Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else

Tired of Trans-Purity Wars, Tired of Identity Politics

I get called a Trans-Separatist even though I find the energy exerted by those sisters who spend so much of their time defining themselves by their difference from “The Transgenders” to be a waste of both time and energy.

I’m hard pressed to see how transsexuals and transgenders fighting with each other accomplishes much of anything.  It’s like sitting at the computer engaging in a never ending game of “World of Warcraft”.

If one person isn’t being demonized it is someone else.

Today on Pam’s House Blend Autumn posted a piece about being out as transgender.  Great if that’s what works for her, then that is perfectly fine for her.

For me outing myself tends to be clumsy, like sharing too much information.  So I rarely do it.

Yesterday I learned from the one friend I have from High School that another friend of mine, a classmate lives in the D/FW area, where I live. I looked at his Facebook Profile.

If my life weren’t complicated by having changed sex back in 1969 I’d friend him.  But I did and so I hesitate, I don’t really feel much like educating him regarding something I did so many years ago, even though I suspect he might have known something was different about me way back in High School.

Honestly speaking being post-transsexual can sometimes be a real pain in the ass when it comes to complicating life and relationships.

Because of this, even though I blog as post-transsexual having once been transsexual isn’t that big a part of who I am.

Unfortunately a lot of different people want my having been transsexual many years ago to carry a lot more baggage than it generally does in the world I live in.

I’m not a “trans-activist” but I generally support the trans-activist in their goals of passing hate crimes laws and non-discrimination laws.  I do this just as I support other minority groups having those things.

But I don’t want to be drawn into petty bullshit arguments regarding people like Dan Savage, who I generally like.  Don’t expect me to automatically go along with you when you decide certain gay and lesbian people are your enemies because they said something you don’t like.  The quickest way to alienate me from you or your cause is for you to start using the f-word or bad mouthing feminists.

I don’t like the petty bullshit of horizontal hostility.  I don’t like the streaks of homophobia and misogyny  that crop up among TS/TG folks.

I don’t like the bashing of activists, particularly those TS/TG activists who are working in HRC and GLAAD.  When You start bashing them to me perhaps it would be wise for you to consider that I might well be Facebook friends with those people.  The same goes when you randomly bash various feminists or gay men.

You might be bashing someone I respect and think is working hard for progressive change in society, or someone I consider an important person in history.

Don’t expect me to join in.

Politics trump identity as far as I am concerned.  If you are a right wing Republican Fundie Christian it doesn’t matter if we shared a fucking hospital room when we had our SRS, you are not my sister.

My sisters and brothers support Occupy.  They support marriage equality and an inclusive ENDA.  If they aren’t atheist they nonetheless support a separation of church and state and freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion.

I’m old, lately I’ve started hitting a community health club because retirement isn’t going to happen and good jobs are vanishing.  With age and sobriety I’ve learned to not sweat the petty shit.  Deal with the big issues.

Glitter bombing Dan Savage is bullshit.  Seriously…  If Dan Savage or some gay man using the word “tranny” is the biggest problem in your life you have way too much fucking privilege.

I’ve been reading Dan Savage’s columns for nearly 20 years.  Do I always agree with him?  Hell no.  Has he done more good than harm over the years?  Yeah, hell yeah.  His making Santorum synonymous with a frothy mix of shit and anal lube earned him that.  I won’t go into the “It Get’s  Better” campaign.

While this stuff was going on Vanessa Foster and other TS/TG activists have been part of Occupy.  Not as a publicity tool but because they recognize that without decent jobs that pay living wages things like non-discrimination policies are meaningless.  But more importantly by working with things like Occupy you can gain the support of others beyond your sphere of identity politics, people who will support an inclusive ENDA.

From listening to those involved in the purity wars and identity politics one would never realize there is a war against women going on.  This is seriously a case where if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

Too often I hear both TS and TG folks bring up the crap spewed by a small group of self anointed “radical feminists”.  Yeah their crap is BS.  But look at the mountain of crap the right wing is about to dump on all women, TS and TG included.  You aren’t special  just because you give misogyny a different name when it is applied to you.  Calling it transphobia doesn’t make it any different from the misogyny that is being dumped on all women.

Too often both transsexual and transgender women come off as lacking any connectedness to assigned female at birth women.  It seems like they think AFAB women live in this wonderful world behind the pink door where they never face any real discrimination, never have to cope with lookism, ageism, sexism or gender discrimination based on stereotypes dictated by the patriarchy, and quisling women who suck up to the patriarchy.

I get tired of the trans-obsession.  I don’t give a shit if the latest super model is trans.  Good for her..  I still won’t buy the clothes and fashion magazines are still a waste of trees.

When people use the term “gender-variant” regarding me I want to punch them until they die.  Especially if they get their panties in a knot when some nelly queen uses the word “tranny.”  Don’t claim grievous insult and then go around insulting people.  Or as they say in Brooklyn, “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!”

If you want me to pay more than passing attention to transgender causes it is time to drop the anger towards gay and lesbian people working for same sex marriage.

Particularly if you are in a heterosexual privileged marriage where your marriage is recognized everywhere in the nation and by the federal government.  If you turn around and bitch about gay and lesbian people working towards  their relationships having the same rights and privileges, well then as they say in Brooklyn, “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!”

So go ahead call me a separatist or whatever.  I’m sick and tired of being expected to go along with stuff that is bullshit.  I’m sick of y’all never turning out for gay/lesbian causes or for women’s cause or working people’s cause.

You aren’t special. Transsexual and or transgender is just one of hundreds of different things that result in getting dumped on and used as scapegoats by the rich white scum suckers that run the world.

Noam Chomsky, Hegemony and Its Dilemmas

From Tom Dispatch:

Posted by Noam Chomsky
February 14, 2012

Back in May 2007, I stumbled across online sketches at the website of a Kansas architectural firm hired to build a monster U.S. embassy-cum-citadel-cum-Greater-Middle-Eastern command center on 104 acres in the middle of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.  They offered an artist’s impressions of what the place would look like — a giant self-sufficient compound both prosaic (think malls or housing projects) and opulent (a giant pool, tennis courts, a recreation center).

Struck by the fact that the U.S. government was intent on building the largest embassy ever in the planet’s oil heartlands, I wrote a piece, “The Mother Ship Lands in Iraq” about those plans and offered a little tour of the project via those crude drawings.  From TomDispatch, they then began to run around the Internet and soon a panicky State Department had declared a “security breach” and forced the firm to pull the sketches off its website.

Now, more than five years later, we have the first public photos of the embassy — a pool, basketball court, tennis courts, and food court to die for — just as the news has arrived that the vast boondoggle of a place, built for three-quarters of a billion of your tax dollars, with a $6 billion State Department budget this year and its own mercenary air force, is about to get its staff of 16,000 slashed.  In a Washington Post piece on the subject, Senator Patrick Leahy is quoted as saying: “I’ve been in embassies all over the world, and you come to this place and you’re like: ‘Whoa. Wow.’ All of a sudden you’ve got something so completely out of scale to anything, you have to wonder, what were they thinking when they first built it?”

The answer is: in 2004, when planning for this white elephant of embassies first began, the Bush administration was still dreaming of a Washington-enforced Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East and saw it as its western command post.  Now, of course, the vast American mega-bases in Iraq with their multiple bus routes, giant PXes, Pizza Huts, Cinnabons, and Burger Kings, where American troops were to be garrisoned on the “Korean model” for decades to come, are so many ghost towns, fading American ziggurats in Mesopotamia.  Similarly, those embassy photos seem like snapshots from Pompeii just as the ash was beginning to fall.  Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the news is similarly dismal with drawdowns and withdrawals suddenly the order of the day.  Something’s changing.  It feels tectonic.  Certainly, we’re receiving another set of signs that American imperial plans on the Eurasian mainland have crashed and burned and that the U.S. is now regrouping and heading “offshore.”

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The Billionaire’s Brokered GOP Convention?

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The Long History of the War Against Contraception

From New Deal 2.0:

by Ellen Chesler
Tuesday, 02/14/2012

For those surprised about the recent fervor over Obama’s contraception coverage decision, a look at its deep roots.

Republicans for Planned Parenthood last week issued a call for nominations for the 2012 Barry Goldwater award, an annual prize awarded to a Republican legislator who has acted to protect women’s health and rights. Past recipients include Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who this week endorsed President Obama’s solution for insuring full coverage of the cost of contraception without exceptions, even for employees of religiously affiliated institutions. And that may tell us all we need to know about why President Obama has the upper hand in a debate over insurance that congressional Tea Partiers have now widened to include anyone who seeks an exemption.

It’s a long time ago, but it is worth remembering that conservative avatar Goldwater was in his day an outspoken supporter of women’s reproductive freedom — a freethinker who voted his conscience over the protests of Catholic bishops and all others who tried to claim these matters as questions of conscientious liberty and not sensible social policy. With Goldwater on his side, Obama sees a clear opening for skeptics wary of the extremism that has captured Republican hopefuls in thrall to the fundamentalist base that controls the GOP presidential primary today. Holding firm on family planning — even if it means taking on the Catholic hierarchy and other naysayers by offering a technical fix that would have insurers cover costs instead of the churches themselves — is a calculated political strategy by the Obama campaign, not a blunder as it has been characterized by many high powered pundits, including progressives like Mark Shields of PBS and E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post.

Recent public opinion polling on the subject is worth reconsidering. For years, it has been perfectly clear that a substantial majority of Americans see the value of expanding access to contraception and reliable sex education as essential tools to prevent unwanted pregnancy and abortion and to help women balance the competing demands of work and family. But unlike a zealous minority on the other side, these moderates have not necessarily privileged these social concerns over important questions of economics or national security that mattered more to them at election time.

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Keystone XL Pipeline: Texas Farmer Wins Temporary Restraining Order Against TransCanada

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 2/14/12

A coalition of environmentalists, conservative property rights activists and landowners are mounting a full court press against TransCanada in an attempt to derail the oil company’s attempts to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. On Monday, they won a small victory when a Lamar County judge issued a temporary restraining order against the company’s plans to do construction work on a farm near Paris, Texas.

The coalition’s efforts are reminiscent of another battle during the last decade over eminent domain in Texas, concerning a massive “superhighway,” known as the Trans-Texas Corridor, that Republican Gov. Rick Perry had sought to build with the help of a Spanish company. Perry lost that fight to a coalition of conservative ranchers and environmentalists, dealing him a serious political blow.

“We are involved because it’s starting to look a whole lot like the Trans-Texas Corridor battle,” said Terri Hall, founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom. “When push comes to shove, it’s clear to me that my party is more interested in oil and gas interests than property rights,” added Hall, a Republican.

Debra Medina, a property rights activist and Republican, has counted 89 cases so far in Texas where TransCanada had exercised eminent domain, she said. The company cites the pipeline’s status as a “common carrier” under Texas law as the reason for its ability to use governmental power to take land. Eminent domain battles have periodically erupted as TransCanada has bought easements on property for the pipeline that would cross six U.S. states if built.

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‘Who runs Greece? Bankers who pit poor vs poor’

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A Redo on the Walmartization of America, Redux

From Common Dreams:

Occupy? Not Until We Confront the High Cost of Cheap Stuff

by John Atcheson
Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 by Common Dreams

Readers responded to my December 16th article, entitled The Walmartization of America, Redux, with a fascinating and informed discussion about the evils of box stores.

Well, yes, but  the article was meant to be a metaphor; the high cost of cheap spreads way beyond the walls of the box stores.

The fact is, the entire US economy is predicated on the notion that success is defined as getting us ever more stuff at lower prices.

And the fact is, we’ve bought into it, lock, stock and barrel.  For too many of us, gewgaws, gadgets and gizmos – an unending stream of stuff – has become the primary criterion of happiness.

And it’s costing us plenty. Both in terms of our economy and our political system.

Never mind that we destroyed the US’s entire manufacturing capacity in the pursuit of cheap.

Never mind that we’ve traded in freedom, ethics and community for a 73-inch-flat-screen-3D-stereo-surround-sound-home theater, a happy meal and a smiley face.

Never mind that yesterday’s fantasy is today’s must have, and that we’ve yoked ourselves to a never ending and futile pursuit of stuff in the mistaken belief that more of it will make us happy.

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Sit In at Travis County Clerk’s Office #occupylove

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New Jersey Senate Votes to Legalize Gay Marriage

From The New York Times:

Published: February 13, 2012

TRENTON — The New Jersey State Senate voted on Monday to legalize same-sex marriage, a significant shift in support from two years ago, when a similar measure failed.

The legislation faces a vote on Thursday in the State Assembly, but even if that chamber passes the measure, as expected, Gov. Chris Christie, who favors holding a referendum on the issue, has said he will veto it.

But advocates hailed the Senate vote as a huge advance, noting that they won 10 more votes than they did two years ago. And both supporters and opponents said they were surprised by the margin: the bill needed 21 votes to succeed and passed 24 to 16.

“The margin brought the notion of an override out of fantasyland,” said Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay rights group. “Before today, I would have said the chances of an override were one in a million. Now I’d say it’s about one in two.”

Overriding the anticipated veto would require the approval of two-thirds of both houses, which in the Senate translates to 27 votes. But Democrats, who control the Legislature and have made the bill their top priority this year, argue that they have nearly two years — until the session ends on Jan. 14, 2014 — to muster just three more votes than they won on Monday.

Most significantly, supporters won the support of the Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, who abstained from voting two years ago. He has since called that the biggest mistake of his political life, and is the bill’s chief proponent. As the tally was flashed on a board above the Senate chamber, Senator Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester County, thrust a thumbs-up in the air.

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Trader Joe’s Caves to Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Signs Fair Food Agreement

From In These Times:

By Josh Eidelson
Monday Feb 13, 2012

Months-long pressure campaign pays off

On Thursday, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers announced it had signed a Fair Food Agreement with Trader Joe’s, a significant step forward its efforts to bring fairness and accountability to the food industry.  “We are truly happy today to welcome Trader Joe’s aboard the Fair Food Program,” CIW’s Gerardo Reyes said in a joint statement issued by CIW and Trader Joe’s.  “Trader Joe’s is cherished by its customers for a number of reasons, but high on that list is the company’s commitment to ethical purchasing practices.”

The same statement, which the company has posted as a letter to customers on its website, hails Fair Food as “a groundbreaking approach to social responsibility in the U.S. produce industry that combines the Fair Food Code of Conduct…with a small price premium to help improve harvesters’ wages.” Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for further comment.

But it wasn’t long ago that activists were carrying “Traitor Joe’s” banners, and Trader Joe’s was condemning Fair Food Agreements as “overreaching, ambiguous, and improper.”

Trader Joe’s’ reversal follows a months-long campaign. As Michelle Chen has reported for In These Times, it included “Trader Joe’s tours” last summer that picketed stores, educated consumers, and met with allies along the East and West Coasts.

In Boston, a group of fifth graders organized a rally outside a store. In New York, activists held a 1.6 mile run between two stores. The announcement of the settlement came on the eve of two planned days of coordinated protest pegged to the grand opening of Trader Joe’s’ first-ever Florida location. That store, the company’s 367th, is located on Immokalee Road in Naples, 35 miles from the fields where the CIW was born.

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The right’s newest welfare queen is white. And from Philly.

From Philadelphia City Paper:

by Daniel Denvir
February 13, 2012

Charles Murray, a leading right-wing polemicist, has spent three decades beating up on poor black people. His new book, however, is an act of more equal opportunity opprobrium, arguing that white working class America is in crisis because it has a fucked up and backward culture. And his main example is Philadelphia’s Fishtown.

Murray published summaries of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 in the Wall Street Journal and another in the right-wing New Criterion. His argument is a mean and vicious slander against the people of Fishtown and working class people everywhere, detailing the decline of what he calls the “Founding virtues” of industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religion amongst the rabble. It’s based on the Philadelphia neighborhood, but Murray uses “Fishtown” as an exemplar to generalize about white Americans with “no academic degree higher than a high school diploma…[and unemployed or working in] a blue-collar, service, or low-level white-collar occupation.”

Murray complains that Fishtown residents are increasingly less moral than people in Belmont, based on the wealthy white Boston suburb full of “successful people in managerial and professional occupations―the elites who are in positions of influence over the nation’s economy, media, intellectual life, and politics.” Which is where Mitt Romney lives―so I suppose he offers a lesson in hypocrisy, avarice and greed, huh? But beyond Murray’s poisonous politics, the biggest problem is that his argument is wrong.

He says that the real Fishtown went from “a tightly knit, family oriented, hard-drinking, hard-working, hard-fighting blue-collar neighborhood” in the 1950s  to a “a neighborhood that had experienced the decline of industriousness among males, the drop in marriage, rise in nonmarital births, rise in crime, and falling away from religion” today.

He fails to note the the decline in “industriousness” parallels a breathtaking decline in actual industry.

Thanks to deindustrialization there are far fewer good jobs today for people in Fishtown than there were in his 1950s glory days. While Occupy Wall Street condemns corporate greed for fueling Gilded Age-style income inequality, Murray blames working-class people in places like Fishtown for their problems.

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Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told

From The Daily Beast:

Is Mitt Romney so weak he won’t be able to stand up to Congress?

by David Frum
Feb 13, 2012

The most quoted speech at CPAC this year was Mitt Romney’s, but my vote for the most significant goes to Grover Norquist’s. In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.

They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:

All we have to do is replace Obama. …  We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

The requirement for president?

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.

This is not a very complimentary assessment of Romney’s leadership. It’s also not a very realistic political program: congressional Republicans have a disapproval rating of about 75%. If Americans get the idea that a vote for Romney is a vote for the Ryan plan, Romney is more or less doomed.

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Max Keiser: Financial holocaust looms as Germany storms Greece

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Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science

From The Guardian UK:

Libertarian thinktank keeps prominent sceptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from carbon industry, papers suggest

, US environment correspondent, Tuesday 14 February 2012

The inner workings of a libertarian thinktank working to discredit the established science on climate change have been exposed by a leak of confidential documents detailing its strategy and fundraising networks.

DeSmogBlog, which broke the story, said it had received the confidential documents from an “insider” at the Heartland Institute, which is based in Chicago. The blog monitors industry efforts to discredit climate science.

The scheme includes spending $100,000 on commissioning an alternative curriculum for schoolchildren that will cast doubt on global warming.

It was not possible to immediately verify the authenticity of the documents. “There is nothing I can tell you,” Jim Lakely, Heartland’s communications director, said in a telephone interview. “We are investigating what we have seen on the internet and we will have more to say in the morning.” Lakely made no attempt to deny the veracity of information contained in the documents.

The Heartland Institute, founded in 1984, has built a reputation over the years for providing a forum for climate change deniers. But it is especially known for hosting a series of lavish conferences of climate science doubters at expensive hotels at New York’s Time Square as well as in Washington DC.

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The “Rubber Stamp Attack:” Speaking Truth to Power Against the Latest Sweeping Abortion Restrictions in Kansas

From RH Reality Check:

by Kari Ann Rinker, National Organization for Women (NOW), Kansas
February 13, 2012

This week, the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee heard the largest, most expansive abortion restriction bill in the nation.  HB 2598 is a 68-page piece of legislation, that manages to cobble together many of the most extreme restrictions from abortion legislation currently under litigation in three other states.  It would require a physician to inform women who seek an abortion about a non-existent link between breast cancer and abortion, would require that an audible Doppler ultrasound of the heartbeat be played for the woman prior to an abortion procedure, and prohibits  “wrongful life” and “wrongful birth” civil causes of action to be brought in the state of Kansas.  These three components are currently being litigated in South Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma, respectfully.

Kansans for Life presented their “star witness” to testify in favor of the abortion-breast cancer link.  Angela Lanfranchi, M.D. from The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.  She stood in front of the committee and presented a slide show based upon one independent, 25 year old, non-peer reviewed study to refute information by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization (among others).  Representative Sean Gatewood (D) asked why the committee should toss aside the findings of these reputable sources and Ms. Lanfranchi chalked it all up to a vast “abortion conspiracy much like what was found when tobacco was protected by the NCI years ago.”

HB 2598 also prohibits schools, their employees, volunteers and educational service providers from providing abortion services.  This is at its most obvious, an attack on Planned Parenthood and their age-appropriate human sexuality programs that are brought into schools and other community venues.  It would have the added consequence of prohibiting people who provide abortions, or who work at abortion providers from volunteering in their children’s schools.

HB 2598 also has a section that effects Kansas tax code.  It would eliminate deferred maintenance tax credits for institutions, would prohibit the use of tax credits and tax exemptions for any “abortion riders” that an employer or individual may wish to purchase, now that abortion can no longer legally be covered on health insurance plans within the state.  The deferred maintenance elimination is a particularly heinous component, in that the Kansas University School of Medicine would be prevented from teaching abortion procedures, thus losing accreditation.  Representative Judy Loganbill (D) asked Representative Lance Kinzer (R) (the author of the bill) about this provision.  Representative Kinzer responded by stating that he “thinks” physicians could train someone how to do an abortion “without really doing an abortion”.

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