US marine charged with killing Filipino transgender woman

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/15/us-marine-charged-killing-filipino-transgender-laude-pemberton

Joseph Pemberton faces 20 years in jail if found guilty of murder of Jennifer Laude in case that has fanned anti-US sentiment

Prosecutors in the Philippines have filed murder charges against a US marine accused of killing a Filipino transgender woman in a case that has fanned anti-American sentiment.

Prosecutors found probable cause against Pte First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton and decided that he used “treachery, abuse of superior authority and cruelty” against his alleged victim, lead prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos told a televised briefing.

“You can see the kind of cruelty she endured, the injuries she sustained,” Delos Santos said. “We believe we have a strong case.” Pemberton will not be allowed to post bail, she said. Murder is punishable by up to 40 years in jail.

Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman also known as Jeffrey, was found dead on 2 October in a hotel, in the port city of Olongapo. She was discovered half-naked in a bathroom with marks of strangulation on her neck, according to police. Laude died from asphyxia by drowning, according to a police autopsy.

“This is not an ordinary murder. This is heinous because she was beaten up,” the Laude family lawyer, Harry Roque, told reporters.

Pemberton, who had just finished taking part in US-Philippine military exercises near Olongapo, had checked into the hotel with Laude and was the last person seen with her. Police said Pemberton, aged 19 at the time of the death, had asked prosecutors to downgrade the murder charge to homicide, which carries a maximum 20-year prison term.

Laude’s death sparked street protests and the public outcry pressured the Philippine government to seek the transfer of Pemberton’s detention from a US warship to military headquarters in Manila.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/15/us-marine-charged-killing-filipino-transgender-laude-pemberton

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Joni Mitchell

 

Turning the Page: Transgender issues — Moving on

I have been saying it for years:  For Transsexual folks who get SRS being part of the active Transgender Community can be a finite matter.  Being post-transsexual doesn’t require you to be a hateful asshole, it just means knowing the time has come to relinquish the activist role to others for whom issues are more immediate.

Better to back off than get angry and fight.  Better to admit apathy than go to war over words.

From The Montreal Gazette:  http://montrealgazette.com/life/transgender-issues-moving-on

Jillian Page, Montreal Gazette
December 10, 2014

Well, apparently I was wrong. Some transgender people do feel Chelsea Manning is a spokesperson for them.

And at least one of them threatened to campaign against me for daring to speak my opinion in a previous post, which I have taken offline not because of the individual’s intimidation tactics, but simply because I have decided not to write about transgender issues any more.

It’s something I have been thinking about recently. I started writing about trans issues, at the urging of my paper, when I was gender transitioning. I received a fair bit of criticism back then — in 2008 and 2009 — from other gender-transitioned women, who told me I shouldn’t be advocating for “cross-dressers” who will never have sexual reassignment surgery. That was my first inkling there was a great divide in the so-called transgender community. Indeed, those women didn’t see themselves as “transgender” people; they view themselves simply as women and they do not see “part-time crossdressers” with male anatomy as women.

But I did continue to write about transgender people, as well as other members of the LGBTQ community.

Lately, though, I have been saddened by the armchair social media militancy of some in the trans community, by how they pounce on and bully anyone — journalist or not, trans or not — who expresses contrary views. And label people whether they like it or not: when I mentioned recently that some biological women don’t like to be referred to as “cisgender,” a trans activist wrote to me and said, in essence, “Too bad. She must be a radfem. I’ll call her what I want.” (For the record: they are not radfems; they support trans people.)

Sadly, while some transgender people cry out for respect and equal rights, they don’t extend the same to others.

Not all trans people are militant, of course. Most aren’t. But journalists who have been attacked by transgender “warriors” are often very wary of trans subjects afterward.

Like most bloggers, I don’t get paid for writing posts. It’s not part of my job; it has been a labour of love. I will continue to write about some LGB issues, because I am part of that group. But I will step back from transgender matters, as so many of my gender-transitioned peers urged me to do in 2008 and 2009 after I had SRS. Like them, I do not consider myself to be a transgender person: I am simply a woman, and my path to womanhood is irrelevant. I am happy to live in the gender binary.

I will always be in favour of equality for those who dwell between the gender binary, but I will leave the advocacy to people who live that experience — because it is not my experience.

For me, it’s time to move on from transgenderism.

Good luck to all transgender people.

Cheers.

 

Surviving Whole Foods

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html


09/16/2013

Whole Foods is like Vegas. You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.

Unlike Vegas, Whole Foods’ clientele are all about mindfulness and compassion… until they get to the parking lot. Then it’s war. As I pull up this morning, I see a pregnant lady on the crosswalk holding a baby and groceries. This driver swerves around her and honks. As he speeds off I catch his bumper sticker, which says ‘NAMASTE’. Poor lady didn’t even hear him approaching because he was driving a Prius. He crept up on her like a panther.

As the great, sliding glass doors part I am immediately smacked in the face by a wall of cool, moist air that smells of strawberries and orchids. I leave behind the concrete jungle and enter a cornucopia of organic bliss; the land of hemp milk and honey. Seriously, think about Heaven and then think about Whole Foods; they’re basically the same.

The first thing I see is the great wall of kombucha — 42 different kinds of rotten tea. Fun fact: the word kombucha is Japanese for ‘I gizzed in your tea.’ Anyone who’s ever swallowed the glob of mucus at the end of the bottle knows exactly what I’m talking about. I believe this thing is called “The Mother,” which makes it that much creepier.

Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions. Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem. You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.

Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are. They calculate your wrinkles, sun spots, the size of your pores, etc. and compare it to other women your age. I think of myself attractive but as it turns out, I am 78 percent ugly, meaning less pretty than 78 percent of women in the world. On the popular 1-10 hotness scale used by males the world over, that makes me a 3 (if you round up, which I hope you will.) A glance at the extremely close-up picture they took of my face, in which I somehow have a glorious, blond porn mustache, tells me that 3 is about right. Especially because the left side of my face is apparently 20 percent more aged than the right. Fantastic. After contemplating ending it all here and now, I decide instead to buy their product. One bottle of delicious smelling, silky feeling creme that is maybe going to raise me from a 3 to a 4 for only $108 which is a pretty good deal when you think about it.

I grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels on my way out of this stupid aisle. I don’t feel bad about pilfering these bites because of the umpteen times that I’ve overpaid at the salad bar and been tricked into buying $108 beauty creams. The pretzels are very fattening but I’m already in the seventieth percentile of ugly so who cares.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html

Democrats vs. the New Deal: Who really runs the party — and why it might surprise you

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/09/democrats_vs_the_new_deal_who_really_runs_the_party_and_why_it_might_surprise_you/

Dems taking pride in FDR’s historic legacy need to reckon with a basic truth: The party is now firmly anti-New Deal


Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014

In the aftermath of the shellacking they took in the midterm congressional and state elections, many Democrats are calling for their party to return to its New Deal roots.

 This is inadvertently comical.  The present-day Democratic Party has next to nothing to do with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  Today’s Democratic Party is a completely different party, which coalesced between 1968 and 1980.  And this half-century-old party has been anti-New Deal from the very beginning.

Now that I have your attention, allow me to explain.

While there have been two parties called “the Democrats” and “the Republicans” since the mid-19th century, these enduring labels mask the fact that party coalitions change every generation or two.  Franklin Roosevelt created a new party under the old name of “the Democrats” by welding ex-Republican Progressives in the North together with the old Jacksonian Farmer-Labor coalition.  The contentious issue of civil rights nearly destroyed the Roosevelt Democrats in 1948 — and finally wrecked it in 1968, when George Wallace’s third party campaign proved to be a way-station for many working-class whites en route from the Democrats to the Republicans.

Today’s Democratic Party, in contrast, took shape between 1968 and 1980.  Although George McGovern lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon in a landslide, the McGovernites of the “New Politics” movement wrested control of the Democratic Party from the old state politicians and urban bosses of the Roosevelt-to-Johnson New Deal coalition.  Robert Kennedy’s aide Fred Dutton, one of the architects of the disempowerment of the old New Deal elite, called for a new coalition of young people, college-educated suburbanites and minorities in his 1971 book “Changing Sources of Power: Politics in the 1970s.”  Sound familiar?  That’s because, nearly half a century later, the same groups are the core constituents of today’s Democrats.

Jimmy Carter was the first New Politics president (or New Democrat or neoliberal, as they were later called).  He was a center-right Southern governor who ran against big government and touted his credentials as a rich businessman.  He did not get along with organized labor, one of the key constituencies of the Roosevelt Democrats.  His major domestic policy achievement was dismantling New Deal regulation of transportation like trucking and air travel.  He appointed a Federal Reserve chairman from Wall Street, Paul Volcker, who created an artificial recession, the worst between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, to cripple American unions, whose wage demands were blamed for inflation.

Even before Carter’s election, the Democratic “class of ’74” in Congress wrested power from the old largely Southern politicians of the New Deal era. The  northern Irish Catholic-Southern alliance, symbolized by House Speakers Tip O’Neill and Jim Wright, gave way among congressional Democrats to a new Northeastern-West Coast domination, beginning with Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley, of the state of Washington.  Many of these younger Democrats were deficit hawks, like Bill Bradley of New York and Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts.  Democrats like these supported the 1983 Social Security “reform,” which cut Social Security benefits by raising the formal retirement age from 65 to 67.  In his 1984 presidential campaign, Carter’s former vice-president, Fritz Mondale, made deficit reduction his central issue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/09/democrats_vs_the_new_deal_who_really_runs_the_party_and_why_it_might_surprise_you/

Chelsea Manning was transgender ‘in secret’ while serving in US army

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/08/chelsea-manning-transgender-secret-us-army

in New York
Monday 8 December 2014

Chelsea Manning, the soldier jailed for her part in the Wikileaks affair, has revealed that she was transgender “in secret” while serving in the US army.

At the time of her May 2010 arrest over the leaking military and diplomatic documents, Manning was known as Bradley. Until now, very little has been known about Manning’s history of gender identity, despite her very public legal battle with the US military over her civil rights – the army private won the right to change her name, and her push for medical treatment while in prison has become something of a cause célèbre for transgender rights in the military and even worldwide.

Writing for the Guardian from military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in a passionate essay about “largely invisible” discrimination against transgender people, Manning declares: “We’re banned from serving our country in the armed services unless we serve as trans people in secret, as I did.”

In August 2013, Manning was jailed for 35 years, for passing files to Wikileaks. The following day, Manning said she would from then on be known as Chelsea. In April 2014, a Kansas judge formally granted her request to change her name.

Manning’s request for clemency was denied, before proceeding to appeal. She has formally applied to President Barack Obama for a pardon or reduced sentence.

Separately, she is suing the US military over its denial to her of gender dysphoria treatment, despite defense secretary Chuck Hagel having approved the process in July.

In Manning’s case, gender dysphoria refers to an innate sense of being female though her sex at birth was male. Treatment includes psychotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery to change her primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.

A hearing in the case, in which Manning is also seeking to be allowed to grow her hair long and use cosmetics, is scheduled for January.

Last week, in a case heralded by the American Civil Liberties Union, the US army “fully recognised” the new names of two transgender veterans from New Jersey. The decision cleared a path for the two, who were named only as Jennifer and Nicolas, to receive veterans’ benefits.

Beginning her piece for the Guardian, Manning quotes Martin Luther King – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” – and writes: “I am a young trans woman. And I can attest to the ‘long’ part, but I hope the bend toward justice will soon become more pronounced.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/08/chelsea-manning-transgender-secret-us-army

Propaganda Has Triumphed over Journalism, and the Consequences Are Enormous

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/propaganda-has-triumphed-over-journalism-and-consequences-are-enormous

We need a press that teaches the young to be agents of people, not power.

By John Pilger
December 5, 2014

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and theWashington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity?  And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

This power to create a new “reality” has been building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.”

I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/propaganda-has-triumphed-over-journalism-and-consequences-are-enormous

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