense of national duty.

But I save my true ire, not for the Dems, backed into the nastiest of corners, but who don’t have the power to stop such madness, will is another topic for another day.

Congress is supposed to check the President, not ride his coattails. I’m going to read a lot of angry posts about how the Dems didn’t do this or that. What about the GOP? Defense of the constitution doesn’t just belong to select individuals. It is Congress’s job to protect the Consitution, not just run for office.

We cannot give them a pass. We cannot just say that’s the GOP. Because if some Democrats played politics, it is the Republicans who betrayed the constitution. It is far too easy to write off their duty to the nation based on politics. Oh, well, they’re wingnuts. No, they are elected to defend the constitution, not the Republican party. And in that, they have betrayed this country and it’s ideals,

We have a bunch of small business radical conservatives, people who worry more about taxes than the consequences of their actions for oh, American soldiers overseas. The Congress only cares about their narrow issues, and not the good of the county. And that should enrage all of us.

We have the worst Congress possible. One beholden to the White House and refusing to do their job for the sake of party loyalty. They don’t believe in America, they believe in the GOP. They are cowards of the worst sort, the kind that knows the consquences of failure and still refuse to act.

This bill does violence to the Constitution!

The reasons Bush and ALL the Republicans want it so badly is to protect themselves and their colleagues from being tried as war criminals.

Digby is one of the most profound thinkers, and best writers among the progressive bloggers. On the torture bill making its way through Congress:

But the really breathtaking subsection is subsection (ii), which would provide that UEC is defined to include any person “who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.”

Read literally, this means that if the Pentagon says you’re an unlawful enemy combatant — using whatever criteria they wish — then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to “hostilities” at all.
. . .
In light of the possibilities outlined above for using this legislation to “disappear” anyone from terrorists to leftists to those who are deemed to be anti-American, this may be a day to remember the famous poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

The House passed a bill today designed to force teenagers to have babies. It prevents teens from crossing state lines to get an abortion without parental consent, if their state requires parental consent.

Teens who don’t seek help from their parents when they are pregnant, are generally living in justified fear for their safety and their lives, or are not able to contact a missing parent. This bill is most likely to penalize caring female relatives, grandmothers and aunts.

If it passes the Senate, this would be the first US law since the fugitive slave laws to enforce the laws of one state across the border in another state.

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