Monday Reads: Another Blow to the Big Lie

Frida Kahlo, self portrait

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s women’s history month!  Today is International Women’s Day and I’m focusing on women artists and their work.  It’s just a small selection of women’ painters, singer/songwriter and actress!  I’m going to keep it up for the month so keep your eyes and ears open!

SCOTUS rejected Trump’s final attempt to throw out legitimate elections.  This time the state of Wisconsin was the target of the lawsuit chase.  From The Hill: “Supreme Court rejects final Trump bid to nullify 2020 election results”.

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by former President Trump to nullify his electoral loss in Wisconsin, rejecting the former president’s final pending appeal over the results of the 2020 election.

In an unsigned order without noted dissent, the justices declined to take up Trump’s lawsuit alleging Wisconsin election officials violated the Constitution by expanding absentee voting amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The justices’ move brought an end to Trump’s scattershot and ineffective legal campaign to overturn President Biden’s victory and added to the abysmal post-election court record of Trump and his allies, which included more than 60 losses and just one narrow win.

Carrying Clay Pots, Helen Mmakgabo Mmapula Sebidi

Georgia Republicans continue to push “election integretity” laws that are clearly aimed at suppressing minority votes.  This is from NBC News: Georgia Republicans are pushing dozens of ‘election integrity’ bills. Black voters are the target, rights groups say.As the battle over voting rights plays out in legislatures across the country, advocates say federal protections are more necessary than ever.”

After 15 years allowing voters to cast absentee ballots without excuses, Georgia Republicans say the practice has got to go.

The Republican-controlled state Senate votes Monday on a package of legislation that would, among other things, limit mail-in voting primarily to Georgians who are elderly, disabled or out of town on Election Day — one of dozens of restrictive election-related measures under consideration in state legislatures.

Supporters of the measures, who include allies of former President Donald Trump and those who stood up to his bogus allegations of fraud after Joe Biden upset decades of Republican dominance to win the state, say the bills are commonsense election security efforts. Democrats, voting rights advocates and civil rights groups say something else is going on.

“It’s pathetically obvious to anyone paying attention that when Trump lost the election and Georgia flipped control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats shortly after, Republicans got the message that they were in a political death spiral,” state Rep. Renitta Shannon, a Democrat from Decatur, said during a floor debate over the Republican proposals in Georgia last week. “And now they are doing anything they can do to silence the voices of Black and brown voters specifically because they largely powered these wins.”

Untitled, Bridget Bate Tichenor

NPR reports that President Biden has established a Gender Policy Council within the White House.  I’m withholding judgement on this.

President Biden marked International Women’s Day on Monday by signing two executive orders geared toward promoting gender equity, both in the United States and around the world.

In a statement, Biden said: “In our nation, as in all nations, women have fought for justice, shattered barriers, built and sustained economies, carried communities through times of crisis, and served with dignity and resolve. Too often, they have done so while being denied the freedom, full participation, and equal opportunity all women are due.”

The first executive order establishes a Gender Policy Council within the White House, reformulating an office from the Obama administration that was later disbanded by the Trump administration, and giving it more clout.

Under former President Barack Obama, the office was called the White House Council on Women and Girls. The name change to the Gender Policy Council is intentional, according to an administration official speaking on background, “to reflect the fact that gender discrimination can happen to people of all genders.”

But, the official said, “there will be a focus on women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, given the historical and disproportionate barriers that they face.”

Poppies, Georgia O’Keefe

Zack Beauchamp at Vox writes “The stimulus shows why the left should stop worrying and learn to love the suburban voter. Contrary to the left’s fears, the road to redistribution runs through the suburbs”.

But a funny thing happened over the past few years: As Democrats made inroads into the suburbs, they also became more progressive on economics.

Consider President Biden’s economic policy agenda.

To date, it is almost certainly the most left-leaning since Lyndon Johnson’s. The stimulus is more than twice the size of the one passed by President Obama’s majority in 2009, and includes (among other progressive priorities) $1,400 checks for tens of millions of Americans and a generous child tax credit. His broader legislative agenda includes a $2 trillion climate change plan, a public option for health care, and a plan to expand Section 8 housing vouchers that would radically reduce the poverty rate. This ambitious program would be paid for primarily by deficit spending and tax hikes on corporations and Americans making over $400,000 per year.

Some leading political scientists and Democratic pollsters see this agenda as perfectly consistent with an influx of college-educated white suburbanites — for the simple reason that this demographic has, in recent years, become much more progressive on economic issues than it was in the past.

This is certainly a relief to hear from the Save our planet and sacred/historical spaces for the future agenda.

The Biden administration has withdrawn an environmental review for a massive copper mine in eastern Arizona, temporarily blocking a multinational mining corporation, Resolution Copper, from taking over a parcel of land sacred to the San Carlos Apache Nation and other Native communities. The U.S. Forest Service said it needs more time to consult with Native people about the mine’s impact on Oak Flat, an ancient forest with spiritual and cultural significance. Advocates say the proposed mine would destroy Oak Flat and contaminate a large swath of southern Arizona. Arizona Democratic Congressmember Raúl Grijalva is set to reintroduce the Save Oak Flat Act, which would repeal the appropriation of the site.

Emmie and her child, Mary Cassatt

Now that we’re beginning to get vaccinnated there’s some additional good news for those of us through our first doses.  My friend Nancy across the street and I frequently get together but it still feels akward to have our little picnics and dinners while doing all the hand washing and masking.  We’re both fully vaccinated so this is great news!  Now, we just have to get to a place where we get the kids into the mix.  I’m sure there’s a lot of grandparents missing hugs!  Another one from NPR: “CDC Says It’s Safe For Vaccinated People To Do These Activities”.

The CDC has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green-light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.

Specifically, people who are fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Vaccinated people can also gather, unmasked, with people from another household who are not yet vaccinated, as long as those people are at low risk of serious illness from the virus. However, the agency said, vaccinated people should continue to mask when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

The CDC said this new guidance is a “first step” to returning to everyday activities. There’s accumulating evidence to show that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to become infected and also “potentially” less likely to spread the virus to others, agency officials wrote in a press release.

The good news is that Trump is still under his Mara LaLa rock.  The bad news is Mike Pence may take his show on the road.  He’s headed to South Carolina which is definitely an important state in presidential primaries.

Well, that’s it for me today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today!  Happy International Women’s Day!

Friday Reads


Good Morning!

Many of you might be stuck in your homes today with all that weather so here are some things to keep you busy. First, Richard Engle’s Diary of his kidnapping in Syria has been published in Vanity Fair.

A group of about 15 armed men were fanning out around us. Three or four of them stood in the middle of the road blocking our vehicles. The others went for the doors. They wore black jackets, black boots, and black ski masks. They were professionals and used hand signals to communicate. A balled fist meant stop. A pointed finger meant advance. Each man carried an AK-47. Several of the gunmen began hitting the windows of our car and minivan with the stocks of their weapons. When they got the doors open, they leveled their guns at our chests.

Time was slowing down as if I’d been hit in the head. Time was slowing down as if I were drowning.

This can’t be happening. I know what this is. This can’t be happening. These are the shabiha. They’re fucking kidnapping us.

“Get out!” a gunman was yelling as he dragged Aziz from the car.

Then I saw the container truck. It wasn’t far away, parked off the road and hidden among olive trees. The metal doors at its rear stood open, flanked by gunmen.

That’s where they are going to put us. That’s here for us. We’re going into that truck.

I got out of the car. Two of the gunmen were already marching Aziz to the truck. He had his hands up, his shoulders back, his head tilted forward to protect against blows from behind.

Maybe I should run. Maybe I should run right now. But the road is flat and open. The only cover is by the trees near the truck. Maybe I should run. But where?

I saw John standing by the minivan. Gunmen were taking Ian toward the truck. It was his turn. Like me, John hadn’t been touched yet.

Maybe they’ve forgotten us? Maybe they don’t want us?

Our eyes made contact. John shrugged and opened his hands in disbelief. Time was going very slowly now, but my mind was racing like a panicked heart in a body that can’t move.

“Get going!” a gunman yelled at me in Arabic, pointing his weapon at my chest.

I looked at him blankly, pretending not to understand. Foreigners who speak Arabic in the Middle East are often assumed to be working for the C.I.A. or Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. The gunman took me by the finger, holding on to it by the very tip. I could have pulled it away with the smallest tug.

But then what? Then go where?

John was the next to join us in the back of the truck. He walked slowly, as if being escorted to a waiting limo. John is a New Yorker and was dressed entirely in black. He has long white hair and a devilish smile, and his nickname is the Silver Fox. He and I had been in a lot of rough places—Libya, Iraq, Gaza. John, Ghazi, and Aziz were among my closest friends in the world.

At least I’ll die with my friends.

This will let you know how tough it is out here: “To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms”.

The plan is one of a dozen efforts across the country to address two acute — and seemingly contradictory — problems: heavily indebted law graduates with no clients and a vast number of Americans unable to afford a lawyer.

This paradox, fed by the growth of Internet-based legal research and services, is at the heart of a crisis looming over the legal profession after decades of relentless growth and accumulated wealth. It is evident in the sharp drop in law school applications and the increasing numbers of Americans showing up in court without a lawyer.

“It’s a perfect storm,” said Stacy Caplow, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who focuses on clinical education. “The longstanding concerns over access to justice for most Americans and a lack of skills among law graduates are now combined with the problems faced by all law schools. It’s creating conditions for change.”

Remember  John Yoo.  He was the lawyer/author of those Bush legal memos justifying torture.  He thinks that Obama is “getting too much grief over targeted killing”.

And he wants Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—who filibustered Obama’s nominee to head the CIA for 13 hours on Wednesday—to lay off.

“I admire libertarians but I think Rand Paul’s filibuster in many ways is very much what libertarians do, they make these very symbolic gestures, standing for some extreme position,” said Yoo, now a UC Berkeley law professor, who once suggested it was okay for the president to order a child’s testicles be crushed. Referring to Paul’s marathon filibuster, an attempt to force the Obama administration to clarify its views on the use of military force against terror suspects in the United States, Yoo said “It sort of reminds me of young kids when they first read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged and they suddenly think that federal taxation equals slavery and they’re not going to pay any federal taxes anymore.” Yoo’s statements were made on a conference call Thursday held by the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization.

Paul’s conservative colleagues also pushed back on him on Thursday: On the Senate floor, John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) mocked Paul’s objections as “ridiculous.”

Yoo said that he thought the administration’s problems stemmed from its belief that it needed to provide “due process” to terror suspects abroad—or even in the United States, referring to a recently leaked white paper outlining the Obama administration’s legal views on targeted killings of US citizen terror suspects.

So, here’s an interesting study.  It seems that the “States With Most Gun Laws Have Fewest Gun Deaths”.

“It seems pretty clear: If you want to know which of the states have the lowest gun-mortality rates just look for those with the greatest number of gun laws,” said Dr. Eric W. Fleegler of Boston Children’s Hospital who, with colleagues, analyzed firearm-related deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2007 through 2010.

By scoring individual states simply by the sheer volume of gun laws they have on the books, the researchers noted that in states with the highest number of firearms measures, their rate of gun deaths is collectively 42 percent lower when compared to states that have passed the fewest number of gun rules. The study was published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

 As proof, Fleegler pointed to the firearm-fatality rates in law-laden states such as Massachusetts (where there were 3.4 gun deaths per 100,000 individuals), New Jersey (4.9 per 100,000) and Connecticut (5.1 per 100,000). In states with sparser firearms laws, researchers reported that gun-mortality rates were higher: Louisiana (18.0 per 100,000), Alaska (17.5 per 100,000) and Arizona (13.6 per 100,000).

Speaking of working to end violence, today is Intentional Women’s Day. This year’s theme  is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” Here’s some headlines for that celebration. First off, here’s French economist and head of the IMF Christine BEys8WOCIAAO8YI.jpg largeLeguarde.  You can watch her speak at this IMF Link. 

Here’s some suggested readings for you.

From the UK Guardian: “International Women’s Day: school is ‘the new front line of feminism’

Surveys and anecdotal evidence may suggest that few young women identify with the word feminism, fearing it sits at odds with a desire to wear makeup or heels. Yet there are increasing signs of an interest in gender equality issues among these same young women, who are now turning to social media such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook to reach out to fellow activists or just to share experiences and seek advice about what can be done.

Laura Bates, the founder of the #everydaysexism campaign, says that 10% of its more than 20,000 entries detailing harassment come from under-16s, with many more from colleges.

Campaign group UK Feminista has been so inundated with requests to speak to schools around the country that it has now launched a two-year programme of workshops and campaigns aimed at secondary pupils. Called Generation F: Young Feminists in Action, it comes as the government considers a cross-party bid to make sex and relationship education compulsory in schools.

From World News Australia, we read that  “International Women’s Day 2013: Gender inequality ‘still rife'”.

Australian women make up just over half of the total Australian population.

In some areas, equality has been achieved, but in others there is clearly a long way to go.

The boards of both private and public organisations are still dominated by men.

For instance, only about 10 per cent of the executives of companies listed in the Australian Stock Exchange Market are female.

And according to federal government figures, average weekly earnings for women are $250 less than men.

United Nations Women director for Australia, Julie McKay, thinks a combination of socio-economic factors contribute to this situation.

“I think there’s a huge issue about unconscious bias, that we sometimes don’t even realise that we have, about the roles that women should play and the sort of characteristics that make different people leaders. But I think we also got other issues around accessibility and affordability of child care, which prevent many women being able to access work and particularly full time work.”

Many migrant and refugee women in Australia can be prevented from working in the field in which they’re experienced, due to lack of English skills or problems with qualification recognition.

But Chin Wong, from the Australian Migrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance, says that doesn’t mean they don’t get into the workforce.

She argues that female newcomers can be preferred by employers because they are more likely to ignore their rights, and tend to argue less than men about working conditions.

“Sometimes the women can find jobs easier than men and therefore a lot of times the man become the homemaker, and the woman has to go to work. But that doesn’t mean that when they come home they don’t still have to make sure that the houses are maintained, because that’s culture. Some of the cultures mean that the women have to do most of the work.”

Here’s two suggested reads on racism in America by Ed Kilgore with a link to Ta-Nehisi’s Coates’ guest column in the New York Time.

If you are a white person who has on occasion felt aggrieved at the persistence of allegations of white racism in America, do yourself and your conscience a favor and read Ta-Nehisi’s Coates’ guest column today in the New York Times.

His point of departure is the humiliating frisking of the very famous and distinguished actor Forest Whitaker by an employee of a deli in Coates’ own Manhattan neighborhood. But he uses this incident to make the very important point that if we disclaim the possibility of racist behavior on the part of “good” or “moral” people, we may well wind up excusing racism almost altogether.

The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion. We can forgive Whitaker’s assailant. Much harder to forgive is all that makes Whitaker stand out in the first place. New York is a city, like most in America, that bears the scars of redlining, blockbusting and urban renewal. The ghost of those policies haunts us in a wealth gap between blacks and whites that has actually gotten worse over the past 20 years.

But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such.

I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people.

The thing is, this has always been more or less true. My extended family (thought not, mercifully, my nuclear family) when I was growing up in the Jim Crow South was loaded with racists. None of them were members of the Ku Klux Klan, perpetrators of violence, or “bad people” by any general measure. Most of them were very regular church-goers. One of the sweetest people I ever knew was a great aunt who after MLK’s assassination allowed as how she wished she could take in the assassin and feed him and protect him for his great act in defending Christian civilization. That wouldn’t have been surprising to Dr. King himself, whose classic Letter From a Birmingham Jail was addressed to the good Christian clergy of that city who by their silence and calls for an unjust “peace” were defending segregation more effectively than the hooded riffraff of the Klan.

So, there are my suggestions today.  Please be careful if the weather around you is “lionly”.  What’s on your reading and blogging list?

Let’s Hear It For The Girls, All Month Long

Though GOP madness is in full swing, March is the month to celebrate women—their lives, strengths and accomplishments.  True to its nature, the month has roared in but with a twist, acting as a party crasher, snapping at all female guests of honor.

We’ve seen reproductive rights assaulted, the 100-year contraception battle reignited and shock-jock Rush Limbaugh bully and slander a female student from Georgetown University.  Rick Santorum has turned the Republican effort into a Comstock-era discussion of acceptable moral/sexual behavior and a county in the Great State of South Carolina is suggesting a purity pledge for Republican membership.  Even the workplace is under assault with candidates suggesting the elimination of minimum wage and repealing Child Labor laws.

What’s next?  The village pillory?

Who invited the Crazies?

My suggestion?   Show them the door, kick their arses to the street.  We didn’t invite reactionary fools to the party.   This woman would not have tolerated their company for a single nanosecond:

Margaret Sanger

Nor these women

Women's Suffrage Parade

Nor these:

Bread and Roses Protest

The last photo, the Bread and Roses protest, was a workers’ strike protesting deplorable work conditions, non-living wages and inconceivably long days in New England’s textile mills.  One of these strikes occurred in Lawrence, Massachusetts, fueled by earlier actions in NYC’s garment district.  Thursday, March 8th is the official recognition date of a 100-year old struggle, under the aegis of the IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] but primarily led by immigrant women, young and old, who successfully striked for humane working conditions, decent wages and openly opposed child labor and workplace exploitation.

It did not come easy.  But come it did.

One of the descriptions I read of these early battles was nothing short of shake-your-head inspiring:

According to [Consiglia] Teutonica, this time a 22-year-old Syrian immigrant named Annie Kiami stepped in front of the crowd. Calling the soldiers “Cossacks,” Kiami wrapped an American flag around her body and dared them to shoot holes in Old Glory.

Once thought of as docile and subservient, the Bread and Roses women quickly gained the notorious title among mill owners of radicals of the worst sort.

“One policeman can handle 10 men,” Lawrence’s district attorney lamented, “while it takes 10 policemen to handle one woman.”

In the words of one horrified boss, the women activists were full of “lots of cunning and also lots of bad temper. They’re everywhere, and it’s getting worse all the time.”

Lots of cunning and bad temper!  I like that.

Flip forward some 50+ years and the Bread and Roses contingent in Boston fought for reproductive rights and abortion, child care, equal employment laws against discrimination in the workplace and recognition of and legal remedies to fight and reduce violence against women.  In 1971, the Bread and Roses group occupied a building owned by Harvard University for 10 days, during which they offered free classes and childcare.  After they were removed from their encampment, several sympathetic donors offered $5000 with which the group opened The Women’s Center in Cambridge.

The Women’s Center is in operation today, offering a multitude of services to battered women, victims of rape and child abuse and providing counsel, support and health information to moderate to low-income women.  Their mission statement reads as follows:

To provide women with the resources and support they need to emerge from

conditions of domestic violence, sexual abuse, poverty, discrimination, social isolation and degradation.

To challenge and change the attitudes, actions, and institutions that subjugate women.

They’re still going strong.

A myriad of Bread and Roses communities have grown and spread across the country, many charitable outreaches to low income families, providing meals and support to the unemployed, the sick and disadvantaged.  In each case, the Bread and Roses emblematic power rests in the idea of social justice, community outreach and support.  With each and every group, each program, the legacy returns to those women and children of 1912, the day they said–Enough is enough—and then put their bodies, their very lives on the line, demanding to be treated with dignity, to be seen and counted as human beings.

As for the name, Bread and Roses?   The phrase reportedly came from a banner—Give Us Bread But Give Us Roses–carried during the early days of the textile strikes. James Oppenheim, a poet, novelist and editor, attended one of those protests and was so moved by the imagery that he wrote the following poem to honor the women.

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,

For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,

For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;

Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead

Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.

Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.

Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.

The rising of the women means the rising of the race.

No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,

But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Oppenheim was inspired by the women and their courage.  The women were inspired by the words.

It’s a fine legacy, one among many in which women had a leading role in changing the course of American history.  The citizens of Lawrence will be commemorating the women and their efforts with a Centennial festival.  The major programs are slated to kickoff tomorrow Thursday, March 8 and run through May 1.

There’s no better time to give these women their due because income inequality, rising poverty and homelessness has returned to the Nation, a vicious cycle tearing at families and communities alike. The Lawrence strike has an uncanny parallel to the Occupy protests.  At the turn of the 20th century, the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few was unrivaled.  Until today.  What Bread and Roses reminds us is the power of solidarity, fighting the good fight.  With cunning and bad temper if necessary.  Or as James Oppenheim wrote a century ago:

The rising of women means the rising of the race.

Bread and roses!  Bread and roses!

Happy 100th!

Ahram Online: “Egyptian million woman march ends with a gunshot”

“We are not convinced by the amendments of the constitution as they don’t give women the right to run for presidential elections, and there are still no equal rights.” –Reem Shahin, a member of the Egyptian Million Woman March movement

Today in Cairo, the spirit of the Tahrir protests was turned inside out. The calls for a Million Woman March–to coincide with International Women’s Day and call for the recognition of women’s political voices in the New Egypt–drew a small crowd (a thousand by some reports, 200 by another) to Liberation Square. With a depressed turnout, the march fell prey to violent anti-feminist thugs who disrupted the event.

Chants used to bring down Mubarak were replaced by chants calling for the downfall of women.

Ahram Online reports:

Meanwhile, as a group of activists stood side-by-side holding banners of the movement calling for equality, another group of male protesters came from the other side to disrupt the march. As males and females activists chanted “Men and women, one hand,” “Muslims and Christian, one hand,” the other group described as “thugs” chanted “No, no, the people want women to step down,” and “The Quran is our ruler.”

It was a shouting match more than a dialogue, with neither side hearing the other. The thugs became insulting and aggressive, but the majority of the activists insisted on staying. The thugs then became violent and started pushing and harassing some women. Activists ran away to Qasr El Aini street, thugs running after them until they reached a point where the army was stationed. The army fired in the air, and the thugs ran away. The army sent soldiers to accompany home girls who had been harassed. “I got harassed by those thugs, I don’t know what to say,” said an activist female who preferred to remain anonymous. She was very angry and called on everyone to leave Tahrir Square and not to return, at least for today.

Who, if anybody, sent these thugs? Some points to consider:

Feminist activist Mona Ezzat who participated in the march thinks that this is a result of culture created by the old Egyptian regime. “This is a natural product of the long years of dictatorship and the absence of culture in Egypt,” Ezzat told Ahram Online. She also thinks that the disruptive people were thugs and do not therefore represent the majority of Egyptians.

Most people in Tahrir Square believe that the old regime pays thugs as one of their counter-revolution techniques. “They come here every day and try to disperse our demonstration in Tahrir Square. The same faces every day,” said Osama Motawea, one of the demonstrators who sleeps in Tahrir Square every night.

Christian Science Monitor, In Egypt’s Tahrir Square, women attacked at rally on International Women’s Day:

“We fought side by side with men during the revolution, and now we’re not represented,” said Passat Rabie, a young woman who came with friends, after men aggressively dispersed the protest. “I thought Egypt was improving, that it was becoming a better country. If it’s changing in a way that’s going to exclude women, then what’s the point? Where’s the democracy?”Hastily organized on Facebook to coincide with International Women’s Day, the protest was billed as a “Million Woman” march. But in fact, it attracted only about 200 demonstrators, mostly women but some men as well. The violent opposition they faced suggests that Egyptian women must fight their own revolution to achieve equal rights.

More from CSM… shades of Iron My Shirt:

“Go home, go wash clothes,” yelled some of the men. “You are not married; go find a husband.” Others said, “This is against Islam.” To the men demonstrating with the women, they yelled “Shame on you!”

What is it about women daring to compete for presidential power that drives people so crazy?

Things got very ugly. The CSM has other details including this:

The men took over the raised platform where the women had held their demonstration, as many of the women trembled in rage. During the melee, one of the attacking men groped Fatima Mansour, a college student who wore purple for International Women’s Day and argued eloquently with a man who said it was unIslamic for a woman to become president, quoting the Quran back at him. Sexual harassment is a common indignity for women in Cairo, though it virtually disappeared during the first few days of the uprising. After the attack, she was disheartened, but determined to continue the fight.

She whirled and slapped him, before her colleagues held her back to keep her from getting hurt, she said. Before the attack, she had been optimistic. “We believe that we have a right to rebuild Egypt,” she said. “Women’s participation during the revolution was remarkable. We can’t ignore this and deny us a role.”

Her friend Shaza Abdel Lateef chimed in. “They can’t just send us home after the revolution,” she said. One of the criticisms they faced over and over again was that now was not the time for women to demand their rights. Ms. Lateef rejects that. “We say no, we are half the population. If we stay silent, we will continue to experience all the discrimination of the past.”

Washington Post, Women’s rights marchers in Cairo report sexual assaults by angry mob:

CAIRO – Women hoping to extend their rights in post-revolutionary Egypt were faced with a harsh reality Tuesday when a mob of angry men beat and sexually assaulted a group of marchers calling for political and social equality, witnesses said.

“Everyone was chased. Some were beaten. They were touching us everywhere,” said Dina Abou Elsoud, 35, a hostel owner and organizer of the ambitiously named Million Woman March.

She was among a half-dozen women who said they were repeatedly groped by men – a common form of intimidation and harassment here that was, ironically, a target of the protesters. None reported serious injuries.


As upwards of 300 marchers assembled late Tuesday afternoon, men began taunting them, insisting that a woman could never be president and objecting to women’s demands to have a role in drafting a new constitution, witnesses said.

“People were saying that women were dividing the revolution and should be happy with the rights they have,” said Ebony Coletu, 36, an American who teaches at American University in Cairo and attended the march, as she put it, “in solidarity.”

Women are divisive and should appreciate their right to shut up and take it. Gee, haven’t I seen this movie before?

More from WaPo:

The men – their number estimated to be at least double that of the women’s – broke through a human chain that other men had formed to protect the marchers. Women said they attempted to stand their ground – until the physical aggression began.

“I was grabbed in the crotch area at least six times; I was grabbed in the breasts; my throat was grabbed,” Coletu said.

She and several others said they eventually took refuge in a tourism agency office protected by Egyptian army members.


Nagla Rizk, also a professor at American University in Cairo, said she went to the march Tuesday full of hope but left within an hour after sensing the ugly mood of the counter-demonstrators.

“The whole event was not successful, and I am very disappointed,” she said. “This is totally alien to the spirit of Tahrir.”

Nima Elbagir’s report with CNN (post continues after the youtube):

[Edited to insert the following note: I meant to point this out… around the 2:40 mark, Nima talks about how just the leaflets alone were a point of contention–one of the leaflets said “we demand control of our reproductive rights”–and how men considered it shameful for women to be distributing materials with words like that printed on them.]

Some more reading on the march which I’m still combing through:

Another related piece:

I wanted to leave you with something more uplifting from today before I go.

Below: A crowd celebrated International Women’s Day with a rally protesting violence linked to Ivory Coast’s ongoing political crisis, in the Abobo district of Abidjan, the country’s main city. The women are supporters of Alassane Ouattara, the man the United Nations, the African Union and most foreign powers say defeated Laurent Gbagbo in the recent presidential election. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

Click photo to go to NYT Lens Pictures of the Day


Women, Workers, and The Sisterhood

Hillary has marked today’s 100th International Women’s Day by releasing the following op-ed. As soon as I heard the title, I knew I’d hear, “women do two-thirds, yet…”

Real life Rosie the Riveter. Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, Tennessee (1943). Library of Congress, LC-USW36-295 (P&P)

March 7, 2011:

Women’s Work-More, Earn-Less Plan Hurts — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

[Bloomberg headline — I Know the Secret to Economic Growth: Hillary Rodham Clinton]

“Throughout the world, women do two-thirds of the work, yet they earn just one-third of the income and own less than 2 percent of the land. Three billion people don’t have access to basic financial services we take for granted, like bank accounts and lines of credit; the majority of them are women. […] If we invest in women’s education and give them the opportunity to access credit or start a small business, we add fuel to a powerful engine for progress for women, their families, their communities and their countries. Women invest 80 percent of their incomes on their families and in their communities.”

Whether Hillary’s in or out of US domestic politics, Hillary is working for all women and for all workers. She’s the woman who first introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2005 after all.

Over the last thirty-something years, Hill’s even gotten Bill speaking the language of women power.

September 2009:

“According to the United Nations, women do 66% — two thirds — of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food — a fact which would stun people in this country given the way agriculture is organized — earn 10% of the world’s income, and own 1% of the world’s property.” –President Bill Clinton, at the Clinton Global Initiative, discussing why we need to invest in girls and women

I’m more familiar with hearing the “two-thirds work, 10% income, 1% property” set of figures. Hillary’s “two third-one third-less than 2%” is a new one on me–I wonder if it’s an update or tweak. Anyhow, another great companion piece to read with Hillary’s op-ed today is this interview at Democracy Now — “Women’s Rights are Workers’ Rights:” Kavita Ramdas on History of International Women’s Day and Challenges Women Face 100 Years Later. From the link:

“I think there is a need for us, I think, at this moment, particularly as there’s an effort to marginalize the rights of workers, as you see across many of the states, particularly Wisconsin, Indiana, an attempt to kind of roll back some of the achievements that workers have fought for so hard. You see that happening simultaneously, Amy, as you mentioned, with the attempt to sort of roll back women’s rights. And this is happening exactly at the moment that globally, the voice says, ‘Oh, you know, the way to have development and democracy is to invest in women.’ So, on one hand, you have what’s right for the rest of the world; on the other hand, you actually have a situation in which people are losing rights, in the context of the country where those rights were fought for, you know, to begin with.” –Kavita Ramdas

I’d love to hear our resident economist and blogger extraordinaire Dakinikat weigh in when she gets a chance and give us her thoughts and analysis on where women’s wage earnings stand and the road forward. In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to revisit some of Hillary’s earlier op-eds from the last three years, to see how her current piece tackling “Work-More, Earn-Less” fits into her overall vision. I’m just going to pick the op-eds that come to mind for me and excerpt a small passage from each. I want to let Hillary do the talking here and illustrate the framework she’s been putting in place, piece by piece, with each of these editorials.

This will go backwards in time (reverse chronological order.)

November 10, 2010:

An End to Human Trafficking — SecState HRC

“It is especially important for governments to protect the most vulnerable – women and children – who are more likely to be victims of trafficking. They are not just the targets of sex traffickers, but also labor traffickers, and they make up a majority of those trapped in forced labor: picking cotton, mining rare earth minerals, dancing in nightclubs. The numbers may keep growing, as the global economic crisis has exposed even more women to unscrupulous recruiters.”

October 28, 2010:

The Key to Sustainable Peace: Women” — SecState HRC and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store

“Whether they are combatants or survivors, peace-builders or bystanders, women must play a role in the transition from war to peaceful development. And we must urge men and women to focus on changing the conditions that produced the violence in the first place. In the coming weeks and months, our governments will be pressing to ramp up meaningful implementation of Resolution 1325. As just one part of that effort, our governments are among those participating in an important international conference in Copenhagen this week, where the focus will be on the role of women in a broad range of global security issues. If we want to make progress towards settling the world’s most intractable conflicts, let’s enlist women.”

October 2009:

A New Approach to Global Food Security and Hunger— SecState HRC

“Food security represents the convergence of several issues: droughts and floods caused by climate change, swings in the global economy that affect food prices, and spikes in the price of oil that increase transportation costs. So food security is not only about food, but it is all about security. Chronic hunger threatens individuals, governments, societies, and borders. People who are starving or undernourished and can’t care for their families are left with feelings of hopelessness and despair, which can lead to tension, conflict, even violence. Since 2007, there have been riots over food in more than 60 countries. The failures of farming in many parts of the world also have an impact on the global economy. Farming is the only or primary source of income for more than three-quarters of the world’s poor. When so many work so hard but still can’t get ahead, the whole world is held back.”

August 2009:

What I Saw in Goma— SecState HRC

“There is an old Congolese proverb that says, ‘No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.’ The day must come when the women of the eastern Congo can walk freely again, to tend their fields, play with their children and collect firewood and water without fear. They live in a region of unrivaled natural beauty and rich resources. They are strong and resilient. They could, if given the opportunity, drive economic and social progress that would make their country both peaceful and prosperous. Working together, we will banish sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs, and help the Congolese people seize the opportunities of a new day.”

August 9, 2009:

Women Are Drivers of Positive ChangeSecState HRC

“National Women’s Day commemorates the 20 000 South African women who marched for justice on August 9 1956. Fearless, they sang an anthem that has become a rallying cry: ‘Wathint’a bafazi, Wathint’ imbokodo’ (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock). Women can be the rock on which a freer, safer and more prosperous Africa is built. They just need the opportunity.”

June 17, 2009:

Partnering Against TraffickingSecState HRC

“When I began advocating against trafficking in the 1990s, I saw firsthand what happens to its victims. In Thailand, I held 12-year-olds who had been trafficked and were dying of AIDS. In Eastern Europe, I shared the tears of women who wondered whether they’d ever see their relatives again. The challenge of trafficking demands a comprehensive approach that both brings down criminals and cares for victims. To our strategy of prosecution, protection and prevention, it’s time to add a fourth P: partnerships. The criminal networks that enslave millions of people cross borders and span continents. Our response must do the same.”

September 25, 2008:

Let’s Keep People In Their Homes– Senator HRC

“I’ve proposed a new Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), to launch a national effort to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. […] The original HOLC returned a profit to the Treasury and saved one million homes. We can save roughly three times that many today. […] If we do not take action to address the crisis facing borrowers, we’ll never solve the crisis facing lenders. These problems go hand in hand. And if we are going to take on the mortgage debt of storied Wall Street giants, we ought to extend the same help to struggling, middle-class families. […] This is a sink-or-swim moment for America. We cannot simply catch our breath. We’ve got to swim for the shores. We must address the conditions that set the stage for the turmoil unfolding on Wall Street, or we will find ourselves lurching from crisis to crisis. Just as Wall Street must once again look further than the quarterly report, our nation must as well.”

August 6, 2008:

No Crisis Is Immune From Exploitation Under BushSenator HRC

“The examples of the waste, fraud and abuse are legion — from KBR performing shoddy electrical work in Iraq that has resulted in the electrocution of our military personnel according to Pentagon and Congressional investigators, to the firing of an Army official who dared to refuse a $1 billion payout for questionable charges to the same company. In another scam, the Pentagon awarded a $300 million contract to AEY, Inc., a company run by a 22-year-old who fulfilled an ammunition deal in Afghanistan by supplying rotting Chinese-made munitions to our allies. But the fraud and waste are not limited to the war. In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, for example, FEMA awarded a contract worth more than $500 million for trailers to serve as temporary housing. The contractor, Gulf Stream, collected all of its money even though they knew at the time that its trailers were contaminated with formaldehyde. […] If we’re going to get serious about putting our nation’s fiscal house in order, let’s talk about putting an end to billions in no-bid contract awards to unaccountable contractors. Let’s talk about the number of lucrative contracts and bonuses being paid for duties never performed, promises never fulfilled, and contracts falsely described as complete. And let’s talk about reforming the federal contracting system so that we can take on the real waste, fraud and abuse in our federal government.”

Are you detecting a pattern yet?

Disaster capitalism… No Profit Left Behind…. Mortgage Crisis… Modern-Day Slavery… Opportunities for Women… Banishing Sexual Violence… Global Food Security and Hunger… Women’s Progress as the Key to Sustainable Peace… Enlisting Women… Investing in Women’s Education and Economic Security…

These are just a few of the challenges and objectives outlined, and the above is hardly an exhaustive compilation.

When I think of Barack Obama’s op-ed writing, I think of his ode to deregulation at the start of this year. When I think of Sarah Palin’s, I remember this summer of 2009 anti-cap and trade diatribe that never even mentioned global warming (or climate change). Two Reagan-wannabe peas-in-a-pod.

Hillary stands out as presidential–a champion for every man, woman, and child to have a level playing field in this world from which to rise. But, as our own commenter paperdoll says, “1600 PA Ave. isn’t big enough for Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.”

And, that’s because Hillary’s work is bigger than her and belongs to all of us.

On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to leave you with the photo below. Because when it comes to Hillary and her work, it’s not about her being likeable, and it’s not about paternalism and rescuing damsels in distress who are incapable of freeing and governing themselves–it’s about all of us supporting these young women, and for that matter one another, so we can each lift ourselves up to our God-given potential.

When Hillary gave her speech at the DNC in 2008, she asked “Were you in this campaign just for me?”

Hillary, I’m still in the campaign for all of us, and I’m in it for the sisterhood:

A group of girls reach in to hug Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a tour of the Siem Reap Center, a shelter that provides rehabilitation, vocational training, and social reintegration for sex trafficking victims, in Siem Reap.