Bradlee Dean is one sick fucking prick I wouldn’t mind seeing die tomorrow is some death metal river of lava.
By David Edwards
Bradlee Dean, an evangelist preacher and death metal drummer who is known for his anti-gay rhetoric, was invited by Minnesota Republicans to deliver an opening prayer in the state House chamber Friday.
Praying before the Minnesota legislature in a track suit, Dean suggested that President Barack Obama wasn’t a Christian.
At times like these I am thankful for having the wisdom to be an atheist.
I am also thankful for Pat Condell.
A woman attacked by her employer’s very powerful customer was perhaps empowered to come forward knowing her union contract meant she wouldn’t lose her job for it.
By Adele M. Stan
May 19, 2011
In ancient times we had fables, myths and parables to explain to us the vicissitudes of nature and the nature of power, stories drawn to illuminate a given culture’s moral code. Today we have the news media.
As a morality tale about abuse of power, and the abuses of the powerful, the fall from grace of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former chief of the International Monetary Fund, is a doozy. Arrested last week for allegedly assaulting and forcing sex on a housekeeper at a luxury hotel in New York, a man who once ranked among the world’s most powerful now sits, forlorn, in a jail cell on Rikers Island — all because an immigrant woman in a lowly position had the temerity to tell a superior that one of her employer’s very important clients had done, by her account, terrible things to her.
By any measure, it was a risky thing to do. There’s a reason most rapes go unreported. But there was one thing that housekeeper knew could not be done to her for reporting her account, observes a colleague in the labor movement: she could not be fired for having done so, because of the contract between her union, the New York Hotel Trades Council, and the Sofitel Hotel at which she works.
Taken at its most literal level, the story of Strauss-Kahn’s fall is rife with the iconography of a power dynamic described in texts going back to ancient times: the ravaging of female household staff by the master of the house. (It is not for nothing that a beloved sexual-fantasy meme for legions of ordinary men who seek sexual power involves a scantily-clad woman sporting a tiny apron, feather duster in hand.) Strauss-Kahn, as head of an international institution that can make or break entire nations, is the perfect modern stand-in for the role of an ancient king — or even a creature of greater stature. ABC News referred to Strauss-Kahn as a “titan,” referring to a member of the original pantheon of ancient Greek gods. (Were this simply a story about the alleged rape of a working-class woman of another profession by rich man who did not hold the fate of nations in his hands, it would not be nearly so riveting.)
And that’s just first blush. When examined in a more metaphorical light, the story speaks more deeply to power relationships between haves and have-nots in any number of categories: gender, race, and the legacy of colonialism all have a hand in this tale, as do the continuing tensions produced by those dynamics. Strauss-Kahn is a white European man who, until yesterday, sat at the helm of an institution that exerts controls on the economies of countries once more overtly colonized by Europe. (As Lynn Parramore of the Roosevelt Institute pointed out, the IMF’s pressure on the Congolese government to privatize its mineral resources for mining by Western companies is fueling Congo’s civil war, which has resulted in the systemic rape of countless women.) She is an immigrant in a nation that will never quite accept her as one of its own; he is a citizen of the world.
No sooner had pictures of Strauss-Kahn doing the perp walk hit the wires than attacks ensued upon his accuser, by powerful men on both the left and right. The leftist philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy questioned the woman’s motives in having entered Strauss-Kahn’s room by herself; the right-wing shill, Ben Stein, asked why anyone should believe the word of a woman about whom nothing is known except the fact that “she is a hotel maid.”
To paraphrase Cathrine MacKinnon: Men rape women… subject,verb,object…
Rape is a terrorist act used to intimidate women.
All women have to fear rape.
It doesn’t matter if it is one in four women who are raped during their lifetimes or one in twenty.
Every woman has to fear rape. No matter how young or old, chaste or free.
Rape is the blunt instrument of the patriarchy.
It is the knife edge of misogyny held to the throat of every woman.
Daily Mail Reporter
20th May 2011
Atheists have far better sex lives than religious people who are plagued with guilt during intercourse and for weeks afterwards, researchers have found.
A study discovered that non-believers are more willing to discuss sexual fantasies and are more satisfied with their experiences.
Both groups of people admitted that they carried out the same activities such as masturbation, watching pornography, having oral sex and pursuing affairs.
But followers of religion did not enjoy the experiences as much due to the stigma created by their belief systems, the study found. It left them with intense feelings of regret after they had climaxed.
The findings emerged in the ‘Sex and Secularism’ survey of more than 14,500 people carried out by psychologist Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown from Kansas University.
All of the people who were questioned were found to have sex around the same number of times a week. They also became sexually active at similar ages.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/20-0
Given that President Obama daily authorizes the firing of hellfire missiles and the dropping of cluster bombs in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, it was awful odd seeing him wax eloquent this week about the “moral force of non-violence” in places like Egypt and Tunisia. But there he was, the commander-in-chief of the largest empire in history, praising the power of peaceful protest in countries with repressive leaders backed by his own administration.
Were we unfamiliar with his actual policies – more than doubling the troops in Afghanistan, dramatically escalating a deadly drone war in Pakistan and unilaterally bombing for peace in Libya – it might have been inspiring to hear a major head of state reject violence as a means to political ends. Instead, we almost choked on the hypocrisy.
Cast beforehand as a major address on the Middle East, what President Obama offered with his speech on Thursday was nothing more than a reprisal of his 2009 address in Cairo: a lot of rhetoric about U.S. support for peace and freedom in the region contradicted by the actual – and bipartisan – U.S. policy over the past half-century of supporting ruthless authoritarian regimes. Yet even for all his talk of human rights and how he “will not tolerate aggression across borders” – yes, a U.S. president said this – Obama didn’t even feign concern about Saudi Arabia’s repressive regime invading neighboring Bahrain to put down a pro-democracy movement there. In fact, the words “Saudi Arabia” were never uttered.
It was that kind of speech: scathing condemnations of human rights abuses by the U.S.’s Official Enemies in places like Iran and Syria and muted criticism – if any – of the gross violations of human decency carried out by its dictatorial friends in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen.
Obama predictably glossed over the reality of U.S. policy and, in an audacious attempt to rewrite history, portrayed his administration as being supportive of the fall of tyrannical governments across the Middle East and North Africa, ludicrously suggesting he had supported regime change in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt – a claim betrayed by the $1.3 billion a year in military aid his administration provided to Mubarak’s regime right up until the moment he resigned. The president’s revisionism might fool a few cable news personalities (what wouldn’t?) but it won’t fool Egyptians, less than one in five of whom even want the closer relationship with the U.S. that Obama offered in his speech, at least one that involves more military aid and neoliberal reforms imposed by the International Monetary Fund.
And Obama’s remarks shouldn’t fool their primary audience: American voters.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/20-0
Sergio Hernandez, ProPublica
Wed May. 18, 2011
The arrest of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel has raised many questions. One we had is what role diplomatic immunity might play—and who else gets it.
The Basics of the Case
According to Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, she entered his hotel room to clean it when Strauss-Kahn emerged nude from the bathroom, locked the maid in the room and assaulted her twice before she broke free. Earlier this afternoon, Strauss-Kahn was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, where he pleaded not guilty and a New York Supreme Court judge denied him bail until his next court hearing.
Reuters, citing a report from France’s RMC radio, said Strauss-Kahn has offered an alibi that contradicts the accuser’s timeline: Strauss-Kahn has reportedly said he checked out of the hotel before the alleged assault took place, then left to meet his daughter for lunch and took a taxi to the airport.
The New York Post reports that at Strauss-Kahn’s bail hearing today, his defense attorney “hinted” he w ould argue that an encounter did occur, but was consensual.
What About ‘Diplomatic Immunity,’ Could Strauss-Kahn Still Invoke It?
Although a spokesman for the NYPD has said Strauss-Kahn does not have diplomatic immunity and Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers have not invoked such protections, various media outlets and some experts have pondered whether Strauss-Kahn could still try to invoke it as part of a long-shot defense strategy.
The IMF is technically a U.N. agency, and so officials there can get some immunity. The BBC has a good backgrounder on the issue, noting that diplomatic immunity is granted by a hodgepodge of agency rules, federal law and international treaties. (Our friends at NPR’s Planet Money also have a handy explainer on what the heck the IMF is anyway, and Slate explains the difference between the IMF and the World Bank.)
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/05/dominique-strauss-kahn-diplomatic-immunity
In spite of having a bisexual history that includes having both long term sexual relationships and long term friendships with members of both sexes that would be indicative of being bisexual in deed as well as identity I choose to embrace the label of Lesbian and not bisexual.
More specifically Lesbian Feminist.
Woman identified woman.
My opting for the label of lesbian over bisexual has nothing to do with biphobia and everything to do with my commitment to feminism. As the old saying goes, “Feminism is the theory and lesbianism is the practice.”
Indeed it was my practicing of feminism by placing my commitment to helping my sisters and my friendships with my sisters ahead of my relationship with Jerry, the man I was in a relationship with, that caused people to assume I was lesbian months, perhaps years before I came out as lesbian.
This does not mean that I am dismissing the men I have loved. It doesn’t mean I am othering transgender sister, indeed the reason I continue to support rights and protections for transgender sisters when so many in the HBS/Classic transsexual set get so nasty towards TG folks is due to my being a lesbian.
At the same time being a lesbian feminist means I view things from a feminist perspective. This means some things people in the transgender community see as transphobia are things I view as misogyny or heterosexism.
But many in the Transgender Borg collective act as though transgender women are the only ones subjected to violence when often the violence directed at transgender women is identical as the violence against assigned female at birth women of the same race and social class.
Often the transgender woman and her AFB sister are united by both being sex workers.
Because I am a lesbian and a feminist people reading this blog are exposed to a good deal of coverage of the fight to maintain abortion rights as well as transsexual access to sex changing surgery. The right of women to have control over their own bodies is the same.
In all my years on Trans-Lists and reading Trans-Blogs I have seen little or no coverage of rape other than the rights of post-transsexual and transgender women to work as rape crisis counselors.
I am reminded of the gross insensitivity I received from my transsexual and transgender sisters after I was brutally raped and barely escaped being murdered in 1974. they acted like it was some sort of thrilling fantasy fulfilled. I had straight male friends who were far more understanding. One gave me a set of nunchaku and one a can of pepper spray. a few years later another paid for six months of my martial arts training.
But mostly I dropped my insensitive friends with the misogynistic concepts of rape and found my place in the lesbian feminist community.
Being feminist has definitely caused me to view a most of the beliefs regarding gender taken as religion by the transgender Borg Collective with a jaundiced eye. I stopped telling people what I think of the ideology and took a position of supporting their rights in spite of my thoughts regarding their ideology.
I really hate the colonizing of my life. People with transsexualism and especially post-transsexuals aren’t a community. they are a bunch of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs who share a history of having had the same medical problem.
The Transgender Borg Collective want to make “Trans” the overarching dominating aspect of our lives.
At the same time they too often act as though misogyny doesn’t exist for assigned female at birth women. Everything is transphobia this, transphobia that. Except it isn’t.
Coming out in Berkeley under the influence of feminism and radicalism with little or no real contact with other TS women for the first year let me see how I was being treated pretty much like any other woman.
But even among my peers there were those of us who were feminist, those of ys who weren’t, some of us were straight, some lesbian.
I initially said I was bisexual and bisexual does reflect my history but in my heart I am a lesbian, I put women first. That includes in my dealings with the Transgender Borg Collective, where the problem is that I read virginia Prince and too much of the other material that created the basis of the ideology of transgender to not see it as misogynistic.
I tend to take a negative view of ideologies I do not consider to be in the interests of women.
By Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/5583016733
By Robert Reich
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Forty years ago, wealthy Americans financed the U.S. government mainly through their tax payments. Today wealthy Americans finance the government mainly by lending it money. While foreigners own most of our national debt, over 40 percent is owned by Americans – mostly the very wealthy.
This great switch by the super rich – from paying the government taxes to lending the government money — has gone almost unnoticed. But it’s critical for understanding the budget predicament we’re now in. And for getting out of it.
Over that four decades, tax rates on the very rich have plummeted. Between the end of World War II and 1980, the top tax bracket remained over 70 percent — and even after deductions and credits was well over 50 percent. Now it’s 36 percent. As recently as the late 1980s, the capital gains rate was 35 percent. Now it’s 15 percent.
Not only are rates lower now, but loopholes are bigger. 18,000 households earning more than a half-million dollars last year paid no income taxes at all. In recent years, according to the IRS, the richest 400 Americans have paid only 18 percent of their total incomes in federal income taxes. Billionaire hedge-fund and private-equity managers are allowed to treat much of their incomes as capital gains (again, at 15 percent).
Meanwhile, more and more of the nation’s income and wealth have gone to the top. In the late 1970s, the top 1 percent took home 9 percent of total national income. Now the top 1 percent’s take is more than 20 percent. Over the same period, the top one-tenth of one percent has tripled its share.
Wealth is even more concentrated at the top — more concentrated than at any time since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.
Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/5583016733