By Matt Taibbi
September 27, 2011
I was speaking at a conference in Boston yesterday when one of the attendees asked me, “How come the media isn’t covering the protests on Wall Street?”
I was about to give a pithy answer about how the press doesn’t cover marches unless someone sets a car on fire or someone throws a rock through the window of a Starbucks, when I realized that I myself hadn’t even written anything about it.
I don’t know a whole lot about Occupy Wall Street, although I’m going to check it out when I return to New York. There are times when one wonders how effective marches are – one of the lessons that the other side learned from the Vietnam era is that you can often ignore even really big protests without consequence – but in this case demonstrations could be very important just in terms of educating people about the fact that there is, in fact, a well-defined conflict out there with two sides to it.
There is a huge number of Americans who simply don’t realize that they’ve been victimized by Wall Street – that they’ve paid inflated commodity prices due to irresponsible speculation and manipulation, seen their home values depressed thanks to corruption in the mortgage markets, subsidized banker bonuses with their tax dollars and/or been forced to pay usurious interest rates for consumer credit, among other things.
Imagine for a second the level of up-roar there would be if this Bible Thumping “Christian” were to refuse to issue marriage licenses to say African-American couples citing the “curse of Ham” or Jewish couple based on traditional Christian anti-Semitism of the sort I remember from my childhood. Would there be a shadow of doubt that this woman is a bigot of the worst sort, one who would be better off working in one of her precious churches than in a public office where one is expected to treat all people with the same level of respect and dignity.
Some one should tell this woman the era when it acceptable to be a KKK member or a Nazi are long past.
A substantial minority of atheists are fed up with this privileging of bigotry that go with these claims of religious exemption.
By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: September 27, 2011
EDYARD, N.Y. — Rose Marie Belforti is a 57-year-old cheese maker, the elected town clerk in this sprawling Finger Lakes farming community and a self-described Bible-believing Christian. She believes that God has condemned homosexuality as a sin, so she does not want to sign same-sex marriage licenses; instead, she has arranged for a deputy to issue all marriage licenses by appointment.
But when a lesbian couple who own a farm near here showed up at the town hall last month, the women said they were unwilling to wait.
Now Ms. Belforti is at the heart of an emerging test case, as national advocacy groups look to Ledyard for an answer to how the state balances a religious freedom claim by a local official against a civil rights claim by a same-sex couple.
Ms. Belforti, represented by a Christian legal advocacy group based in Arizona, the Alliance Defense Fund, is arguing that state law requires New York to accommodate her religious beliefs.
“New York law protects my right to hold both my job and my beliefs,” she said in an interview last week, pausing briefly to collect $50 from a resident planning to take 20 loads of refuse to the town dump. “I’m not supposed to have to leave my beliefs at the door at my government job.”
But the couple, Deirdre DiBiaggio and Katie Carmichael of Miami, are arguing that the law requires all clerks in New York to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The couple are being represented by a liberal advocacy organization, People for the American Way, based in Washington.
When I read some of the sheer utter obsessive TG Borg bullshit I feel like I ma listening to a Michelle Bachmann.
I want to go, “Dear sweet imaginary sky daddy, how can anyone be so freaking stupid?”
Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have a mouth full of mouth full of soda or coffee when I read them.
From the Montreal Gazette: http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2011/09/28/gender-nonconformist-down-with-the-establishment/
Gender Nonconformity (or Down With the Establishment!)
September 28, 2011. 1:02 am • Section: Trans Talk
Posted by: Jillian Page
I once asked a hippie type if he thought his long hair was an expression of femininity. He said it was a good question, but he didn’t know the answer. He had never really thought about it. I probably should have asked if he thought it was a form of gender ‘nonconformity’ . . . because that seems to be the current buzzword for people who display traits that are not normally associated with their biological sex, but who don’t consider themselves to be transgender or transsexual people. Then again, males started blurring hair norms when the Beatles started singing She loves you, ya, ya, ya. Is a long-haired male in the Western world a gender nonconformist these days — as opposed to the 1960s. And just what were thelong-haired guys nonconforming to back then?
I kinda like the term “nonconformity” because it sorta stirs the rebel in me. “We won’t conform! Down with the Establishment! Don’t trust anybody over 30 . . . er, 40 . . . er, 50 . . . er, 60!”
Anything that can possibly be turned into an area the Borg can colonize.
Hair styles for men come and go and have little or nothing to do with masculinity or femininity but often times have far more to do with politics and/or religion.
Contrary to media mythology the Beatles, at least when they first came to New York didn’t have very long hair at all. There were beatniks, folkies and greasers who had longer hair but didn’t have cute little Beatle bangs. The media seizing on the Beatles was the start of the safe packaging of the 1960s that ignored or shunted to the side the serious aspects of hippie as an anti-consumerist/anti-establishment movement in favor of marketing rebellion as a fashion trend.
The long hair, beards, jeans on both sexes, thrift store clothes were a way of giving a finger to the gods of consumption.
Trying to turn it into Borg territory by labeling it “gender non-conformity” is a way of laying Borg claim upon anyone who doesn’t conform to media/right wing/religious induced sex roles.
I get tired og the Transgender Borg extending their tenticles into and laying claim to every freaking thing they can possibley claim, including the gay and lesbian communities.
I just came across this Manifesto first published in 2002 by Cathryn Platine, and requested permission from her to rerun it.
The historical revisionists would have you think that there was a time when transsexuals, transgenders, drag queens, heterosexual transvestites and fetishistic panty-wankers cheerfully gathered together under this one umbrella and sang Kumbyaa together.
Except I don’t ever remember that utopian era. Instead I remember transsexuals and transgenders (drag queens and heterosexual transvestites) always going their own separate ways.
Cathy published this at roughly the same time (within a year or so) of Tina and I coining “women born transsexual”.
Cathryn blogs at: http://radicalbitch.wordpress.com/
It’s easier and more understandable to non-trans folks to refer to all of us with a blanket term, but in reality, transgenders (TGs and CDs) and transsexuals (TSs) are about as similar as gays are to lesbians and for largely the same reasons……..basic core identity issues. While coalitions are possible and even desirable when talking about having enough numbers to get a foot in the political door, if the identity differences are soft pedalled, someone gets their needs tossed out. In order for coalitions to succeed, the needs of all must be considered. Why transsexual separatism? Trans-everything gets defined as people who transgress the gender expectations of their individual birth sex. Sounds ok, but it’s like saying that gays and lesbians are essentially the same because they are attracted to the same sex. It’s true, but if you stop there you’ll never understand the issues between the two. Further, this relatively new term, “transgender(ed)” as a blanket term is just plain inaccurate when applied to transsexuals. Gender is fixed at birth for most people, it is the internal sense of who you are in regards to male or female and transsexuals know what their gender is. They don’t “trans” or cross gender, it is a constant from birth on and the reason why they are driven to change their bodies; to match their gender. They are transsexuals because they “trans” the sexual characteristics they are born with. If you aren’t driven to make this match, you aren’t transsexual. If you are, you aren’t transgendered.
With transfolks there are many different flavours. Males and females who self identify as such but transgress gender norms, males and females who do not readily identify as either and males and females who identify as opposite of the gross anatomy of birth sex. They are not all the same thing, obviously.
The same dynamics apply as anywhere males and females are grouped together with a few new wrinkles. Because transsexuals in particular are dependant on the medical community for treatment (hormones and surgery), we’ve been forced to dance to the tune the doctors and shrinks played and the prices were quite high at times. Like gays and lesbians, crossdressers, transgenderists and even bi-genders can avoid having to jump through the hoops of professionals. It’s very difficult (not impossible) for transsexuals to do so. Gays and Lesbians can be open and out and still keep it from poor Aunt June or Uncle Ray who couldn’t handle having their world rocked. The only way a transitioned transsexual can avoid being out to *everyone* is to avoid totally those from their pasts, family and friends, they don’t wish to know. Crossdressers and transgenderists can play cross gendered games all weekend and return to straight jobs and middle class neighbourhoods on Monday morning. Transsexuals face a lifetime (increasingly more likely in our security conscious post 9-11 world) risk of exposure and overt, often perfectly legal, discrimination and harassment.
Transsexual needs are for basic tools of living others take for granted. Without proper ID, we are denied jobs and housing. Even with proper ID, background checks or even medical records expose us. Some states won’t issue amended/new birth certificates meaning every time you have to show one such as just to get a driver’s license, you are outed and your basic identity questioned. Even moving from another state with all the other papers in order doesn’t change this.
Civil servants and total strangers feel free to question and discuss the current state of your genitals once they learn you are transsexual. Can you imagine how embarrassing and insulting this is? Done to anyone else it would be an automatic sexual harassment suit, done to us, it’s standard procedure and even considered their right to do so. In order to get an official box checked (f) or (m) you are asked to provide proof of surgery and sometimes even that proof is questioned. Years down the road, when your life issues should be settled, over and done with, these sorts of things will jump up and remind you when you least expect it that you don’t really belong and never will no matter what you do. That you will always be considered a freak of nature by some.
Crossdressers and most transgenderists do not face these issues, just transsexuals. Transsexuality is a neurological, pre-natal form of intersexuality. At minimum, the central nervous system of transsexuals is at odds with the birth genitals. Quite often recent discoveries show other intersexual traits are present as well. Cross-dressing is a behaviour, transsexuality is a physical birth condition.
Why separatism? From the 60′s until recently, transsexuals were told to invent new pasts for themselves, deny their transsexuality, avoid other transsexuals and blend in with society as the price for the needed medical intervention. If your orientation wasn’t 100% white bread hetero, you’d often be denied surgery. If the doctors thought you’d fail to conform to the image THEY had of male and female, you could be denied. Male to female transsexuals were “flunked” by therapists for such things as wearing jeans rather than skirts even once to a therapy session. Abuses of gender role policing by gate-keeping “professionals” were more the norm than the exception until recently. As a result, the majority of transsexuals never had the chance to develop a community among themselves and now, today, find any attempt to do so is met with strong resistance by non-transsexual transgenders and they are labelled “elitists” or worse. This is why a “gender community” is a myth. This is why transsexual separatism, for how can we present a united front within a greater community if we haven’t even been allowed to develop our own first? When this “community” denies us our own identity so strongly in their, mistaken, idea of unity?
The very fact that transsexuality is a medical condition requiring our dependence on the medical (and psychological) professions which enslaved us is now being used against us because of a perception by non-transsexual transgenders that it confers a legitimacy on us they wish (without paying the price naturally) to coattail. The result is we’ve steadily lost what little legal ground we had gained as the “transgender” movement becomes more visible in the form of a steady judicial backlash.
Transsexuals, even those who’s birth certificates were changed, can no longer marry anyone with sure knowledge that the marriage won’t be considered invalid when it’s convenient to do so by ANY third party. The implied promise of the past that blending in, hiding, denial of past history in exchange for a “normal” life has been repeatedly broken by the courts recently. Our needs for the most basic tools of daily living are frequently jettisoned at the drop of a hat by our “allies” as a bargaining chip. Our merely pointing out our differences and different needs is greeted by self appointed “sisters and brothers” with hatred that often escalates to sometimes vicious harassment we don’t even get from the outside! Gay men often tell transsexual women that we are gay men in denial. Radical lesbian separatists label us “agents of the patriarchy” and that our biology is our destiny in an interesting reversal of the original feminist battlecry and have been known to join forces with the extreme right to deny even inclusion in the ADA. Janice Raymond did this with Jessie Helms. Our history co-opted by gay historians. We are denied the most basic tools of survival, often lose everything and everyone we hold dear when we transition, often cannot get even burger flipping jobs while holding college degrees, bear the brunt of homophobia since we are more likely to be identifiable as “queer” and yet are pointedly and repeatedly excluded from legislation such as ENDA nationally and SONDA here in New York. Being thrown out of our own families and denied contact with our own children is the norm, not the exception. Trans-children have been ripped away from supportive families by social agencies and subjects of years of extremes of behavioural modification to get them to renounce their gender identity.
Transsexual issues often boil down to life and death. The decision to transition is often exactly that. Having chosen life, we are then denied the tools to continue and have our very identities highjacked, denied and ridiculed, often the most strongly by those claiming to be our allies. Coalitions are possible, but only if we transsexuals are allowed to first find our own voice and to own our own identities. This is why transsexual separatism is necessary. Let my people go, we aren’t you. We can work together, but not until transgenders learn give us the simple respect of our lives.
copyright 2002, Cathryn Platine. All rights reserved. This page may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any electronic or print media without the express written permission of the copyright holder.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/26/americas-barely-tamed-brutality
Pepper spray, Swat teams and judicial torture. This barbarity is ever present – but rarely so visible – in American life
One of the hardships of life as a reporter in New York City is that you so rarely get credited with the kind of heroism shown by colleagues in Helmand, say, or Baghdad. The assumption is that you’re spending time drinking gin martinis on the roof of Soho House (I prefer vodka) or dining at the Grand Central oyster bar (try the Rhode Island Cuttyhunks, they’re sumptuous), rather than dodging bullets in Tripoli.
I’d like to think that over the past few days perception of my job as a soft landing has started to change, and that its true nature as a tough, dangerous and – yes – heroic posting has begun to emerge. Take the events over the weekend in Wall Street. Admittedly, I wasn’t there, but that’s not the point. I could have been.
The protests were a lament for a nation in which, despite the 2008 meltdown, the financial system remains largely unregulated, where 46 million Americans live below the official poverty line, and where inequality is greater now than at any time since 1929. That’s hardly the stuff of revolutions: you can read Paul Krugman make a similar point every week in the New York Times. And in the land of the first amendment you’d think it was OK to shout it out in the street, even if that street is Wall Street.
Not according to the two white-shirted senior NYPD officers captured on video. The film shows a small group of women protesters, who are doing nothing menacing at all, having been kettled by police. As they stand there fenced in and defenceless, the two white shirts walk up to them, hold out a pepper-spray canister and zap them straight in the face.
It’s the officers’ insouciance that is most shocking. They engage the pepper spray as calmly as if they were handing out parking tickets, then turn and just as calmly walk away.
The video reminded me of another recent event at which I was present: last week’s execution in Georgia of Troy Davis. The case drew international attention because there was no forensic evidence and seven out of nine key witnesses had recanted their testimony.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/26/americas-barely-tamed-brutality
The BBC have today issued the following statement regarding an interview with trader Alessio Rastani on the BBC News channel yesterday (Monday 26 September):
“We’ve carried out detailed investigations and can’t find any evidence to suggest that the interview with Alessio Rastani was a hoax. He is an independent market trader and one of a range of voices we’ve had on air to talk about the recession.”
BBC Press Office
While this has the appearances of one of the Yes Men Stunts they deny involvement.
By Andy Bichlbaum on Sep 27 2011
The Yes Men wish to commend Mr. “Alessio Rastani” for his masterful performance as “trader” on BBC World yesterday. Mr. Rastani’s real name is Granwyth Hulatberi; he once appeared on CNBC MarketWrap as a “representative” of the WTO. Well done, Granwyth! You’re getting better and better.
Just kidding. We’ve never heard of Rastani. Despite widespread speculation, he isn’t a Yes Man. He’s a real trader who is, for one reason or another, being more honest than usual. Who in big banking doesn’t bet against the interests of the poor and find themselves massively recompensed—if not by the market, then by humongous taxpayer bailouts? Rastani’s approach has been completely mainstream for several years now; we must thank him for putting a human face on it yesterday.
If you’d like to see the human face of the human perspective—the perspective of the 99% victimized by our demented and out-of-control financial system—come join the occupation of Wall Street. Michael Moore did so last night, and pointed out that in America, it’s just 400 people who own as much as most of the rest of us put together—and that when we decide we really want to change the rules of the game, those 400 people won’t be able to do squat about it.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/27-4
Pepe Escobar, that ever-energetic, globetrotting correspondent for Asia Times, has long been on the Pipelinestan beat, covering the skeletal geography of energy that girds the planet. Today, however, he leaves pipelines behind to consider the planet they service — or is it we who service them? In his newest piece, “The West and the Rest in a One-Model-Fits-All World,” he focuses on this question: if the West is going down, and Atlantic bust is giving way to Pacific boom, what’s to be made of the fate of a planet in the embrace of a single grim model of economic “development”?
Last Tuesday, my hometown paper had, I thought, a relevant article, a seemingly triumphalist reportorial shout of joy that the Americas, from Patagonia to the Arctic seas, might be the next Saudi Arabia. “New Fields May Propel Americas to Top of Oil Companies’ Lists,” the headline went. (“For the first time in decades, the emerging prize of global energy may be the Americas, where Western oil companies are refocusing their gaze in a rush to explore clusters of coveted oil fields.”)
Huzzah! We should all feel great, it turns out, because that tilting imperial slope on which the U.S. seems to be sliding downhill has long been linked to Middle Eastern oil dependency. Now, so says the New York Times, that might be reversed.
Only one minor problem: just about every bit of that energy — tar sands in Canada, oil shale in the American West, pre-salt oil deposits in the Atlantic Ocean (way) off Brazil’s coast, oil in the Arctic seas (where Shell has just gotten its latest permit from the Obama administration), and oil fields in Colombia in a region embroiled in an ongoing civil war — involves what Michael Klare has long called “tough oil” or “extreme energy.” Those fossil fuels — dirtier, harder to extract, or existing under the worst possible political, environmental, or weather conditions — guarantee nightmares to come.
Read complete article at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/27-4
Is it really surprising that young protesters on Wall Street and around the world would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?
By David Graeber
September 26, 2011
Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown– sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?
There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.
Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?
Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down.