16 year old Liz was walking home from her grandfather’s funeral when she was ambushed by six men who took turns raping her and then threw her unconscious body down a 6-meter toilet pit. Their punishment? Police had them mow their station lawn, then let them go free!
Liz’s horror story has sent shockwaves through Kenya and now politicians and the police are under pressure to respond. But women's groups in Kenya say nothing will truly change unless the government is put under the global spotlight. They are calling on us urgently to help ensure justice is done and that Liz’s nightmare marks a turning-point in Kenya’s rape epidemic.
Nobody has been brought to justice -- not the rapists, and not the police. Today, we change that. Let's stand with Liz right now, before her attackers and the police escape. Click below to get justice for Liz and help make sure no girl anywhere suffers this violence.
PS: Liz is a pseudonym given by the news outlet that broke her story and has since been widely used. She is not pictured here.
8-Year-Old Girl Has Died - Stop Child Marriage in Yemen!
An eight-year-old girl in Yemen died from internal injuries on her wedding night. The injuries were a result of deep vaginal tearing after being raped by her 40-year-old husband.
This is an absolute tragedy and a horrific example of the damage that results from child marriage. The practice is widespread in Yemen, and has cultural and religious roots. But it is time to stop allowing children to be abused and exploited!
In February 2009, a law was passed to set the minimum marrying age at 17, but it was repealed after some lawmakers voiced opposition on religious grounds.
We cannot allow any more young girls to suffer and lose their lives. Call on the Yemeni government to re-institute the marriage age requirement of 17 years immediately!
Unseat Judge Who Let Rapist Off With 30-Day Sentence!
Today, Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced a teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, who repeatedly raped a 14-year-old female student, to 30 days in jail. The student committed suicide days before her 17th birthday.
Judge Baugh said the young girl "was older than her chronological age" and was "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher. He sentenced Rambold to 15 years, and then suspended all but 31 days of the sentence, also giving him credit for the one day he had already spent in jail.
Rambold's failure to attend a sex offender treatment program to which he was referred still "did not warrant a lengthy sentence" according to Judge Baugh.
This whole situation is an absolute outrage. We demand the removal from the bench of Judge G. Todd Baugh.
Join Daily Kos and CREDO in pushing Congress to support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s major legislation to rein in Wall Street.
When Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, it shattered the firewall between commercial and investment banks — paving the way for the irresponsibly risky behavior that caused the financial crisis.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a bipartisan group of senators are seeking to restore some sanity to our banking system by re-establishing a modern version of Glass-Steagall. Sign our petition with Daily Kos and CREDO to pressure her colleagues to support it.
Big banks, with predictable help from traditional media, are defaming Warren’s credibility because of this bill. The news anchors at CNBC tried to claim she was uninformed, while Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam called her a “feckless demagogue.”
Don't let the big banks get away with this. Show your support for Elizabeth Warren by signing the petition from Daily Kos and CREDO urging Congress to pass the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act.
AG of the United States should prosecute those who covered up child rapes in the Roman Catholic Church
Why this is important
There is absolute, irrefutable proof, that Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, Roger Mahony, Justin Rigali, Bernard Law, and many, many other Cardinals and Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church knew about the children being raped in their parishes by priests and did nothing but moved these priests around, without warning the communities they moved them into, and then they raped even more children. They feel they are above the law. This is a crime punishable by Federal Laws.
18 U.S.C. § 2241– Aggravated sexual abuse 18 U.S.C. § 2242– Sexual abuse 18 U.S.C. § 2243– Sexual abuse of a minor or ward 18 U.S.C. § 2244– Abusive sexual contact
It is time to show the Cardinals and Bishops they are not above the laws of the United States and they should never escape prosecution for their crimes simply because they are from a religious organization.
The snow and cold at the beginning of the week turned to rain and, with only partial sunshine, gradual warmth over the rest of the week. Perhaps that explains why, over the last two warm and sunny days, the inertia of the previous few days overcame me and I did not, could not, haul those forty-pound bags of manure out to the backyard and work on my garden.
Instead, I stayed inside and, between intermittent bouts of boring housework, tried to keep up with world news while pondering that growing madness at the center of the world, that news describes.
I’m not thinking here of the natural world, the closed system that meets the momentary madness of a species which grows beyond its food supply with die-off and, in doing so, tends back toward equilibrium within the system.
What I’ve been thinking about is the world of seemingly open, non-linear systems created by the madness of a species which believes it exists outside that closed system of the natural world – receiving (taking, really) energy and mass from the external environment, moving them through the various systems and exporting the spent energy and waste back into the environment without consequences.
Where did that madness come from? At the beginning of our evolution as a separate species, distinguished from our ape ancestors by the ability to walk upright and our opposable thumbs, we lived within the natural world. When did that change?
Perhaps the seeds of that madness were planted with the realization that, with our opposable thumbs we could create tools superior to those primitive twigs and stones and branches used by other big-brained species. Or, that animals we found and ate when they’d died could be hunted and killed for food. That they provided other useful items such as furs for warmth, bone for needles, or could be harnessed for load hauling or travel.
Perhaps it came later, as we learned we could gather seeds and plant them for a more permanent supply of food, or domesticate other animals. I wonder if the need to stay in one place and tend to our food supplies led us to settle in groups, build sturdier homes and enclosures, better weapons for protection – not only from other small groups of humans, but from nature, itself – infected us with the madness.
However the infection came about, since the dawn of the fossil fuel era we have exponentially expanded the systems and spread the infection worldwide. Because these systems are non-linear, they are sensitive to small changes occurring along the “edges” of the system. These changes can amplify and reverberate through the various systems because they are co-dependant. Over the last forty years, one such change has been the “usefulness” of the energy entering the system. Production of cheap, high EROEI crude oil has declined and is increasingly replaced with less “useful” oil and fossil fuels. Another change might be in the usefulness of the information transmitted through and among the various systems. In 2008, the unreliability of information transmitted through these various systems from the financial system sent reverberations throughout the various systems, “crashing” the aggregate (pushing it into a 'phase change'). What happened in Cyprus may very quickly push it into yet another phase change which will reverberate through the aggregate systems. Because the decreased amount of useful energy entering these systems is pushing them toward a drop to a much lower energy state, at some point these systems will not recover.
And we cannot make up for that drop in EROEI needed to maintain them in their current state with renewables. (Which, the longer we wait, require increasing amounts of that less useful energy to make the equipment to use renewables - which are themselves sources of less useful energy.) So, the madness continues.
I wish I could believe, we’d stop the madness before these various systems collapse, but I do not. Tomorrow when my son comes over to help me carry the manure to the backyard, I will spend the day getting my early garden in. I’ll continue to repeat this process of relearning my place in nature as long as I am able. That is my stand against the madness.
We have trashed our natural environment with the waste we’ve exported from these systems, but only in the sense of its usefulness to us. Nature continues to fight back. Whether, in our madness, we will trash our usefulness to nature remains to be seen. I am not hopeful.
Petition for a hearing on the human rights impacts of U.S. wars
Iraqis and U.S. military veterans are coming together to hold the U.S. government accountable for the lasting effects of war and to demand the right to heal.
Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, represented by the Center for Consitutional Rights, are working together to highlight the lack of accountability for the serious, widespread, and ongoing human rights violations of Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. military veterans, from more than ten years of U.S. war.
We are requesting a hearing in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the Organization of American States. If the hearing is agreed to, this inter-American body will call forth U.S. government officials to respond to our case. Such a hearing will raise the profile of these issues, lend our movement legitimacy in pushing for recognition of our human rights, and be an important step in holding the U.S. government accountable for violating them.
Your signature will help demonstrate the widespread support for such a hearing.
"A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens,along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness."
"Fire football coach Reno Saccoccia immediately. Reported evidence shows that he knew about the rape perpetrated by Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, yet did not report it -- in direct violation of Ohio law.
The Ohio State Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel was recently fired for covering up his players' getting free tattoos and selling OSU memorabilia. So how is it that Steubenville coach Saccoccia helps cover up a RAPE by HIS players, and still has a job?"
"My name is Laila and I'm a journalist. I recently wrote a story about a young woman brutally gang-raped by government soldiers in Somalia, hoping that her bravery in telling such a painful story would bring attention to the awful rape problem there. Instead, the government used my article to jail a rape victim and another journalist covering the story for ‘insulting the state’!
Rape is horrific, but to be raped when the only authorities you can turn to for justice are your rapists -- it's the most crushing powerlessness. But together I think we can bring her hope. That's why I started a global petition on the Avaaz site, because Somalia's government depends heavily on financing from other governments, so the international community can press them to stop the cover up and bring real reforms to end the epidemic of rape by security forces.
Our call for change could really work, but it needs to be big. UN envoy Zainab Bangura has told us that she will directly deliver our petition to donor countries and Somalia's President. Help by signing and forwarding this email -- let's show these women that they're not alone, and that no one has the authority to rape them."
--Laila Ali, British-Somali journalist based in Nairobi
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