Reclaiming Medusa

Lucinda Marshall’s Blog

Reclaiming Medusa’s New Home

Posted by admin on September 20, 2009

Reclaiming Medusa is back but in a different location. Please visit the new blog here.

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30,000 Iraqis More or Less

Posted by admin on December 16, 2005

Many thanks to Information Clearinghouse for giving this piece top billing last night:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11311.htm

30,000 Iraqis More or Less
By Lucinda Marshall
12/15/05 “ICH

George’s face was eerily matter-of-fact as he said it. “30,000 Iraqis more or less” have been killed so far in the ‘War on Terror’. No remorse or sadness, he seemed wholly unaffected in any way by the enormity of such a loss of life, let alone that he might bear some responsibility for it happening. But it was major news that during his remarks to the World Affairs Conference in Philadelphia, the President had finally put a figure on the number of ‘enemy’ war dead and my local newspaper duly ran the story on Page One.

Asked about his linkage of Saddam Hussein to 911, Bush maintained that Saddam had been a threat and that the reports of weapons of mass destruction had been widely believed. He claimed that knowing what he does now, he would make the same decision, that Saddam had been a threat and that we are now safer. The President also talked about the challenges nations face making a transition to what he often terms a “free and democratic” society. One wonders if there were chuckles at his understated, “I think we were welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome.”

In response to other questions, he also mentioned the number of American war dead, and that he thought Iraqis responsible for prison torture should be held accountable. But it wasn’t until the 3rd from last paragraph in the wire story that appeared in my local paper that this chilling statement was reported, “The long run in this war is going to require a change of governments in parts of the world.” Hello? Wait a minute, stop the presses, HE SAID WHAT?? But I digress, we’ll get back to this in a minute. The article finished by noting that part of Bush’s new strategy to win American support is to be more frank in his discussion of Iraq.

Well that might be what his spinners are saying he is doing but looking frank and being frank are two entirely different things. Just because it sounds truthful does not hide the stench of propaganda and deceit and it is the media’s responsibility to not only report what the President says, but also how what he says contrasts with reality.

There was no mention that the only reason anyone believed the ‘intelligence’ about weapons of mass destruction was because the Bush Administration had vouchsafed for it, even though at the time there was ample evidence that it was horse pucky. Nowhere was there any mention that the number of terrorist attacks throughout the world has increased dramatically since 911. When Bush mentioned the official number of American war dead, there was no mention that Rep. John Conyers and other members of Congress are questioning the accuracy of this number, and the bottom line is we don’t have a clue how many dead Iraqis there are. Might be 30,000 might be 100,000, we simply don’t know.

Predictably, the President babbled on about victory and the success of “the mission”, but the press, as it usually does, declined to question just what mission he was talking about. Was it the one to get Bin Laden? Or the one to get Saddam? To find WMDs? Stop terrorism? And what would constitute a victory over terrorism? A little clarification is long overdue, don’t you think?

Nowhere in the coverage was there any comparison of the torture the President accuses the Iraqis of to the secret prisons run by the U.S. or the prisoner abuse at places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Unbelievably, in commenting about the speech, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, said that, “We must tell the Iraqis that we have done our part–we’ve done more than our part. Now it’s up to you (the Iraqis) to get your political house in order.”

Levin’s thinking seems to be the attitude of many Republicans and Democrats alike. We’ve apparently become amnesiac about the fact that we destroyed their government, bombed their cities, used chemical weapons, demolished water and electrical systems? Does Mr. Levin consider that part to be part of “our part”?

But clearly the most important thing we need to know is just how many governments does Bush plan to ‘change’ in the name of democracy? Over and over in his speech he compared the Iraqi situation to our own fight for freedom against the British. There is just one little difference. We fought for our own freedom, the British did not demand that we become a democracy. That can hardly be compared to bombing a country into ‘freedom’. Apparently we’ve forgotten our grade school history lessons.

In the end, it all comes down to this: At what point will we finally quit nodding like bobbleheads and start demanding the truth, both from our media and from our government? When do we quit handing out political free lunch passes for such wholly inapplicable euphemisms as ‘victory’ and ‘success’ when the real topics on the table are lying, war crimes and treason?

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We’re Melting

Posted by admin on December 14, 2005

We’re Melting
by Lucinda Marshall
December 10, 2005

One wonders what the Wicked Witch of the West must have been thinking in that terrifying moment in the Wizard of Oz after Dorothy doused her with water, when she realized that she was melting and no amount of evil spells was going to change that? With the recent deluge of melting glaciers and warming seas, it seems we residents of planet Earth may be reaching a very similar moment.

the article continues at:
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/3/2005/1616

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The New Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines

Posted by admin on December 11, 2005

By now probably most of you have seen the story about the new guidelines for treating breast cancer. To say that this is a welcome breakthrough would be an understatement. But what is truly disturbing is the statistics about how many women have been treated with chemotherapy even though it is only effective in a small percentage of breast cancers. Associated Press medical writer Marilynn Marchione writes,

“But the worst part is, it only helps about 15 percent of those who get it after the usual surgery to remove their tumors. Roughly 25 percent get worse despite chemo. A whopping 60 percent would have been fine with hormones alone.”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051210/ap_on_he_me/breast_cancer_1

Looked at another way, that means that 85% of patients who have received chemo were subjected to the toxic regimen that can cause a host of hideous side effects UNNECESSARILY. The only folks who benefited from that were the shareholders and CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, many of whom fund and serve in advisory capacities for the very organizations that promote early treatment. Very bad medicine indeed.

Of course there will be those who say that until recently, we could not distinguish between those who would benefit from chemo and those who would not, and this is true. But bear in mind that this is a very ‘cure’ oriented business. Virtually no research is being done to look at the causes of breast cancer. Finding and stopping the cause or treating breast cancer without massive drug regimens isn’t profitable. And with pharmaceutical companies facing the lose of 85% of their market for these drugs, there would be little incentive for them to have looked at this earlier and more rigorously. The damage that has been done to women’s lives, not only by the disease, but by its treatment is truly staggering. The time to demand that resources be devoted not only to treating this disease but also to stopping it is way overdue.

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An RSVP to the Tea Party

Posted by admin on December 7, 2005

Today I received a response to “An Invitation to a Tea Party” that, with the author’s kind permission, I would like to share. Carol in Oregon (who saw the piece on Jack Dalton’s blog–thank you Jack!) wrote:

“Dear Lucinda,
Samuel Adams is an ancient uncle of mine. I like your boycott ideas and I never shop with any of those groups. I would like to go one further and have a real Boston Tea Party. Rent a frigate, dunk the enablers in the congress, the administration and the corporations in the harbor, haul them out and sail to The Hague with them in irons for their trials for crimes against humanity.

After that, I’d like to see us undo or houseclean the specious and excessive laws passed during the last fifty years, including the NSC68 from 1947 and most Executive Orders. My question is: who gave these people the right to dismiss the Preamble, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? I want us, also, to go back to the “common defense” concept and toss out the CIA and the National Security laws. Further, I want secrecy in government forbidden forever. All “Patriot Acts” would be illegal.

I know this is a lot; but, we have been betrayed by corporate pseudo-persons-in law for too long. That concept has to go, too.

I am stuck out here in Oregon on a goat farm at age 66 with little chance to do anything except argue by email with the local precinct guy for the Democrats whose central committee concepts I despise. I was active in Chicago during the Vietnam War as president for Women For Peace and belonged to WILPF. I also belong to the ACLU (was elected secretary once) and Amnesty Int’l; and I despise the idea of torture as against the Declaration’s “…all men (sic) are created equal …” My ancestors include the two Green Mountain Boys: Seth Warner and Ethan Allen, an entire generation of Warners who fought the Revolution, Sam Adams, and the presidents’ Adams. We believe fiercely in human rights and freedom from oppression from any source.

I hope you consider staging, if not having the actual felons onboard, an art piece of another Boston Tea Party sailing to The Hague with demonstrators labeled for the real culprits. I would send a little money for it.

Please keep me informed of what your group is doing. I read your work on Jack Dalton’s site. I am also related to Ohio Daltons. ”

I wrote back to tell Carol that unfortunately I do not live near Boston Harbor either, but perhaps we can throw ‘tea parties’ (however you chose to define them) in the places where we live. Many thanks to all who wrote. I can never gauge which pieces will resonate, so the feeback is always helpful and appreciated.

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An Invitation To A Tea Party

Posted by admin on December 5, 2005

Here’s my latest article:

http://www.countercurrents.org/us-marshall051205.htm

An Invitation To A Tea Party
By Lucinda Marshall
05 December, 2005
Countercurrents.org

Robert Greenwald’s WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price is a potent and timely effort to awaken our inner conscious consumer. But the corporate ethics malfunction that we are experiencing goes far beyond Walmart, and pervades every aspect of our lives. There is nothing new about any of this. Arundhati Roy has worked tirelessly to point out that our spending habits play a significant part in supporting corporate empires and folks like Ralph Nader have been begging us to pay attention to our complicity in corporate plundering for years.

As we stumble through the holiday season, mindlessly maxing out our credit cards, it is high time that we re-examine our own complicit spending and consuming habits. The reality is that we do have the power to commit change in the way we spend our money, not only during the holiday season, but also in the purchasing choices we make every day. There is no shortage of companies that are poster children for the bad corporate citizen award. But perhaps we can chose a few that many of us use every day, and make the choice to pick alternative products until these companies take substantive action to change their destructive policies. With that in mind, here are some worthy targets for a national Buycott:

Coca Cola: You shouldn’t be drinking this stuff anyhow, it’s unhealthy. But there are a lot of other reasons not to drink Coca Cola products, the most important being the company’s leading role in the commodification of water. Other reasons include safety issues at their plants and how they treat their employees, particularly in Columbia where Latin America’s main bottler, Panamco is accused of hiring para-militaries to kill and intimidate union leaders and workers (www.killercoke.org). In India, the company’s practices are linked to water shortages and pollution. See http://www.caja.org and http://www.indiaresource.org for more information.

General Electric: These folks, while claiming to bring good things to life, are a major military contractor and builder of nuclear power plants. That is bad but what is worse is that they also own NBC News. If you think their involvement in the energy and defense industries doesn’t impact how these issues are reported on the news, I have some real nice land along the Gulf coast for you. Buy somebody else’s light bulbs, preferably energy efficient ones.

ExxonMobil: Filled your tank lately? Well fill it somewhere else, CITGO is the best choice. CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela’s state owned oil company. Venezuela is run by a democratically elected government which uses the oil revenues to help the country’s poor. They don’t do that in Saudi Arabia. When energy companies refuse to invest in renewable resources, make obscene profits and give their CEO’s bonuses with that many zeros, they don’t need your business. You can find a CITGO station near you at http://www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp. You can also sign a petition to hold Exxon accountable at http://www.moveonpac.org/exxon/.

DuPont: This company has known for decades that there is no safe level of exposure to Zonyl RP, their grease-resistant coating that is used for food packaging and that it could contaminate food at three times the federal safety standard. The company did not share this information with the FDA. As a result, the chemical is found in the bloodstream of virtually every American. The company has also failed to disclose known health effects of one of the ingredients in Teflon, which is used in a wide variety of products, from cookware to carpeting. No corporate entity should ever have the right to force consumers to be exposed to chemical toxins without their knowledge. While this is a somewhat more difficult company to buycott because their products are often part of other products, make every effort to avoid them.

Ford: Their fleet has the lowest fuel economy of any car manufacturer in America which leads to higher fuel usage and auto emissions. Tell your local Ford dealers that you demand fuel efficient cars. Check out http://www.actforchange.org for more information. And don’t forget subways,buses, bikes and feet.

And of course,

Walmart: This company is destroying our nation one community at a time. It pays wages so low that their employees can’t afford health care and need food stamps. Walmart discriminates against women and drives local companies out of business. Most ironically of all, despite the company’s constant mantra of low prices, it is actually the leader in overcharging at theregister. In her new book, Democracy’s Edge, Frances Moore Lappe offers the best reason to avoid Walmart. According to Lappe, “a dollar spent in a locally owned business can generate three times more local economic activity than a dollar paid at a corporate chain.” Go to www.wakeupwalmart.com for more information about this largest of predatory companies and take your business elsewhere, to locally owned merchants if possible.

There are plenty of other companies that don’t deserve our business (see http://peace-action.inbyron.com/lists.html and http://www.boycott-republicans.com/ for some more good ideas). The point here is that not patronizing these particular offenders is virtually painless, making participation in a Buycott an easy choice for a wide cross-section of people.

A few centuries ago, the good people of Boston told the British where they could take their tea and shove it. It’s high time that we hold another Tea Party and not the kind with white gloves or dainty china. By not giving these companies our business, we can give them the business and make it clear that we have had enough of their toxic, non-sustainable, socially reprehensible behavior.

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Before You Max Out Your Credit Cards

Posted by admin on December 4, 2005

I don’t know how many of you belong to Co-Op America (if not you should) but their latest newsletter contained a really good article about the banks that issue credit cards. What was especially interesting was the many affinity cards that are issued by banks with totally different politics than the groups that we are trying to support. It also contains some suggestions for credit card issuers whose politics are a bit less revolting. Seems like a simple way to put your money where your mouth is.

When I couldn’t find the article online I wrote to them and asked about forwarding it and the Associate Editor, Andrew Korfhage, kindly put it online for me! Please pass this along. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/articles/creditcards.cfm

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Ridin’ The Bus With Deborah

Posted by admin on November 29, 2005

Below please find Doris Colmes’ outstanding article, “Ridin’ The Bus With Deborah”. Doris is a long time activist, Holocaust survivor and dear friend. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to publish her work on the FPN website.

http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/Colmes.htm

Ridin’ the Bus With Deborah
by Doris Colmes, MSW

When Deborah Davis hit the news, I got hit as well – right in the pit of my stomach where terror hides, and panic lurks.. “Oh God, I mumbled, “It’s happening again”

And just exactly what had Deborah done to get this emotionally detached old lady into such a replay of emotions left over from 1938 Nazi Germany? It was the gut-wrenching realization that the Nazi Police State in which I was raised has come back to roost – in the United States.

Deborah, who commutes by bus in Denver, Colorado, had been asked to present her I.D. to a man in uniform. If she didn’t, she was told, it would mean walking several miles to her job. So, she complied, but, it rankled. Deborah knew that, unless she was being a danger to self or others, behaving irrationally, or drunk and disorderly, no one had the right to ask for her identification. As long as she was sitting quietly in her seat, she could not be arbitrarily asked for ID. (She’d learned that in her 8th grade Civics class, where she had also been taught about police states, and how casually they usurped the rights of their citizenry.)

And so it went. For several weeks, when asked to show ID, Deborah refused, and, when asked if she were getting off at the Denver Federal Center she said, “no” was left in peace, completing her bus trips right on schedule.

And then it happened: On September 26, 2005, when the bus reached its stop at the Federal Center, a guard got on the bus and confronted her. When Deborah insisted that she was under no obligation to show any ID whatsoever, the bus was halted, a supervisor climbed on, and demanded ID. This time, when she refused, a second cop arrived, and, when Deborah stuck to her guns, she was suddenly arrested.

And it was not a gentle arrest. As she relates on her website http://www.papersplease.org/davis/facts.html:

‘Grab her’ was the shout, and with the police wrenching her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, handcuffed, thrown into a police cruiser, rushed off to the police station inside the Center, where cops had a bit of difficulty deciding with what to charge her. So they wrote up a couple of tickets (contents unknown) took off her cuffs, and told her that if she ever entered that Center again, she’d go to jail. No more bus commutes for Deborah!

Reading this, took me straight back to that living nightmare called Nazi Germany. There, if one didn’t show ID upon command, and/or if anything was even the slightest bit out of the ordinary on these papers, it was “Bye-Bye,” and – if one were a Jew, a Gypsy or seen as “gay” by the arresting officer – that was some long Goodbye, indeed (http://jack-dalton.blogspot.com/2005/05/papiere-bitte.html) Death camps were waiting, needing monthly quotas, and age was not an issue. Little kids zoomed off to extermination just as quickly as adults, and all for the sin of, perhaps, an inkblot on an identifying number, or the magic word “Jew” printed on the top.

And, now, it seems, we’ve come full circle. Not only do we now have the Patriot Act (a wonderfully modern up-date of Germany’s “Enabling Act,” (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ /http://jack-dalton.blogspot.com/2005/06/patriot-act-vs-german-enabling-act.html), right down to the last comma) but we also have a 82 billion dollar defense bill, which (with a vote of 100 to 0) had the Real ID Act hidden inside it. (S.1637, FSC-ETI. Passed May 11, 2004) This law allows a national identification process in which each and every person in the U.S.A. will be on computer. And, yes, you’d better show that ID upon command, or you’ll wind up like Deborah. And, as time goes by, much worse: Honorable, ethical, racially profiled, and dead.

Is this an exaggeration? Well, let’s look at the current administration expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon Agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago to protect military facilities from attack.. According to Washington Post writer Walter Pincus, (http://washingtoonnpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112600857_pf.html ) a presidential commission will expand and transform the CIFA into an agency that has authority to investigate crimes within the USA, such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage. And would allow it to label – at will – any person or activity of which it did not approve under these headings.

The Pentagon has pushed legislation that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about US citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence (See CIFA).

This, of course, in addition to the Patriot Act revisions which give unlimited power and access to any and all governmental agents to anyone or anything they choose, without warrant or even “reasonable cause” (whatever that now means)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote: “If the least important soldier in the German Army had chosen not to comply with orders to execute innocent people, others would have followed his lead, and there would not have been a Holocaust.” Those words still ring true, right along with the actions of Mohandas Gandhi and Rosa Parks, and, today, with the action of Deborah Davis.

Sure, lots of folks protest that they have had enough and that “someone” needs to take action and then – at least in my experience – they say, “Oh this is such a shame,” shrug their shoulders and start talking about the newest TV Reality Show.

In Deborah’s case, why are there not crowds holding signs, protesting, outside the Denver Federal Center? Could it be because of current media censorship? Diversionary news, such as Michael Jackson and/or Scott Peterson get major coverage – to the point of insanity – but persons like Deborah, or, just as currently José Padilla, are shuffled off to the side-lines. My hunch is, that although Deborah faces arraignment in Denver on December 9, 2005, hardly anyone in that town is even aware of what just happened. As for media censorship and how it works, that’s a whole other article.

It takes someone with not only the courage of her/his convictions, but also with a deep sense of urgency, to actually do something concrete that graphically shows the rest of us what is actually happening here. And that is what Ms. Davis has accomplished. The same steely resolve needed for anyone to say, “I have had enough, and my answer is NO” is reminiscent of Rosa Parks, also on a bus, a half-century ago..

I love this country. It literally saved my life at a time when I was pretty convinced that there was nowhere left to go, except, perhaps, to the nearest oven. And, through the years, I’ve witnessed all that is so dear, so valuable, so much the essence of my entire existence, dissipate. Dissipate into a haze of hidden agendas, corruption and increasingly self-serving administrations.

Of necessity, what happened to Deborah Davis must be compared to what happened to so many people at the start of the fascist regime in Germany, when “compliance” was the daily hymn, and acquiescence to the German “Enabling Act” (Bona fide ancestor of our “Patriot Act”) was so absolutely expected, that anyone who protested disappeared immediately and permanently.

I thank Deborah Davis not only for being a role model, but also for setting an example that I, for one, will unconditionally follow.

In conclusion, let us all memorize and act upon together, this poem, written by Pastor Martin Niemöller in Nazi Germany:

“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller

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NOW Stumbles on Issues of Racism and Misogyny

Posted by admin on November 28, 2005

In recent months, the National Organization for Women has been branching out to address issues such as militarism and racism. This is a welcome step in as much as such issues have significant impacts on women’s lives.

It was however discouraging to see a recent article in the NOW Times by Deborah Peterson Small, “Perspectives on Katrina”, that while ably addressing issues of race and class, did not make the connection as to how these effect women in times of natural disasters.

I am copying below the letter that I wrote to NOW President Kim Gandy. As you will note, several authors (including myself) have been working to address these issues. It is crucial that women’s organizations not only take ownership of their voice on these issues but also stand firm in insisting on addressing how they impact the lives of women. While quesitons of race, class, militarism, etc. are important in and of themselves, there is no greater good that justifies invisibilizing the lives of women.
———————

Dear Ms. Gandy,

I am very pleased to see NOW taking an active stance on peace and racism issues. It is critical that women recognize the impact these matters have on the lives of women. I was however disturbed to see the choice of Deborah Small’s “Perspectives on Katrina in your most recent newsletter. While it is an excellent piece, it does not address the impact Katrina and other natural disasters have had on women’s lives.

Feminist Peace Network now has a page on our website that lists resources for helping women impacted by natural disasters throughout the world, http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/NaturalDisasters.htm. It also lists a number of excellent articles on the subject:

Surviving Domestic Violence and Disasters by Elaine Enarson

Natural Disaster Exposes Gender Divides by Joni Seager

Katrina and her Gendering of Class and Race by Zillah Eisenstein

Were Women Raped in New Orleans? Addressing the Human Rights of Women in Times of Crisis by Lucinda Marshall

A Feminist Perspective on Katrina by Loretta J. Ross

New Orleans and Women of Color: Connecting the Personal and Political by Janelle L. White

It is crucial that women’s organizations not only take a stand on racism, classism, etc. but also make clear the impact that these issues have on women’s lives, otherwise women will continue to be marginalized in favor of addressing the ‘big issues’.

Sincerely,

Lucinda Marshall, Founder
Feminist Peace Network

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The Turning Point?

Posted by admin on November 16, 2005

Here’s my latest article:

The Turning Point?
by Lucinda Marshall

There have been a couple of encouraging signs of sanity lately that make me wonder if we’ve finally hit rock bottom and begun to see the light. I say that very cautiously, fully realizing that after the siege of the last five years, this could be grasping at straws. But hopefully they are the straws that break the proverbial camel’s back. First, there was the crystal clear message sent by voters in last week’s election, a slam-dunk vote of no confidence. That is not an illusion because right on the heels of the election, Congressional Republicans are frantically re-thinking their budget cuts after the realization set in that they all of a sudden might not be able to get away with slashing out the heart of basic social services….(full article)

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