Saturday, October 25, 2008

Androgyny Study Based on Sandra Bem's work (Intellectual Androgyny)

I discovered while taking a course in Human Relations at SFSU in the Masters in Public Administration program that I am "androgynous." Not that you can't tell that I am a woman by looking at me, but rather that my brain operates successfully in areas considered both male and female. It is an advantage in life, as explained below.

The Measurement of Psychological Androgyny

Sandra L Bem (1974)

Bem views Androgyny to mean both highly masculine and highly feminine, rather than neither masculine nor feminine (i.e. midway between the two extremes).

It's better to be androgynous in today's society as men and women need to be adaptable, and willing to share all types of jobs, without saying that one job is woman's work or another job is just for men.


The final inventory consists of three groups of 20 items. The three groups being Masculine, Feminine and Neutral.

Selection of items

Two Hundred personality traits that were masculine or feminine, but were neutral in social desirability were chosen by Bem and some of her students. Likewise a further 200 personality traits that were either socially desirable or socially undesirable were chosen. These traits had to apply equally to both males and females.

One Hundred students then rated these traits by answering the following question format: "In American society, how desirable is it for a man to be truthful?". Half of the students (50) were asked about men, and half were asked about women. There was an equal number of men and women in both groups. {Note the word 'truthful' was replaced with all the other 399 trait words in turn.}. The scale used was 1 = not at all desirable, 7 = extremely desirable. Only items that were judged to be significantly more desirable for one gender than the other were considered for inclusion in the inventory (BSRI). Both male and female judges had to agree. Likewise, neutral items were those that were judged to be neither masculine nor feminine, by judges of both genders. The twenty most 'feminine' traits, the twenty most 'masculine' traits, the ten most neutral (for gender) undesirable traits and the ten most neutral desirable traits make up the BSRI (Bem Sex Role Inventory).

Note the good methodology. Bem uses male and female judges in equal proportions. Both have to agree. Four Hundred potential traits are cut down to 60. So plenty of items were considered. One Hundred judges should overcome the problem of having a biased sample. However, note the judges were university undergraduates. This means most were between the ages of 18 and 21. Note also how Bem ensures she has a test with face validity, because the items are selected on their face value in the first place! You might be tempted to criticise Bem's sentence that is used by the judges. The sentence does ask for a judgement of desirability. This could lead to subjects giving high masculinity ratings and high femininity ratings. In turn this would lead to a low androgyny score (which means highly androgynous). If this is so experimenter bias has taken place. Bem would demonstrate that androgyny is more prevalent than it really is. Bem did find from her normative data (see below), that although social desirability (as determined from her 'neutral' items) correlated with masculinity and femininity, it did not correlate with androgyny.


The actual inventory used to appear here but I have been asked to remove the inventory by the copyright owners. 

(NB--There is an androgyny test at .  I score 90% masculine and 73% feminine.  I am a heterosexual female who delights in keeping up my nail polish and other feminine froufrous, and am in appearance quite feminine.  No, I will not link you to my results or my profile, unless you are a single man living in the Bay area and interested in dating a polymath.  OKCUPID is free, fun, and full of geeks and nerds.)

Number the adjectives with a number from 1 to 7, reflecting the degree to which you think the adjective applies to you.

1 Means always or almost always untrue

7 means always or almost always true.

4 means half true and half untrue.

Try to use all the numbers in the scale.

The scale is supposed to be scored by using an inferential statistical test (the t test, but you don't have to know anything about this test!). The t value, derived from the test, represents the difference in assessment between the masculine and feminine items. For simplicity the androgyny score can be defined as the average feminine rating minus the average masculine rating. Note that it is a little confusing because a low androgyny score means that the subject is highly androgynous, and vice versa.

Bem has built into her scale a check to see whether it is likely the subject is simply trying to give a favourable impression of themselves. If the ten socially desirable 'neutral' items are given high ratings, and the ten socially undesirable 'neutral' items are given low ratings, then it is likely the subject is trying to give a good impression of themselves. Another advantage of the neutral items is that it helps to pad out the inventory somewhat; This reduces demand characteristics. Subjects will be less aware of which category each item belongs to.

Normative Data.

It is important to collect normative data from a large number of subjects, so that an average score and standard deviation can be obtained for each dimension of the scale (that is masculinity, femininity, androgyny and Social Desirability. Only by comparison to others can an individual's score have any meaning. For example, an IQ score of 100 is meaningless, unless you know that the average IQ score is also 100. Students, mostly between the ages of 16 and 21 were used; 444 male and 279 female students from Stanford University, and 117 male and 77 female students from Foothill Junior college. This may mean that the normative data might only apply to this age group. Perhaps more pertinently, the students of this time (1974) would probably have held different values from those students of today. Would students of today rate 'conventional' as socially undesirable? If your teacher is over 40, ask them to describe what it was like in the seventies! Additionally, these were Americans; How would British students rate the BSRI? Would they see 'aggression' as a desirable masculine trait, for example?


social desirability

Bem found that although there was a high correlation between masculinity or femininity and social desirability, there was no correlation between androgyny and social desirability. This shows that the inventory is measuring something other than social desirability.


Twenty-Eight males and 28 females are retested after an interval of four weeks. High correlations are found for Femininity, Masculinity, Androgyny and Social Desirability.

Split-Half or internal Consistency

For both samples (Stanford and Foothill), half of the Femininity items correlated with the remaining half. The same goes for Masculinity, Androgyny and Social Desirability.


Face validity

Because the trait items were thought to be desirable for either men or women by 100 judges, one could say that face validity was built into the BSRI. It is a pity that the judges were not asked to judge the 'neutral' traits for social desirability. Those traits that fell half-way between masculine and feminine were used for the social desirability scale. It was the initial selectors (Bem and Students) who decided upon whether the items were desirable or not. Can we be sure about the social desirability of traits such as 'unpredictable' or 'conventional'?

Content Validity

The items on the test were not studied.

Criterion-Related Validity


Bem did not try to find out whether each person was in real life as the BSRI predicted. Are highly androgynous men happy to change a baby's nappies?


Bem would have had to wait to see whether all of her androgynous people were successful in life. Bem felt that it was best to be androgynous, as one could be more adaptable to the demands of modern life. Perhaps it is now the time to test for predictive reliability! How would you go about that?

Correlations with the other measures of masculinity-femininity

The BSRI results were compared against results obtained from the California psychological inventory and the Guilford-Zimmerman temperament survey. There was no correlation between the BSRI and the Guilford-Zimmerman scale and only a moderate correlation between the BSRI and the California psychological inventory. This suggests that Bem is measuring something different from the other personality tests.

Read the study at the link above, and see other source material.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Air! The Green Collar Economy

by Deborah Lake

How refreshing to hear an impassioned speaker who tells you the truth about a problem, and then gives you some ideas what to do to make things right, and on top of that, makes you feel as though you are supported in your work.  That's Van Jones.

I met Van Jones again tonight.  He and Mayor Newsome called us together tonight to tell us about Van's new book, Green for All.  Van spoke at an event at my law school a few years back, and I thought to myself, I like that guy.  He made us all feel smarter, and more powerful, and gave us a chin up. 

Van spoke at the new Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.  2 1/2 acres of the building roof are ALIVE!  The roof is a habitat for flora and fauna.  I shall return soon to admire and investigate.

Green for All is the name of his newest public interest organization.  Van has a gift for seeing through all the muck surrounding a problem, isolating the major causes, and implementing practical solutions.  He has founded or help to found several nonprofit organizations that solve problems at the neighborhood and local level.  These models have been successfully implemented across the nation. 

Green for All has one solution for two problems:  there are jobs available right now in a critical infrastructure area; energy conservation, and the US needs jobs.  So, let's roll up our sleeves and work together! 

I purchased the book The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems tonight and got to talk to Van tonight!  Please  vist Green for All  and watch his video and BUY THE BOOK.  You will thank me. 

Affiliated organizations:

I urge you to support Green for All.  Organizations such as this will help us clear the way to a healthy community, state, and nation full of fresh air, clean water, and pure sunshine.

Roll out the Sarah Palin!

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: Hey Oz


Ozymandias_kzx: where are ya?

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: nowheres

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: just got here

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: I rolled out "sarah palin" tonight at a mayoral event

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: let me get my headphones hooked up\

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: 1

Alert: Ozymandias_kzx is muted and Ozymandias_kzx cannot hear you now

Alert: Ozymandias_kzx is unmuted and Ozymandias_kzx can hear you now


Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: Yeah, I felt that last night

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: there was nothing about helping corporations

Ozymandias_kzx: Cool


Ozymandias_kzx: Yes

Ozymandias_kzx: you will be safe to vote for Nader in cali this time


Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: I LOVE RALPH

Alert: Ozymandias_kzx has started their webcam

Alert: Ozymandias_kzx has stopped their webcam

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: ok oz

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: will do and I will look up van jones

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: haha

Sarah Palin Anti-Christ: night

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse

I encountered this article in March of 2007 and sent to to everyone I knew. It clarifies the relationship between American capital, financial policy, and oil interests as well as I have ever seen it explained.
~ Deborah

The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse
by Krassimir Petrov
I. Economics of Empires

A nation-state taxes its own citizens, while an empire taxes other nation-states. The history of empires, from Greek and Roman, to Ottoman and British, teaches that the economic foundation of every single empire is the taxation of other nations. The imperial ability to tax has always rested on a better and stronger economy, and as a consequence, a better and stronger military. One part of the subject taxes went to improve the living standards of the empire; the other part went to strengthen the military dominance necessary to enforce the collection of those taxes.

Historically, taxing the subject state has been in various forms—usually gold and silver, where those were considered money, but also slaves, soldiers, crops, cattle, or other agricultural and natural resources, whatever economic goods the empire demanded and the subject-state could deliver. Historically, imperial taxation has always been direct: the subject state handed over the economic goods directly to the empire.

For the first time in history, in the twentieth century, America was able to tax the world indirectly, through inflation. It did not enforce the direct payment of taxes like all of its predecessor empires did, but distributed instead its own fiat currency, the U.S. Dollar, to other nations in exchange for goods with the intended consequence of inflating and devaluing those dollars and paying back later each dollar with less economic goods—the difference capturing the U.S. imperial tax. Here is how this happened.

Early in the 20th century, the U.S. economy began to dominate the world economy. The U.S. dollar was tied to gold, so that the value of the dollar neither increased, nor decreased, but remained the same amount of gold. The Great Depression, with its preceding inflation from 1921 to 1929 and its subsequent ballooning government deficits, had substantially increased the amount of currency in circulation, and thus rendered the backing of U.S. dollars by gold impossible. This led Roosevelt to decouple the dollar from gold in 1932. Up to this point, the U.S. may have well dominated the world economy, but from an economic point of view, it was not an empire. The fixed value of the dollar did not allow the Americans to extract economic benefits from other countries by supplying them with dollars convertible to gold.

Economically, the American Empire was born with Bretton Woods in 1945. The U.S. dollar was not fully convertible to gold, but was made convertible to gold only to foreign governments. This established the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. It was possible, because during WWII, the United States had supplied its allies with provisions, demanding gold as payment, thus accumulating significant portion of the world’s gold. An Empire would not have been possible if, following the Bretton Woods arrangement, the dollar supply was kept limited and within the availability of gold, so as to fully exchange back dollars for gold. However, the guns-and-butter policy of the 1960’s was an imperial one: the dollar supply was relentlessly increased to finance Vietnam and LBJ’s Great Society. Most of those dollars were handed over to foreigners in exchange for economic goods, without the prospect of buying them back at the same value. The increase in dollar holdings of foreigners via persistent U.S. trade deficits was tantamount to a tax—the classical inflation tax that a country imposes on its own citizens, this time around an inflation tax that U.S. imposed on rest of the world.

When in 1970-1971 foreigners demanded payment for their dollars in gold, The U.S. Government defaulted on its payment on August 15, 1971. While the popular spin told the story of “severing the link between the dollar and gold”, in reality the denial to pay back in gold was an act of bankruptcy by the U.S. Government. Essentially, the U.S. declared itself an Empire. It had extracted an enormous amount of economic goods from the rest of the world, with no intention or ability to return those goods, and the world was powerless to respond— the world was taxed and it could not do anything about it.

From that point on, to sustain the American Empire and to continue to tax the rest of the world, the United States had to force the world to continue to accept ever-depreciating dollars in exchange for economic goods and to have the world hold more and more of those depreciating dollars. It had to give the world an economic reason to hold them, and that reason was oil.

In 1971, as it became clearer and clearer that the U.S Government would not be able to buy back its dollars in gold, it made in 1972-73 an iron-clad arrangement with Saudi Arabia to support the power of the House of Saud in exchange for accepting only U.S. dollars for its oil. The rest of OPEC was to follow suit and also accept only dollars. Because the world had to buy oil from the Arab oil countries, it had the reason to hold dollars as payment for oil. Because the world needed ever increasing quantities of oil at ever increasing oil prices, the world’s demand for dollars could only increase. Even though dollars could no longer be exchanged for gold, they were now exchangeable for oil.

The economic essence of this arrangement was that the dollar was now backed by oil. As long as that was the case, the world had to accumulate increasing amounts of dollars, because they needed those dollars to buy oil. As long as the dollar was the only acceptable payment for oil, its dominance in the world was assured, and the American Empire could continue to tax the rest of the world. If, for any reason, the dollar lost its oil backing, the American Empire would cease to exist. Thus, Imperial survival dictated that oil be sold only for dollars. It also dictated that oil reserves were spread around various sovereign states that weren’t strong enough, politically or militarily, to demand payment for oil in something else. If someone demanded a different payment, he had to be convinced, either by political pressure or military means, to change his mind.

The man that actually did demand Euro for his oil was Saddam Hussein in 2000. At first, his demand was met with ridicule, later with neglect, but as it became clearer that he meant business, political pressure was exerted to change his mind. When other countries, like Iran, wanted payment in other currencies, most notably Euro and Yen, the danger to the dollar was clear and present, and a punitive action was in order. Bush’s Shock-and-Awe in Iraq was not about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities, about defending human rights, about spreading democracy, or even about seizing oil fields; it was about defending the dollar, ergo the American Empire. It was about setting an example that anyone who demanded payment in currencies other than U.S. Dollars would be likewise punished.

Many have criticized Bush for staging the war in Iraq in order to seize Iraqi oil fields. However, those critics can’t explain why Bush would want to seize those fields—he could simply print dollars for nothing and use them to get all the oil in the world that he needs. He must have had some other reason to invade Iraq.

History teaches that an empire should go to war for one of two reasons: (1) to defend itself or (2) benefit from war; if not, as Paul Kennedy illustrates in his magisterial The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, a military overstretch will drain its economic resources and precipitate its collapse. Economically speaking, in order for an empire to initiate and conduct a war, its benefits must outweigh its military and social costs. Benefits from Iraqi oil fields are hardly worth the long-term, multi-year military cost. Instead, Bush must have went into Iraq to defend his Empire. Indeed, this is the case: two months after the United States invaded Iraq, the Oil for Food Program was terminated, the Iraqi Euro accounts were switched back to dollars, and oil was sold once again only for U.S. dollars. No longer could the world buy oil from Iraq with Euro. Global dollar supremacy was once again restored. Bush descended victoriously from a fighter jet and declared the mission accomplished—he had successfully defended the U.S. dollar, and thus the American Empire.

II. Iranian Oil Bourse

The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate “nuclear” weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. That weapon is the Iranian Oil Bourse slated to open in March 2006. It will be based on a euro-oil-trading mechanism that naturally implies payment for oil in Euro. In economic terms, this represents a much greater threat to the hegemony of the dollar than Saddam’s, because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euro to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether. If so, then it is likely that almost everyone will eagerly adopt this euro oil system:

· The Europeans will not have to buy and hold dollars in order to secure their payment for oil, but would instead pay with their own currencies. The adoption of the euro for oil transactions will provide the European currency with a reserve status that will benefit the European at the expense of the Americans.

· The Chinese and the Japanese will be especially eager to adopt the new exchange, because it will allow them to drastically lower their enormous dollar reserves and diversify with Euros, thus protecting themselves against the depreciation of the dollar. One portion of their dollars they will still want to hold onto; a second portion of their dollar holdings they may decide to dump outright; a third portion of their dollars they will decide to use up for future payments without replenishing those dollar holdings, but building up instead their euro reserves.

· The Russians have inherent economic interest in adopting the Euro – the bulk of their trade is with European countries, with oil-exporting countries, with China, and with Japan. Adoption of the Euro will immediately take care of the first two blocs, and will over time facilitate trade with China and Japan. Also, the Russians seemingly detest holding depreciating dollars, for they have recently found a new religion with gold. Russians have also revived their nationalism, and if embracing the Euro will stab the Americans, they will gladly do it and smugly watch the Americans bleed.

· The Arab oil-exporting countries will eagerly adopt the Euro as a means of diversifying against rising mountains of depreciating dollars. Just like the Russians, their trade is mostly with European countries, and therefore will prefer the European currency both for its stability and for avoiding currency risk, not to mention their jihad against the Infidel Enemy.

Only the British will find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They have had a strategic partnership with the U.S. forever, but have also had their natural pull from Europe. So far, they have had many reasons to stick with the winner. However, when they see their century-old partner falling, will they firmly stand behind him or will they deliver the coup de grace? Still, we should not forget that currently the two leading oil exchanges are the New York’s NYMEX and the London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), even though both of them are effectively owned by the Americans. It seems more likely that the British will have to go down with the sinking ship, for otherwise they will be shooting themselves in the foot by hurting their own London IPE interests. It is here noteworthy that for all the rhetoric about the reasons for the surviving British Pound, the British most likely did not adopt the Euro namely because the Americans must have pressured them not to: otherwise the London IPE would have had to switch to Euros, thus mortally wounding the dollar and their strategic partner.

At any rate, no matter what the British decide, should the Iranian Oil Bourse accelerate, the interests that matter—those of Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Arabs—will eagerly adopt the Euro, thus sealing the fate of the dollar. Americans cannot allow this to happen, and if necessary, will use a vast array of strategies to halt or hobble the operation’s exchange:

· Sabotaging the Exchange—this could be a computer virus, network, communications, or server attack, various server security breaches, or a 9-11-type attack on main and backup facilities.

· Coup d’état—this is by far the best long-term strategy available to the Americans.

· Negotiating Acceptable Terms & Limitations—this is another excellent solution to the Americans. Of course, a government coup is clearly the preferred strategy, for it will ensure that the exchange does not operate at all and does not threaten American interests. However, if an attempted sabotage or coup d’etat fails, then negotiation is clearly the second-best available option.

· Joint U.N. War Resolution—this will be, no doubt, hard to secure given the interests of all other member-states of the Security Council. Feverish rhetoric about Iranians developing nuclear weapons undoubtedly serves to prepare this course of action.

· Unilateral Nuclear Strike—this is a terrible strategic choice for all the reasons associated with the next strategy, the Unilateral Total War. The Americans will likely use Israel to do their dirty nuclear job.

· Unilateral Total War—this is obviously the worst strategic choice. First, the U.S. military resources have been already depleted with two wars. Secondly, the Americans will further alienate other powerful nations. Third, major dollar-holding countries may decide to quietly retaliate by dumping their own mountains of dollars, thus preventing the U.S. from further financing its militant ambitions. Finally, Iran has strategic alliances with other powerful nations that may trigger their involvement in war; Iran reputedly has such alliance with China, India, and Russia, known as the Shanghai Cooperative Group, a.k.a. Shanghai Coop and a separate pact with Syria.

Whatever the strategic choice, from a purely economic point of view, should the Iranian Oil Bourse gain momentum, it will be eagerly embraced by major economic powers and will precipitate the demise of the dollar. The collapsing dollar will dramatically accelerate U.S. inflation and will pressure upward U.S. long-term interest rates. At this point, the Fed will find itself between Scylla and Charybdis—between deflation and hyperinflation—it will be forced fast either to take its “classical medicine” by deflating, whereby it raises interest rates, thus inducing a major economic depression, a collapse in real estate, and an implosion in bond, stock, and derivative markets, with a total financial collapse, or alternatively, to take the Weimar way out by inflating, whereby it pegs the long-bond yield, raises the Helicopters and drowns the financial system in liquidity, bailing out numerous LTCMs and hyperinflating the economy.

The Austrian theory of money, credit, and business cycles teaches us that there is no in-between Scylla and Charybdis. Sooner or later, the monetary system must swing one way or the other, forcing the Fed to make its choice. No doubt, Commander-in-Chief Ben Bernanke, a renowned scholar of the Great Depression and an adept Black Hawk pilot, will choose inflation. Helicopter Ben, oblivious to Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression, has nonetheless mastered the lessons of the Great Depression and the annihilating power of deflations. The Maestro has taught him the panacea of every single financial problem—to inflate, come hell or high water. He has even taught the Japanese his own ingenious unconventional ways to battle the deflationary liquidity trap. Like his mentor, he has dreamed of battling a Kondratieff Winter. To avoid deflation, he will resort to the printing presses; he will recall all helicopters from the 800 overseas U.S. military bases; and, if necessary, he will monetize everything in sight. His ultimate accomplishment will be the hyperinflationary destruction of the American currency and from its ashes will rise the next reserve currency of the world—that barbarous relic called gold.


Recommended Reading
William Clark “The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War in Iraq”
William Clark “The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target”

About the Author
Krassimir Petrov ( has received his Ph. D. in economics from the Ohio State University and currently teaches Macroeconomics, International Finance, and Econometrics at the American University in Bulgaria. He is looking for a career in Dubai or the U. A. E.

Also by this author
“China’s Great Depression”
“Masters of Austrian Investment Analysis”
“Austrian Analysis of U.S. Inflation”
“Oil Performance in a Worldwide Depression”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Editorial Notes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
An excellent and thought provoking article by Krassimir Petrov!

However, I think perhaps it's not entirely correct to state that "critics can’t explain why Bush would want to seize those fields." The Bush regime are probably aiming to set themselves up as policeman of the Middle East oil fields, 'protecting' oil supply to Asia and Europe in return for various advantages at any future negotiation tables. Meanwhile billions of dollars of unaccountable no-bid contracts have been handed to corporations with ties to Bush administration, and the Iraqi oil industry is set to be privatised. So the reasons for the war are rich and varied. However Petrov has given us one of the clearest explanations yet of one of the most important, and certainly least understood, motivations for the war.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Between Two Worlds: Review

Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam
(2005: Gotham Books)

Zainab Salbi and Laurie Becklund

by Deborah Lake

“...a personal intimate look at the soul-crushing impact of Hussein's Iraq...Now, with her chilling memoir, the lies end.” The Washington Post

“More can be learned about Iraq from this book than from all the newscasts.” Alice Walker
“...exquisite and painful...” Ellen Chesler

Zainab Salbi lived a peaceful and privileged childhood in Baghdad. Then, her father was chosen to be Saddam's personal pilot. She explains the dramatic and drastic changes wrought upon her parents, and indeed all of Iraq, by Hussein's megalomania.

I don't want to toss in a spoiler, but let me say this. Saddam's sons were notorious rapists. They learned it at their father's knee.

Saddam also “rebuilt” the hanging gardens of Babylon. That is to say, he destroyed them, and rebuilt them with bricks bearing his name.

The Iraqis are certainly worse off under US invasion and occupation than they were under Hussein. That does not excuse the fact that Hussein was a psychopathic monster who inflicted two generations worth of horror upon his people. It was JUST FINE with the USA, as long as he was OUR psychopathic monster.

Zainab was approximately eleven years old when her Bibi was tapped to serve as Hussein's pilot. Hussein drew people into relationships against their will then used any means possible to keep them at heel. This destructive power eventually ended her parents' marriage, which seemed quite happy to her as a child.

Families were ripped asunder. Anyone suspected of having “Persian” blood was deported. It mattered not the truth of their ancestry.

“My parents had zero interest in politics....because both schools and airlines were parents had to join the Baath Party like most Iraqis just to hold a job. There were several levels of membership...everyone came to know the difference between getting along and being a true believer. The entry level, endorser, was the least you could get away with...Later, of course, it became clear to us all that to rise in the ranks of the Baath Party, you had to write reports on other people, in other words, become a spy.”

Zainab's co-author, Laurie Beckland, captures Zainab's guileless narration of life under Hussein, and the horrors she endured both in Iraq, and when it became clear that she was in danger, after her arrival in the USA.

After her recovery, she founded the charity Women for Women International, which is one of the smartest and sanest charities I have encountered. Not only does the organization provide direct help for women and their children in war zones, they educate men in women's rights. A pilot project in the Congo has yielded amazing results. Families now go from door to door, talking about their new happiness, now that the men know that they do not have to brutalize their wives.

I co-sponsor an Afghani woman. She has not written to me yet, but we can write a letter a month. The only constraints on correspondence occur because of the limited time of volunteer translators.