Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings reports on a revision to the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987, which prohibit the use of government disinformation and propaganda campaigns within the USA. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State, would allow the US government to knowingly tell lies to its people in order to promote the government’s own policies.
The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”
According to this official, “senior public affairs” officers within the Department of Defense want to “get rid” of Smith-Mundt and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Critics of the bill point out that there was rigorous debate when Smith Mundt passed, and the fact that this is so “under the radar,” as the Pentagon official puts it, is troubling.
The Pentagon spends some $4 billion a year to sway public opinion already, and it was recently revealed by USA Today the DoD spent $202 million on information operations in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.
Once something is repeated enough by government officials, we become numb to its extremism. Even in the immediate wake of 9/11 — when national fear and hysteria were intense — things like the Patriot Act, military commissions, and indefinite detention were viewed as radical departures from American political tradition; now, they just endure and are constantly renewed without notice, because they’ve just become normalized fixtures of American political life.
Here we have the Obama administration asserting what I genuinely believe, without hyperbole, is the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime — that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without “due process of law” is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” — and it’s now barely something anyone (including me) even notices when The New York Times reports it (as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer asked yesterday: “These Dems who think executive process is due process: Where were they when Bush needed help with warrantless wiretapping?” — or his indefinite detention scheme?)”
ThinkProgress reports: “An Oklahoma emergency room doctor refused to provide emergency contraception to a 24-year-old female rape victim because the medication violated the health provider’s personal beliefs… ‘I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my believes,’ the doctor allegedly told the rape victim and her mother, Rhonda. ‘She knew my daughter had just been raped. Her attitude was so judgmental and I felt that she was just judging my daughter.’
Oklahoma law shields providers from offering the perfectly legal medication under a ‘conscience clause’ which could significantly hinder women’s access to contraception services.”
This is sick. You might have to carry your rapist’s child because MY beliefs say so? In what universe is that OK? Whatever happened to “first, do no harm” – and I mean the living, breathing patient in front of you, not a maybe baby conceived by a rape. The religious right whines about secularism intruding into their beliefs, but what is more intrusive than forced pregnancy?
This woman was luckily able to get EC at another hospital. Other people might not be so lucky.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.
Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a “payoff” to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was “false, preposterous and unjust.”
But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. The process, known as “laicization,” is a formal church juridical procedure that requires Vatican approval, and can take far longer if the priest objects.
“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”
Cardinal Dolan, who is president of the national bishops’ conference and fast becoming the nation’s most high-profile Roman Catholic cleric, did not respond to several requests for comment.
A victims advocacy group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sent a letter of protest to the current archbishop of Milwaukee on Wednesday asking, “In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?”
“It comes down to who is the patient. Is the woman the patient, or is the fetus the patient? One or other is the patient. I’ve never heard a fetus talk to me. I’ve heard thousands and thousands of women share their pain, their desperation, and their hopelessness.”—
“I hate when consenting adults do things with their own bodies that aren’t what I would choose to do with my body!”—Signed Slut Shamers, Who Apparently Have Nothing Better To Do Than Police Other People’s Consensual Sexual Activities (via deviantfemme)
“The only reason “coming out” is still even a thing is because it’s presumed that people are straight until they tell us otherwise. “The Other must identify itself, or else it is decieving us” is a fucked up, dangerous idea.”—Anon (via victor-the-richter)
Like it or not, fat people are at war. I’m not hyperbolizing or dramatizing. If you don’t believe me, Google “War on obesity”. Tonight HBO premiered its new documentary series “The Weight of a Nation”. On the premiere page it says “Obesity in America has reached a catastrophic level. Almost every aspect of our lives is threatened. The first step toward ending the damage is learning how to fight back.”
I spend a lot of my time politely asking people to please stop oppressing me. I don’t apologize for that, nor do I begrudge it – it’s proven to be a very effective way to create change and I think that people deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt and the support they need to shift their thinking, and it’s a reasonably pleasant form of activism. I will continue to do it.
But I also have to acknowledge that there is a war being waged against me because of how I look, by people who have been given every opportunity to know better. In concert with HBO’s documentary, I received a Tweet letting me know that Kaiser Permanente is launching the “most aggressive anti-obesity campaign in history.”
They know that there are healthy fat people and unhealthy thin people. They know that not a shred of research shows that any method of weight loss works in the long term. They know that research shows us that we could vastly increase health by providing access to healthy foods, safe movement options, and affordable/free evidence based health care. Nobody is obligated to be healthy or thin; however, I wonder how many people would make different choices if they knew they just need 30 minutes of moderate movement 5 days a week? If they knew that people who choose simple healthy habits have very similar health outcomes regardless of weight. What would people choose if they knew they could abandon the goal of weight loss completely and they could still pursue health. America could be a successful role model for giving people access to health, but instead they are choosing to be a failed role model for thinness - waging war on people based on their appearance for tremendous profit and actively blaming the casualties of the war for the war’s massive failures.
Let’s be clear - they are pathologizing a body size. It doesn’t matter if they say that we need to seek solutions environmentally instead of at the individual level, or if they say that we should have “compassion” for fat people – they are still telling people that is is not ok to exist in fat bodies and that they should see fat bodies as a threat to America. There are tons of thin people who eat unhealthy foods and are sedentary (which is completely their right), but as far as the government is concerned, as long as you are thin you’re part of the “solution,” feel free to do whatever you want. They want people to look at me (and you, if you’re fat) and think “She is part of a catastrophe. She is threatening almost every aspect of our lives. The first step toward ending the damage is learning how to fight back against her.”
I say that if they want a war, I will damn well give them one.
it’s not my favorite word in the world. and i don’t choose to make it a part of my political paradigm. why? because the situation i live in positions me between the poor white, poor mexican and poor black communities. and for MY survival, i need to spend a lot of time working to understand the…
“Or maybe the same way a creative searches for their muse, so must a muse go through life slightly dormant until they meet someone with an emptiness big enough for them to nestle inside. Maybe the muse needs to find their creator, as much as the creator is desperate for their muse.”—Gaby Dunn, You Are My Muse (via ameliaelizabeth)
“the wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings. The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others. When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we willingly hear the other’s truth, and most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.”—bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions (via nadia-love)
and it’s my personal opinion that “judging somebody by their skin color (or sexuality, gender, etc)” is…shitty, but whatever. WHO CARES. if you look at me and see a breeding animal or a invading cockroach? I don’t really all that much give a shit.
“It is a sign of white privilege to be able to “see” blackness and black culture from a standpoint where only the rich culture of opposition black people have created in resistance marks and defines us. Such a perspective enables one to ignore white supremacist domination and the hurt it inflicts via oppression, exploitation, and everyday wounds and pains. White folks who do not see black pain never really understand the complexity of black pleasure. And it is no wonder then that when they attempt to imitate the joy in living which they see as the “essence” of soul and blackness, their cultural productions may have an air of sham and falseness that may titillate
and even move white audiences yet leave many black folks cold.”—
bell hooks. Black Looks: Race and Representation- Madonna: Plantation Mistress or Soul Sister?
i am posting this after the questions i have received about “yolo” etc and i felt this quote explained a lot of my annoyance. in my mind, the ways that white people consume hip hop, they still do not fully get it or understand it and their imitations will always fall short and twist and convoluted the meaning. because the majority of white people cannot in any way acknowledge or recognize or respect Black pain, the cannot know black pleasure. these are two concepts found heavily within hip hop, even the heavily commodified corporate shit has grains of it in there. and white consumers, even the most ardent of hip hop heads, will never hear or understand the words written by Black artists the same way because of that. they do not understand or acknowledge our pain and they quite often revel in it or ask us to be silent about it or to ignore it or get over it.
“Our culture expects women’s – and men’s – bodies to be a certain way. People are very invested in the idea that Men Look Like This and Women Look Like That and Never the Twain Shall Meet. Well, guess what? Nature doesn’t give a fuck about your sexual binary. Nature puts us together in a million different ways – actually, about seven billion, give or take a few hundred thousand – and a lot of us are going to walk that imaginary line. There are going to be short, hairless men with high voices and tall women with deep voices and people who are intersexed in a bunch of different ways, and here’s the great thing – it’s all okay. Every single one of us. There’s not a thing wrong with any of us.”—The misgendering of Brittney Griner « Fit and Feminist (via sexisnottheenemy)
Admit that things you like can be fucked up. Admit that not everything you like is free of sexism, classism, racism, numerous hatreds that are bred into us by where we live. Admit that none of us is free from being biased assholes at times.
If ever a black person and a white person get heated in a conversation on race, the surrounding white folks will be convinced and express that the black person has a chip on their shoulder or an exaggerated bias. But that is NEVER said about the white…
“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?”—
Houston judge Lanny Moriarty • On his decision to sentence a 17-year-old honor student, who (since her parents divorced and both skipped town) has had to work both a full and a part time job just to support two siblings, to spend a day in jail, after she missed school recently. Diane Tran, who also takes dual-credit college-level courses, says that she’s often so tired that she finds it difficult to wake up for school. But that didn’t sway Moriarty, who chose to make an example of Tran. If you think this sucks, we direct you to this Change.org petition.
She’s a professional dancer who’s ‘morbidly obese’ and yet she’s in tip top shape, and even runs a blog about her work.
I could keep going.
Health is NOT visible. You cannot tell how healthy someone is by looking at them. You cannot tell how far or fast they can run. You cannot tell their level of fitness. You cannot tell how much they can lift, how often they work out.
And likewise, just because you look a certain way, or just because numbers on a scale are dropping, doesn’t mean you’re healthy.
BMI is bullshit. Everything they tell you on The Biggest Loser and Dr. Oz and the 5pm news is bullshit. Unplug yourself. Body size is NOT an indicator of health or fitness. And health does not dictate what your body will look like.
And most importantly at all: if someone isn’t healthy, it is NOT YOUR BUSINESS. And if you’re unhealthy and you’re happy, no one can tell you you’re wrong. Your body is YOUR body.
Afghanistan has often enough been called “the graveyard of empires.” Americans have made it a habit to whistle past that graveyard, looking the other way — a form of obliviousness much aided by the fact that the American war dead conveniently come from the less well known or forgotten places in our country. They are so much easier to ignore thanks to that.
Except in their hometowns, how easy the war dead are to forget in an era when corporations go to war but Americans largely don’t. So far, 1,980 American military personnel (and significant but largely unacknowledged numbers of private contractors) have died in Afghanistan, as have 1,028 NATO and allied troops, and (despite U.N. efforts to count them) unknown but staggering numbers of Afghans.
According to the men’s rights movement, every problem modern society faces has its roots in misandry. Hatred of men is so engrained in today’s world that most people aren’t even aware it exists. Could that be because it actually doesn’t exist? Don’t be stupid. That’s just what a man-hater would say.
A tale of investigation and super!trolling on the part of the author. tw for rape culture and every other trigger that typically comes with these discussions
“Here’s how I see “Not everyone is racist”:
If you’re walking down the street and you see someone kicking a child on the ground…
…and you don’t do anything - you don’t call for the police, you don’t yell for help, you don’t even try to get involved or distract the assailant…
You may not be a child abuser, but what does it say about you and your willingness to enable it? What does it say about you?
What if it’s a busy street AND NO ONE AT ALL does anything? What does it say about everyone there?
Systemic oppression is that- you don’t have to throw the slur, assault the person, be the one to deny promotion, education, loans or healthcare - you just have to be ok with someone else doing it and unwilling to do anything to stop it.”—bankuei via the bad dominicana: (via cijithegeek)
Israel mocks democratic freedoms. Force-fed occupation injustice reveals its true face. It rivals the world’s worst tyrannies. Scoundrel media cover-ups can’t change facts.
Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes persisted for weeks. Some lasted over two months. Miraculously no one died. Victories remain elusive. Negotiations produced Israeli promises to ease prison harshness. In return, most strikers resumed eating.
Pledges made are easily broken. Israel’s history proves its word is worthless. Palestinians have no rights, in or out of prison. Racism is policy. So is institutionalized persecution and violence against non-Jews. Arabs are despised.
Even Jews aren’t spared it they challenge government authority too far. No wonder many vote with their feet and leave. Like America, Israel is no fit place to live in. For Palestinians, it’s hell.
On May 24, Addameer headlined “Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi still on hunger strike as Israel’s violations continue,” saying:
“Israel has already violated the terms of the agreement addressing the demands of approximately 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners just over one week since they ended their historic mass hunger strike.”
Agreements with Israel aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Eventually they’re violated entirely. Hunger strikers are betrayed like all Palestinians, past and present.
Two prisoners remain on strike. Their health seriously deteriorated. They’re denied independent care. Ramleh Prison physicians make witch doctors look good by comparison. They’re charlatans. They betray their Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine ethically and responsibly.
Mahmoud is a member of Palestine’s national football team. Three years ago, he was imprisoned uncharged. On May 25, he began day 68 without food. He’s protesting against lawless detention uncharged under Israel’s draconian Unlawful Combatants Law (UCL).
Without evidence, it’s imposed based on “a reasonable basis” to believe Palestinians belong to a hostile group belligerently confronting Israel.
UCL is similar to George Bush’s “unlawful enemy combatant” designation. In 2009, terminology switched to “unprivileged enemy belligerent.” Language changed, but not intent. Detainees lose all rights. Israel and America replicate the worst of each other.
Legal obligations don’t matter. Targeted victims lose out entirely. Both countries wage war on Islam. State terror is official policy.
Israel promised Mahmoud a July release date. None so far was affirmed. Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf visited him and five others in Ramleh’s medical center. She reported his condition so grave he could barely speak.
On May 25, Akram began day 44 without food. He’s been in Ramleh’s medical center since arrested in 2004. Serious diseases afflict him. They include diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis. Protracted striking left him precariously weak in grave condition.
Diabetes sufferers need minimal regular sustenance to survive. Akram can’t last much longer without it.
Neddaf also visited Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh. On May 14, they resumed eating. Bilal has stomach and head pain. His body rejects most nourishment. He digests only soup and milk.
He and Thaer struck for 77 days. Doing so risked death. Neither is out of the woods. Recovery will take months or perhaps years. Despite pledging to allow family visits, Bilal’s mother was denied permission to see him. Baseless “security” reasons were given.
Thaer also struggles to recover. He’s experiencing stomach, pancreas and back pain. On May 20, he was transferred to Ofer Prison for interrogation, then returned to Ramleh.
Both were promised release when their administrative detentions expire. For Thaer, it’s June 5. Bilal is scheduled for August 11. Each pledged to resume striking if Israel violates agreed on terms.
On May 14, Mohammad Taj ended his 60 day hunger strike for 24 hours after learning his POW demand would be met. Another promise made, another broken. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) violated its pledge.
On May 21, Mohammad again began eating. He told Neddaf details of his ill-treatment after resuming his strike. Despite his grave condition, he was transferred on May 15 to Al-Jalameh interrogation center.
“He was severely beaten and his clothes were forcibly stripped from his body. Prison guards also attempted to force milk down his throat.”
Addameer also documented blatantly violated pledges related to administrative detention. Numerous uncharged detainees got extensions. Israel promised otherwise. In addition, newly arrested prisoners are held uncharged. Doing it longer than minimal periods violates international law.
Israel finds new and repeated ways to affirm its rogue status. Justice and democratic freedoms don’t have a chance. Accountability remains denied.
“This Is Not Fair Play”
Mahmoud Kamel Muhammad Sarsak spoke poignantly about his son, Mahmoud. He asked others to help save him. Public pressure and world embarrassment alone have a chance.
On July 22, 2009, he was arrested at Gaza’s Erez checkpoint. He headed for a West Bank Balata refugee camp football match. He was taken to Ashkelon Prison for weeks of interrogation.
On August 23, he was lawlessly detained under Israel’s UCL. Using it results in long-term indefinite detentions. Mahmoud was never charged or tried. On March 19, he stopped eating in protest. His fundamental rights are denied. He spent punishing time in solitary confinement.
“For us it is unbearable to see Israel has been awarded the hosting of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Under 21s football championship in 2013 and gears up to participate in the London Olympics, while it routinely arrests, tortures, imprisons and kills Palestinians, including football players, without consequence.”
“This is not fair play. Sports should show solidarity.”
Mahmoud and his family “call(ed) on all people of conscience to demand his immediate release, and to pressure governments and international organizations to force Israel’s compliance with the most basic standards of international law.”
In early May, Football Beyond Borders (FBB) expressed solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers. It noted Mahmoud’s unjust detention and critical condition. It announced it would boycott the 2013 UEFA championship games hosted by Israel.
In June 2011, dozens of Palestinian athletic teams wrote UEFA. They protested awarding Israel host city rights for 2013. They said in part:
“Football Beyond Borders, a student-led organisation which uses the universal power of football to tackle political, social and cultural issues, stands in solidarity with Mahmoud Sarsak and all of the Palestinian political prisoners currently being detained by Israel on hunger strike, as together we protest the injustices being inflicted upon Palestinian prisoners in Israel, and draw attention to their plight.”
“Football Beyond Borders also takes this opportunity to announce our official boycott of the UEFA 2013 Under-21 European Championships, which Israel has been awarded the honour of hosting.”
“Further announcements and planned actions will be made on this boycott in due course.”
Media:lmao that's weird. guys! guys! look how fucking different they are!
White people:*doing the exact same stuff stolen from POC's culture*
Media:omfg. OMFG!!! RADICAL! ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE! LETS MAKE THIS A NEW TREND! NO ONE'S EVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE! THIS IS SO INSPIRATIONAL! LET'S MAKE THEM FAMOUS AND GIVE THEM FUCKLOADS OF MONEY FOR THIS!
“The more time you spend thinking about how your body looks, or what you’ve eaten or haven’t eaten, or any of that stuff, the less time and brainspace you have to think about and plan your creative work; notice inequalities and plot revolution; pay attention to what other people need and respond to that; feel your feelings; come up with big visions, schemes and plans; meditate, pray, or otherwise feed your spiritual side; or do any one of a million other things that can help you enact your potential in the world. When you catch yourself going there, think about what else you could be doing with that mental space, and USE IT.”— Danya Ruttenberg here (via hellyeahscarleteen)
MORE THAN 100 San Francisco Bay Area activists and members of the Black community in Oakland, Calif., came together May 12 for a march for justice for Alan DeWayne Blueford, an 18-year-old high school senior gunned down by…
I see a lot of “slavery is over, black people should move on” rhetoric on the internet. And mostly I roll my eyes & keep it moving. But I notice that people who say these things lack historical knowledge. They don’t know about the Red Summer in which race riots broke out in 36…
“As far as I’m concerned, if a Black man & woman make a marriage work in amerika, they’ve accomplished a miracle. Because everything is against them. Just being poor is one of their biggest obstacles. Most of the arguments are about money. It’s hard as hell to be loving & caring when you can’t pay the bills & you don’t know where the next dollar is coming from”—Excerpt from “Assata” (Ch 4. Pg 73)