The Future of Occupy: Love, Respect — and Name-Calling

From Huffington Post:

Author of Dealing with Addiction — Why The 20th Century Was Wrong
Posted: 1/11/12

The Occupy movement has been busy, raising funds and forging ahead. Remarkably resilient, organised, and growing, the movement has demonstrated discipline and sophistication on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yet if you take the many media portrayals of the Occupy camps at face value, you might believe that they are (were) filthy dens of iniquity: disorganized, dangerous, unruly, smelly.

My experiences at Occupy Toronto left me with a different impression. People brought food to share, volunteers washed dishes and performed other needed functions, and people typically waited politely for their turn to speak (not always of course). Structures (such as the library) were products of both industry and good workmanship. Yet most media portrayals in Toronto paid little attention to any of that.

You’d hear talk about unruly and loud arguments, for example, or a physical scuffle. Well, plunked right in the heart of downtown where the homeless, the drug addicted, and so many others roam, such stuff could not be avoided. The Occupiers were there even after dark. Some “unpleasantries” did occur, but it’s not as though the bad stuff was created by Occupy. It was there already and — obviously — the movement would not have emerged had everything been fine on the streets and elsewhere.

While not an overnighter, I became a regular, occasionally spending even five hours there in one day. Though politically committed, here is the main reason I kept going: Whenever I left Occupy, I was a nicer guy than when I had arrived.

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MELTDOWN! Cop Flips Out When Told He Can’t Search Car Without Warrant

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Human Genes Introduced Into Dairy Cows

From Care2:

January 13, 2012

Brace yourself:  scientists have created some freakish genetically-modified human-cow amalgams to produce cow’s milk with the properties of human breast milk.  According to the Telegraph, the scientists used cloning technology to introduce human genes into Holstein cows then implanted surrogate cows with the genetically-modified embryos.  I’m not sure even Mary Shelley could have thought this one up.

The scientists believe the cows will produce milk with a human protein called lysozyme. Extensive recent research has already called into question the safety of genetically-modified (GM) foods, but this is a far cry from GM corn, canola, and other seeds. We’re talking living animals here. Does anyone else see the potentially serious effects of unleashing the work of egomaniacal scientists on the world in the form of human-cow prototypes? This human-cow milk gives new meaning to the term “fusion cuisine.”

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Is This Land Made for You and Me–or The Super-Rich?

From Alternet:–or_the_super-rich?akid=8132.304909.RAX4Ep&rd=1&t=5

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship ponder the question at the heart of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”–what kind of America do we want?

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
January 15, 2012

The traveling medicine show known as the race for the Republican presidential nomination has moved on from Iowa and New Hampshire, and all eyes are now on South Carolina.  Well, not exactly all.  At the moment, our eyes are fixed on some big news from the great state of Oklahoma, home of the legendary American folk singer Woody Guthrie, whose 100th birthday will be celebrated later this year.

Woody saw the ravages of the Dust Bowl and the Depression firsthand; his own family came unraveled in the worst hard times.  And he wrote tough yet lyrical stories about the men and women who struggled to survive, enduring the indignity of living life at the bone, with nothing to eat and no place to sleep.  He traveled from town to town, hitchhiking and stealing rides in railroad boxcars, singing his songs for spare change or a ham sandwich.  What professional success he had during his own lifetime, singing in concerts and on the radio, was often undone by politics and the restless urge to keep moving on. “So long, it’s been good to know you,” he sang, and off he would go.

What he wrote and sang about caused the oil potentates and preachers who ran Oklahoma to consider him radical and disreputable. For many years he was the state’s prodigal son, but times change, and that’s the big news.  Woody Guthrie has been rediscovered, even though Oklahoma’s more conservative than ever – one of the reddest of our red states with a governor who’s a favorite of the Tea Party.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation has bought Guthrie’s archives – his manuscripts, letters and journals. A center is being built in Tulsa that will make them available to scholars and visitors from all over the world.

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Paterno says he was unsure how to handle abuse tip: report

What the fuck?  Paterno hears that one of his underlings was actually caught anally raping a ten year old and Uncle Joe doesn’t know what he should do.

How fucking morally and ethically challenged is that?

From Raw Story:

By Reuters
Saturday, January 14, 2012

(Reuters) – Joe Paterno, the iconic head of Penn State University’s football program for 46 years fired after former assistant Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sex abuse, said he was unsure of how to deal with the first report about Sandusky that reached him in 2002.

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it, and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” Paterno told the Washington Post.

“So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

 He was referring to a report he received from a young assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who said he had seen Sandusky abusing anally raping a boy in a Penn State locker room shower.
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Coming to Grips With Feminicide

From Truth-Out:

by: Rosa-Linda Fregoso
Friday 13 January 2012

At the end of 2009, we were reviewing the page proofs for “Terrorizing Women: Feminicide* in the Américas”[1] when the Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres (Center for Women’s Human Rights) sent out an email blast announcing the latest feminicide victim in Chihuahua: Flor Alicia Gómez [Figure 1]. A rural teacher in the town of Tomochi, Chihuahua, Flor Alicia was accompanying a group of friends to a meeting when they were assaulted and beaten by an armed commando.Flor Alicia’s body was found the next day. She had been abducted, tortured and killed by a gunshot to the head.

Since the completion of our edited book, violence against women who defend human rights is growing at an alarming rate. Flor Alicia’s is one of many cases of relatives threatened or murdered for the human rights activities of their family members. Several of Flor Alicia’s relatives, including her mother, are well-known human rights defenders in Chihuahua. Her aunt is Alma Gómez, a long-time women’s rights advocate, former state senator and co-founder of Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres and Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas (Justice for Our Daughters) in Chihuahua.[2] Alma Gómez co-authored one of the chapters for “Terrorizing Women.”

Read more work by Rosa-Linda Fregoso and other writers in the Public Intellectual Project.

The violence in Mexico is benumbing. Mexico’s so-called “Drug War” against organized criminal networks has resulted in nearly 50,000 people killed, the majority innocent civilians. Funded by the United States’ $1.4 billion Merida Initiative, the urban deployment of soldiers and federal police to fight organized crime has led to even greater insecurity throughout the country.

In the violence-torn border state of Chihuahua alone, dozens of teachers like Flor Alicia, as well as medical doctors, social service providers, journalists and human rights activists have either been assassinated or threatened. Hundreds more have fled the area. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched Operation Chihuahua in 2008, deploying thousands of soldiers and military police to the region, violence and criminality have reached pandemic proportions, together with a disturbing trend of human rights violations committed by the very same security forces sent to restore order.

“Mexican armed forces,” as journalist Kent Paterson writes, “are notoriously corrupt and have an abhorrent human rights record.” The involvement of Mexican soldiers in widespread torture, disappearance, extrajudicial murders and kidnappings is a stark reminder of the execrable legacy of state terror known as the “Dirty War,” dating to the 1960s. Under the guise of a “national security doctrine,” Mexico’s previous Dirty War involved the violent quelling of labor unionists and indigenous, land rights and student activists. In the current context, the human rights community is increasingly alarmed because the so-called “War on Drugs” is serving as the government’s smokescreen for a “new Dirty War,” aimed once again at criminalizing social activism and civil dissent. Similar to the previous era of state-sanctioned violence, the new Dirty War is being waged against the poor and urban youth, as well as against members the human rights community: labor rights and indigenous rights activists, associations of debtors and displaced people, environmental and anti-violence groups.[3]

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The ‘invented people’ stand little chance

From The Independent UK:

Robert Fisk
Saturday 14 January 2012

 Thank goodness we don’t have to hear Newt Gingrich for a while.His statement that the Palestinians were an “invented people” marked about the lowest point in the Republican-Christian Right-Likudist/Israel relationship. So deep has this pact now become that you can deny the existence of an entire people if you want to become US president. It’s time, surely, to take a look at this extraordinary movement, to remind ourselves – since US “statesmen” cannot – just what its implications really are.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on 23 September, few noticed a quite remarkable reference in his speech. In refusing Newt’s “invented” people’s request for statehood, he made an extremely unpleasant remark about “the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam”. But far more disturbing was this: “In 1984, when I was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubovich. He said to me … you’ll be serving in a house of many lies … remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.”

Did Obama and Clinton or anyone else pick up on this reverent memoir, indeed the only quotation from any of Netanyahu’s meetings which he chose to mention at the UN? For this is the rabbi who viewed himself as a messiah and whose followers stood behind Netanyahu in his successful 1996 election campaign. Only Sefi Rachlevsky in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz appeared to spot the significance of Netanyahu’s remark.

“The Lubavitcher Rebbe [sic] was famous for his vehement opposition to even the tiniest withdrawal from any territory ever held by the Israel Defence Forces, even in the framework of full peace,” Rachlevsky wrote. “The most prominent emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – the great rabbi, as Netanyahu termed him at the United Nations – included Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of the 1994 Hebron massacre, and Yitzhak Ginsburg, the rabbi of Yitzhar, he of the radical book Baruch the Man (which celebrates the massacre).” The rabbi, Rachlevsky continued, believed that in the land of the messiah, there is no room for Arabs. Newt was right on track, it seems. “Thus racism entered Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations – not ‘merely’ against Islam, but also against Arabs.”

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Confiscating Condoms? The Dumbfounding Ways Police Deal With Prostitution

From Alternet:

Each year, scores of new laws are proposed to make prostitution somehow even more illegal than it already is.

By Melissa Gira Grant
January 13, 2012

 It’s not enough for some lawmakers that for the better part of a century, selling and buying sex has been illegal in every state of the union. (The exception is the system of legalized brothels dotting a handful of low-population counties in Nevada, the existence of which has done little to deter an underground, illegal sex trade.) Each year, scores of new laws are proposed to make prostitution somehow even more illegal than it already is.

These laws against prostitution don’t simply increase penalties for buying or selling sex; they extend to creating criminal consequences for every aspect of sex workers’ lives. After just one prostitution arrest, a person can be denied a job, an apartment, or the right to parent her children. She could find herself followed by police just for leaving her home.

Though it’s now fashionable for some anti-prostitution activists and lawmakers to position these laws as being of aid to prostitutes, there is absolutely no moral or legal basis for arresting and jailing a person “for her own good.” Yet this is what we have been told about sex workers: that the conditions of prostitution are so horrific that a jail cell is preferable. For sex workers who escape that cell, they still must face the consequences of their prostitution arrest, and in some cases, for the rest of their lives. Today’s new anti-prostitution laws don’t stop anyone from buying or selling sex – instead, they serve as tools for chipping away at people’s rights through profiling and surveillance, a 21st-century continuation of the Scarlet Letter, establishing an entire underclass of people.

Prostitution-Free Zones

Across the United States, sex workers and people who have been profiled as sex workers report being followed and stopped by police under the pretense that anywhere a sex worker might go and anything a sex worker might do in public will lead to a criminal act. The District of Columbia has formalized this system of profiling and surveillance through establishing “prostitution-free zones.” Under this law, the DC chief of police may declare any area a prostitution-free zone for up to 10 days. This empowers officers to arrest “two or more persons congregating in a public space or property in that area for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or prostitution-related offenses,” whether or not they have actually engaged in a crime. A prostitution-related offense includes loitering for the purposes of prostitution – in other words, a vague crime made only more criminal by the creation of a zone where it is even more easy to accuse and arrest you for it. Consequences include up to 180 days in jail and a $300 fine, or both.

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Ron Paul’s useful idiots on the left

Last night I listened to self-proclaimed libertarian Bill Maher once again state how he supports Ron Paul.  This time Rob Reiner called him on it saying it was only because Ron Paul wants to legalize pot.

I’ve listened to other left wing men blow off women and their concerns about his anti-abortion positions by claiming women should STFU because Ron Paul was anti-war and that was more important.

Ron Paul is also homophobic and racist.  His philosophical political core ideology is based on Ayn Rand’s blitherings and the extreme right wing ideology called  “Objectivitism” in Rand speak.  It is an ideology I first encountered when investigating the ultra right wing extremist group, the John Birch Society.

From The Guardian UK:

Progressives who make common cause with Paul on US foreign policy ignore his stunningly reactionary views on everything else
, Friday 6 January 2012

If you told a liberal in 2008 that progressives ought to give Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul a chance because he was the most anti-war candidate on the ballot, you would have been laughed out of the room – or, more likely, the bar. But in 2012, some prominent (and white, male) progressives are arguing exactly that. What’s changed? Not Ron Paul, that’s for certain.

He’s still the same guy who thinks the US should withdraw from the WTO and the United Nations, and who wants to eliminate foreign aid and the Department of Commerce and all its trade regulation and promotion activities. But, we are told, since he advocates for a complete, immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan (which military intervention, notably, he voted for), he’s a better foreign policy candidate than President Obama.

And, if his newest converts are to be believed, his support for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, his impassioned pleas for a return of Americans’ civil liberties from an overreaching government and his opposition to the drug war are reason enough to give the man a chance. After all, they say, President Obama has not delivered on his promises and supporters’ expectations in those areas, either. But to the women, minorities and LGBT people (and their supporters) who have paid attention to Paul’s record, it comes as little surprise that his most vociferous supporters on the left are pale and male … and their arguments stale.

This is the man who, to trumpet his pro-life agenda in Iowa to social conservatives, released an ad that questions whether repealing Roe v Wade would eliminate women’s abortion rights in enough states, since it would create “abortion tourism” (a situation with which the Irish and the British are already familiar). He opposed the Obama administration’s decision to declare birth control a preventative medicine, which pressures insurance companies to cover it without co-pays. He has said he would allow states to decide same-sex marriage rights for their citizens but keep the Defense of Marriage Act intact – which restricts federal rights, including immigration and social security survivor benefits (among others) to opposite-sex married couples.

He also opposes the US supreme court decision in Lawrence v Texas that decriminalised consensual sodomy in the United States. He opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He wants to restrict birthright citizenship, denying the children of immigrants legal status in the United States if they are born here, voted to force doctors and hospitals to report undocumented immigrants who seek medical treatment, and sponsored bills to declare English the official language of the United States and restrict government communications to English. And that’s just for starters.

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