Indian Women March: ‘That Girl Could Have Been Any One of Us’

From The New York Times:

By and
Published: December 30, 2012

NEW DELHI — Neha Kaul Mehra says she was only 7 years old the first time she was sexually harassed. She was walking to a dance class in an affluent neighborhood of New Delhi when a man confronted her and began openly masturbating.

The police patrolled a New Delhi rally on Sunday after the cremation of a woman whose rape prompted widespread protests.

That episode was far from the last. Years of verbal and physical sexual affronts left Ms. Mehra, now 29, filled with what she described as “impotent rage.”

Last week, she and thousands of Indian women like her poured that anger into public demonstrations, reacting to news of the gang rape of another young woman who had moved to the city from a small village, with a new life in front of her.

That woman, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, died Saturday from internal injuries inflicted with a metal rod during the rape, which took place on a bus two weeks ago.

In her story and its brutal ending, many women in the world’s largest democracy say they see themselves.

“That girl could have been any one of us,” said Sangeetha Saini, 44, who took her two teenage daughters to a candle-filled demonstration on Sunday in Delhi. Women in India “face harassment in public spaces, streets, on buses,” she said. “We can only tackle this by becoming Durga,” she added, referring to the female Hindu god who slays a demon.

Indian women have made impressive gains in recent years: maternal mortality rates have dropped, literacy rates and education levels have risen, and millions of women have joined the professional classes. But the women at the heart of the protest movement say it was born of their outraged realization that no matter how accomplished they become, or how hard they work, women here will never fully take part in the promise of a new and more prosperous India unless something fundamental about the culture changes.

Indeed, many women in India say they are still subject to regular harassment and assault during the day and are fearful of leaving their homes alone after dark. Now they are demanding that the government, and a police force that they say offers women little or no protection, do something about it.

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Italian women protest misogynist priest: Violence against women ‘an emergency’

From Raw Story:

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, December 30, 2012

Women in Carrara, Italy protested at Sunday mass against a misogynistic priest who suggested women incited domestic and sexual violence against themselves.

“We decided to stage this protest because we think that this ideology is basically shared by most of the Catholic Church and society. This ideology has become one of the causes of violence against women, which is actually an emergency in Italy,” said Alessandra Verdini, an anthropologist and women’s rights activist who organized the protest.

Father Piero Corsi of Liguria said in a Christmas bulletin that the rise in domestic violence in Italy was caused by women serving cold food, not looking after their children, not cleaning their home, acting arrogant, and dressing provocatively.

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Belgium To Prosecute Scientology As Criminal Organization; Church Faces Charges Of Extortion, Fraud

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 12/28/2012

Federal public prosecutors in Belgium will institute legal proceedings against the church of Scientology in that country and seek to recognize it as a criminal organization.

The church of Scientology — which is not recognized as a faith in Belgium — and several of its top-ranking members face charges including extortion, fraud, illegal practice of medicine and violation of privacy laws, according to Flanders News.

The complaint stems from an investigation of fraudulent labor contracts issued by the church of Scientology in an effort to recruit new volunteers and members. A judge ordered raids on Scientology offices in 2008 that allegedly uncovered a “wealth of evidence” that the organization had spied on and extorted money from its members, according to De Standaard.

An estimated 500 people belong to the church of Scientology in Belgium. The organization’s European headquarters are located in Brussels.

Belgium is not the only European country in which Scientology has faced criticism and legal action.

Scientology came under fire in France in 2009 when it was convicted of fraud for “[pressuring] members into paying large sum for questionable remedies,” according to the Associated Press. That conviction was upheld in a French appeals court in February 2012.

Germany does not recognize Scientology as a faith, and a 1997 state-level interior ministry report described the organization’s agenda and activities as “marked by objectives that are fundamentally and permanently directed at abolishing the free democratic basic order,” Time reported in 2007.

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The Only Freedom that Matters is the Freedom to Nervously Guard Against Your Constant Fear of Emasculation

From Pandagon @ Raw Story:

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Those freedom-loving arsenal-builders love liberty soooooo much, y’all. The want to hump it, lick it, and most importantly, take it to the shooting range to share in the glory of the One and Only Real Liberty: the liberty to believe the gun industry when they tell you their products will deceive everyone else into thinking you’re a tough manly man. They’re so into “freedom” they’re willing not just to tolerate periodic pre-Christmas massacres of little kids and firefighters to preserve the steady profits for gun manufacturers. They love the liberty of gun companies to make a mint off the corpses of 1st graders and firemen so much, in fact, that they’re willing to destroy every other right in order to preserve the One and Only Real Liberty.

Which is why those liberty-loving patriots have come together to demand that there be legal repercussions for people who publicly disagree with them. The First Amendment be damned; it it interferes with gun company profits, free speech must end.

A petition calling to deport pro-gun control CNN host Piers Morgan back to England has easily surpassed the 25,000 that requires a response from the White House. Started on Friday in Texas a few days after Morgan called gun advocate Larry Pratt “an unbelievably stupid man”, the petition accuses Morgan of engaging “in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution” and wants to deport him “immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

The Constitution, of course, doesn’t have any anti-American blather in it about due process or the rule of law, and certainly nothing   in it as subversive as saying that people have things like “freedom of speech, or of the press”, nor to peaceably assemble without the threat of a guy with a semiautomatic weapon with an extended clip that can wipe them all out in less time than it takes Glenn Reynolds to complete his obligatory quarterly wife-humping. The Constitution is a surprisingly simple document, consisting of a single sentence:

The right of gun companies to make obscene profits convincing morons that their testicles will fall off if they don’t dump thousands of dollars building up arsenals to guard against the imaginary impending apocalypse shall not be abridged.

No other language in it. Hey, they drank a lot back in the 18th century.

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National Rifle Association moves to block UN treaty on gun control

From The Guardian UK:

Not content with blocking gun safety laws to prevent US shooting massacres, the NRA is working to thwart international action, Friday 28 December 2012

While the final funerals for the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre have been held, gun violence continues apace, most notably with the Christmas Eve murder of two volunteer firefighters in rural Webster, New York, at the hands of an ex-convict who was armed, as was the Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, with a Bushmaster .223 caliber AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. James Holmes, the alleged perpetrator of the massacre last July in Aurora, Colorado, stands accused of using, among other weapons, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 with a 100-round drum in place of a standard magazine clip.

Standing stalwartly against any regulation of these weapons and high-capacity magazines, the National Rifle Association continues to block any gun control laws whatsoever, and even trumpets its efforts to block the global arms trade treaty, slated for negotiations at the United Nations this March.

On Christmas Eve, the same day as the attack in Webster, the UN general assembly voted to move ahead with 10 days of negotiations on the arms trade treaty, to commence 18 March. Recall it was last July that the Obama administration said it “needed more time” to review the proposed treaty, effectively killing any hope of getting a treaty passed and sent back to member nations for ratification. This was just one week after the Aurora massacre, and in the heat of a close presidential election campaign.

The NRA succeeded in helping to scuttle the global arms trade treaty, delivering to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter opposing the treaty signed by 50 US senators, including eight Democrats, and 130 members of the House of Representatives.

The global treaty shouldn’t be controversial. By signing on, governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate “the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes” or other violations of international humanitarian law. Exports of arms are banned if they will facilitate “gender-based violence or violence against children” or be used for “transnational organized crime”.

The treaty deals with international exports of weapons and ammunition, not any nation’s internal, domestic laws that govern the sale or use of guns.

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Bernie Sanders “Everybody Knows The House Is Dominated By Right-Wing Extremists!”

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Lindsay Graham: I Will Destroy America’s Solvency Unless The Social Security Retirement Age Is Raised

From Think Progress:

By Ian Millhiser
on Dec 30, 2012

Although official Washington is currently fixated on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff,” the biggest threat to American prosperity is the debt ceiling, which must be raised in February to prevent economic catastrophe. If Republicans refuse to reach a deal on the so-called cliff, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that they will spark a new recession in 2013. But if Republicans block action on the debt ceiling, they will make that potential recession look quaint. Without raising the debt ceiling, the United States will be forced to embrace austerity so severe it will lead to “a bigger GDP drop than that experienced during the Great Recession of 2008.”

But in an interview on Fox News Sunday this morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened to oppose this must-pass bill unless Social Security benefits are taken away from millions of future retirees:

I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare [sic]. So here’s what i would like: meaningful entitlement reform — not to turn Social Security into private accounts, not to take a voucher approach to Medicare — but, adjust the age for Social Security, CPI changes and means testing and look beyond the ten-year window. I cannot in good conscience raise the debt ceiling without addressing the long term debt problems of this country and I will not.

Watch it:

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