Hopefully you have woken up to a glorious June morning…wherever you may be. Here in Banjoland, we are expecting rain, which I wish would just hurry up and get here…hearing that rumbling in the distance and feeling the hot humid air outside is getting to be a real drag.
I don’t want to lie to you, this morning’s reads are not lighthearted, there is just too much madness going on in other parts of the world.
Like the distant sounds of thunder, I can feel the pounding of despair in my chest, and not being a loner…I guess I have to share it with you.
If any doubt was left about the power of big money in our politics, the Wisconsin election destroyed it. Charles and David Koch goosed Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign with $10 million through their front group Americans for Prosperity, $1 million through the Republican Governors Association, and more from members of the “million-dollar donor club” of financial titans that meet regularly at Koch-hosted secret summits. Meanwhile, the official campaign of Democratic opponent Tom Barrett raised about $4 million. Is it any wonder that Walker climbed steadily in the polls and ultimately won?
I know that is not news for our readers…but I wanted to connect the horse’s name with the FAIL we saw in Wisconsin.
Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Saturday to lend Spain up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) to shore up its teetering banks and Madrid said it would specify precisely how much it needs once independent audits report in just over a week.
After a 2 1/2-hour conference call of the 17 finance ministers, which several sources described as heated, the Eurogroup and Madrid said the amount of the bailout would be sufficiently large to banish any doubts.
“The loan amount must cover estimated capital requirements with an additional safety margin, estimated as summing up to 100 billion euros in total,” a Eurogroup statement said.
Egyptian women have been vocal protesters against the post-Mubarak regime, despite continuing sexual harassment at marches and gatherings. Photograph: Amel Pain/EPA
A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment in Cairo, as attackers overwhelmed male supporters and molested several of the marchers in Tahrir Square.
Some victims said it appeared to have been an organised attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample the pro-democracy protest movement.
Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before others came to her aid.
Friday’s march demanded an end to all sexual assaults. Around 50 women participated, surrounded by a larger group of male supporters who joined hands to form a protective ring around them. The protesters carried posters and chanted. After the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded into the women, heckling them and groping them. The attackers chased the the marchers as they tried to flee. Several women were cornered against railings and groped, according to reports. Eventually, the women found refuge in a nearby building.
“After what I saw and heard today I am furious at so many things.” wrote Sally Zohney, one of the event’s organisers on Twitter.
You remember the image of the woman being stomped on by men back in December? If I say two words, my guess is you will remember…blue bra.
In a defining image of state violence against women, soldiers dispersing a protest in December were captured on video stripping a woman’s top off and stomping on her chest, as other troops pulled her by the arms across the ground. That incident prompted a march by 10,000 women through Cairo.
In contrast, the small size of Friday’s march could reflect the fear felt by women in the square.
“Women activists are at the core of the revolution,” said Ahmed Hawary, who attended Friday’s protest. “They are the courage of this movement. If you break them, you break the spirit of the revolution.”
The unexpected appearance of Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister in the runoff of Egypt’s first post-revolutionary presidential race owes much to support from business tycoons and other backers of the old regime.
The candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, 70, gained enormous popularity during the final stretch of the race by appealing to weary Egyptians’ desire for a return to the stability of the old Egypt. But even some supporters acknowledge that he also drew on money and expertise from a vast network of Mubarak’s former supporters, whose National Democratic Party is now banned.
…Shafiq finished second in the first round of balloting and faces the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in a presidential runoff next weekend. A victory by Shafiq would be seen as a defeat by many who took part in the wintertime revolution last year that ousted Mubarak.
What kind of revolution is it when the other choice is just as depressing, I am talking about the Muslim Brotherhood:
The Muslim Brotherhood and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), have condemned the resurrection of the National Women’s Council (NWC) in recent months, arguing that it has no legitimacy in the current political dynamic facing Egypt.
However, the governmental council’s chief Mervat Tallawy, has again lashed back against the conservative Islamic group, accusing it of attempting to undermine women’s rights, including divorce and custody rights.
The Brotherhood has fought back, arguing that the council is a remnant of the Hosni Mubarak era and should be disbanded.
“They are trying to take away rights that women attained in compliance with Islamic sharia,” said Mervat Tallawy, head of the National Council for Women, in comments published by Reuters news agency, adding that criticism of the council was an attempt to erode female rights.
The Brotherhood said in response on its website that the institution was “a weapon of the former regime to break up and destroy families.”
“They do not want a national institution for women,” Tallawy told Reuters in an interview. “They have said that the international (women’s) agreements are imperialistic and part of a foreign agenda.”
At the hastily arranged meeting, Brotherhood representatives promised to meet the demands of Maher and other revolutionary figures in exchange for their endorsement of Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood candidate running against Shafik, Maher said. But when he asked for specifics, the negotiations collapsed in what has become an intractable problem for the Brotherhood: It still has not won the endorsement of its candidate from largely secular revolutionaries, even though they loathe the idea that Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister, could win.
The back-and-forth negotiations have come to define the period between last month’s first-round balloting and this week’s run-off. Political parties have called their followers into the streets in hopes of recreating the sense of unity that led to the fall of the Mubarak regime. But the elections and the taste of political power has made it difficult, if not impossible, for the parties to unite enough to ensure that a Mubarak holdover doesn’t retake the presidency, this time in a democratic election spurred by their movement.
The disparate revolutionary groups cannot agree on who speaks for them and what they want. And the Brotherhood cannot agree on what it needs to do to win the revolutionary vote.
Bullet-pocked homes and bloodstained walls. Shell casings littering the ground in a ghost town still smoldering from the onslaught.
A United Nations observer team on Friday finally reached the site of Syria’s latest apparent massacre, a now-abandoned farming village where opposition activists accuse pro-government forces of killing dozens of civilians this week in an artillery bombardment and grisly door-to-door executions.
“Young children, infants, my brother, his wife and seven children … all dead,” said a grieving man in a video distributed by the U.N. “I will show you the blood. They burned his house.”
Bullets and shrapnel shells smashed into homes in the Syrian capital overnight, as troops battled rebels in the streets, in the heaviest fighting yet in Damascus. The violence marked an increased boldness among rebels in taking their fight against the regime of President Bashar Assad to the center of his power.
For nearly 12 hours of fighting that lasted into the early hours Saturday, rebels armed mainly with assault rifles fought Syrian forces. U.N. observers said rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the local power plant, damaging parts of it and charring six buses, according to video the observers took of the scene.
Syrian forces showed the regime’s willingness to unleash elevated force in the capital: at least three tank shells slammed into residential areas in the central Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun, an activist said. Intense exchanges of assault-rifle fire marked the clash, according to residents and amateur videos.
At least 42 civilians were killed in violence around the country outside Damascus on Saturday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group. Among them were 20, including nine women and children, who died in heavy, pre-dawn shelling in the southern city of Daraa, where the uprising against Assad began in March 2011. The group’s figures could not be independently confirmed.
In a Daraa mosque, a father stood over his son killed in the shelling, swaddled in a blanket.
“I will become a suicide bomber!” the father shouted in grief, according to an amateur video of the scene.
Later Saturday, tens of thousands of Daraa residents buried the slain from the shelling. They sang, danced and paraded the dead in coffins around a large square, giving the mass funeral the appearance of a mass wedding party, according to footage of the scene.
These people are going through unbelievable trauma and fear, and it is taking it’s toll on the survivors.
“The heart of this revolt is the poor, jobless youth in the countryside. But that is gathering strength in other places, in Aleppo, in Damascus and even the Kurdish regions,” said Syria expert Joshua Landis.
“The psychological state of the people, after watching these massacres, is so far advanced. People are ready to do whatever it takes. They are frightened; it could come next to them.”
Back in the village where the latest massacre occured…
Saturday, U.N. observers in Syria ostensibly to monitor the cease-fire issued the first independent video images from the scene of the reported massacre in Mazraat al-Qubair.
The video, taken in the U.N. visit a day earlier, showed blood splashed on a wall pockmarked with bullet holes and soaking a nearby mattress. A shell punched through one wall of a house. Another home was burnt on the inside with dried blood was splashed on floors.
One man wearing a red-and-white checked scarf to cover his face, pointed at a 2008 calendar adorning a wall, bearing the photo of a lightly-bearded, handsome man.
“This is the martyr,” the resident, sobbing. He sat on the floor, amid strewn colorful blankets, heaving with tears.
It was not immediately clear if he was a resident of the village or related to the man in the photograph.
“They killed children,” said another unidentified resident. “My brother, his wife and their seven children, the oldest was in the sixth grade. They burnt down his house.”
After the observers’ visit, U.N. spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh said the scene held evidence of a “horrific crime” and that the team could smell the stench of burned corpses and saw body parts strewn around the now deserted village, once home to about 160 people.
She said residents’ accounts of the mass killing were “conflicting,” and that the team was still cross checking the names of the missing and dead with those supplied by nearby villagers.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council on Thursday that a full-blown civil war in Syria was “imminent,” while international mediator Kofi Annan said it was time to step up the pressure on Damascus to halt the violence.
“The Syrian people are bleeding,” Ban told reporters after addressing the Security Council. “They are angry. They want peace and dignity. Above all, they all want action.”
“The danger of a civil war is imminent and real,” he said, adding that “terrorists are exploiting the chaos.”
The international deadlock over Syria has, in a dreadful way, provided balm for old grievances in this city. After years of fuming about Western-led campaigns to force leaders from power, Russia has seized the opportunity to make its point heard.
This time, its protests cannot be set aside as they were when NATO began airstrikes in Libya or when Western-led coalitions undertook military assaults in Iraq and Serbia. Instead, the international community has come to Russia’s doorstep.
On Friday, a top State Department official visited Moscow, presumably seeking to persuade the Kremlin to reconsider its stance and contribute to an effort to engineer a transition from the rule of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a longtime Russian ally. In remarks after the meeting, Russia’s top negotiator was implacable, telling a reporter that Moscow’s position was “a matter of principle.”
Russia has growing concerns about the conflict in Syria, but it will continue to oppose the outside use of force, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“The situation in Syria is becoming more alarming,” Mr. Lavrov told a news conference Saturday, during which he pushed Russia’s proposal for an international conference on the crisis. “An impression is being created that Syria is on the verge of a full-scale civil conflict.”
It appears that a couple of Russian citizens where involved in some of the violence last week.
He said two recent attacks had put Russians in the capital, Damascus, in danger: a bus carrying Russian specialists came under fire Saturday, and a grenade attack took place Friday on a building where Russians live. There were no injuries, he said.
Despite growing concerns that the situation may be spinning out of control, Russia, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, “will not sanction the use of force,” he said. Russia has previously blocked proposed U.N. resolutions to impose sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Lavrov said Russia’s resistance to intervention is “not because we are protecting Assad and his regime, but because we know that Syria is a complicated multi-confessional state, and because we know that some of those calling for military intervention want to ruin this and turn Syria into a battleground for domination in the Islamic world.”
Well, that should be enough to get the party started…
This week Prince celebrated his 54th birthday…and since he is one of my top 5 favorite musicians, I have to share it with you. Happy 54th Birthday, Prince
Happy Birthday, Prince!
Like the little black dress and kissing in the rain (under an umbrella, lest we muss our hair), his Royal Badness is ageless, timeless and eternally sexy.
As he continues to tour and sell out arena across the land join us in a collective “ow-ah!” to celebrate The Beautiful One’s 54th year!
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.
One Bobo down…Damn, my husband being sick is just like having another kid! Pills at 2am and another one now…just finished giving him another dose…and in an hour from now I have to give kids their antibiotics.
So since I am up, here are a few updates…
Syrian rebels aim to use chemical weapons, blame Damascus – report — RT
UN Observers: Smell of Death Lingers & Grisly Sight at Syrian village | English | NEWS | DayPress
Raging fires burn thousands of acres in Colorado, New Mexico – USATODAY.com
Reports of multiple victims after shooting near Auburn University in Alabama | Fox News
Official: Egypt’s Mubarak in Critical Condition – ABC News
A few more:
Horror as two teenage girls ‘stab female pizza delivery worker 50 times in deadly knife rampage’ | Mail Online (this took place here in Georgia!)
Bill Maher: GOP Wins Elections Because They ‘Stick To Their Guns’ Democrats Should Try This Too | Mediaite
The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse – NYTimes.com
Great news about Spain – the American solution was chosen. And that’s worked out so well – NOT!
Gosh, but the Egyptian elections look kind of like the US prez election choices: more of the same or please, make it even worse. The world is beginning to look more & more like my litter boxes. Which poop to scoop first?
As for the rest, especially the killings, I am going to choose to believe that the world has always been a crazy ass dangerous place but now we have access to the reports almost instantaneously. What we didn’t know kept us from witnessing all of the horror.
JJ, I must say you have quite eclectic taste in humor & music. Must say I was too old to appreciate Prince. Someone on The Voice sang Red Corvette this year, and I remembered Prince’s video on early MTV. I liked the song, but when I saw the words (CC on the TV) on The Voice, I was shocked – shocked, I say. I guess it’s a Good Thing that I can’t understand most of what people are singing. The Chappelle thing was funny, however, I am no longer a fan of his after his defense of Michael Vick. His comment lost him the chance to portray Richard Pryor, since Pryor was & his widow is a supporter of responsible care of pit bulls.
Hope everyone recovers soon so they can take care of you, or at least let you get a well deserved rest.
Connie, yeah…Little Red Corvette is a euphemism for vagina…or V Jay Jay…most of his stuff is filled with them, but you would be surprised to see what songs he has written covered by other artist…Prince is awesome.
…and I thought it was about an actual Corvette.
Hooray, Florida is NUMBER ONE! Actually, it’s not a good list on which to be #1. http://www.alternet.org/story/155780/the_10_worst_gop_governors%3A_what_horrors_did_they_unleash_in_2012/?page=1
Oops, I forgot. I am totally with you on the irony of Union Rags winning the Belmont. And, I’m glad O’Neal retired I’ll Take Another, although I’m sure he did it because his “training” tactics are under a microscope – he’s on probation for elevated levels of CO2 found in another of his horses. One more time, here’s a link to the incredible NYT series on the very nasty, dark side of horse racing: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/30/us/breakdown-horses-series.html
I will interpret the win of Union Rags as a sign that later, rather than sooner,
I wonder if he is related to the 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches.
Ugh. Would hate to discover that some scumbag signature gatherer picked my name at random and forged my signature onto that piece-of-hate petition.
That is disgusting!
Nasty piece of work — the paid signature collectors.
I love this quote from Bill Moyers on Alternet’s 7 Plutocrats That Bankrolled the GOP Primary – And What They Want in Return:
” Leave it to Bill Moyers, one of America’s most useful citizens, to sum up our country’s present political plight in a succinct metaphor: “Our elections have replaced horse racing as the sport of kings. These kings are multibillionaire, corporate moguls who by divine right–not of God, but [of the Supreme Court’s] Citizens United decision–are now buying politicians like so much pricey horseflesh.” Here’s the link: http://www.alternet.org/story/155807/7_plutocrats_that_bankrolled_the_gop_primary_–_and_what_they_want_in_return/
I like that too….reference to medieval history is cool.
Did you like my reference to Hildegard von Bingen yesterday? Or is that too modern for you? I included it because I thought you’d like it. She was a feminist apparently.
Oh yes I loved it BB, I have a few books on her and her songs…I forgot you mentioned her yesterday, and I remembered I wanted to make a comment about it too. I am just out of it I guess.
And in national weather news, the upper left-hand corner is still cool and grey:
Wouldn’t mind a little bit of that sun and warmth from other parts of the country.
It’s been cool and gray here for quite awhile too. The sun was bright earlier, but clouds are coming in again. My mom in Indiana has been getting temps in the 80s and 90s, but for some reason their weather isn’t coming this way as it usually does.
It’s hot and humid here, BB. I’ll gladly trade places with you.
I don’t get what’s happening with the weather this year. Usually we get the same weather as Indiana about two days later.
Yep it is cold up here — we were the blue state with below average temps last year. Looks like a repeat this year. Or as we say up here — a green tomato summer. Green tomato cook books are popular up here in the frozen north.
Good news. 🙂
I don’t buy that. Hillary would have a much better chance of being president in 2016 if Obama wins a second term. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen though. There will be other candidates with penises in 2016, like Andrew Cuomo. I’d love to see a women president in my lifetime, but I’ll only believe it when I see it.
Fox & The Daily Caller (yuck, ick) are touting the same thing, and it’s coming from Nader this time. I don’t buy it that Bill is campaigning for Hillary. But I do totally agree with this quote: “Former Gov. Romney is a human being running as a corporation for president. So, we’ve really got a corporation running for the Republican party and if the Democrats can’t expose him for what he and his party are, then they basically have nothing left in terms of their party heritage and what they stood for decades ago, which is the winning formula for Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” Nader said.
Full story here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/08/ralph-nader-bill-clinton-laying-groundwork-for-hillary-by-undermining-obama/
I sort of agree, but I think Romney is a corporation pretending to be a human being.
As much as I would love to see her run, she’ll be 68 in 2015. Only Raygun was older at the time of his inauguration, and he had Alzheimers for most at least his 2nd term. Call me naive, but I believe her when she says she won’t run again. The DNC blew it, big time.
I don’t think she’ll run, but I don’t think 68 is too old nowadays.
Several former Auburn football players were shot at a pool party.
I can’t believe people take guns to a party. I’m so glad I live in a state that regulates guns. We have quite few shootings here as it is. But it’s not as easy to get a permit and if your gun is unregistered, it’s an automatic two-year sentence.
The Middle East is a cesspit of sexism. You have to spend time there to even begin to get a glimpse of the crushing pressure of that crap. Which is maybe why when Middle Eastern men manage to break through the wall of shit they have to do it with enough momentum to get all the way through and out. Why don’t we see understanding like this here?
I just saw these two post and figured I would link to them…
Species of Liberal – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
Trayvon Martin Case Prompts Civil Rights Commission Investigation On Stand Your Ground Laws | Mediaite
Five ‘Stand Your Ground’ Cases You Should Know About – Truthdig
Well, I have to stand up for Jon Stewart, ’cause I adore him. I don’t think he’s trying to make nice with Repugs. I think what he does is what the MSM should be doing – calling these folks out for what they are saying. I loved his show with Lynn Cheney – she came awfully close to walking off the set because she didn’t like his line of questioning. Those folks need to be challenged on their lies & stupid statements. At least Jon is doing it when no one else is. And he’s had the cajones to appear on The Factor & Chris Wallace’s show on Fox, so that Fox viewers can actually hear what he’s saying, not what Fox reporters say he said.