Julian Assange to launch show on RT this March

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Watch President Obama Deliver the 2012 State of the Union Address

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack woman in Israeli town

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/24/ultra-orthodox-jews-attack-woman-in-israeli-town/

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JERUSALEM — A group of ultra-Orthodox men attacked a woman on Tuesday as she put up posters in an Israeli town that has become a flashpoint for tensions between religious and secular Jews, police said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident occurred in Beit Shemesh, which lies 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Jerusalem, as the woman was trying to put up posters for Israel’s national lottery.

“A woman was driving in Beit Shemesh and putting up posters for the Israeli lottery when she was surrounded by a group of ultra-Orthodox men,” Rosenfeld told AFP.

 “They threw stones at her and slashed the tyres of her car. They also stole her car keys. She was slightly injured in the head. Police arrived and took her to a safe place. Three suspects were arrested.”
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Sat., Feb. 4 Day of Action: No Sanctions, No War Against Iran!

From ANSWER: http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/no-war-on-iran.html

January 23, 2012

The ANSWER Coalition is calling on everyone to join a demonstration or to organize one on the National Day of Action on Saturday, February 4, to demand: “No War on Iran, No Sanctions, No Intervention, No Assassinations.”

The U.S.-led campaign to bring about regime change is escalating. Just today, the European Union announced a complete embargo of Iranian oil. Taken together with the other economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies, this is a campaign meant to impose maximum suffering on the people of Iran by destabilizing and destroying the country’s economy.  At the same time, covert action inside the country, including assassinations, sabotage and drone over flights, is intensifying. U.S. military bases surround Iran, while nuclear-armed U.S. aircraft carriers and Trident submarines sit right off its cost.

The pretext for this aggression against another country in the strategic Persian Gulf region is that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, an assertion that Iranian leaders have denied. The utter hypocrisy of this charge by the world’s leading nuclear weapons power and its nuclear-armed allies, including Israel, Britain and France, could not be clearer.

U.S. seeks to repeat history

Sixty years ago, the U.S. and British imposed a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil in response to the nationalization of the country’s petroleum resources by the Mossadegh government, the first democratically  elected government in Iran’s history. The embargo weakened the government enough so that in 1953 the U.S. CIA was able to carry out a coup, and place the Shah (king) back on the throne.  For the next 25 years, the Shah served a extremely brutal agent of the U.S., killing up to 100,000 Iranians in the regime’s notorious torture chambers, and turning the country’s resources over to U.S. oil companies and banks.

Twenty-one years ago the U.S. pushed the UN Security Council a total blockade of Iraq. Thirteen years of sanctions killed more than a million Iraqis and severely weakened the country, paving the way for the 2003 invasion and an occupation which killed a million more Iraqis and killed and wounded tens of thousands of U.S. and other occupying troops.

Now is the time to take action to stop the war that has already started against Iran before it escalates. We hope that you will join us in cities where demonstrations are already scheduled,  or organize a protest if one is not yet planned in your city, town or campus.

Partial list of scheduled events:

If you or someone in your area is organizing an event on or around Feb. 4, please provide us with the event details by clicking here so we may publicize it on our website and future emails.

Washington, DC
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
White House

Albuquerque, NM
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
Assemble at UNM Bookstore
Corner of Central and Cornell

Chicago, IL
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
Federal Plaza for march and rally
50 W Adams (Adams and Dearborn)

Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
Location to be announced – call ANSWER at 213-251-1025

Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3pm
Mayday Plaza
301 Cedar Ave. South (at 3rd Street)

Nashville, TN
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2pm
Gather at Legislative Plaza
6th Ave. between Charlotte & Union

New York City, NY
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 1pm
Duffy Square
47th St. and 7th Ave.

Richmond, VA
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12pm
Gather at Federal Courthouse
701 East Broad Street

San Francisco, CA
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
Gather at Powell and Market for march and rally
(BART to Powell St. Station)

Seattle, WA
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Rally at Westlake Park at 3:30pm
March to the Federal Building at 4:30pm

Tampa, FL
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12 noon
March on MacDill Air Force Base CENTCOM
7115 S Boundary Blvd.

If you or someone in your area is organizing an event on or around Feb. 4, please provide us with the event details by clicking here so we may publicize it on our website and future emails.

ENDORSED BY: American Iranian Friendship Committee • ANSWER Coalition • Antiwar.com • Bail Out The People Movement (BOPM) • Cindy Sheehan, National Co-ordinator of Peace of the Action • CODEPINK Women for Peace • ComeHomeAmerica.us • David Swanson, Author, “When the World Outlawed War” • Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality-Virginia • Delegation’s Journey through the Islamic Republic” • George Phillies, Editor for Liberty for America • Granny Peace Brigade • International Action Center (IAC) • Karla Hansen, Producer/Director “Silent Screams” • Malcolm X Center for Self Determination • Minnesota Peace Action Coalition • Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) • Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) • Peace of the Action • Phil Wilayto, Author, “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace • Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General, awarded UN Human Rights Award • Ray McGovern, Veterans for Peace • Refugee Apostolic Catholic Church • SI! Solidarity with Iran • St. Pete for Peace • Twin Cities Peace Campaign • United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) • Veterans for Peace – NYC Chapter 034 • Waco Friends of Peace • WAMM, Women Against Military Madness • We Won’t Fly • WESPAC Foundation • Workers World Party • World Can’t Wait

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Warning: This Site Contains Conspiracy Theories

From Slate:  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/01/anti_vaccine_activists_9_11_deniers_and_google_s_social_search_.html

Does Google have a responsibility to help stop the spread of 9/11 denialism, anti-vaccine activism, and other fringe beliefs?

Posted Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

In its early days, the Web was often imagined as a global clearinghouse—a new type of library, with the sum total of human knowledge always at our fingertips. That much has happened—but with a twist: In addition to borrowing existing items from its vast collections, we, the patrons, could also deposit our own books, pamphlets and other scribbles—with no or little quality control.

Such democratization of information-gathering—when accompanied by smart institutional and technological arrangements—has been tremendously useful, giving us Wikipedia and Twitter. But it has also spawned thousands of sites that undermine scientific consensus, overturn well-established facts, and promote conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the move toward social search may further insulate regular visitors to such sites; discovering even more links found by their equally paranoid friends will hardly enlighten them. Is it time for some kind of a quality control system?

People who deny global warming, oppose the Darwinian account of evolution, refuse to see the causal link between HIV and AIDS, and think that 9/11 was an inside job have put the Internet to great use. Initially, the Internet helped them find and recruit like-minded individuals and promote events and petitions favorable to their causes. However, as so much of our public life has shifted online, they have branched out into manipulating search engines, editing Wikipedia entries, harassing scientists who oppose whatever pet theory they happen to believe in, and amassing digitized scraps of “evidence” that they proudly present to potential recruits.

A new article in the medical journal Vaccine sheds light on the online practices of one such group—the global anti-vaccination movement, which is a loose coalition of rogue scientists, journalists, parents, and celebrities, who think that vaccines cause disorders like autism—a claim that has been thoroughly discredited by modern science.

Continue reading at:  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/01/anti_vaccine_activists_9_11_deniers_and_google_s_social_search_.html

Christo-Nazi Tony Perkins: Gays won’t be Happy with Marriage Equality because of an ‘Emptiness within Them’

From Right Wing Watch:   http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/perkins-gays-wont-be-happy-marriage-equality-because-emptiness-within-them

by Brian Tashman
January 24, 2012

On Today’s Issues, a despondent Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association discussed the likely passage of a bill in Washington that will legalize same-sex marriage. Citing the stories of “ex-gays,” Perkins argued that gays and lesbians will always have “an emptiness within them” and will never be content with having the right to marry, as “they are operating outside of nature and outside of God’s plan and design.” He went on to say that gay rights advocates ultimately want “the indoctrination of our kids.” Perkins has previously said that gay youth are more likely to commit suicide not as a result of “inacceptance” but because they intuitively know they are “abnormal” and even blamed “the homosexual movement” for suicides.

Complete Article at:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/perkins-gays-wont-be-happy-marriage-equality-because-emptiness-within-them

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Redefining Chutzpah: More Bad Ideas to Burden Women

From On The Issues:  http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/2012winter/2012winter_Schvey.php

by Aram A. Schvey
Winter 2012

What’s chutzpah? Until December 2011, I would have deferred to the classic definition in Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish: chutzpah is a man who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court as a lonely orphan. But at the end of the year, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a bill to teach the world the real meaning of chutzpah: the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011.”

The bill’s sanctimonious name belies its content: the bill invokes a feminist icon while attacking women’s reproductive rights, and a civil-rights hero while requiring doctors to engage in racial profiling of their clients.

This bill would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion which a patient seeks “based on” the sex or race of the fetus or parent. Representative Franks claims his intention is to protect women who belong to communities of color and immigrant communities. In light of Franks’s voting record of consistently opposing legislation to combat sex- and race-based discrimination, that’s a tough sell. But, of course, Franks isn’t really interested in eliminating sex- or race-based discrimination. Rather, he is interested in eliminating abortion — a fact that’s made even more obvious by knowing that Franks has sponsored or supported every major piece of anti-choice legislation this Congress.

Franks is cynically cloaking himself in the garb of feminism and racial equality in an effort to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that recognized a constitutional right to abortion. The bill, for the first time, would criminalize an otherwise-legal abortion simply because of a woman’s motivation in seeking it — something that is constitutionally impermissible prior to viability. A doctor who performs a safe and otherwise legal abortion on a woman could be sued by her parents or the man who impregnated her, and could even face up to five years in jail, merely because the woman’s motivation was wrong in the eyes of the bill’s author. The clear purpose of such a vague law is to threaten providers with prison and to even further chill the access of women, and low-income women of color in particular, to a full range of reproductive services.

Continue reading at:  http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/2012winter/2012winter_Schvey.php

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The invention of the heterosexual

From Salon:   http://www.salon.com/2012/01/22/the_invention_of_the_heterosexual/

The history of straightness is much shorter than you’d think. An expert explains its origins

By Thomas Rogers
Sunday, Jan 22, 2012

If you met Hanne Blank and her partner on the street, you might have a lot of trouble classifying them. While Blank looks like a feminine woman, her partner is extremely androgynous, with little to no facial hair and a fine smooth complexion. Hanne’s partner is neither fully male, nor fully female; he was born with an unconventional set of chromosomes, XXY, that provide him with both male genitalia and feminine characteristics. As a result, Blank’s partner has been mistaken for a gay woman, a straight man, a transman — and their relationship has been classified as gay, straight and everything in between.

Blank mentions her personal story at the beginning of her provocative new history of heterosexuality, “Straight,” as a way of illustrating just how artificial our notions of “straightness” really are. In her book, Blank, a writer and historian who has written extensively about sexuality and culture, looks at the ways in which social trends and the rise of psychiatry conspired to create this new category in the late 19th and early 20th century. Along the way, she examines the changing definition of marriage, which evolved from a businesslike agreement into a romantic union centered around love, and how social Darwinist ideas shaped the divisions between gay and straight. With her eye-opening book, Blank tactfully deconstructs a facet of modern sexuality that most of us take for granted.

Salon spoke to Blank over the phone about the origins of heterosexuality, the evolution of marriage and why the rise of the “bromance” is a very good thing.

Men and woman have been having sex for as long as there have been humans. So how can we talk about there being a “history” of heterosexuality?

We can talk about there being a history of heterosexuality in the same way that we can talk about there being a history of religions. People have been praying to God for a really long time too, and yet the ways people relate to the divine have specific histories. They come from particular places, they take particular trajectories, there are particular texts, and individuals that are important in them. There are events, names, places, dates. It’s really very similar.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/01/22/the_invention_of_the_heterosexual/

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Occupy Albany Presents Reception for the Rest of Us.. Crowne Plaza Albany NY

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Faith-healing: A Modest Proposal on Religious Fundamentalism

From The Women’s Media Center:   http://womensmediacenter.com/blog/2012/01/exclusive-faith-healing-a-modest-proposal-on-religious-fundamentalism/

By Robin Morgan
January 23, 2012

Author and WMC Co-founder Robin Morgan struggles to understand the faith-based madness that seems to surround us.

For years, I’ve been barking up the wrong steeple, confronting the misogyny that defines all religious fundamentalists: Islamists (the only ones most people bother to hate), ultra-Orthodox Jews, Christian Bible-thumpers, Hindu militants, even Buddhist and Shinto extremists. “Take back the law!” I cried, citing the UN Charter and Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which disallow any religious law being the source for or impediment to international rights. “Just feed them all!” I pleaded, when I thought economics drove the phenomenon. “It’s really cultural!” I argued, trying to be reasonable.

And back when I believed we were facing willful ignorance (because affirmed stupidity seems all the rage), I produced Fighting Words: A Tool Kit for Combating the Religious Right (Nation Books). It offers “verbal karate” for arguing, facts and Founders’ quotes like  “Question with boldness even the existence of a god” (Jefferson ). Stuff like that.

Now I see this crisis is worse than willful ignorance. Religious fundamentalists are blatantly, commitment-to-the-funny-farm-ready, lunatic, cuckoo wingnuts. Serious people suffering from cognitive or emotional distress have everything to gain by getting help. But religious fundamentalists have everything to lose by becoming healthy, so they’ve embraced willful madness.

It has an epidemiological range from petty crazy (ubiquitous dating-service TV ads vowing to “find God’s match for you”) to scary psychoses (our home-grown Taliban exerting wildly disproportionate influence on our political system).

Fundamentalists have their fundaments—the Koran, the Shuras, the Pentateuch, the Bible. This last, for instance, has texts handy for justifying Inquisitions, Crusades, lynchings, apartheid, indentured servitude, racism, poverty, polygamy, war, wife battery, child marriage/abuse/murder, homophobia, and other holy terrors—plus some exquisite 17th century English poetry in the King James Version. An important new book, Fatal Self Deception: Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South, by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese (Cambridge University Press), exposes “family based Christian enslavement” as the cornerstone of the institution of slavery. It quotes Joseph Wilson (a 19th century Southern Presbyterian clergyman and, incidentally, father of President Woodrow Wilson) on how his deity devised slavery as an organizing element in the family so it could serve as the model for the state, emphasizing that a household under the gospel must “contain all the grades of authority and obedience, from that of husband and wife, down through that of father and son, to that of master and servant.”

Anyway. Sorry, I digress. That’s the naïve me surfacing again. After all, however much integrity an individual’s private spirituality may have, organized religion has always been about power. And all fundamentalisms share a political agenda and method. But there’s a madness to this method.

Continue reading at:  http://womensmediacenter.com/blog/2012/01/exclusive-faith-healing-a-modest-proposal-on-religious-fundamentalism/

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Embody the Movement — Occupy Wall St West

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Tennessee Tea Party Wants Slavery Removed From School Textbooks To Make Founding Fathers Look Good

From Addicting Info:  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/22/tennessee-tea-party-wants-slavery-removed-from-school-textbooks-to-make-founding-fathers-look-good/

January 22, 2012

As if the Tea Party hasn’t butchered American history enough since their creation, the Tea Party in Tennessee is demanding the immediate removal of any mention of slavery as it applies to the Founding Fathers because they want schools clean up their image and teach students “the truth about America.” Tennessee now wants to join Texas in changing American history as it is presented in textbooks and how it is taught by teachers in school.

Multiple Tea Party members, including lead spokesman Hal Rounds, say they want the state legislature to force teachers to teach history in the way they see it. In other words, they want to re-write history to exclude the fact that the Founding Fathers owned slaves, because according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal, the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”

The group wants to change textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.” It’s a fancy way of saying let’s take the role of minorities out of our American history textbooks so our past leaders will look good.

Complete article at:   http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/22/tennessee-tea-party-wants-slavery-removed-from-school-textbooks-to-make-founding-fathers-look-good/

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Anti-democratic actions by the US Supreme Court

From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jan2012/cour-j24.shtml
By Tom Carter
24 January 2012
Recent Supreme Court opinions regarding religion, voting rights and warrantless surveillance cast a shadow over existing democratic legal protections.

In a ruling January 11 that constitutes a major victory for the religious right, the Supreme Court unanimously held that employees of religious institutions could not assert their rights under federal employment legislation. The case involved Cheryl Perich, a teacher at an evangelical Lutheran church who was fired by the church after she was diagnosed with narcolepsy.

It seems clear that in firing Perich, the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church in Redford, Michigan was motivated chiefly by a desire to avoid having to accommodate Perich’s disability, as well as to avoid any obligation to help pay for her medical care. Such treatment is prohibited by federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Under the provisions of the ADA and other civil rights laws, it is unlawful to discriminate against a worker on account of his or her disability.

In its ruling on the case, EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, the Supreme Court cited “freedom of religion” and the First Amendment as justification for granting religious organizations absolute autonomy in their treatment of their employees and allowing those organizations to escape compliance with federal employment law.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the unanimous court, declared: “When a minister who has been fired sues her church alleging that her termination was discriminatory, the First Amendment has struck the balance for us. The church must be free to choose those who will guide it on its way.”

The ruling was greeted enthusiastically in right-wing and religious circles. The Wall Street Journal opined: “Hosanna-Tabor is an important reminder that the core religious freedoms guarded by the First Amendment were not to protect the public from religion, but to protect religion from government. The case is arguably among the most important religious liberty cases in a half century, and the concurrence of Justices across the ideological spectrum will be felt for years. Hallelujah.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jan2012/cour-j24.shtml

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