Tuesday Reads: U.S.-Pakistan Deal, “Dr. Sex,” Fearful Republicans, Violence against Women, and More

Good Morning!!

The Guardian posted a story last night that seems to put the lie to all the supposed arguing about whether the Obama administration had the right to unilaterally enter Pakistan and raid Osama bin Laden’s residence. The two governments had agreed ten years ago that this would be acceptable in the event bin Laden’s location was found.

The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.

The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion.

“There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him,” said a former senior US official with knowledge of counterterrorism operations. “The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn’t stop us.”

So Pakistan kept its word. No wonder they are so insulted by all the accusations that they protected bin Laden. The agreement would protect the Pakistan government from public reaction at home. The only problem is that neither side seems to have thought about what the reaction would be here in the U.S.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a comment a couple of days ago, the Pakistan ISI has retaliated by outing the CIA station chief in Islamabad for the second time . Joseph Cannon has been doing a fantastic job of covering the ins and outs of this story, see here and here.

Back in March, I wrote a post about Professor J. Michael Bailey, AKA “Dr. Sex,” who taught a course in Human Sexuality at Northwestern University. In an optional after-class session, Bailey had a allowed a man to bring a woman to orgasm using a sex toy called “the f*cksaw.” Today Northwestern announced that the human sexuality course will not be offered next year.

Northwestern University will not offer a controversial human sexuality class next academic year after its professor came under fire for allowing a live sex-toy demonstration during an after-class lecture.

About 100 of psychology professor J. Michael Bailey’s students observed a naked woman being penetrated by a motorized sex toy on Feb. 21. The university said in March that it would investigate the incident; officials said Monday that the review continues.

“I learned a week or two ago that they had decided to cancel the course for next year,” psychology department chair Dan McAdams said Monday. “The decision was made higher up than me at the central administration level.”

No other Northwestern psychology professor is qualified to teach the subject, McAdams said. Bailey “will have other teaching assignments in the coming year,” according to a university statement.

I’m not particularly surprised. I wonder what “other teaching assignments” Bailey will be getting–Psychology 101, perhaps? There is bound to be some kind of disciplinary action that we won’t be told about.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has admitted that the raucous town hall crowds faced by Republicans over his Medicare Destruction Plan have had an effect (although not on him). John Nichols has a great piece about it at The Nation.

But the outcry over his plan to mess with Medicare, heard in Wisconsin communities from Milton to Kenosha, and at spring recess sessions in the districts of Republican freshmen from Pennsylvania to Florida, obviously influenced other Republicans.

Images from Kenosha – a historic factory town in Ryan’s district, where hundreds of people showed up to criticize his scheming to cut benefits for working Americans while giving billionaires and multinational corporations new tax breaks – were featured nationally on broadcast network news shows.

Cable news programs focused intense attention on the story. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz devoted much of a program last week to the outcry. (In addition to a blistering analysis of the congressman’s proposal by the host, this writer provided some on the ground reporting from Kenosha, including details of a brief interview with Ryan, who was typically dismissive of the popular discomfort with his plan.) But other networks — even Fox — at least touched on the congressman’s troubles.

The reporting was noticed in Washington where, last week, GOP leaders began almost immediately to distance themselves from Ryan’s plan to use Medicare funds to enrich the private insurance firms that have donated so generously to his campaigns.

At Salon, Michael Winship has a good article about the many corporations who don’t pay any taxes–yet the Republicans constantly complain that poor people don’t have to pay any on their paltry incomes.

What’s greasing the wheels for these advantages is, hold on to your hats, cash. Over the last decade, according to the New York City public advocate’s report, those same five companies — GE, Exxon-Mobil, Bank of America, Chevron and Boeing — gave more than $43.1 million to political campaigns. During the 2009-2010 election cycle, the five spent a combined $7.86 million in campaign contributions, a 7 percent jump over their 2007-2008 political spending.

“These tax breaks were put in place to promote growth and create jobs, not bankroll the political causes of corporate executives,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said. “… No company that can afford to spend millions of dollars to influence our elections should be pleading poverty come tax time.”

And by the way, those campaign cash figures don’t even include all the money those companies funneled into the 2010 campaigns via trade associations and tax-exempt non-profits. Thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, we don’t know the numbers because, as per the court, the corporate biggies don’t have to tell us. Imagine them sticking out their tongues and wiggling their fingers in their ears and you have a pretty good idea of their official position on this.

Meanwhile, last week Republicans like Utah’s Orrin Hatch, ranking member of the US Senate Finance Committee, grabbed hold of an analysis by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and wrestled it to the ground. The brief memorandum reported that in the 2009 tax year 51 percent of all American taxpayers had zero tax liability or received a refund. So why, the Republicans asked, are Democrats and others so mean, asking corporations and the rich to pay higher taxes when lots of other people – especially the poor and middle class — don’t pay taxes either.

The great Chris Hedges has a new post up at Truthdig: Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred [PDF]

…perhaps most ominously—as pointed out in “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace,” a report by Political Research Associates—a cadre of right-wing institutions that peddle themselves as counterterrorism specialists and experts on the Muslim world has been indoctrinating thousands of police, intelligence and military personnel in nationwide seminars. These seminars, run by organizations such as Security Solutions International, The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, and International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, embrace gross and distorted stereotypes and propagate wild conspiracy theories. And much of this indoctrination within the law enforcement community is funded under two grant programs for training—the State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative—which made $1.67 billion available to states in 2010. The seminars preach that Islam is a terrorist religion, that an Islamic “fifth column” or “stealth jihad” is subverting the United States from within, that mainstream American Muslims have ties to terrorist groups, that Muslims use litigation, free speech and other legal means (something the trainers have nicknamed “Lawfare”) to advance the subversive Muslim agenda and that the goal of Muslims in the United States is to replace the Constitution with Islamic or Shariah law.

“You would not expect a Democratic administration to fund right-wing groups,” Thom Cincotta, a civil liberties attorney and the author of the Political Research Associates report, told me, “and yet we continue to have hard-right, Islamophobic speakers and companies being paid taxpayer dollars to promote racist doctrines that undermine U.S. national security policy concerning Islam and the Muslim world. Policy expert after policy expert point out that framing our counterterrorism efforts as a war against Islam is a recipe for building increased resentment among Muslims, as well as a potent recruiting tool for those who would like to carry out violent attacks against us. This kind of demonizing breaks down communication between law enforcement agents and Muslim communities, which have proven to be strong allies in the rare instances of domestic extremism. Not only does it threaten to erode basic civil liberties, it threatens freedom of expression and freedom of worship.”

Also recommended at Truthdig, an article about the “anti-war orgins” of Mother’s Day.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe responded to the horrors of the Civil War by issuing her “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” calling on women around the world to rise up and oppose war in all its forms.

It would be decades before Americans officially began celebrating Mother’s Day, and much of the original spirit of the proclamation has since been lost.

Some new (and horrifying) information came out today in the case of the bodies that have been found in Long Island. It turns out there may be as many as three murderers on the loose in New York.

“It is clear that the area in and around Gilgo Beach has been used to discard human remains for some period of time,” Spota said at a Hauppauge news conference with investigators Monday. “As distasteful and disturbing as that is, there is no evidence that all of these remains are the work of a single killer.”

Jeeze, I’m glad I don’t live in Oak Beach, LI. The most interesting (and very horrifying) information is that some of the body parts found belong to a woman named Jessica Taylor whose mutilated body was discovered 30 miles away in Manorville, NY, in 2003.

Authorities Monday made one new identification: Jessica Taylor, 20, who went missing in July 2003 and whose torso was found at that time near Manorville.

Spota said her death appears related to another woman, still unidentified, parts of whose body was found off Ocean Parkway in April and in Manorville in 2000.

Why do so many men murder women? Serial murder is relatively rare, but it sure seems to happen pretty often in this country. And men murder their wives and girlfriends every day in the U.S. Will violence against women ever be treated as seriously as it should be? It should be seen as an epidemic that needs to be vigorously addressed through public policy. I don’t know if that will happen in my lifetime.

Change would have to start with teachers and textbooks that value women’s current and historical contributions to our society, along with public education campaigns for adults. I also wonder if the anti-abortion movement doesn’t contribute to the general attitude that women have no right to protect the integrity of their own bodies.

It would also help if law enforcement personnel could be made to understand that rape is a serious crime even if the victim isn’t killed or beaten within an inch of her life. Rape is still rape even if the victim knows the perpetrator. With that in mind, I’m going to end with a story from Boston: Thousands Attend Boston’s “SlutWalk” March. The march was a response to an ignorant remark made by a policeman in Toronto.

In January, a Toronto police officer told a group of university students that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid being raped. He later apologized. The officer who made the comments, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, was disciplined but remained on duty, said Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash.

However, advocates in Toronto held a “SlutWalk” to protest the officer’s remarks and to highlight what they saw as problems in blaming sexual assault victims. Since then, SlutWalks, organized mainly through social media, have been held in Dallas, Asheville, N.C., and Ottawa, Ontario. Organizers say the events also were held to bring attention to “slut-shaming,” or shaming women for being sexual, and the treatment of sexual assault victims.

“I had watched the Toronto walk happen from afar,” said Jaclyn Friedman, author of “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape” and resident of Medford, Mass. “When I heard it was coming to Boston I just emailed the organizers and said, `How can I help?”‘

The Boston march attracted 2,000 people, even though organizers expected only 30.

Chanting “We love sluts!” and holding signs like “Jesus loves sluts,” approximately 2,000 protesters marched Saturday around the Boston Common as the city officially became the latest to join an international series of protests known as “SlutWalks.”

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?


29 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: U.S.-Pakistan Deal, “Dr. Sex,” Fearful Republicans, Violence against Women, and More”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    TSA searches baby’s diaper at airport checkpoint

    http://yfrog.com/gzlb9nkj

    • Branjor says:

      That’s awful. Hope they got a smelly surprise.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I think we are teaching our children to submit to authority without question, without committing any offense and may well affect their creativity. Innovation comes from free thinkers, not submissive minds, that is why many have passed exams by grueling study techniques, but can’t attain the same in the creativity scale. These submissive tactics may well be our down fall in stunting our children’s potential and the potential to keep up in the technological markets.

      Since ‘strangers’ TSA are doing these body invasive searches, it is clear that the Republicans and Obama want the Patriot Act to be the New Constitution.

      While the Middle East is freeing themselves, we are working on going backwards and surrendering our Civil Liberties. 😥

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB great post this morning. I just have to say “three different killers” are dropping bodies off at the same place? Wow, trying to get my mind around that is very difficult. I mean, is there a website out there called Rifkin’s List that killers post reviews of places to dump bodies? (I can see the commercials now, modeled after those annoying Angie’s List commercials.) Sorry for the snark but this is just way to disturbing for me.

  3. Branjor says:

    It’s gotten worse. When I read the news last night it was “only” 2 killers. Now 3?

  4. madamab says:

    This paragraph on right-wing Islamophobia struck a chord with me:

    The seminars preach that Islam is a terrorist religion, that an Islamic “fifth column” or “stealth jihad” is subverting the United States from within, that mainstream American Muslims have ties to terrorist groups, that Muslims use litigation, free speech and other legal means (something the trainers have nicknamed “Lawfare”) to advance the subversive Muslim agenda and that the goal of Muslims in the United States is to replace the Constitution with Islamic or Shariah law.

    Sounds a lot like the Christian Taliban’s agenda, doesn’t it? The Christian Taliban is using “lawfare” to spread their radical anti-woman, anti-gay religion, and they also want to replace the Constitution with their version of the Bible.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, and Obama doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it.

      • madamab says:

        He’s enabling it! He promised to expand Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives exponentially…from 13 to more than 100, IIRC. I don’t know if he’s kept that promise…since it was made to encourage the right-wingers, he probably has. Heaven knows he would never keep a promise he made to his “progressive” fanbase.

    • dakinikat says:

      There’s a group in Florida that wants to bring back Biblical stoning.

      It just amazes me how these folks pick and choose which verses they want to embrace and ignore so much of the rest.

      It’s the same story. We’ve all heard about those lists of no, nos, yet I bet they ALL wear polyester blends. For some reason, some verses are more equal than others.

      • madamab says:

        Biblical stoning?!

        Hey guys…you first! 👿

      • paper doll says:

        AND it’s ALWAYS the old testament…
        they want to bring back WHILE going on and on how JEsus is their personal savior

        Jesus this and Jesus that…endless Jesus prattle

        YO Jesus stopped a stoning!

      • I thought Jesus respected women… but what does my godless unChristian girl brain know.

      • madaha says:

        that’s some sick sh*t right there. Here’s Ian Welsh on our depravity on thinking assassinations and torture are ok, and he didn’t even mention the stoning thing!

        http://www.ianwelsh.net/our-depravity/

      • okasha says:

        I think it’s not just “a group in Florida.” If I remember correctly, that comes straight from Rushdoony himself, who considered public executions and public participation in executions to be a way to “solidify the community.

      • paper doll says:

        I think it’s not just “a group in Florida.” If I remember correctly, that comes straight from Rushdoony himself, who considered public executions and public participation in executions to be a way to “solidify the community.

        It will be coming to pay for view at some point

        snuff enterainment is end of Empier fare after all

        watch for slashing with the stars

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Pakistan will allow U.S. to talk to bin Laden widows.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/09/eveningnews/main20061253.shtml

    • madaha says:

      thanks for the Guardian article. I just knew that the US and Pakistan were working together – like you said before – how stupid do they think we are? Everything on tv right now is appalling propaganda.

      well, I’ll be waiting for it to come out that the US knew where OBL was all along.

      • paper doll says:

        Honey, he’s been in the tank for years….I’m thinking the US paid for that compound. It was time to reel him in…that’s all

      • madaha says:

        that’s what I’ve been thinking – he was much, much more useful to us alive, as long as we could pretend to be “after” him. So I think he’s been a kind of provisional protected informant, who was no longer serving a purpose, and/or it was time to make a show of killing him.

      • paper doll says:

        He ‘s been on the CIA payroll since the 80’s and he got ” fired” . The End
        The media campaign that passes for “news” about this has been in the works for some time imo . My local chain craft store has had a huge amount 4th of July stuff on the shelves for weeks already… they weren’t going to be caught flag short this time

  6. Peggy Sue says:

    The Hedges’ article is really disturbing, particularly when we’re facing a long economic downturn. People struggling will want someone to blame and this sort of fear-mongering produces scapegoating.

    We’ve seen this movie before.

  7. joanelle says:

    Ooooh, BB what a juicy morsel of a post – Thanks! 🙂

  8. dakinikat says:

    Hi BB!! Great newsy round-up!!! Lots of variety! So, we’ve found there’s three men dumping women’s bodies like trash after subjecting them to horrible murders? Good Grief! It’s like NJ has a serial killer epidemic!

    • Branjor says:

      That’s NY. And the area is where I have many pleasant memories of summertime at the beach too. 😦

  9. madaha says:

    I’m reading this today and mourning my life and lack of career – why bother finishing my PhD, when I need to find another career anyway? There is none to be had here.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/160410/faulty-towers-crisis-higher-education?page=full

    • paper doll says:

      You make a excellent , though terribly sad point. At this point higher learning is a scam….I mean if one wants employment after it that is…one knows this by all the grant/ school ads everywhere : Scam

      Once the non-viability of , or even use of collages in this matter is accepted, the implications for vast areas of our NE cities is dire….so many live and die by their collages etc .

      The modern collage system was built by and for a well off middle class with jobs here….which is now having its life support plug pulled .