Monday, December 28, 2015

Losing My Religion for Equality -- Jimmy Carter


Very Heartening!

Original:  http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html?stb=fb

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
 
It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

OBSERVER
Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

Friday, December 18, 2015

DRONE STRIKE - United States TERRORISM - Creech Air Force Base -- SHUT IT DOWN!



https://youtu.be/enRbp51pVSI

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Vigil for Bethlehem this Sunday, Dec. 20th @ 1pm at Benaroya Hall (200 University St., Seattle)

Please join us this Sunday to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people. 
 
Voices for Palestine will be distributing "O Little Town of Bethlehem " cards to guests attending a performance of Handel's Messiah at Benaroya Hall.
 
We are planning to meet in front of Benaroya Hall at 1:00 PM. Please join us! 
What: Vigil for Bethlehem
Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street • Seattle, WA 98101 
When: Sunday Dec. 20 at 1:00 PM
See you there!
 
Amin Odeh 
“STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT~ EVEN IF YOU ARE STANDING ALONE

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Paris Deal: Epic Fail On A Planetary Scale"--We Must Continue to Mobilize



https://www.popularresistance.org/paris-deal-epic-fail-on-a-planetary-scale/

EXCERPT:

Dallas Goldtooth agrees:
‘The decision-makers of the world can’t make the changes that we want. It’s on us as people to make that change. And we’re already seeing the power of the people. Look at North America – the Keystone XL pipeline was taken down because of people organizing. It wasn’t the governments who made that choice, it was the ranchers and farmers, the Indigenous peoples on the frontline in the heartland of America that made that choice, and the politicians adjusted accordingly.’
People shouldn’t be surprised that the deal is bad, Goldtooth says. ‘Industry has heavily influenced these negotiations. We have nation states who are dependent on a fossil fuel economy influencing these negotiations. Grassroots people who are advocating for the alternatives are not allowed in those negotiations. So we shouldn’t be surprised. Instead we are using this moment to reinvigorate our base, to continue forward demanding climate justice, and to show the world, show the countries, show the corporations what people can do when we unite for climate justice.’

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Late John Trudell "Bombs Over Baghdad" and Remembrances of His Life



https://youtu.be/id1NajQg7mU

"Dancers of death ...  enjoying blood and oil cocktails"

Please go to Climate Crocks website to learn more about what we have lost in the amazing John Trudell:  http://climatecrocks.com/2015/12/13/music-break-john-trudell-bombs-over-baghdad/

Second video there has John's thoughts regarding "Modern Humans Are Walking Dead" -- not hard to believe the truth in that statement these days.

Here is a very revealing trailer for a movie ("Trudell") made about him: 



https://youtu.be/ejYeZmq61dg

from the PBS Independent Lens documentary blog:

One of his last messages, as per his family, was “I want people to remember me as they remember me,” and on his Facebook page a member of Trudell’s family posted this simple goodbye:
“My ride showed up.”
“Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life.”
John Trudell
February 15, 1946 – December 8, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Climate Matters: in Conversation with Paul Beckwith: "We're in Trouble."



https://youtu.be/uY9RSRlHJZ4

What Every American Needs to Know About Radical Islam



https://youtu.be/UZC4Hruo3lY

Monday, December 07, 2015

"Obama’s Speech, Translated into Candor" -- Norman Solomon


ORIGINAL AT:
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/12/07/obamas-speech-translated-candor

Here is a condensed version of President Obama's speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night, unofficially translated into plain English: 

I kind of realize we can’t kill our way out of this conflict with ISIL, but in the short term hopefully we can kill our way out of the danger of a Republican victory in the presidential race next year.

As a practical matter, the current hysteria needs guidance, not a sense of proportion along the lines of what the New York Times just mentioned in passing: “The death toll from jihadist terrorism on American soil since the Sept. 11 attacks—45 people—is about the same as the 48 killed in terrorist attacks motivated by white supremacist and other right-wing extremist ideologies.... And both tolls are tiny compared with the tally of conventional murders, more than 200,000 over the same period.”

While I’m urging some gun control, that certainly doesn’t apply to the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs and their underlings have passed all the background checks they need by virtue of getting to put on a uniform of the United States Armed Forces.

As much as we must denounce the use of any guns that point at us, we must continue to laud the brave men and women who point guns for us -- and who fire missiles at terrorists and possible terrorists and sometimes unfortunately at wedding parties or misidentified vehicles or teenagers posthumously classified as “militants” after signature strikes or children who get in the way.

We can’t see ourselves in the folks we kill. But I know that we see ourselves with friends and co­workers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris.

Also I know we don’t see ourselves in the blameless individuals who have been beheaded by our ally Saudi Arabia, which has executed 150 people this year mostly by cutting off their heads with swords.

Nor should we bother to see ourselves in the people the Saudi government is slaughtering with airstrikes in Yemen on a daily basis. We sell the Saudis many billions of dollars worth of weapons that make the killings in San Bernardino look smaller than puny. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. 

I gave a lofty major speech a couple of years ago about how a democratic society can’t have perpetual war. I like to talk about such sugary ideals; a spoonful helps the doublethink medicine go down.

Let me now say a word about what we should not do. We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. The United States of America has colossal air power—and we’re going to use it. No muss, little fuss: except for people under the bombs, now being utilized at such a fast pace that the warhead supply chain is stretched thin.

Yes, we’re escalating a bit on the ground too, with hundreds of special operations forces going into Syria despite my numerous public statements—adding up to more than a dozen since August 2013—that American troops would not be sent to Syria. Likewise we’ve got several thousand soldiers in Iraq, five years after I solemnly announced that “the American combat mission in Iraq has ended.” 

But here’s the main thing: In the Middle East, the USA will be number one in dropping bombs and firing missiles. Lots of them! It’s true that we keep making enemies faster than we can possibly kill them, but that’s the nature of the beast.

In Afghanistan too. At the end of last year I ceremoniously proclaimed that “the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion” and the United States “will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan.” But within 10 months I changed course and declared that 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan into 2017.

Midway through this fall—even before the terrorist attacks in Paris—the United States had launched an average of about 50 airstrikes per week in Syria during the previous year, and the New York Times reported that the U.S. military was preparing “to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State” on Syrian territory.
And according to official Pentagon figures, the U.S.-led aerial bombing in Iraq has topped 4,500 airstrikes in the last year—approaching an average rate of 100 per week.

Our military will hunt down terrorist plotters where they are plotting against us. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out some of the latest ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. I’ve got to tell you that these actions will defeat ISIL, but I’ve got to not tell you that the airstrikes will kill a lot of civilians while launching new cycles of what gave rise to ISIL in the first place—inflaming rage and grief while serving as a powerful recruitment tool for people to take up arms against us.

In the name of defeating terrorist forces, our air war has the effect of recruiting for them. Meanwhile, in Syria, our obsession with regime change has propelled us into closely aligning with extremist jihadi fighters. They sure appreciate the large quantities of our weapons that end up in their arsenals.

You don’t expect this policy to make a lot of sense, do you?

Friday, December 04, 2015

"The Grave" -- Don McLean (Vietnam War)



https://youtu.be/cLoO4NihyzU

WHERE DID THIS SONG COME FROM?  NEVER HEARD IT AT THAT TIME.

HAUNTING.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"A Wall is Just a Wall" Chicago Organizes Against Police Violence and Criminalization -- Mariame Kaba



https://youtu.be/4Ir289JZgRQ

Very inspiring.  Saw quick pic of Rasmea Odeh, political prisoner supported by Chicago community.

From video:  Young Black people will liberate us!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

"UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth" -- Indigenous Peoples from the Americas in Paris



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Dallas Goldtooth +33 75 1413 823 USA: 708 515 6158 dallas@ienearth.org
Kandi Mossett +33 75 1414 195 mhawea@gmail.com

UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth

November 30, 2015 (Paris) – Indigenous Peoples from the Americas attending the United Nations World Climate Summit in Paris warn that the Paris climate accord will harm their rights, lands and environment and do nothing to address climate change.

“We are here in Paris to tell the world that not only will the anticipated Paris Accord not address climate change, it will make it worst because it will promote false solutions and not keep fossil fuels from being extracted and burned. The Paris COP21 is not about reaching a legally binding agreement on cutting greenhouse gases. In fact, the Paris Accord may turn out to be a crime against humanity and Mother Earth,” according to Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network based in Minnesota on Turtle Island also known as the United States. Goldtooth recently won the Gandhi Peace Award.

According to Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, Canada “After 21 years of these climate conferences, our First Nation wants to be hopeful this agreement truly stops a history of CO2lonialism and business-as-usual with expansion of fossil fuel exploitation on and near indigenous territories. We are here to protect, defend and renew our Mother Earth, not to rubber stamp an agreement that allows polluters to continue to burn the planet. False solutions such as carbon trading, carbon offsets, agrofuels and nuclear energy will probably be the basis of the Paris Accord and the so-called decarbonization of the global economy. False solutions to climate change instead of solving the climate crisis, are resulting in land grabs, human rights violations and will allow global warming to spiral out of control.” Lameman is featured in the film, “This Changes Everything” directed by Avi Lewis and based on the book by Naomi Klein.

Indigenous leaders throughout the world are particularly concerned about REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a United Nations carbon offset mechanism that uses forests, agriculture and many other ecosystems as sponges for northern industrialized countries pollution instead of reducing emissions at source.

“Our world is melting. Climate change and global warming is a reality in my home,” says Allison Akootchook Warden from Kaktovik, a village in the Alaska arctic. “The failure of the United States, Canada and world leaders to take real action to address the climate crisis violates our rights. The draft Paris Accord is full of carbon market mechanisms that are already causing harm to the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Circle.”

Kandi Mossett, Tribal Citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations in North Dakota and campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network, whose home is surrounded by coal-fired power plants and inundated with fracking and flaring of natural gas states, “The current US Clean Power Plan allows the US to continue with carbon trading schemes such as REDD+ designed to allow more extraction and combustion of fossil fuels for a profit.  The whole concept is a false solution to the climate crisis because it allows the US to buy up “carbon credits” often on Indigenous lands in other countries while simultaneously destroying Indigenous homelands in the US essentially making us sacrifice zones for the good of the economy; Indigenous peoples are not expendable and will not sit idly by and allow this desecration to continue without a fight.”

According to the Global Alliance against REDD, “Instead of cutting CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, the UN, the US, the EU, China, Norway and climate criminals like BP, Total, Shell, Chevron, Air France and BHP Billiton are pushing a false solution to climate change called REDD.”

According to Nnimmo Bassey, co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, “REDD may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is new form of colonialism. We demand that states and corporations stop privatizing nature!”

Original from Friends of Peltier Blog: