Endless War, For Endless Peace

Eight years ago I allowed myself to be suckered in by all the lies Bush and crew told, by all the lies, the propaganda that filled the airwaves and newspapers.

I guess I really wanted to believe, to stop being the dissenter.  I wanted to be part of the flag waving, self-congratulatory mob, cheering while our military might rained down death and destruction.

I should have known better, the lies of Bush and crew weren’t any different from the thousands upon thousands of jingoistic lies about our “Exceptionalism” , about how much better, nobler and freer we are than anyone else.

Now 8 years later and a new “anti-war President who lied to us about hope and change yet the endless war remains the same. This yesterday I went to a demonstration of perhaps 100-120 people down in University Park near SMU.

So few of us standing  up against the war machine.  so few of us daring to name the noble cause and say it is not so noble but goes by the name Imperialism.

I feel back among family, the family I have known for over 45 years.  Among those who march for peace, who speak out against injustice.  Those who stand along side the oppressed.

Those who dissent and resist.  Who say “Not In My Name”. Those who defend the right of the wolf, tiger, eagle and whale not to be hunted, exterminated and exploited.

When I look at the faces of my sisters and brothers, young and old who come out and speak out I realize how privileged I am to be part of such a family.

It matters not if it is a union rally, a peace demonstration, a demonstration for the rights of immigrants or against genocide. Like Tom Joad, I’ve tried to stand up for what I know to be right.

Then there are the celebratory rallies and marches like we have on Pride Day.

Be they demonstrations or celebrations these rallies and marches show we are not alone.

I am an anarchist, I admire the all-American radicalism of the men and women of the IWW.

They had a couple of slogans that people should remember, “One Big Union” and “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

The Right Wing can walk and chew gum at the same time.  They are relentless, attacking planned Parenthood at the same time they are destroying Unions, giving tax breaks to the rich, destroying the social safety net and promoting homophobia, misogyny, racism, classism, transphobia etc. etc.

They sent spies among us during the 1960s and sowed the seeds of division and internal strife, identity politics.  And we bought in.  Instead of asking the question, “Will this further the liberation of everyone.” We got all hung up on “what’s in it for me and my kind.”

Separate we are few.  Together we are a majority.

Maybe we need to start taking a different approach.

One where we adopt an attitude of, “I’ll listen to what you have to say if you will listen to what I have to say.

Maybe we need to negotiate with other groups and offer, “Hey, I’ll support you on this cause if you will support me on my cause.

We have nuclear plant disasters, a war on the working people and the poor.  Globalization and out sourcing along with anti-worker policies that are destroying the middle class.  Some classes of people have nearly 50% unemployment or under employment.

The educational system has been destroyed and replaced with a prison/industrial system.

And… Oh yeah… eight years… two Presidents including one who promised us he would end the wars.  Still we are there killing, maiming and spending money hand over fist while pushing for austerity measures at home.

And Today Obama celebrated that Eight Anniversary of Shock and Awe with a little shock and awe of his own.

Today we bombed Libya and fired cruise missiles.

Is it really in service of some sort of noble cause?  Much as I want the revolutionaries to win I have the feeling we wouldn’t have done squat if it weren’t for one magic word, “Oil.”

Knut the polar bear dies alone in compound

When I told my partner about Knut dying she asked if I knew from what.

I answered, “From a  broken heart caused by the pain of rejection.”

From The Telegraph UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8392984/Knut-the-polar-bear-dies-alone-in-compound.html

Knut, the polar bear raised by his zoo keeper after his mother rejected him, has died in his compound.

By Richard Gray 7:26PM GMT 19 Mar 2011

Officials at Berlin Zoo confirmed the four-year-old bear, which became world-famous after being rejected at birth by his mother, died alone in his compound.

Knut collapsed and died in a pool of water on Saturday afternoon as visitors looked on.

The cause of death is not yet clear, but a post mortem is to be conducted on Monday, said bear keeper Heiner Kloes.

Mr Kloes said: “It was a completely normal day: He was with the female bears before, who had just been shut away. Then, Knut strolled around the enclosure, went into the water, had a short spasm and died.”

<snip>

Weighing just 19 pounds at birth, Knut attracted a wave of media coverage after an animal activist said he should be put down after he and his brother, who later died, were rejected by their mother following their birth in December 2006.
<snip>

Knut was reared by the zoo, with his keeper Thomas Doerflein bottle-feeding him and strumming Elvis Presley songs for him on his guitar. Doerflein died at age 44 of a heart attack in 2008.

Complete story at:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8392984/Knut-the-polar-bear-dies-alone-in-compound.html

 

Gingrich Says We Should ‘Celebrate’ Corporate Tax Dodgers, Argues Employees Should Pay Instead

Where’s my pitchfork and torch?

What a Nazi fucktard!  Has anyone noticed Nazi fucktard has become a synonym for Republican?

Here is a filthy, lying serially polygamous con artist who make’s his living conning people out of money, so he can run for office while acting like some sort of voice of moral reason, giving a rim job to the wealthy corporate elite, who he wants to have contribute to his life style of the rich and famous.

Can he just be consigned to the dung heap of has beens?  Hasn’t his 15 minutes of infamy expired?

No doubt Rush the Junkie will pimp him out to the idiots who vote against their own interests because some  perverted preacher tells them to.

I swear I can’t make this shit up.

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/18/gingrich-corp-taxes/

By Scott Keyes
Mar 18th, 2011

ThinkProgress filed this report from the Wild Irish Breakfast in Nashua, NH.

One of the top priorities for Republicans this year has been to preserve and extend corporate tax breaks. This includes GOPers like former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who have eagerly defended corporations like Bank of America, ExxonMobil, and GE which have avoided paying a dime in corporate income taxes in recent years, but rake in huge annual profits.

Another one of those companies making millions in profits but failing to pay any corporate income tax is Arch Coal. In 2009, for instance, the corporation netted over $42 million, yet was able to use tax loopholes and gimmicks to avoid contributing anything in corporate income taxes.

ThinkProgress asked Gingrich about these corporate tax-dodgers this week at a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Nashua, New Hampshire. Gingrich defended Arch Coal and other corporations who avoided paying income taxes because “they don’t owe that” to the U.S. government. Striking an anti-populist note, the former House Speaker also praised the fact that even though many corporations were avoiding taxes, their employees would still be forced to contribute to the government’s coffers.

Gingrich concluded by enthusiastically championing corporate tax loopholes, telling ThinkProgress that corporations were using “an incentive…not a loophole.” “We should celebrate that as a good thing,” Gingrich added:

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/18/gingrich-corp-taxes/

From Forbe’s Magazine:  http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/01/ge-exxon-walmart-business-washington-corporate-taxes.html

What The Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes

Christopher Helman,

04.01.10

HOUSTON — As you work on your taxes this month, here’s something to raise your hackles: Some of the world’s biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do–that is, if they pay taxes at all.

The most egregious example is General Electric ( GE news people ). Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.

Avoiding taxes is nothing new for General Electric. In 2008 its effective tax rate was 5.3%; in 2007 it was 15%. The marginal U.S. corporate rate is 35%.

In Pictures: What The 25 Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes

How did this happen? It’s complicated. GE’s tax return is the largest the IRS deals with each year–some 24,000 pages if printed out. Its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission weighs in at more than 700 pages.

Continue reading at:  http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/01/ge-exxon-walmart-business-washington-corporate-taxes.html

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Are You Serious About Ending Housing Discrimination? Submit Your Comments to HUD Today

From The National Center For Transgender Equality: http://tinyurl.com/4epkael

March 19, 2011

Deadline: Friday, March 25, 2011
If you or someone close to you has experienced housing discrimination because of your gender identity, we urge you to share your story.

In January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed new regulations intended to ensure that federally-funded housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  HUD has opened a public comment period on these proposed rules which, when finalized, will apply to all federally-supported housing and mortgage lending.

This public comment period, which runs through March 25, is your chance to give your input directly to HUD. Tell HUD to end gender identity discrimination in federal housing programs.  Submit your comments here.

A survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people conducted by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force last year found that 19% of the 6,450 respondents were denied a home or apartment and 11% were evicted because they were transgender or gender non-conforming. The rates of home ownership (32% for our sample) were less than half the rate of the general population at 67%. Respondents of color fared even worse than our sample overall.

Whether or not this has happened to you or someone close to you, you probably agree that discrimination is wrong and HUD should adopt these rules to end it today.  You can use our sample letter below or tell a more personal story by submitting your comments here.

Housing discrimination can lead to homelessness.  A staggering 19% of respondents reported having been homeless at some point in their lives because of their gender identity. People of color reported even higher rates, with an alarming 41% of African Americans and 29% of Latina/os in the study having been homeless because of bias. And sadly, housing providers that serve the homeless routinely failed our respondents. Of those who had attempted to access homeless shelters, 29% were turned away altogether, 42% were forced to stay in facilities designated for the wrong gender, and others encountered a hostile environment. Fifty-five percent (55%) reported being harassed, 25% were physically assaulted and 22% were sexually assaulted. Many of these critical housing providers would be covered by the new HUD rules.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

Sample Letter to HUD Secretary Donovan

If you or someone close to you has experienced housing discrimination because of your gender identity, we urge you to share your story in your letter.  You may make any changes or additions to NCTE’s sample letter, or you may submit it as written. You may sign your name to your letter, or you may submit your comments anonymously. HUD’s online public comment form is here.

Dear Secretary Donovan,

I am writing to urge the Department of Housing and Urban Development to adopt strong regulations to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in federally-assisted housing programs and mortgage lending. National research shows that transgender people extraordinarily high levels of discrimination in housing. In a survey of more than 6,400 transgender and gender non-conforming people across the nation, 19% had been denied housing and 11% had been evicted because of their gender identity. Nearly one in five (19%) had experienced homelessness due to their gender identity. Discrimination was even worse in homeless shelters, where 42% were forced to stay in facilities for the wrong gender, 25% were physically assaulted, and 29% were turned away altogether.

HUD’s public housing, community development, and housing financing programs exist to make housing accessible to all Americans – discrimination of any kind has no place in these critical programs. All providers of federally-assisted housing and mortgage lending must be held accountable for making housing accessible to all eligible individuals, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation.

I urge you to adopt final regulations that fully protect transgender people in all HUD-assisted housing and lending.

About NCTE
The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization.

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The Forgotten Millions

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/opinion/18krugman.html?_r=2

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: March 17, 2011

More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.

Jobs do get mentioned now and then — and a few political figures, notably Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, are still trying to get some kind of action. But no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress, no job-creation plans have been advanced by the White House and all the policy focus seems to be on spending cuts.

So one-sixth of America’s workers — all those who can’t find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job — have, in effect, been abandoned.

It might not be so bad if the jobless could expect to find new employment fairly soon. But unemployment has become a trap, one that’s very difficult to escape. There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.

In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/opinion/18krugman.html?_r=2

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GOP Anti-Abortion Bill Will Force IRS Agents To Audit Abortions Of Sexual Assault Victims

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/18/hr3-irs-audit-abortions/

By Tanya Somanader
Mar 18th, 2011

The GOP’s H.R. 3, or the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortions Act, is quickly racking up a number of unprecedented offenses against a woman’s right to choose. Starting with the redefinition of rape, H.R. 3 also torpedoes the GOP anti-tax pledge by changing the tax code to raise taxes on women and small businesses that provide health insurance covering abortions. Now, as Mother Jones’s Nick Baumann reports, this tax code provision would turn the Internal Revenue Service into “abortion cops” who “investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest.”

In the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on H.R. 3 Wednesday, the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee’s chief of staff Thomas Barthold testified that because the bill bans using tax credits or deductions to pay for abortions or insurance, a woman who used such a benefit would have to prove, if audited, that her abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) asked Barthold point blank “if a woman were audited, would IRS agents be at her house demanding court documents or affidavits proving that her pregnancy was the result of rape or incest?” Barthold confirmed what former IRS official Marcus Owens told Baumann — a woman would have to give “contemporaneous written documentation” that it was “incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger” that compelled her abortion:

Barthold replied that the taxpayer would have to prove that she had complied with all applicable abortion laws. Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then “on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger,” Owens says. “It would be fairly intrusive for the woman.”

Not everyone has “contemporaneous written documentation” that a pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. And, as Owens notes, adults sometimes pay for abortions for their children. If H.R. 3 becomes law, parents could face IRS questions about whether they spent pre-tax money from health savings accounts on abortions for their kids. “It would seem there would have to be a question about that [in an audit] and maybe even a question on the tax return,” Owens says.

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/18/hr3-irs-audit-abortions/

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The Debate over Diagnosis

From The Montreal Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Debate+over+Diagnosis/4469318/story.html

By DONNA NEBENZAHL, Freelance
March 19, 2011

Expected to be published in May 2013, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – the bible of the American Psychiatric Association – has created a firestorm of controversy in its suggested treatment of individuals who have gender identity issues.

According to the manual, an individual questioning gender identity and meeting certain criteria suffers from gender identity disorder, which is therefore considered a mental disorder. And the new edition, whose revisions have been in the works for more than a decade, is likely to once again disappoint the vocal community that has been arguing for years that being transgendered is not a mental illness. (Preliminary revisions for DSM-5 are available for review at http://www.DSM5.org.)

Many medical practitioners and activists argue that the inclusion of gender identity disorder, even in its likely DSM-5 configuration as gender incongruence, “pathologizes a normal variant of human sexuality,” as Fordham University researcher Sarah Kamens wrote recently in the magazine of the Society for Humanistic Psychology.

“In the DSM that’s currently in use, it’s classified the same way homosexuality was 30 years ago,” says Dr. Shuvo Ghosh, who treats children with gender identity issues at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“The diagnosis stigmatizes trans people; it makes it look like they’re mentally ill, and they’re not,” says Françoise Susset, psychologist and president-elect of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. “Many of the people I see are very high functioning and have no mental illness whatsoever.”

[The diagnosis creates the disorder. It is a heavy burden to go through life with the psychiatric establishment considering us as having a “disorder”.  Add that to many if not most of us having been physically and emotionally abused from the cradle.  The “Diagnosis” actually keeps many of us from seeking help with real stresses and issues that arise from being part of a despised and discriminated against class.
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