One Size Does Not Fit All

With all the controversy about the effect TSA scanners and gropings will have on “transgender people” I find myself saying, “Hey…  Wait a second…  Other than the radiation and the physical violation, the warrantless un-constitutional violation of my forth amendment rights..  This does not personally affect me.”

Really.

If I wanted to get crammed into one of those Gray Hounds of the air I could.  And as a post-transsexual woman I don’t really have to worry about much other than the “No-Fly List” that apparently people can get put on for saying disparaging things about the Corporate/State regime.

That is part of the problem with basing movements on shared identity and lumping people who are in different groups together under a collective umbrella that is supposed to represent a common cause.

There will be a lot of post-SRS women, (given the nature of T to M SRS fewer post-SRS men) who will say screw you, this is not my problem as I am female bodied or male bodied as the case may be.  Thank you very much for your concern but I can waltz on through this search.

On the other hand pre-op transsexual and transgender people do have a greater problem that is often even more complex than the scanner/groping issues and that is identification.  That is a different matter.

But without even adding in the personal issue pre-ops and TG people have there is the meta-issue of these searches and scannings being a gross violation of all people’s right to freedom for warrantless searches.

We have the metal detectors and our carry-on bags are x-rayed. Even the so called “plastic guns” like Glocks have a pound or so of metal in them and they show up on both metal detectors and the bag x-rays.

Perhaps if these special searches were done only to people who failed the metal detector it would be less of a violation.

But as it stands rather than making a special pleading for Transgender People (umbrella usage) a principled stand on the matter of privacy and freedom from invasive searches of ones home or body would put TS/TG people in the same category of people who view this as a civil liberties matter.

 

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North Korea Warns: ‘Brink Of War’

From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/26/north-korea-warns-brink-o_n_788528.html

JIN-MAN LEE and FOSTER KLUG | 11/26/10 02:26 AM |

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea — Fresh artillery shots were heard Friday on the tense South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, three days after it was devastated by a North Korean attack and hours after Pyongyang warned that the peninsula was on the brink of war.

The blasts happened just after the top U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured Yeonpyeong Island in a show of solidarity with Seoul and to survey damage from Tuesday’s hail of North Korean artillery fire that killed four people.

An official at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said several new rounds of artillery fire were heard Friday on Yeonpyeong, which is just 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of the North Korean mainland. The military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several distant explosive sounds came from the direction of North Korea.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

AP photographers at an observation point on the northwest side of Yeonpyeong heard about four explosions, and said they witnessed at least one flash of light on the North Korean mainland.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/26/north-korea-warns-brink-o_n_788528.html

 

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2010 on course to be joint hottest year since 1850

The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/25/2010-joint-hottest-year-global-warming

This year likely to match 1998 temperatures as UN scientists predict more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels

Reuters
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 November 2010 11.28 GMT

This year is so far tied for the hottest year in a record dating back to 1850 in a new sign of a warming trend, the three major institutes which calculate global warming estimates told Reuters.

UN climate talks resume next week in Cancún, Mexico, where expectations are no longer for a comprehensive deal to slow warming, but smaller progress for example to curb deforestation, in a bid to agree a pact next year or later.

The previous conference in Copenhagen last year fell short of hopes, but about 140 countries have agreed a non-binding deal to try to limit warming to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Temperatures are now about 0.8C above pre-industrial levels, and 2010 is about 0.5C above the 1961-1990 average, near the record, with two months’ data still to collect.

Even with a possible cool end to the year, 2010 is expected to be no lower than third in a record where 1998 and 2005 are warmest. The UN panel of climate scientists says higher temperatures mean more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/25/2010-joint-hottest-year-global-warming

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Global poverty doubled since 1970s: UN

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/global-poverty-doubled-1970s/

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 25th, 2010 — 9:39 pm

GENEVA — The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40 years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned Thursday.

In its annual report on the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) in the world, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the model of development that has prevailed to date for these countries has failed and should be re-assessed.

“The traditional models that have been applied to LDCs that tend to move the LDCs in the direction of trade-related growth seem not to have done very well,” said Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of UNCTAD.

“What happened is that in the past 30-40 years, the number of LDCs have doubled so it has actually deteriorated, the number of people living under the poverty line has doubled from the 1980s.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/global-poverty-doubled-1970s/

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UN Issues Severe Climate Warning Ahead Of Summit

From Counter Currents: http://www.countercurrents.org/mccarthy251110.htm

By Michael McCarthy

25 November, 2010
The Independent

The world is now firmly on the path for dangerous climate change in the coming century, a major new assessment reveals today on the eve of the forthcoming UN climate conference which opens next week in Mexico.

All the pledges of the nations which have agreed to cut or limit their emissions of greenhouse gases, when added together, still leave the world far short of what is needed to halt the coming rise in global average temperatures to 2C, generally regarded as the danger threshold, according to the study from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The study sets a gloomy context for the international climate meeting opening on Monday in the Mexican resort of Cancun, which is the successor meeting to the abortive Copenhagen climate conference of last year.

Copenhagen dashed many hopes when the countries of the world failed to agree new legally binding targets to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in an attempt to keep global warming under control. However, a last-minute agreement was patched up, known as the Copenhagen Accord, under which nations could voluntarily pledge targets or other actions to get their emissions down.

Continue reading at:  http://www.countercurrents.org/mccarthy251110.htm

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Think Before You Spend on Black Friday

In the US and apparently much of Europe working people don’t really make many things but rather work for giant retailers who sell cheap crap made by workers who earn next to nothing.

This has resulted in a tiny super rich class that “earns” (a particularly dubious claim) vast wealth by selling smoke and mirrors derivatives and other scams to unsuspecting investors.

At the same time the working class people who were sold the delusion that they were really middle class and shared nothing in common with actual working class people are increasingly discovering they too are working selling crap whether investments of a dubious nature or stuff made elsewhere by labor paid next to nothing.

It is all a freaking delusion, a game that allows us to pretend that Global Warming/Climate Change doesn’t mean we have to radically alter our behavior.  That having gone past the point of peak oil doesn’t mean the end to suburban sprawl and hours of commuting in a low efficiency automobile.

By the way, how many of you have seen the ship that carry the containers of cheap crap from elsewhere, where the people make next to nothing that allows the delusion of material prosperity for people who have seen their real income decrease over the last 30-40 years.

We have been subjected to endless sales pitches urging us to buy.  Television has created an illusion that the common people live lives in homes and apartments far beyond our means while credit card companies and mortgage scam artists told us that we too could afford to live this way.  After all in the words of so many ads, “We are worth it.” or “We deserve this”.

It is like Stuart Smiley and positive affirmations not only run amok but turned to evil purposes.  Dangle stuff in front of us using every single possible tool to make that object desirable, attack our self esteem if we do not buy it and convince us that it is affordable by selling it at a price that is so low we can’t resist.  Except the price isn’t anywhere near that low if one uses a credit card.

Because the one thing that the rich excel at is loan sharking.

But there are other reasons to think before planning to hit the stores “Black Friday”.

These bastards have gutted out a perfectly nice holiday.  One that could easily be distanced from any other purpose except gathering with family and friends for feasting in what is the kick off of  European end of the harvest, onset of winter feasting.  One of the main reasons for these feasts was to consume food that would otherwise spoil.  But it was also a way of taking stock of the harvest and seeing to it that family and friends had enough to make it through the winter.

This week we learned that for many people working in Big Box stores the people with McJobs are not going to be celebrating much of anything today or this weekend.  The stores are open until about six then the doors close for a few hours while employees frantically stock for the middle of the night opening.

Then in the middle of the night the stores open to frantic hordes of people, all looking for the lowest price possible on cheap crap made elsewhere by nearly slave labor.

If the retail workers are fortunate the only thing they will suffer is verbal abuse from those frantic shoppers and fatigue.  Hopefully the “shoppers” hyped to a frenzy by corporations hungry to transfer even more wealth upwards, won’t trample any workers to death when the doors open.

As working people we are blamed for being suckered into buying the very things we are told we must have to feel complete.  If we don’t buy something whose sales message is “You deserve this” doen’t that mean we are not deserving or unworthy?

Mostly though what we are being sold is debt and debt slavery which is how the wealthy elite makes itself richer in an economy that manufactures next to nothing and that is dependent upon people with ever shrinking incomes continuing to buy stuff that is sold at such low prices as to make a profit  on the surplus value pretty minimal.

We are told we are irresponsible if we succumb to the sales pitches that are honed and perfected by experts.

Yet at the same time we are told that if we do not shop and buy we will never get out of the depression we are in.

What to do? What to do?

Avoid the Black Friday hysteria.

Many of the items have fine print that will tell you your chances of actually getting the product even if you were to start standing at the door at noon on Thanksgiving Day are minimal.

Don’t go shopping at 3:00am.  You are not in the best shape mentally to judge the value/price/quality of much of anything at that time of day, especially in an environment of mass hysteria.

The stores are desperate and there will be sales from now until late January.

Don’t over spend.  Get things you need or others need or will use not expensive trivial items that will wind up in the land fill or thrift store in six months.

Durables and tools, things that are usable for a long time or that might lower the carbon foot print of the recipient.

If you are working Black Friday, my heart goes out to you.

But the best suggestion enjoy Thanksgiving and don’t even think about leaving your house after midnight tonight.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


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Scalia: Women’s Rights Not In Constitution

Know the Enemy: 18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda

I suggest everyone go to the SPLC site and print the following out or bookmark it for future reference.

These groups are to LGBT/TQ people what the KKK is to African-Americans.

From Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report: http://splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners

 

By Evelyn Schlatter

Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups (eight were previously listed), reflecting further research into their views; those are each marked with an asterisk. Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

*Abiding Truth Ministries
Springfield, Mass.

Abiding Truth Ministries serves mainly as a launching pad for an international anti-gay campaign. Its founder, Scott Lively, is also responsible for a book, widely cited by gay-bashers, accusing homosexuals of running the Nazi Party.

Lively first emerged as an anti-gay activist when he became communications director for the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which was backing that state’s notorious Measure 9 vote in 1992. The measure, which failed, would have added language to the state constitution listing homosexuality, along with pedophilia and masochism, as “abnormal behavior.” Lively later served as California director of the American Family Association, another particularly hard-line anti-gay group (see below).

Lively is best known for co-authoring, with Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. The book makes a series of claims that virtually no serious historian agrees with: that Hitler was gay, that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic homosexuals,” and that gays were especially selected for the SS because of their innate brutality. The claims are entirely false; in fact, the Nazis murdered significant numbers of gays and made homosexuality a death penalty offense in 1942. In the foreword, Abrams adds that homosexuality is “primarily a predatory addiction striving to take the weak and unsuspecting down with it. … They have no idea of how to act in the best interests of their country… . Their intention is to serve none but themselves.”

For complete post go to SPLChttp://splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners

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DeLay convicted of money laundering charges

Time for Tommy Corruption to go to prison.

From The Houston Chronicle: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7308000.html

By R.G. RATCLIFFE and PEGGY FIKAC
AUSTIN BUREAU
Nov. 24, 2010, 5:26PM

AUSTIN – After almost 19 hours of deliberations, a Travis County jury today convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on felony charges of political money laundering.

DeLay faces two to 20 years in prison on a conspiracy charge and five to 99 years or life on a money laundering charge. DeLay remains free on bail, with sentencing tentatively set for Dec. 20.

DeLay and his family did not react when the verdict was read. But after the court was dismissed, DeLay received a hug and a kiss from his wife. Then, his adult daughter, Dani, buried her face into DeLay’s shoulder and began sobbing. DeLay’s face turned red as he fought back tears.

DeLay’s defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, who has claimed no money laundering actually occurred, decried the verdict.

“This is a terrible miscarriage of justice,” DeGuerin said. “We will appeal. I’m very, very disappointed. This will never stand up on appeal.”

DeLay, as he has from the beginning, said the case was all politics, but said his religious faith is getting him through.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7308000.html

Man up Hammer.  Stop your sniveling and show some personal responsibility.

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GOP lawmaker handcuffed for lurking with gun near abortion clinic

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/gop-lawmaker-lurking-gun-abortion-clinic/

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 — 9:36 pm

A Minnesota Republican lawmaker who was handcuffed and questioned by police after loitering with a gun near a Planned Parenthood clinic has been stripped of his leadership roles in the Minnesota House.

Security cameras recorded State House Rep. Tom Hackbarth as he was stopped by police last week after a security guard at a Planned Parenthood location in St. Paul called to report a man loitering with a handgun visible at his side.

Hackbarth, who was not arrested and has a concealed-carry permit, says it was all a big misunderstanding. He told police he was looking for a woman he met online.

“Officers at the scene, however, suspected him of ‘stalking-like behavior’ and borderline ‘harassment or terroristic threats,’ so they hung on to his weapon,” the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports.

 

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/gop-lawmaker-lurking-gun-abortion-clinic/

Is it just me? Or does claiming you aren’t lurking outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic with a gun because you are threatening to harm the people there but are instead stalking a woman you met on line seem like a pretty sketchy alibi?

I’m a gun owner.  One of the questions you have to answer if you want to legally buy a gun asks if you have ever been treated for mental illness.

I some how think Republican Tom Hackbrath is a big FAIL on that one.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day

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“Don’t mourn — organize!”

From Pride At Work

“Don’t mourn — organize!”

Member & Friends,

Holidays can be both wonderful and bittersweet.  While festive messages abound, these are deeply challenging times.  On November 30, 800,000 workers looking for jobs for more than six months will lose unemployment insurance—2 million by December 31st.  With five job hunters for every one opening, long-term jobless workers have nowhere else to turn.  This is going to be a hard Thanksgiving for many folks.

Adding to the current economy, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers can still be legally fired or discriminated against in a majority of states (unless they have a union contract.)  LGBTQ seniors are at higher risk for isolation, poverty, and homelessness. Transgender people of color are four times as likely to live in poverty. One in five transgender people have experienced homelessness. Transgender people have double the rate of unemployment as the general population and experience near universal harassment on the job. Lesbian couples and their families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than straight couples. African-Americans in same-sex relationships have dramatically higher rates of poverty than all heterosexual couples, and three times higher poverty rates than white people in same-sex relationships.

In spite of that painful reality, what I am so grateful for in these times is that we have each other.  We have the labor movement, the progressive movement.  We have the spirit and passion of activists fighting for social and economic justice for all people.  We have solidarity across our shared struggles.

I am grateful for the spirit of the labor movement, that simply asks us each to stand “one day longer”, united under the motto that “An Injury to One is an Injury to All.”  Your fight is our fight.  Our fight is your fight.  Whether you will spend Thanksgiving with your biological family, your “chosen family”,  or simply a friend, please know that you are not alone.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender labor and our allies are standing with you in spirit.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our brothers and sisters across the labor movement, whether LGBT union members or our straight allies, standing up for all working families — including the far-too-many who are currently jobless.  Thank you to our LGBT community allies of labor.

You all are the salt of the earth.  We have hard work in front of us as a movement – and together, we will find a way to meet the challenges ahead.  Solidarity, and wishing you a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  ~ Martin Luther King Jr.


Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, 815 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006.
Phone: 202.637.5014.  Fax: 202-639-6264  E:Mail: info@prideatwork.org

Become a fan on facebook Follow us on twitter @prideatwork


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Transgender Americans face high suicide risk: New survey paints a portrait of trans people’s lives in the U.S.

From MSNBC:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40279043/

 

By Clara Moskowitz
LiveScience

updated 11/19/2010 5:49:38 PM ET

A staggering 41 percent of transgender people in the United States have attempted to commit suicide, according to a new survey. About 19 percent of transgender people report being refused medical care because of their gender-nonconforming status, and a shocking 2 percent have been violently assaulted in a doctor’s office.

These statistics are just some of the sobering findings from a survey of more than 7,000 transgender people conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released in October 2010.

On Saturday, the Transgender Day of Remembrance will pay tribute to people killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

“It’s an opportunity to honor the people who lost their lives for really no other reason than that another human being acted out of hatred or fear and were so consumed by that that they ended another person’s life,” said Justin Tanis, spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s also an opportunity for us to look at what we can do about it. We’ve got to keep taking concrete steps to end that violence, because it’s unacceptable that people continue to be killed and continue to be violently attacked.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40279043/

It’s a good article but the real story is in the comment.  The level of ignorance and bigotry is astounding.

Aside from a few who are either related to a TS/TG person or are friends with TS/TG people.  People who know at least one of us generally have a better opinion of us than those who do not.

I’m not counting the stone bigots or truly willfully ignorant in that generalization.

On the other hand some wonder why most of us are unwilling to wear a t-shirt that constantly makes us visible.

Most of us are not “gender outlaws” or “gender variants” but rather are people dealing with having been born TS/TG the best way we can in a world that has treated us with hatred and ignorance from infancy.

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Stop Gas Drilling — Sue Your Neighbor

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-reinbach/stop-gas-drilling-sue-you_b_787881.html

Andrew Reinbach

Posted: November 24, 2010 10:21 AM

Basic real estate law could stop gas drilling in the Northeast.

Here’s the idea. When you bought your house you didn’t buy just dirt and bricks; you bought what your lawyer calls a bundle of rights. That includes what he or she calls the right of quiet enjoyment.

Quiet enjoyment means more than the right to sit on your porch and watch the sunset; it includes the right to enjoy the value of your property. If your neighbor does something to hurt this right, he has to pay you the before-and-after difference — to make you whole, as they say.

It’s called nuisance law, and means everybody has the right to do what they want with their property — as long and they don’t hurt anybody else. If they do, they have to pay.

So, since banks won’t lend on a house near a gas well unless the owner can prove their water supply will always be safe, and that can’t be done — i.e.: where there’s gas drilling, property values collapse — it follows as the night the day that if your neighbor leases his land for gas drilling, you can sue said boneheaded neighbor to make you whole.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-reinbach/stop-gas-drilling-sue-you_b_787881.html

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Single-Sex Ed Based on Baloney Science

From Women’s E-News:  http://www.womensenews.org/story/media-stories/101119/single-sex-ed-based-baloney-science

By Rivers and Barnett

WeNews commentators

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett applaud a Boston school administrator’s decision to back off single-sex education. Too many of these schools, they argue, are based on spurious ideas about boy-girl brain differences that reinforce stereotypes.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Boston school superintendent Carol Johnson has decided to back away from an earlier decision to set up single-sex academies in the city’s schools.

She is taking flak in some quarters, but she should be applauded for taking time to evaluate the data before rushing headlong into a popular but flawed approach to education. (Legal issues in Massachusetts also were a factor in her decision.) More educators around the U.S. should follow her lead.

Single-sex schools are often touted as a magic bullet for what ails American public education. It’s claimed that boys and girls learn very differently–because their brains are so different–and that gender- segregated classrooms are necessary.

<snip>

The number of single-sex classrooms in public schools rose to 540 in 2009 from 11 in 2002, according to the Web site of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Teachers, parents and school administrators are the targets of a well- financed effort to segregate public education by sex.

It’s argued that great differences in male and female brains mean that children should be educated–and parented– differently. Such claims–stemming from studies that distort the discussion in various ways– are taught as fact in psychology textbooks, academic journals and bestselling books and repeated often by the news media.

Read complete article at:  http://www.womensenews.org/story/media-stories/101119/single-sex-ed-based-baloney-science

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Consider Asking Your Friends if they Have Plans for the Holidays

A lot of sisters and brothers of the queer alphabet soup wind up spending their holidays alone and depressed.

It is a product of being disowned by our families and not having alternative families.

I was really alone a lot during the 1990s.  I dealt with my emptiness by crawling into the bottle and getting drunk until the holidays were over.

When I was struggling with alcoholism and loneliness I started cooking a meal on the holidays and taking dinner around to some the elderly and disabled people in my building.

Just the task of cooking helped.

At times I found a friend to share the holiday with.

I was isolated after I quit taking drugs in the late 1980s.  Part of getting clean was getting away from friends who used.

So many gay men I had know during the 1970s were dead and there weren’t parties anymore.

Isolation and alienation coupled with depression…  The bottle became my friend and nearly took my life.

I had friends who were there for me.  Their handouts and emotional generosity helped so much when it looked like I wouldn’t make it.

Then I took in a cat and couldn’t commit suicide because I had a responsibility.

I built a computer and went on-line.  Even if I was angry and fought with people I was still communicating.

I had the telephone and I volunteered at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.

But I still remember the kindness done for me by my friends.

This year I’ll miss my friend Leslie who passed away in early July.

But I am thankful for the friends I have left and for having a life partner to share it with.

If you have a friend who may be spending the holidays, alone consider setting an extra place for them and extending an invitation.

If you are separated by many miles call or send an e-mail.

Just the kindness of having someone reach out to to them means so very much to someone who is alone and depressed on the holidays.

And if you are alone you should remember that there isn’t any law that you can’t call others.

Or cook and share it with others.

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What the TSA Patdown Searches Are Really About

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/23-5
11/23/2010
by Robert Freeman

You can hardly watch a TV news show, listen to a radio broadcast, pick up a newspaper, or read the Internet without hearing about the aggressive Transportation Security Agency patdown searches at airports.

The TSA and all relevant officials tell us that they’re really for our own protection.  But are they?  In truth, the searches have virtually nothing to do with increased airport security.

Several years ago, my four year-old daughter was pulled aside in one such screening because she happened to be the Nth person in the line to go through security. Though she was traveling with me, her mother, and sister, she was subjected to 40 minutes of terrifying interrogations and inspections of all her personal effects, though not a bodily patdown.

The startling part of it was the mindlessness of it all.  The guards were simply being good Nazis.  Today, it is no longer mindless.  It is part of a sustained campaign to condition the American public to being humiliated by government officials in the name of national security.

Physical humiliation of the subject is the first act that an interrogator performs on a victim.  You can see this in the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  The prisoners were made to perform all manner of humiliating acts:  wear women’s underwear on their heads; masturbate in front of female guards; pile onto one another naked; submit to rape by their guards; etc.

The humiliation destroys a prisoner’s dignity.  It is from his innate sense of dignity that a person finds the indignation, and therefore the capacity, to resist abuse.  It is our dignity that the TSA and the government must strip from us if they wish to reduce our capacity to resist their aggressive encroachments on our civil liberties.  And it’s working.

It’s amazing how many people say that the searches are worth it—something upwards of 75% if the news reports can be believed.  They have already internalized the submission to authority that makes an authoritarian state so effective.  And they create the public pressure for others to submit as well.

These are the same people who tell questioners that they don’t mind if the government secretly reads their email because they have nothing to hide.  The suggestion is that those who do protest wholesale invasions of privacy, even for such quaint reasons of guarantees against such invasion rooted in the U.S. Constitution, must have something to hide.

This is what makes an effective authoritarian state self-policing, as was Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  Resistance to abuse is a prima facia sign of guilt.

It is not an accident that the matter is saturating the media to the point of exhaustion.  The message is very straightforward and all reinforcing:  you need to be afraid; we’re doing this for your own good; and don’t resist for resistance is futile.

Not a day goes by any more that some incident, somewhere, by somebody is portrayed as a threat to U.S. national security and, therefore, a reason why civil liberties must be reduced even more.

The ultimate absurdity of this was seen in the summer of 2009 in the discussion about escalating the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.  The National Security Agency reported that there were “at most 100” Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

So, on the basis of this existential threat, the U.S. sent in another 100,000 soldiers and civilian support personnel.  That’s 1,000 soldiers at a million dollars a year apiece for each cave dweller posing mortal threats to the U.S. way of life 11 time zones and a 6,000 mile ocean away.

The absurdity has become palpable.  The government doesn’t even try to hide that it reads our email and listens to our phone calls, that it has suspended habeas corpus, the longest standing protection of a people against the abuses of a rogue government.  It no longer denies that the president claims the right to murder Americans for any pretext, without due process of law, so long as he deems that person a threat to national security.

The truth is that the government is not fighting wars against terrorists any more.  It is creating, provoking, escalating wars and then using the resistance as the pretext to create a police state capable of conducting a war against its own people.

Of course, it will be so much easier if it can convince the people to surrender their rights willingly, voluntarily, to submit as the cattle that must be their ultimate, inescapable fate.  Public, inescapable, physical humiliation is just one of the ways to condition people to that subservience.

It’s working.

Robert Freeman writes on economics, history and education.

He can reached at robertfreeman10@yahoo.com.

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Countrywide’s Mortgage Document Errors May Doom Bank of America

I don’t know how many times the Beckholes and Tea Bagger Kool Aid chugging Dittoheads have told me the financial meltdown was cause by working people buying homes they couldn’t afford.

They sputter when I point out how the working people only bought into something there was a massive sales effort to con them into.  But then right wingers are big on the personal responsibility of those victimized. When it comes to those who did the victimization and their personal responsibility it is a case of not so much.

I wonder who the Beckholes and Dittoheads will blame for one group of con artists running a scam on another group of con artists?

Oh I forgot.  Don’t call it a scam.  Call it errors.  Mistakes occurred.

Could we make those Golden Parachutes out of real gold and toss these bastards out of real planes?

From Daily Finance:  http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/credit/bank-of-america-mortgage-document-errors-trouble-countrywide/19728402/

By ABIGAIL FIELD

Posted 1:30 PM 11/22/10

Testimony in a New Jersey foreclosure case decided last week may spell big trouble for Bank of America (BAC). If what one bank employee said on the stand proves to be accurate, paperwork problems it acquired when it purchased the failing mortgage provider Countrywide in 2008 could leave BofA on the hook for billions of dollars.

As first reported by Kate Berry for American Banker, Linda DiMartini, a supervisor and operational team leader for the Litigation Management Department of BAC Home Loans Servicing, testified in the foreclosure case of John T. Kemp that it was “customary for Countrywide to maintain possession of the original note and related documents.”

If that’s true, then Bank of America may discover that it has millions of loans on its books that it thought it had transferred to trusts that issued mortgage backed securities, because 96% of Countrywide loans were ostensibly securitized. As the Congressional Oversight Panel explained, that outcome alone could cause massive damage to a bank’s balance sheet. And as bad as that would be, it isn’t the only problem that could result from Countrywide hanging on to the notes.

If the mortgage-backed securities aren’t in fact “mortgage-backed,” investors who bought them could be able to force BofA to buy the securities back. A significant number of buybacks could on its own destroy BofA’s balance sheet. Nor could BofA stave off either outcome retroactively by delivering those notes today. First, the contracts that created the trusts would typically forbid transferring the loans into the trusts now. Second, even if somehow that could happen, such a transfer would destroy the special tax status the mortgage backed securities enjoy and give the investors a different reason to put back the securities or sue over them.

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/ar7Mlc

 

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Ex-priest living in Garland jailed in attempted murder-for-hire of teen sex abuse complainant

More and more evidence that the Catholic Church is a criminal organization

From the Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/112210dntexpriest.3e450e5.html

07:14 AM CST on Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Associated Press

A former Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually abusing a teenage boy in 2008 in his rural West Texas parish is now accused of plotting the alleged victim’s murder, authorities said.

John M. Fiala of Garland was in the Dallas County jail Monday in lieu of bail totaling $700,000, according to online jail records. He was already charged with sexual abuse of a child and now faces a count of murder solicitation, records show.

Fiala, 52, was arrested at his home Thursday after meeting with an undercover officer to arrange the alleged victim’s death, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger told the San Antonio Express-News. Vinger said the investigation began Nov. 11 when Fiala’s neighbor tipped off Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger.

The neighbor reported that Fiala had offered him $5,000 to kill the sexual abuse complainant, who is now 18, Letsinger said.

Fiala’s attorney, Rex Gunter of Dallas, did not return a telephone message Monday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/112210dntexpriest.3e450e5.html

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Heading for the Airport? How the TSA policies impact transgender travelers

The National Center for Transgender Equality has a guide for Transsexual and transgender travelers who might have additional issues with the new and invasive TSA procedures.

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=pwaqy9aab&v=0012kO3uRH1XjD_OTSkDpys0KmLrr-EzqHJ33l8JzBXye8Q5npNyzUyMFNrsTeQ5fQGQErc2dI45-vOczyUV2saGH9EkaZeDfndrvAOrC5hT3sRZPy1LXY5Qg%3D%3D

 

Transgender Travelers and New TSA Policies

As transgender people and our families prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, many have expressed concern about the various new invasive equipment and procedures at the airport announced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

NCTE opposes the routine use of full-body scanners and the new invasive patdown procedures. We have and will continue to work with the TSA to minimize privacy intrusions and ensure respectful treatment of transgender travelers.

We want all of our members and friends to have safe and uneventful travel this season; here are some ideas and information to help you do that.

First, it is important that you KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Even if TSA personnel are not always familiar with travelers’ rights, such as the right to decline a full-body scan, you should know them. You may need to politely inform the officer of your rights and choices.

Second, calmly and clearly expressing your choices is very important. This makes it easier for the TSA agents to understand what your needs are and may help you get through the checkpoint more quickly.

Continue reading at:  http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=pwaqy9aab&v=0012kO3uRH1XjD_OTSkDpys0KmLrr-EzqHJ33l8JzBXye8Q5npNyzUyMFNrsTeQ5fQGQErc2dI45-vOczyUV2saGH9EkaZeDfndrvAOrC5hT3sRZPy1LXY5Qg%3D%3D

I understand many TS/TG people  are in a position where the concern over these intrusive violations of personal integrity are more immediate than my own.

I know the sort of embarrassment you may be going through as I was at one time in that position.

That is but one reason why I am opposed to people being subjected to these sorts of warrantless searches.  I see the greater problem with them being a matter of freedom, a violation of Constitutional rights that I know the lying  conservative scumbags on the Supreme Court, will not say violates the 4th Amendment in spite of their claims of following original intent.

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