Tag Archive: violence against women

Sep 15 2014

The NFL’s Problem with Domestic Abuse

The National Football League (NFL) has a problem with not just holding its players responsible for domestic abuse but with investigating itself on the issue.

On her show MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that it isn’t just the Ravens’ Ray Rice beating his then fiance unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator but other players who have not only been charged but convicted of abuse and assault who are still playing.

In light of all the attention that the Rice incident has drawn and the inconsistent statements by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, there are calls for Mr. Goodell to resign or be fired. One of the NFL’s sharpest critics, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann took to the airways over the last several nights to chastise Commissioner Goodell

Last night, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over the domestic abuse scandal surrounding Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. In a new segment set to air tonight, Olbermann changed his mind: Goodell should not resign, the host argued – He should be fired.

It was a report from the Associated Press, claiming that law enforcement sent the video of Rice beating his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator months before it was released by TMZ this week, that made Olbermann argue for the commissioner’s termination. Goodell had claimed that he had not seen the video until now.

“You have already forfeited your privilege of resigning,” Olbermann said to Goodell, saying that the only way for the NFL “to restore just the slightest credibility to the den of liars” that is the league would be for them to “fire you.”

Keith also ripped the commissioner for his appointments questioning the independence of the former FBI Director Robert Meuller and two team owners, who are his friends, to investigate.

And the calls for Goodell’s resignation go on: from David Haugh at The Chicago Tribune

Forgive me for not waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the so-called independent investigation of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice case.

Independent implies free of bias, which seems implausible for the panel the league assembled to evaluate the accountability of Commissioner Roger Goodell.

It will be led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, a partner in the law firm WilmerHale that recently helped the NFL negotiate a Sunday Ticket deal with DirectTV worth billions. It will be aided by two Goodell supporters who also happen to his bosses, owners John Mara of the Giants and Art Rooney II of the Steelers.

Apparently, Goodell’s uncle and cousin were busy. [..]

The idea of crisis management is to control damage, not create more. The NFL hiring rich, white male cronies as a checks-and-balance system for Goodell only enhanced the perception that the commissioner can’t be trusted regarding the Rice case. In trying to protect “the shield,” as Goodell likes to call the league, he keeps diminishing its brand. How many newspapers and websites in the country Thursday referred to the NFL as the National Football Liars? What’s the cumulative effect of universal criticism? [..]

When punishing the Saints organization in 2012 for the bounty scandal, despite denials by many that they were not aware of such a system in place, Goodell famously said that ignorance is no excuse. Ironically, Goodell’s words resonate loudest now. Ignorance is no excuse. [..]

Many owners probably will continue to back Goodell unless sponsors such as Marriott or FedEx threaten to sever ties with the league. Short of sponsors fleeing, the old boys’ club will point to the NFL’s second-least-valuable team, the Bills, selling recently for $1.1 billion as a sign that Goodell excels at the part of the job they consider most important.

Effective commissioners find ways to make money and a difference. Goodell no longer qualifies as one and should step down.

Dec 13 2013

Stoning vs. Droning

The other day a friend on Facebook sent me a link to a petition.  These days, I seem to receive invitations to sign petitions all of the time.  Sometimes I wonder if they really do any good and if the people who are the targets of influence in the petitions pay any attention at all to them, particularly when they urge them to do things that they have little interest in doing.

The petition that my friend sent me was particularly graphic and was certainly a worthy cause, a petition to stop barbaric violence against women in Pakistan in this case:

stoning v droning 1

Since I wouldn’t want to sign on to a bogus petition, I did some googling to find out if the story the petition reports was verifiable.  It turns out that a reputable news source, The Independent, carried the story:

The punishment was death by stoning. The crime? Having a mobile phone

Two months ago, a young mother of two was stoned to death by her relatives on the order of a tribal court in Pakistan. Her crime: possession of a mobile phone.

Arifa Bibi’s uncle, cousins and others hurled stones and bricks at her until she died, according to media reports. She was buried in a desert far from her village. It’s unlikely anyone was arrested. Her case is not unique. Stoning is legal or practised in at least 15 countries or regions. And campaigners fear this barbaric form of execution may be on the rise, particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Women’s rights activists have launched an international campaign for a ban on stoning, which is mostly inflicted on women accused of adultery. They are using Twitter and other social media to put pressure on the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to denounce the practice.

The petition that I was invited to sign is to be presented to President Barack Obama:

stop the stoning 2

Barack Obama is giving the Pakistani government $1.5 billion dollars in aid this year, not to mention probably spending many millions on drone bombings of non-combatant civilians.

Aid to Pakistan to Resume as Tension With U.S. Eases

WASHINGTON – The United States plans to give more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Pakistan for programs that had been blocked because of tension between the two nations over events including the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, American officials said Saturday.

While the petition is absolutely a worthy cause and Americans should certainly reach out and demand that their government cease supporting another government that gives sanction to a heinous, barbaric act of inhumanity like stoning, one has to wonder how the withdrawl of support would be seen by the populace of a country whose women and children our government is murdering with drones.

living under drones

Surely the action of cutting off support to compel Pakistan to stop the stonings would cause gales of angry laughter amongst tears of rage.

Further, considering that Mr. Obama seems to wish to continue his murderous drone campaign that has used tactics like signature strikes:

[T]hese attacks, known as “signature strikes,” drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other “signatures.” According to anonymously sourced media reports, such attacks on unidentified targets account for many, or even most, drone strikes.

and double tap dronings:

Between May 24 and July 23 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was reported by multiple media sources to have carried out a number of controversial drone strikes in the FATA region of northwest Pakistan.

Across seven attacks, reports suggested the agency had deliberately targeted a mosque with worshippers inside; to have targeted funeral prayers for a victim of a previous strike; and on six occasions, to have deliberately targeted people going to rescue victims and retrieve the dead from the scene of an earlier attack – a tactic also known as a ‘double-tap’ strike.

that terrorize Pakistanis:

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups, including important tribal dispute-resolution bodies, out of fear that they may attract the attention of drone operators. Some parents choose to keep their children home, and children injured or traumatized by strikes have dropped out of school. Waziris told our researchers that the strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals. In addition, families who lost loved ones or their homes in drone strikes now struggle to support themselves.

It seems likely that the Pakistani government would be far less accomodating of Mr. Obama’s drone strikes without the lubricant of billions of US dollars.

Taking a leap and assuming that such a campaign of sanctions against Pakistan would work, would Mr. Obama be willing to give up his barbaric drone campaign to stop violence against women?

My guess is probably not.

I think it’s a good idea to sign the petition.  It would be an even better idea to drop Mr. Obama and your congresspeople a line and ask them to differentiate between the barbarity of stoning a woman to death for having a cellphone and killing a woman and two of her grandchildren with a hellfire missile for picking vegetables.

stoning vs. droning 2