January 28, 2007
Short Shrift for Protestors
At least 100,000 people took to the streets of DC yesterday to protest the US occupation of Iraq. And yet, it was relegated to inside page coverage in both the NY Times and the LA Times. At least the LAT put a picture on the front page - but both were more interested in fronting articles on Obama and Hillary than they were in the political activism of thousands of citizens.
I think this speaks to the limitations of mainstream media. The masses are not authoritative. That's why the nightly news highlighted Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon & Jesse Jackson - they are recognizable and eloquent in a way that can't be found consistently in the masses. The other limitation is that protestors must always be followed immediately by some self-righteous war-mongerer who believes peace activists are diminishing the morale of the troops and that the only way to support the US military is to keep them as an occupying force in a country where the occupation caused civil war and where US'ians have zero understanding of the language, culture, or ethnic differences in the country.
I do not know how to change the media reality of this country. I do not yet have a plan for the nonviolent paradigm shift necessary to overturn the belligerent, corporate-capitalism forced on the world by the US ruling class. But I do know that it more important than ever to figure out how to do this. Our progeny and the future of the world depends on it.
"Protest Focuses on Iraq Troop Increase," by Ian Urbina with contributions by Sarah Abruzzese and Suevon Lee in the NY Times
"Thousands join bicoastal war protest: The Washington rally draws about 100,000 people. Marchers also take to the streets in L.A. and San Francisco." by Adam Schreck, Ashraf Khalil and David Streitfeld in the LA Times
January 25, 2007
Move the California Primary to February
January 24, 2007
Why there is no entry re SOTU
Last night, the president gave his annual State of the Union address. Apparently, there are now compendiums of drinking games on the subject. And since I finally got my wireless router working, I could've been watching it on the big screen and furiously entering my feedback. Alas, it was not to be.
I did not see the SOTU address because I was working an eleven hour day. There was a lot of work to do - I didn't even stop for a full lunch break - and I was happy to be of help. Plus, it allowed me to take time off today to be with my family for my nephew's bris.
I could've watched a webcast of the speech, or read it, but I chose not to. Perhaps in the future I'll rant about his fucking ridiculous bullshit remark about "gold-plated health insurance," but this is one cancer patient who will refrain for the time being. I'll be back - perhaps tomorrow - with more measured thoughts on world affairs.
Tip o' the hat to my fellow blogger, Todd at the Courage Campaign, for pointing me to the drinking games post at Daily Kos.
January 23, 2007
Why My Activist Home is a Women's Peace Organization
Strange Adventures in Google Searching
Right, so I googled this blog and found another blog that quoted a long tract from this blog.
Here's the post on Jewesses With Attitude that quotes me. Sorta trippy that I never knew it before now. Also strange, because I stumbled across JWABlog's parent site and it provided me with the inspiration for the original name of this blog, Chicken Foot Stew.
Odd thing is, I just wrote an email on the same topic - why I do my activism within a women's group. I sent the email to the US Social Forum Women's Working Group. Here's what I wrote:
I'm 28. I went to a women's college. And I still had to figure out why to do my activism with a women's focus. Part of this stems from thinking it was enough to go to a women's college. But mostly, I've learned it from popular culture: I was born in 78, so by the time I came of age, the battles had been won. Women were working, they had college degrees, and the wage gap was either a figment of radicals' imagination or due to the choice women make to leave the workforce for long periods of time to have kids. Since my identity is not wrapped up in my ability to procreate, and since my thoughts on gender identity go far beyond the dichotomous norm, I really had a hard time understanding why I'd ever choose to do my activism through a women's lens. (For awhile, I researched creating an independent major in Gender Studies b/c I was convinced Women's Studies was too archaic for what I wanted to do. I ended up with a degree in Peace & Justice Studies.)
And yet, I joined WILPF during my senior year of college. I came to the realization that the only way to create a space in mainstream society for all gender identities is to stand up and be counted as a female activist. Similarly, I realize that every problem in the world can be helped by including a gender perspective in analysis and solution-creation. I believe that a women's focus is the first step towards gender-mainstreaming. Because for me, this is about more than just women's issues or national issues from a women's perspective.
Examples from my personal life that prove that we still need a women's focus: This is about the fact that the public face of a progressive organization here in Cali was entirely male until I volunteered to blog for them (Courage Campaign has two full-time female staffers, but the volunteer bloggers were all male). It's about the lack of national healthcare that forces my sister to go back to work 8 weeks after giving birth, not because her family needs the money, but because they need her health insurance. It's about the lack of real childcare choices my sister has for when she goes back to work. It's about being scared that no one mentioned until this week that the new birth control on the market has double the rate of not working than the older pills. It's about wanting to make this country a friendly place to be a mother before I become one. And its about supporting my sisters who have suffered from gendered discrimination & gendered violence.
I stand on the backs of the women of the first and second waves of feminism and I reach out to my sisters in the third wave. And I wonder (to paraphrase WILPF's nuclear disarmament project) - how can we reach a critical mass of political will for gender-mainstreaming?
January 21, 2007
Notes from the Sunday Papers
Economic development in South America is directly tied to the ability to exploit natural resources. This can cause distress for both the rain forest and the indigenous people. It's also never clear whether The Government or The Government Corporation is really working in the people's interest. All of these problems are rolled up in Chavez's dream of a 5000 mile pipeline from Caracas to Buenos Aires. And in the current construction of a pipe line from the heart of the Amazon to a port city in Brazil. More deets at "Vast Pipelines in Amazon Face Challenges Over Protecting Rights and Rivers," by Larry Rohter in the Sunday NYT
The connection between the paramilitary and the government of Colombia is being proven, slowly but surely, but a few former heads of the paramilitary, who have come forward to accept plea bargains. Apparently, there's a document that was signed by a bunch of people known for massacring their countrymen and politicians - politicos from both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, there's no evidence yet that the President of Colombia knew anything about the cruel civilian massacres and of course, no evidence has come forward that the USG understood the connection between its (continued) expenditures on Colombian military projects and the systematic murder of Colombian people by forces related to the government. Because, you see, the USG stands for one thing above all else: private property rights. And apparently, the massacred had it coming because they had extremely subversive notions about social equality through socialism. Not much more deets, but a few at "Colombian Government Is Ensnared in a Paramilitary Scandal," by Simon Rivera in the Sunday NYT.
On the happy front, you should know that there's a soccer team consisting entirely of refugees in the heart of the heartland. Apparently, this is not only worthy of the front page of the NYT, it deserves several pages of ink. "Refugees Find Hostility and Hope on Soccer Field," by Warren St. John on A1 of the Sunday NYT.
In Cali news, the head of the LA Transportation Dept still drives a Hummer and LA Times columnist Steve Lopez still has nothing else to write about in his column.
Also, the billionaires are duking it out over control of the LAT and/or its parent company, the Tribune Co. I really can't believe one of the idiots trying to buy the paper has such envy of the NYT that he wants to lure away MoDo and Friedman with gobs of cash. Seriously? MoDo and Friedman? We can really do better than that. Even for a city not known for its literary largesse, we can do better than a washed-up-snarky-pseudo-feminist-rich-bitch and a stuck-in-the-mud-truly-thinks-the-American-military-and-free-trade-capitalism-will-free-the-world-from-tyranny-economist.
Finally, every gotten annoyed at overly loud cell phone convos? Every been on one of those convos unable to tone down your voice? Well, watch out - that private info you're shouting is in the public domain as soon as it comes out of your mouth. And an annoyed citizen could just post your number on her blog and cause you to get plenty of creepy calls. More deets in Steve Harvey's Only in L.A. column.
January 18, 2007
Personal Thoughts on Healthcare
I'm now a blogger for the Courage Campaign - an organization that focuses on bringing together people for progressive political change here in California.
If you click over there, you'll see my thoughts on the human right to healthcare (told mostly from a personal perspective).
The nutshell version is that Schwarzenegger's plan is a big pile of crap and that the only way forward is universal healthcare.
January 14, 2007
It's Official: I'm a Self-Hating Jew
I sorta obsessively watch who is reading my blogs. Last night, I found that my cultural blog got a hit from masada2000.org. In case you haven't heard of this horrific website, it keep a list of "7000+ Self-Hating Israel Threatening Jews." Some entries include pictures. For the longest time, despite being the Program Chair of a peace group, I wasn't listed. Apparently now I am. And they think I'm 5 years older than I really am. I don't really want you to go to the horrific site. Well, you can if you want. Here's their entry for me:
Minster, C. J. [DOB approx. 1973] This Sunday morning talk show junkie and national board member of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which calls for an "ending US Military aid to Israel and a US Middle East policy with emphasis on long denied Justice for the Palestinian people" signed a one-sided petition for "U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples of the Middle East"... which was nothing less than a full-fledged "mugging" of Israel!
"How can we expect the Palestinians to give up their right to self defense when the Israeli government continues to meet with them at the point of a gun or a lethal Caterpillar bulldozer? As a Jewish American, I am appalled at all that is done in my name. I don't need Palestinians to starve to death to make myself safe as a Jew."
Her "Angel Headed Hipster" blog site is at http://www.angelheadedhipster.com
The other thing they got wrong in their entry is that the blog they cited has a two word title - angelheaded is one word. But I guess they never read that other Jew who popularized the term - Allen Ginsberg. (Besides, it doesn't have any political commentary. I write about politics on this blog. I write about Cali politics on couragecampaign.org. And sometimes, I write about WILPF stuff on the WILPF blog, wilpf.blogspot.com)
Oh, and I don't know how they came up with the quote they created about WILPF, but WILPF actually calls for an end to all US military aid. We're also seeking a change to US Middle East policy - our campaign is currently working to create an alternative, feminist US policy on Israel / Palestine. Our goal is peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. I do stand by the quote I wrote on that online petition. But I've written a lot more than that about the issue.
I wonder what the person thought when they clicked through to my site and saw that I'm dealing with cancer...
Seems fitting that I found out about this yesterday. I spent the afternoon listening to a Holocaust survivor speak about her experience visiting Palestine and being strip searched (and body-cavity searched) at the Tel Aviv airport while attempting to return to the United States.
And today's NY Times Magazine has a feature on Abe Foxman, the meshugenah head of the ADL who sees anti-Semites behind every corner. It's not a particularly good article - the only alternative voices it cites are Mearsheimer and Walt. It would've been better if it really tried to explore the pain and division Foxman and his nut-wing partners have caused the Jewish American community.