Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada

Check out Chris’s Blog. She’s another great Canadian blogger

From Christin Milloy:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

by Christin Scarlett Milloy
January 30, 2012

Reposted with permission

The shit hit the fan in the trans blogosphere last night, when it came to light that there is a disturbing new section in the Identity Screening Regulations used in airports throughout Canada. Simply put, Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.

The offending section of the regulations reads:

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;

Although this obviously discriminatory smear of regulation did not come to significant public attention until very recently, it apparently came into effect on July 27th, 2011.

It is important to note that these regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through readings and votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect, which is essentially the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.

Minister of Transportation Denis Lebel is, of course, a federal Conservative MP appointed to the cabinet position by Stephen Harper.

So what does this mean? Well, in order to change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, the federal government requires proof that surgery has taken place, or will take place within one year. So for non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is literally impossible to obtain proper travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.

In the eyes of the honourable Minister of Transportation, that makes trans people unfit to fly in Canada.

It is interesting to note that this regulatory adjustment occurred immediately following the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to explicitly enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had successfully passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when Harper declared a Federal Election (thereby dissolving parliament).

Is the timing of this disturbing and blatantly discriminatory regulatory adjustment merely a coincidence? That is up to you to decide. However, the negative impact on trans people is crystal clear, and we need to take action now.

What You Can Do:

Facebook Group: À bas l’interdiction aérienne transphobe—Against Canada’s trans flight ban

Recommended Further Reading:

Air Canada confirms they must comply with transphobic law (Jennifer McCreath)

Canadian Department of Justice…Here comes Josie!! (TranssisterR8TO)

Belgium Hit by General Strike Over Austerity Measures

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/01/30

“You don’t get growth when you suck the oxygen out of the economy by austerity”

- Common Dreams staff
Published on Monday, January 30, 2012 by Common Dreams

Unions staged a general strike in Belgium today in protest of austerity measures. The strike coincides with a summit by EU leaders in Brussels.

The issues behind the strike are the same as those on the agenda for the summit. Greece’s desperate plight hovers over the meeting, although formally there is no mention of Greece on the agenda or in the statements drafted for the meeting.

Instead the leaders of the 27 governments will discuss how to underpin an EU recovery – of which there is absolutely no sign – with “smart growth” policies, which would entail medium-term structural reforms, cutting labour costs, reshaping labour markets and redirecting surplus EU budget funds towards the eurozone periphery, where the debt crisis is hitting hardest.

The leaders are also to finalise two new treaties directly dealing with the euro crisis.

The first is the German-led “fiscal compact” which supersedes the currency’s rulebook, the stability pact, by enshrining debt and deficit ceilings across the eurozone, giving Brussels greater powers to enforce compliance and penalise offenders, and making the fines imposed on delinquents more automatic and less open to political abuse.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/01/30

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Occupy DC protesters in standoff with police as eviction deadline passes

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/30/occup-dc-protesters-standoff-police

Demonstrators in Washington refuse to comply after National Park Service orders the camp to be cleared on hygiene grounds

guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 January 2012

Occupy demonstrators in Washington DC have chosen to stand their ground in the face of newly-enforced anti-camping regulations – but protesters worry the authorities could move in at any moment.

The National Park Service in Washington announced it would enforce existing anti-camping rules – which bar demonstrators from holding camping gear, bedding and cooking supplies – at two parks that have served as a home to Occupy DC protesters since the fall. In response, demonstrators have turned the central feature of McPherson Square, a statue of General James B McPherson, into a makeshift tent, and have refused to comply with the orders.

The regulations have largely gone unenforced since the occupation of McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza began in October, but from noon on Monday, the NPS said that would no longer be the case. Critics of the protest camps cite health concerns and an alleged rat infestation as grounds to remove the demonstrators, but some see the sudden vigour to enforce the regulations as a pretext for eviction. Legba Carrefour of Occupy DC described the renewed enforcement of the anti-camping rules as “death by a thousand bureaucratic cuts.”

By noon, the confrontation that many expected had not come, and a standoff began. Protesters in McPherson Square had draped a so-called “tent of dreams” over the statue and people quickly gathered inside.

Protester Caty McClure said there were “at least 50″ people gathered inside the giant tent. A speaker explained that the tent represents the protesters’ dreams of a America where corporations could not guide the democratic process, and where housing existed for all. Gathered around the statue the protesters chanted: “Let us sleep so we can dream.” Protesters have surrounded the statue with smaller personal tents.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/30/occup-dc-protesters-standoff-police

Clashes in Oakland: 400 Arrests, Tear Gas, Flash-Bang Grenades

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/153936/clashes_in_oakland%3A_400_arrests%2C_tear_gas%2C_flash-bang_grenades/

Police once again ratcheted up the tension by using force against an entire crowd of protesters.

By Joshua Holland
January 29, 2012

Downtown Oakland turned ugly once again on Saturday, as Occupy activists attempting to squat in a long-abandoned city building were met by lines of heavily-armored riot police. Police officials said that 400 arrests followed – a number that may represent as much as 30 percent of everyone who participated in the day’s actions, according to police estimates of the crowd’s size.

Occupy Oakland organizers said some protesters were hospitalized, but the exact number of injuries is unknown as if this writing. According to organizers, four journalists were swept up by police, including AlterNet contributor Susie Cagle and Mother Jones correspondent Gavin Aronsen. Cagle was reportedly cited and released; organizers say Aronsen was jailed overnight (update: Aronsen tells us that he was released last night).

It was, once again, a tale of two protests. Accounts in the corporate media relied primarily on police statements to paint protesters as wild animals running amok in the city, while those following the day’s events via a small group of “citizen-journalists” broadcasting raw, unedited footage from their cell-phones and flip-cams got a wildly divergent view of exactly how things escalated.

A livestream offered by Occupy Oakland’s Mark Mason and Chris Krakauer showed protesters approaching the Henry Kaiser Convention Center in the early afternoon, where they were greeted by skirmish lines of police clad in riot gear. At one point, Mason, narrating as he moved through the crowd, could be heard saying, “uh-oh, some people are throwing things at the cops,” before moving away from the front-lines. Later, an Occupier visiting from Los Angeles told Mason of confronting one of the protesters who had thrown an object at police. “That’s just stupid, you know,” said the young woman. “And she threw it from the middle of the crowd, which just puts people in the front in danger.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/153936/clashes_in_oakland%3A_400_arrests%2C_tear_gas%2C_flash-bang_grenades/

Quan says she’ll call national Occupy leaders

Will Kane,Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers
Monday, January 30, 2012

(01-30) 13:55 PST OAKLAND — Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said today that she is going to call national leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement and implore them to disown Oakland’s protest movement.

Quan said Saturday’s demonstration, where 400 protesters were arrested and City Hall was vandalized, showed that the contingent of protesters who have targeted Oakland were not as non-violent as they claim they are.

“I plan to call some of the national leadership of Occupy this week to say that the Oakland group is not nonviolent and has not agreed to be nonviolent,” Quan said in an interview on KCBS. “The national Occupy movement has said they are nonviolent.”

Saturday’s protest involved protesters throwing objects at police, breaking into buildings and vandalizing property. Some officers were injured in the melee.

According to jail records, many of those arrested were cited for remaining at the scene of a riot. Some were cited and released at the scene and others were taken to jail and booked on the misdemeanor count. Some posted $2,500 bail after being booked.

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President Obama’s Pro-Choice Birth Control Decision Draws Praise From Religious Leaders

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/obama-birth-control-religious_n_1242680.html


01/30/2012

ORLANDO, Fla. — A group of religious organizations Monday thanked President Obama for his administration’s recent decision on contraception, hoping to bring attention to religious pro-choice voices and to show that not all people of faith disagree with the new law.

Seven religious leaders from the Jewish, Unitarian, Baptist and other faiths addressed a letter to Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. All are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a which includes more than 40 denominations and faith groups to promote education and issues of reproductive choice

“We believe that all women deserve access to affordable birth control, regardless of their employer, and we hope that, in the future, HHS will expand the same preventive coverage to women across the board,” they wrote in the letter, obtained by The Huffington Post.

“As clergy, we are committed to upholding the important goals of reproductive justice and health, empowering women and men to make decisions about whether and when to have and bear children within their own moral and religious tradition, and assuring them the means and ability to raise their children in a safe and healthy environment. Access to reproductive health services recognizes a moral value embraced across the religious spectrum. We thank you for your decision supporting the fundamental value of reproductive health to women and families.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/obama-birth-control-religious_n_1242680.html

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The Austerity Debacle

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

By
Published: January 29, 2012

Last week the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a British think tank, released a startling chart comparing the current slump with past recessions and recoveries. It turns out that by one important measure — changes in real G.D.P. since the recession began — Britain is doing worse this time than it did during the Great Depression. Four years into the Depression, British G.D.P. had regained its previous peak; four years after the Great Recession began, Britain is nowhere close to regaining its lost ground.

Nor is Britain unique. Italy is also doing worse than it did in the 1930s — and with Spain clearly headed for a double-dip recession, that makes three of Europe’s big five economies members of the worse-than club. Yes, there are some caveats and complications. But this nonetheless represents a stunning failure of policy.

And it’s a failure, in particular, of the austerity doctrine that has dominated elite policy discussion both in Europe and, to a large extent, in the United States for the past two years.

O.K., about those caveats: On one side, British unemployment was much higher in the 1930s than it is now, because the British economy was depressed — mainly thanks to an ill-advised return to the gold standard — even before the Depression struck. On the other side, Britain had a notably mild Depression compared with the United States.

Even so, surpassing the track record of the 1930s shouldn’t be a tough challenge. Haven’t we learned a lot about economic management over the last 80 years? Yes, we have — but in Britain and elsewhere, the policy elite decided to throw that hard-won knowledge out the window, and rely on ideologically convenient wishful thinking instead.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

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Monsanto petition tells Obama: ‘Cease FDA ties to Monsanto’

From The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/monsanto-petition-tells-obama-cease-fda-ties-to-monsanto/2012/01/30/gIQAA9dZcQ_blog.html

A two-year-old Food and Drug Administration appointment is stirring up online protests once more.

By
01/30/2012

A two-year-old Food and Drug Administration appointment is stirring up online protests once more.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Michael Taylor as a senior adviser for the FDA. Consumer groups protested the appointment because Taylor had formerly served as a vice president for Monsanto, the controversial agricultural multinational at the forefront of genetically modified food.

In recent days, a petition calling for the former Monsanto VP’s ouster is gaining steam.

“President Obama, I oppose your appointment of Michael Taylor,” the petition on Signon.org reads. “Taylor is the same person who was Food Safety Czar at the FDA when genetically modified organisms were allowed into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks. This is a travesty.”

Over the weekend, the petition was signed by thousands of people. At this writing, it has around 60,000 signatures of its 75,000 goal.

Requests for comment from Monsanto and the FDA were not immediately returned.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/monsanto-petition-tells-obama-cease-fda-ties-to-monsanto/2012/01/30/gIQAA9dZcQ_blog.html

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