Happy New Year’s Eve… Resolutions? Feel Free to Share…

My big resolutions are to lose weight and get both my blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

Other resolutions are to find an income source, job, full or part time that doesn’t involve working some place where they actively abuse the employees.  Or that doesn’t involve selling something that is either a rip-off or a food product I am appalled they are selling at all.

In short I am looking for a job that isn’t totally soul killing.

I resolve to write more and get a book finished and published.

I resolve to play my guitar more, do more photography and start painting again.

To sell more stuff on e-Bay.

To avoid ruts by reading authors that are new to me, watching more non-mainstream films and by listening to new and different non-mainstream musical artists.

A few years ago, Tina and I heard the Dresden Dolls at Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour.

Just today Amazon suggested this really cool band:  Gogol Bordello…

Anyhow I will check the blog through out the evening and okay posts to this thread with resolutions and suggestions for the blog.

Suzan…

Friday Night Fun and Culture

New Year’s Eve and I’m in a darkly nostalgic mood…  In 1967 The Velvet Underground and Nico/Banana Album was the dark masterpiece out of New York City.  I have always thought it the best album of the year, better even than Sgt. Pepper.

And from their second album, released in 1968 when I was still dealing with the existential angst of whether or not to come out while living in a milieu where the ethos was summed up by the phrase, “If you live outside the law you must be honest.

Candy Says

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Neoliberalism: All the Taxes of Social Democracy, None of the Fun

From Info Shop News: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20101231165559355

by Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society
December 31, 2010

Tom Geoghegan (in Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?) defends the advantages of the European model of social democracy against the American neoliberal model. No doubt the usual suspects on the Right feel compelled to defend the honor of the American cowboy capitalism that’s prevailed since 1980 or so, as a meaningful approximation to the “free markets” they’re always going on about.

Those of us on the free market Left, of course, will point out that what the talking heads at CNBC and the Wall Street Journal editorial page call the “free market” is anything but.

But Geoghegan does a pretty good job of advancing that argument himself. His remarks at several places in the book suggest that American neoliberal capitalism is not only statist, but that — measured even in terms of the sheer size and cost of government — it’s just as statist as German social democracy.

For example, Americans are taxed about four-fifths as much as western Europeans. So do we have a social safety net, or social amenities like public transit or single-payer healthcare, on four-fifths the scale the Germans enjoy them?

Geoghegan is also impolite enough to notice that what passes as “free market reform” in the United States doesn’t involve actually reducing government spending or intervention in the economy. Nope — it just means taxing the public the same amount or more and then giving the money to crony capitalists. So instead of using tax money to fund a state-run prison system, you use it to pay Wackenhut on sweetheart terms which Wackenhut’s lobbyists had a big part in arranging.

Medicare and Medicaid actually pay more per capita for the half or so of total healthcare costs funded by the government than western European governments pay for the entire cost of a single-payer system. But it’s not “socialized medicine” as long as delivery of service is in the hands of a technically “private” corporation, even if the corporation’s still getting most of its money at the taxpayer teat.

Because that’s what “privatization” means, to the typical “free market” wonk at Heritage or AEI: Instead of taxing the public to organize a public service through government bureaucrats who operate as a legal monopoly, you tax the public and hire a private company to perform the service. A private company which — thanks to no-bid contracts and all sorts of legal protections — usually operates as a monopoly and has the same outrageous cost-maximizing incentives as a “defense” contractor or public utility. And the tax burden may well actually be greater, because rather than just paying a bunch of white collar civil servants with GS classfications, you’ve got to pay white collar corporate drones — plus the cowboy CEO’s salary and the shareholder dividends. Taxpayer-funded either way, but with “free market reform” you get two layers of parasites instead of just the one. Woo-hoo!

See, it’s only “socialism” if you give the money to poor folks. If you give the money to corporations, that’s “pro-business.” And “pro-business,” of course, means “free market.”

Look, I’m not a social democrat or a welfare statist. If you’re looking for someone to promote the German model in the U.S., it ain’t me. But if you call yourself a libertarian, don’t try to kid anybody that the American system is less statist than the German one just because more of the welfare queens wear three-piece suits. And don’t kid yourself that, given equal levels of statism, most Americans wouldn’t prefer the kind where they have guaranteed healthcare and six-week vacations. Come on, I would — after all, if we’re choosing between equal levels of statism, of course I’ll take the one that weighs less heavily on my own neck.

What I’d really rather have is less statism (i.e., none at all) and more freedom. But if you claim to be selling freedom, here’s a little marketing tip: offer something that’s more attractive to the customer, not less. And a system where the state robs us to benefit the Fortune 500 instead of single moms and the unemployed really isn’t more attractive. Unless, of course, you’re one of the people running a Fortune 500 corporation. Good luck if you see that as the libertarian base.

C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.

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Transocean refuses to co-operate with oil spill probe

In yet another act of contempt that serves to show why corporations should not be treated as people, Transoceanic, the owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf last spring is refusing to honor subpoenas that would require it to testify before investigative boards.

Perhaps they should arrest the CEO and all involved and charge them with contempt.  You know the way they treated left wing dissenters in the 1950s.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/transocean-refuses-cooperate-spill-probe/

By The Associated Press
Thursday, December 30th, 2010 — 5:34 pm

The owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico is refusing to honor subpoenas from a federal board that has challenged the company’s involvement in monitoring the testing of a key piece of equipment that failed to stop the oil spill disaster.

Transocean said the U.S. Chemical Safety Board does not have jurisdiction in the probe, so it doesn’t have a right to the documents and other items it seeks. The board told The Associated Press late Wednesday that it does have jurisdiction and it has asked the Justice Department to intervene to enforce the subpoenas.

Last week, the board demanded that the testing of the failed blowout preventer stop until Transocean and Cameron International are removed from any hands-on role in the examination. It said it’s a conflict of interest. The request is pending.

Testing at a NASA facility in New Orleans is on hold for the holidays anyway and isn’t expected to resume until Jan. 10, according to officials monitoring the tests and a status update distributed to interested parties.

Besides documents, the board said Transocean has also denied it access to witnesses — specifically a half-dozen of the rig company’s employees the board wants to question.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/transocean-refuses-cooperate-spill-probe/

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US foreclosures soar, housing prices slump

From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/fore-d31.shtml

By Patrick Martin
31 December 2010

The number of completed home foreclosures rose to 245,000 in the third quarter, according to a report from bank regulators that covers only two thirds of all US home mortgages, those held by national banks and savings & loan institutions.

The figure was reported in the quarterly mortgage report filed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision, which regulate banks and S&Ls respectively.

The overall number of foreclosures completed in the July-September period is likely well over 300,000, making it virtually certain that total foreclosures will top one million in 2010. The total number of foreclosures in process increased to 1.2 million, up 4.5 percent from the second quarter and up 10.1 percent from the third quarter of 2009.

Newly initiated foreclosures jumped to 382,000 in the third quarter, a rise of 31.2 percent compared to the second quarter and 3.7 percent above the third quarter of 2009. The larger number of initiated foreclosures compared to completed foreclosures means that the number of foreclosures can be expected to rise sharply in the coming year.

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/fore-d31.shtml

New Orleans Fire Kills 8 Homeless Youths

I used to see the homeless kids of Hollywood who squatted the abandoned buildings damaged in the LA quake of 1994.  brutal lives of kids who were throwaways and runaways.

I reiterate, “No one in this fucking country should be able to own a multi-million dollar home while people are dying of exposure on the streets or in squats.

We need cheap, even free housing for the homeless, with things like phones and utilities so they don’t wind up dying in the streets.

From The Axis of Logic: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61913.shtml

The New Orleans fire and the conditions of youth in America

By Kate Randall
WSWS
Thursday, Dec 30, 2010

30 December 2010

Five young men and three young women perished in a fire in an abandoned warehouse early Tuesday morning in New Orleans after lighting a fire to keep warm in the freezing temperatures. Flames engulfed the structure. Before firefighters could extinguish the blaze they were all dead, their bodies burned beyond recognition.

“They were all amazing, beautiful, accomplished people,” Audrey Bean, 19, told the local Times-Picayune. Her friend, Gwendolyn Faye, 19, said the group had turned the warehouse—which had no utilities—into a home, with beds and cooking facilities. Rachel Park, 27, said those who died were artists, welders, musicians; some had plans to open a bicycle collective.

The deadly blaze—the worst in New Orleans in almost four decades—was one of six such fires across the metropolitan area that night. It serves as a grim exposure of the worsening plight of the homeless, and of the desperate conditions facing young people in particular.

Continue reading at:  http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61913.shtml

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Rosie the Riveter Dies at 86

From NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/30/132484640/michigan-woman-who-inspired-wwii-rosie-poster-has-died?ft=1&f=1001

by Mark Memmott

12/30/2010

In 1941, a United Press International photographer snapped a photo that would help inspire the nation. As the Lansing State Journal writes, it captured a 17-year-old bandana-clad girl who was working at a metal-pressing plant near Ann Arbor.

That image heavily influenced a poster that “evoked female power and independence under the slogan ‘We Can Do It!,’ ” The Washington Post writes. It became one of the most-famous “Rosie the Riveter” illustrations of the war.

Geraldine Hoff Doyle of Lansing, who 40 years later didn’t realize that the photo of her played a role in the Rosie phenomena, died Sunday at a hospice in Lansing. She was 86.

Continue reading at:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/30/132484640/michigan-woman-who-inspired-wwii-rosie-poster-has-died?ft=1&f=1001

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Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector: Deceased Woman’s Name Was Robo-Signed on Thousands of Affidavits

From The Wall Street Journal:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576049902142690400.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

12/31/2010

Martha Kunkle has come back to life.

She died in 1995. Yet her signature later appeared on thousands of affidavits submitted by one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., in lawsuits filed against borrowers.

Some regulators complain that the use of Ms. Kunkle’s name reflects an epidemic of mass-produced, sloppy and inaccurate documentation in the debt-collection industry. Lawsuits have surged as more borrowers fall behind on payments and collection firms turn to courts to get what they are owed.

After being sued for fraud, Portfolio Recovery Associates decided in early 2008 that any documents bearing Ms. Kunkle’s name had “defects” and shouldn’t be used when trying to collect debts, a company spokeswoman said.

Continue reading at:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576049902142690400.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

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Civil War Revisionists/Holocaust Deniers, Cut from the same Cloth

I a true blue Yankee born in upstate New York, land of the abolitionists.  John Brown’s body lies a moldering in the grave there in the North Country.

Our Volunteers fought and died to end slavery and restore the Union.

Therefore I was revolted and disgusted by people in the South’s attempts to gloss over the monstrous role the enslavement of people of African ancestry played in the Civil War.

This is akin to actions of the Holocaust Deniers.  Beyond the sharing of similar politics there is the little matter of racism.

I have heard Southerners refer to the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression.”  “War of Southern Treason”, would be more appropriate considering they deserted the Union and fired the first shots in the war.

Then there is the inherent dishonesty in their claim, “It wasn’t about slavery, it was about state’s rights.”  The only freaking state’s right the Civil War was about was the right of the rich white southern elite to own black people as slaves.  They actually cited the Bible as justification.

They still cite their weird pick and choose version of the Bible to rationalize all sorts of stupid bigotry and hatred.

From NewsDay: http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/slavery-paintings-coming-down-from-atlanta-office-1.2575724

Slavery paintings coming down from Atlanta office

By The Associated Press  RAY HENRY

December 29, 2010

ATLANTA – (AP) — Murals of slaves harvesting sugar cane on a Georgia plantation and picking and ginning cotton are coming off the walls of a state building on the order of a new agriculture commissioner.

The murals are part of a collection of eight works painted by George Beattie in 1956 depicting an idealized version of Georgia farming, from the corn grown by prehistoric American Indians to a 20th-century veterinary lab. In the Deep South, the history in between includes the forced use of slave labor.

“I don’t like those pictures,” said Republican Gary Black, the newly elected agriculture commissioner. “There are a lot of other people who don’t like them.”

Slavery was indisputably part of 19th-century farming in Georgia. By 1840, more than 280,000 slaves were living in the state, many as field hands. Just before the Civil War, slaves made up about 40 percent of the state’s population.

Continue reading at:  http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/slavery-paintings-coming-down-from-atlanta-office-1.2575724

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Exploiting the Unemployed

Some story just cause such total rage despair that one doesn’t know whether to cry or grab the pitch forks and torches.

The corporate scum have destroyed the middle and working class chance of ever obtaining some nebulous thing that used to be called the American Dream and now they feel free to spit on and abuse the workers whose jobs they out sourced or cut to drive up the profits that have given even more to the rich.

Smash the Corporations…

From Human Resources Executives:  http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533327790

By Kristen B. Frasch

It seems a growing number of employers are offering lower-than-expected salaries to job candidates who are re-entering the workforce as the recession ebbs. Why? Because they can.

“Companies will pay you less because they know you have no choice but to take it,” Holly Erickson, 38, a resident of St. Clair, Mo., tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

According to the story, many unemployed job seekers are sacrificing about $10,000 in pay for every year they are out of work, although researchers have yet to pinpoint just how many workers have taken hits to their careers and wages because of the recession.

Complete article at:  http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533327790

Democratic lawmaker: Citizens United puts US on path to fascism

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/citizens-united-path-fascism/

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 — 9:56 pm

The US Supreme Court’s striking down of nearly a century’s worth of campaign finance laws means the US government can now be “bought” and the country may be headed for fascism, says an outgoing Democratic House representative.

In an interview this week, Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who lost his seat in the mid-term elections, told the New York Observer that he sees a threat to American democracy in the court’s ruling.

“I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called fascism. So that’s really the question — is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?”

The Citizens United decision upended decades of campaign finance regulation, allowing corporations, unions and other groups to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to identify themselves. In a decision split along ideological lines, the court ruled that restrictions on spending amounted to a violation of First Amendment rights. Others have challenged the notion that corporations and other organizations have the “personhood” needed to be granted constitutional rights.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/citizens-united-path-fascism/

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Polluter-Funded Groups Spending Almost $70 Million On Anti-Clean Energy Ads

I may have run this one before as I stumbled on the link in an end of year round-up.

I think it is more pertinent than ever given how the climate change deniers are cranking up their propaganda machines and claiming blizzards in New York are proof  there is no global warming.

When you are paid by polluters to sell a lie, you are a whore.  Money and need to survive makes many people into whores willing to lie for the corporations in order to get a paycheck.

The “Citizens (Corporations) United” ruling legalized the corporate purchasing of the US government.  The  corporate whores called spokespeople exist to con us into believing their lies.

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/21/polluter-money-elections/

By Josh Dorner

Oct 21st, 2010

Amid an unprecedented surge in mostly secret money into this year’s election campaign, a new report released yesterday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details how 13 right-wing groups — including large secret money groups like American Crossroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and American Action Network — have spent more than $68.5 million this year on “misleading and fictitious televisions ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda.” In addition to the anti-clean energy ads polluting our airwaves, an earlier CAPAF report outlined an astonishing $242 million in spending on lobbying by the 20 biggest oil, mining, and electric utility companies.

The New York Times reports this evening that “nearly half” of the Chamber’s $149 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. (The Chamber claims to have 300,000 members.) “Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.”

With no end in sight to such dramatic spending in order to protect polluters’ profits, a new ThinkProgress exposé published yesterday suggests that the level of coordination between secret money political groups, ultra-rich conservative donors, and polluters may be even deeper than previously thought. ThinkProgress obtained a memo detailing a secretive gathering held by the Koch brothers this past June, at which the Koch brothers plotted their 2010 election strategy with 210 attendees from the oil industry, coal companies, health insurers, banks, right-wing media (including Glenn Beck), the U.S. Chamber, and others. The June meeting was merely the latest in a series of similar gatherings held twice annually by the Kochs in order to coordinate the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts.

The list of attendees obtained by ThinkProgress shows that there is considerable overlap between the groups that have been running tens of millions in anti-clean energy ads and those who attended the Koch confab, including:

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/21/polluter-money-elections/

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European Anarchists Grow More Violent, Coordinated

When the greed of the wealthy elite, the Corporations and masters of the universe make life for the majority of people so painful and purposeless they create revolutionary contradictions.

If those contradictions grow large enough due to the passage of austerity measures that make life so harsh for working people that they have nothing to lose then the chances of their being willing to roll the dice of revolution becomes inevitable.

Free market  MOTUs should have read Marx or the history of  how and why the New Deal saved their nuts instead reading the dribblings of  that schlock writer, Ayn Rand.

From The Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/european-anarchists-grow-_n_802277.html

NICOLE WINFIELD and DEREK GATOPOULOS

12/28/10 05:23 PM

ROME — A loosely linked movement of European anarchists who want to bring down state and financial institutions is becoming more violent and coordinated after decades out of the spotlight, and may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent’s financial crisis, security experts say.

Italian police said Tuesday that letter bombs were sent to three embassies in Rome by Italian anarchists in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists, who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global “revolutionary war.”

Identical package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Dec. 23, badly wounding the two people who opened them. A third bomb was safely defused at the Greek Embassy on Monday.

“We’re striking again, and we do so in response to the appeal launched by our Greek companions,” the Italian group known as the Informal Anarchist Federation wrote in a claim of responsibility for the third bomb that was released by police here Tuesday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/european-anarchists-grow-_n_802277.html

Pity about Obama.  We needed another FDR and instead we got a Reagan worshiping neo-lib.

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Bye-bye Kodachrome

I must admit that over the years I shot far more Ektachrome than Kodachrome because so much of my photography was done with lower levels of light and Ektachrome could be push processed.

But the last roll of Kodachrome…  Film had and still has qualities digital doesn’t and Kodachrome was just so perfect for certain kinds of light.

I wake up some sunny winter mornings in LA and think, “My what a beautiful Kodachrome day.”  I’d stick my 28mm or 35mm on the Nikkormat I kept loaded with Kodachrome, shove it into my bag and head out for the day….

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/30film.html?hp

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas

By A. G. SULZBERGER
Published: December 29, 2010

PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.

In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.

The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/30film.html?hp

The GID Diagnosis Being in the DSM is a Barrier to Equality

All too often the APA acts in its own interests rather than in the interests of people it pathologizes.

In many ways APA is more akin to a religion than to a science.  And like other religions there may be good and nice people involved in something that is systematically rotten.

Part of the problem started with the popularity of psychology and psychiatry as academic fields that were not examined with the same sort of scrutiny one would expect of a “science”.

The DSM has become a profit generating tool.  Erasing individual differences and non-conformity is looked upon as a cash cow.

There are a great deal of politics involved in who among the LGBT/TQ alphabet soup gets pathologized.

Transsexuals were not in the DSM in 1973, the year they removed homosexuality from the DSM.

In 1973 transsexuals were being reviled by a number of  lesbians and gay men.  We were considered reactionary by lesbians, told we were the creators of gender stereotypes when we were as influenced by those patriarchal gender roles as women/girls, who were assigned female at birth. Gay men thought the only reason we got SRS was to be able to have sex with straight men.  They also regularly described transsexual to female people having SRS as ditsy queens getting their cocks chopped off.

Feminists held transsexual to female people to extremely high and often contradictory standards that they didn’t hold assigned at birth female people to.  It didn’t matter that AFAB women called each other girls or dressed in micro-mini dresses and wore make up as they were “socialized into that role”.  This was an argument that excluded the possibility that WBTs were also subject to the same sort of generalized socialization which said this is what women do, this is how women dress and act.

Transgender wasn’t yet a functioning social construct, even though there were people who fit the earliest and most specific definition of transgender.

Sex Reassignment Surgery was still considered “Experimental”.

We were screened to insure we weren’t mentally ill.  This is a position we should perhaps consider reverting back to.

The accusation laid upon us was that we read the texts and rehearsed our stories to fit what the doctors wanted.

While that sounds good, it isn’t accurate.  Other than Dr. Benjamin’s book we had Green and Money’s book, Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment.  Benjamin’s book was often our first step in self-discovery while Green & Money provided us with nut and bolt information we could give doctors regarding things like hormone dosages as well as information regarding what we were doing with our bodies or perhaps more accurately what we wanted from the surgeons.

Most of the doctors were male and thought that any person assigned male at birth would be insane to want to be reassigned female via sex change surgery.  Can we say, “Projection of their castration anxiety”?

But there was something else working.  Here were a bunch of people who often had interrupted educations telling doctors in fairly abstract terms what transsexualism was all about.  We were the experts, they weren’t.

Pathologizing us was a way for doctors to regain the upper hand.

But GID was also a way for surgeons performing SRS to continue to do so in the face of a rising tide of opposition from the Christian right wing, which was becoming an increasingly thuggish force in American politics and which was exerting a great deal of pressure upon the University hospitals to end their SRS programs.

Transgender Inc was the enemy of transsexual to female people right from the start.  Virginia Prince started laying the ground work for our being pathologized years before becoming Virginia (living as transgender).

The organizations founded by Prince were part of pushing the whole gender line.  The idea that transsexualism was all about gender.

They have also pushed the idea that there was one community and that community was “Transgender”.  The idea that transsexuals are just transvestites that went too far is straight from Virginia Prince.

GID actually encompasses far more oppressive terminology and ideas that are a cancer within the transsexual community.

The idea that some who get SRS aren’t really transsexual because they did this, that or the other thing.

I’m an existentialist the proof is in the doing not the claiming of an identity.

As for things like gender identity confusion.  I can see a point when I was “confused” due to lack of a vocabulary with which to articulate my feelings.  Confused in the face of the seeming impossibility. But this is something that is resolved by coming out and short of detransing, gender identity confusion doesn’t much apply to post-SRS women and men.

As for the sexuality of women born transsexual.  Well, our having a sexuality is problematic according to so many people I can almost understand people saying that, “It isn’t about sex, it is about gender.”  But that right there is allowing our having the same sorts of sexual feelings that cis-sex/gender people have to be perversified. You have BBLand Z as well as those who are sucked into the BBL & Z AGP/AP paradigm claiming that being one or the other validates their being transsexual.  Then you have one of the self proclaimed “classic transsexuals” who claims that she is one of the only real transsexuals since she was totally asexual prior and according to one of the right wing mental illness pushers (Lionel Ovesey) having sex with anyone prior to SRS means you are a pervert and not a real transsexual.

Sometimes… I swear we are our own worst enemies.

I’ve listened to too many people pre-op TS and TG who hang their legitimacy on that damned GID diagnosis.  They are perhaps legitimately afraid the forces of conservative darkness will use removing GID from the DSM as a path to denying them access to medical care and legal rights.

On the other hand, Jesse Helms saw to it GID was explicitly excluded from the Americans with Disabilities Act to prevent the AWDA from offering non-discrimination protections.

Now it is being used to exclude TS/TG folks from the repeal of DADT.  So, ending DADT is another act that protects gay and lesbian people while leaving TS/TG people over in the corner fuming about how the L/G community has betrayed us once again.

My partner, Tina has always said, “There is no future in being the “T” in LGBT.”

Their understanding of  transsexual to female people and our needs seems to begin and end with drag queens. Our brothers seem to fare better in their relationship with the queer alphabet but none of us fare particularly well.

What pisses me off big time is how I went and marched as well as argued for the removal of homosexuality from the DSM but haven’t seen a whole lot of lesbians or gay men arguing for the removal of GID from the DSM.

In fact there is a substantial segment of the “Lesbian Community” that is as hateful towards us as anyone of the Christo-Fascists in the “Kill the Gays Movement”.

I’m almost afraid that when the struggle to pass ENDA is again brought to the forefront TS/TG people will yet again be a bargaining chip to be discarded because after all we are mentally ill.  Just look at what the DSM and the equivalent of  Charles Socarides and Joseph Nicolosi have to say about us.

Shit we even have sisters who find validation in Bailey, Blanchard, Rekers, Lawrence, Zucker and Ovesey.

I fear GID being in the DSM poses a serious road block to any chance of TS/TG people making progress in the pursuit of non-discrimination laws or other matters of social justice and equality.

2010: A Precedent-Setting Year In the Fight Against Coal

From Raw Story: http://www.alternet.org/story/149339/2010%3A_a_precedent-setting_year_in_the_fight_against_coal_

By Joshua Frank

December 28, 2010

Who said environmentalism is dead? When it comes to coal, the movement is alive and well.

It was another tough year for the coal industry. In the last 25 months not one coal-fired power plant broke ground for construction in the United States. In 2010 alone a total of 38 proposed plants were erased from the drawing board, the most ever recorded in a single year. Utilities also announced 12,000 MW in coal plant retirements — or enough power to bring electricity to a whopping 12 million American households. And even Massey Energy’s infamous henchman Don Blankenship is set to retire, effective next month.

Indeed coal executives got what they deserved in their stockings this holiday season — big lumps of black coal. “I predict historians will point at 2010 as the year that coal’s influence peaked and began declining,” says Bruce Nilles, deputy conservation director of the Sierra Club, whose organization released a year-end report on coal in the U.S.

Nilles is correct; the coal boom out west looks to be over, as companies like Arch and Peabody scramble to figure out what to do with their vast reserves while U.S. markets begin to dwindle. The EPA has also not been as friendly to this portion of the energy sector as in years past, placing most coal permits for mountaintop removal on hold and even recommending a veto of the proposed Spruce Mine in West Virginia, which would be the largest of its kind in the country.

With the help of Rainforest Action Network and other grassroots activists, financing for new mining projects from the likes of PNC and UBS will prove difficult from now on. In 2010 both banks joined the growing number of lending institutions that are turning their backs on mountaintop removal ventures. During the first half of this year renewable energy projects also accounted for 93 percent of all proposed projects.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/149339/2010%3A_a_precedent-setting_year_in_the_fight_against_coal_

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Fmr. Shell president ‘predicting’ $5-a-gallon gas in 2012

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/fmr-shell-president-predicting-5agallon-gas-2012/

By David Edwards
Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 — 10:22 am

The former president of Shell Oil said he believes Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon a gas by 2012.

“I’m predicting actually the worst outcome over the next two years which takes us to 2012 with higher gasoline prices,” John Hofmeister said in a recent interview with Platts Energy Week television.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service, agreed that Americans would see $5 a gallon gas but told CNN that he did not believe it would happen in 2012. “That wolf is out there and it’s going to be at the door…I agree with him that we’ll see those numbers at some point this decade but not yet.”

“The demand is still sluggish enough in some of the mature economies,” he said.

Hofmeister also predicted that demand would outstrip supply before the end of the decade.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/fmr-shell-president-predicting-5agallon-gas-2012/

The iron rule of being working class

True in the UK. True in the US, too. John Lennon said it all in “Working class Hero”.

There was a brief period that pretty much ended with Reagan and Thatcher when there was more social mobility, when there was a lull in the constant class war waged by the rich to keep working people in their places.

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/28/working-class-social-mobility-education

Lynsey Hanley

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Forget social mobility. Education and hard graft will only get you so far while jobs are insecure and the middle class looks after its own

On going to university in the mid-1990s I was exposed for the first time to the iron law of being middle class: once you’re in there, it’s almost impossible to fall out. Observing the people around me, and how their lives panned out, it appeared that you could do a huge amount of arsing around and still land on your feet: at school, on your gap year, at university, and for much of your 20s – until you finally decided, at the age of about 27, that it was time to shape up. You’d still be on £30,000 by the time you were 30.

Until then I’d only really known the iron law of being working class, which is that once you’re in there, it’s almost impossible to get out. You can arse around as much you like, but it’s not going to make much difference to your prospects if those are limited in the first place. You have to believe the future is worth working for, which is why, for most people, social mobility takes place in a context of relative security.

It’s virtually impossible to work your way “from the very bottom to the very top”, as David Cameron put it, in a single generation; that journey takes two or three generations, if it happens at all. One reason why the generation born around 1958 is the most socially mobile to date is that their parents had, for the first time in history, a work background of full employment, reasonable job security, and comparably high wages.

<snip>

Yet those working-class 18-year-olds – and mature students in full- or part-time work – who are taking degrees are likely to be doing so at a new university or at a local college, where the connections that lead to secure middle-class jobs are fewer and more distant-seeming. What we have seen over the past 40 years is the concentration of privilege within an enlarged middle class. Most of the existing middle class had working-class grandparents; many had working- or lower-middle-class parents. You didn’t always need a degree to “get on”. A majority of those attending university now, and who are therefore more likely to get middle-class jobs, will already come from middle-class backgrounds.

Complete article at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/28/working-class-social-mobility-education

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Some of the Things We (LGBT/TQ People) are Supposed to want Seem Really Reactionary

As a working class, left wing hippie lesbian who was born with transsexualism I sometimes feel like many of the things I am (according to “the community”) supposed to be fighting for are kind of irrelevant to me and people like me.

It is as though a group of privileged people whose sole axis of oppression is based on their being saddled with one of the classifications found in the queer alphabet soup.  Were it not for having one of those lavender letters attached to them they would be indistinguishable from straights.

Yes LGBT/TQ people should be able to serve in the military. But I’m opposed to the imperialistic wars of conquest and exploitation that the US military regularly engages in, therefore any “rah-rah” on my part is sort of apathetic. I find myself hoping that perhaps an LGBT/TQ presence in the military will put the brakes on gratuitous violence towards the LGBT/TQ people in the countries we are invading.

What would Harry Hay think about this one?

It sort of feels like fighting  over scraps on the garbage pile of a rapidly declining Empire.

That’s one of the big problems with the Trans-inclusive ENDA.  It will help the upper classes of the LGBT/TQ communities, but they were often already protected by inclusive corporate non-discrimination policies. So many TS/TG people are unemployable for factors other than their being TS/TG. Age, appearance, lack of training and now for not having a job to look for employment from.

There is a name for the jobs available to those below the professional class, McJobs. They require long hours standing on concrete floors taking arbitrary and often illogical orders from above while getting abused by customers.  These jobs often involve working random days making it hard to have a second job which one often needs since one of these McJobs is rarely full time and even more rarely pays a living wage.

Notice I didn’t mention benefits?  That because these jobs don’t have them.  No health care, no paid sick leave, no paid holidays, and no paid vacation.  But you will have to submit to drug testing and bring a note from the doctor if you happen to call in sick because you feel like crap and can’t work that day.

There are people in these jobs with college degrees.  People who have worked in management and professional careers.  Baristas with advanced degrees.

Yeah a McJob is safer and depending on your current point of view less degrading than sex work.

But that isn’t saying much.

Indeed it is just wanting to be part of something that structurally sucks.

Pity considering all the energy we are putting into being in the same sucky shit job as straights.

I remember a time in the past when the government actually helped workers get training that would give them a decent job.

But those jobs have GATT/NAFTA/CAFTA Free Market, out sourced to other countries where workers are paid almost nothing.

I smiled when I saw LGBT/TQ anarchists among the Black Blocs in Toronto this last summer.

Because it showed a unity of students and working people fighting for a decent piece of the pie instead of the crumbs that fall to the floor from rich folks plates.

Issues like access to a living income and full health coverage for all seem like a bigger and more important goal than insuring the job safety of a few.

While I supported those fighting to end DADT, now that the battle has been won I still think joining the military to go murder people to promote the interests of the corporations is pretty fucked up.

The US has a history of supporting right wing genocide just as long as the right wing dictators provide access to their resources and their people as slave labor for our corporations to use.  at the same time we regularly overthrow the elected left wing leaders of nations who are less friendly towards being raped by our corporations. (See the history of Indonesia for the former and Chile for the later. Or Venezuela under Chavez)

And marriage equality seems like a good idea until you look at Bridezilla and all the oppressive expensive crap that the seems standard fare of the wedding industry.

Me I just want to go sign a piece of paper, a contract really without any sort of magic rite performed over my signing it.

Hell I’d be more inclined to push and work hard for the recognition of equal rights for unmarried couples.  Like if you live together more than a year you are married.  Or if you publicly say you are a couple then you are a couple.

Why does every freaking aspect of our lives have to be an opportunity for some damned company to enhance its cash flow by marketing us very expensive goods and services?

I personally would rather contribute the money to save the wolves than buy a  Vera Wang wedding dress.

I guess I’m not a very good member of any of the LGBT/TQ communities.  I’m not all that big on lesbian bars, I don’t play soft ball and most things trans tend to bore me to tears.

Tina and I have music we like from a wide variety of genres.  Movies we like and a love of art museums.

I tend think I’m a lot more like a left wing hippie, who has a same sex partner and had an operation a long time ago, than part of some sort of community.  A community that often times feels more like an artificial marketing demographic than a real community.

Identity politics seems to be a way of separating people from others, who often share the same problems.  Being a person with a McJob, that doesn’t pay a living wage or provide  health insurance can be a greater source of common ground than sharing one of those initials of the queer alphabet.  Especially if the other person is tenured professor.

But the way LGBT/TQ Inc is structured we are supposed to share greater common cause with the Yuppie LGBT/TQ person than our fellow McJobs workers.

Don’t get me started about Log Cabin Republi-Nazi Scum, or the LGBT/TQ people who vote Republican and then parrot the line about being “fiscal conservatives against big government”.

US Changes How It Measures Long-Term Unemployment

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/12/28-4

by Rick Hampson

Published on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by USA Today

So many Americans have been jobless for so long that the government is changing how it records long-term unemployment.

Citing what it calls “an unprecedented rise” in long-term unemployment, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), beginning Saturday, will raise from two years to five years the upper limit on how long someone can be listed as having been jobless.

The move could help economists better measure the severity of the nation’s prolonged economic downturn.

The change is a sign that bureau officials “are afraid that a cap of two years may be ‘understating the true average duration’ — but they won’t know by how much until they raise the upper limit,” says Linda Barrington, an economist who directs the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Likening recessionary unemployment spikes in recent decades to a storm at sea, she says, “The waves are getting higher, and we want to understand the intricacies of how they’re made up.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/12/28-4

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