Archive for drones

A Woman's View of Serial Genital Mutilation in Iraq (and everywhere else)

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WARNING: graphic and troubling graphics below, please check your environment. Thank You.

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Years ago, Kathy Griffin (a rather political comic with a strong voice) spoke of her having gone to Iraq during active U.S. conflict - the last time - that was absolutely in terrible taste but is something I've not forgotten in the interim - she achieved her point.

She had some sentimental moments (for Kathy) with our troops, then got into some dialogue later about one of the things that burned her as a woman: genital mutilation in the region, escalating every year and mega-egregiously offensive to women around the globe. Now ISIS is back in the mix, and Griffin's bit becomes that much more relevant.

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She essentially described an overview of what was being done to woman and girls in shocking numbers, and it isn't pretty. Griffith got halfway through the train of thought before she dropped a term I'll always remember, "big bucket of clits". It was in the context of things she found hardest to accept, like Sharia Law and the fact that a high percentage of females lining up to have their clitorises sliced off and discarded.

Here's a bit more information from Unicef.

It's beyond heartbreaking this misogynist balderdash, we passed into torture a while ago … it is rumored and reported that Egypt manages to mutilate the genitals of nearly 95% of women. Many are done near birth, like a bris gone bad.


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ISIS has brought all of this horror back to the front page. The tribal custom is old and has deep religious roots … this isn't just a punishment of mild chastising like we give date-rapers in our own country. It's a global ethics crisis.

Here are some words from activist women and victims themselves about this horrific practice.

War brings more need for wealth, arms and whatever strategies will work to keep the people down, help the regular poor and abused and violated girls and women, and historically defined as 'always' a bi-product of war: violence against women. Take your pick of countries to highlight, but at the moment Northern Iraq is in the spotlight.

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I can't look at these hideous images without tearing up - but I think they need to be seen. Those poor girls are simply born the wrong sex to be valued in the MidEast and other oppressive regions, the War On Women is GLOBAL.

From Alarabiya.net.

The al-Qaeda-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday.

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“It is a fatwa (or religious edict) of ISIS, we learnt this this morning,” said Jacqueline Badcock, the number two U.N. official in Iraq.

The “fatwa” would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.

“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said, according to Reuters.

WHY? Indeed. Don't see Jesus or Allah signing off on this one.

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Breaking: U.S. Has Commenced Air Strikes in N. Iraq, Pentagon Says-VIDEO

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The United States has begun shelling specific targets in Northern Iraq in an attempt to deter ISIS -- remember them, their main platform seems to involve female genital mutilation?

ISIS had trapped opposition (refugees) and has overrun clusters of 'Christian villages" in Iraq. President Obama is also having food and vital water airdropped to the victims and refugees. He himself used the descriptor of 'genocide' to judge the possibilities if action was not taken.

Over refugees are fleeing Northern Iraq, and 40,000 alone are trapped on Sinjar mountain. Isis told Yazidis were told to convert to Islam, flee or be killed.

They sound nice.

According to the New York Times Breaking News Alert:

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American warplanes struck Sunni militant positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon said in a statement, confirming the first significant American military operation since ground troops left Iraq in 2011.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said that two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, Admiral Kirby said in a statement.

The Daily Rundown with Chucky Todd had Friday initial reactions. They are varied on other pundit shows as well.

The strike followed President Obama’s announcement Thursday night that he had authorized limited air strikes to protect American citizens in Erbil and Baghdad, and, if necessary, to break the siege of tens of thousand of refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

Then Josè Díaz-Balart had some superb coverage of the shillings on Northern Iraq.

And a vid on President Obama's decision.

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GOP Freak Out Because They Can't Read

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One of the problems people have today is they're in a constant state of "hurry." They have so many things on their plate and time ticks by so quickly, they try to do too much at the same time. And the result is sometimes embarrassing.

Take reading regulations for an example. If you're going to run for political office, or if you hold political office, comprehensive reading is a requirement. New bills and proposals are constantly being put in front of you and your understanding them is paramount before you can vote on them. Or at least that's how it's supposed to work.

Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) reportedly used an aerial drone to capture images from his wedding to his long-time same-sex partner last month -- and the GOP is not at all happy about it.

Nothing about this should raise too many eyebrows unless you're a Conservative Republican. In that case the idea of a same-sex marriage is abhorrent. That could cause your blood pressure to rise and cloud your thinking. But surprise, that's not what has gotten the National Republican Congressional Committee's undies in a bunch.

Congressman Maloney 2Rep. Sean Maloney - Randy Florke

The straw that broke their back was Congressman Maloney used a drone to photograph his event. I think it's clever and very interesting. The Republican caucus group saw this differently.

The New York Daily News reported on Monday that Maloney had used a small drone to shoot video at his wedding in Cold Spring, N.Y. But the News also said that federal regulations prohibit the commercial use of drones like the one that he and partner Randy Florke used.

The National Republican Congressional Committee labeled Maloney's actions as a "stunning disregard for FAA rules regarding drone use."

"Stunning  disregard." Let's break this down. Here's the one word the Republicans are not reading -- giving them the benefit of the doubt that they can read at all. Today's "secret word" is COMMERCIAL, as in commercial use.

There is a prohibition with commercial use of such a drone, but not personal use. Unless the congressperson and his partner are planning on selling  copies of their wedding video, thus making the usage commercial, this is all completely legal. The chance these two men are planning such a commercial venture with this matrimonial commemoration video seems quite unlikely.

Thus, once again, the misinformed GOP, the Chicken Littles of the world, are screaming the sky is falling. If only it would, it might knock some common sense into them. That doesn't seem likely though. So ignorance of the law seems to reign supreme, once again, in the GOP headquarters.

And to think that the group pointing fingers and accusing another Congressman of breaking the law consists of the very same people who are supposed to know the laws would be laughable, if it were not so sad. It's one thing to be incompetent. It's another to open your mouth and prove it. This is just such a case.

So here's a lesson for all you GOP congresspeople. Before you accuse someone of something, do your homework. And take the time to read all the regulations, not just the ones that your eyes pick up while you're out doing something else, like fundraising or obstructing Congress.

For a change, do your jobs. We citizens would appreciate that.

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Between the Shiite & Where the Sunni Don't Shine

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It's just one giant mess in Iraq, most likely exacerbated by our invasion over a decade ago. And the question is whether or not we should get involved again.

I say no. But it's not up to me..

This morning, I was excited to welcome Juan Cole to the program. Unfortunately for me, a power surge knocked me off the air just moments before I was to call him. Needless to say, when I did get Juan on the line, I was a bit frazzled, and all the pages I had up on my computer had closed, leaving me a bit more tongue tied than usual.

But I always appreciate his input... probably best today found on his website at JuanCole.com. While you're there, check out "Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq" and prepare to be pissed!

Juan Cole has a new book coming out on July 1, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East I'll try to get him back on for another chat then, and hope to not be interrupted so rudely next time!

In the first hour, as we do every Monday morning, I spoke with Howie Klein during our regular segment "The Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie".  Today, in addition to talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz' apparent loyalites to Big Pharma and the for-profit prison industry (as evidenced by her opposition to medical marijuana), we talked about the big newspaper story on her cooking practices (can you say fluff piece?)

Howie brought a few stories too, including one about Barbara Lee's failed amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill, and another about the Democrats who are just fine with the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, thankyouverymuch.

I'm off to get a new uninterruptible power source before tomorrow's show, when we'll talk with the always awesome Thomas Frank, and the always funny GottaLaff!

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ALAN DIAZ

Leaving Homeless Person On The Streets: $31,065. Giving Them Housing: $10,051.

Chuck Hagel Accuses China Of 'Destabilizing' Asia Over South China Sea Claims

Matthew Hagee Says it’s Not Climate Change You’re Feeling – It’s Jesus’ Return

Turkey in heavy security clampdown on Taksim anniversary

Meet The Far-Right Groups Who’ll Decide Europe’s Future

Why Europe's Progressives Shouldn't Mourn the Latest EU Election

What's Behind the 'Drought' in Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Just Four Out Of 80 Candidates Endorsed By The Tea Party Are Women

Man Threatens to Shoot People in Democratic Senator's Office

Montana Congressional Candidate Says Speed Limits Are A ‘Federal Overreach’

Indianapolis Will Give All Students Free Breakfast And Lunch

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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Georgia Michelle Nunn

Please note: some of today's links are from this past week.

Rasmussen Poll Finds Republicans Circling the Drain in GA Senate Race

California Mass Murderer was influenced by the “Men’s Rights Movement”

Mass Murderer's Manifesto

After The Santa Barbara Shootings It’s Time to Talk About The Culture of Violence Against Women

Republicans Care About Vets So Much That They Blocked a Bill Expanding Veterans Benefits

Audio: Planet Money - Who Owns the Air?

Documents: Petraeus Fracking Field Trip Reveals ND Government, Oil, Private Equity Nexus

Jon Stewart Slams GOP Hypocrisy Over VA Scandal

The Republican Effort To Rollback Workplace Safety Regulations is Literally Killing Americans

Kansas governor nullifies local gun laws

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Thursday Links

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links Bundy

Back at the Bundy Ranch, It’s Oath Keepers vs. Militiamen as Wild Rumors Fly

Democrats Assail G.O.P. After Filibuster of Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage

Most young voters plan to sit out midterm elections, new poll finds

Why some English words are controversial in China.

On the Money: Political Mad Men

Ukraine crisis: Russian military attache held for 'spying'

Prisoner in China's plea for help found in Saks bag

How Piketty’s Bombshell Book Blows Up Libertarian Fantasies

GOP Governor’s Ugly Bloodlust: Why Oklahoma's Mary Fallin Should Account For State-Sanctioned Torture

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