Transgender Exercise of Male Privilege

It is an exercise of male privilege and expectations, of possessing male authority, when those who have penises presume the right to dictate to women how they should think and behave.  That includes dictating thought and behavior to post-transsexual women who had sex reassignment surgery and now have female parts.

It is an exercise of male privilege to presume those transgender people, who have an intact from birth penises, have the right to verbally abuse and harass post-transsexual women, who have committed the thought crime of believing they are ordinary women now and are not part of the Transgender Borg Collective.

It is male privilege to presume to speak for F to Ms or to use F to Ms as a club to drive in the idea that actual sex changing surgery is an unreasonable thing to expect people to do in order to be considered members of the sex to which they transition.

It is an exercise in male privilege to demean the sex organs of post-op transsexual women.

It is a presumption of male privilege to expect to be permitted into female only space while still in the possession of a prick.  That goes for the women’s locker room and for things like the MWMF.

It is an exercise in male privilege to expect me to side with you instead of with women.  Even if in certain cases a few those women would exclude me as well.  If that is the personal cost of supporting women’s rights I am willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of women.

It is an exercise in male privilege to tell me that I have been drafted into a cult I never joined, that didn’t exist until recently.  To tell me that because you baptized me into this cult against my will I can never leave the cult.

It is sociopathic male behavior to threaten, bully, verbally abuse and harass post-transsexual women, who refuse to be part of the Transgender Borg Cult.

It is sociopathic male privilege to think it is alright to abuse us for wanting to be ordinary women after we have had our surgery and in some case have been post-op for far more than half our lives.

It is male privilege to create transvestite dialectics and then impose them upon post-transsexual women as it invalidates our lives.

It is male privilege to presume you have the right to invalidate the lives of women in order to validate your claims to being women even though you have a penis between your legs instead of a vagina.

It is male privilege to not care that substituting gender for sex is the worst form of misogyny as it reimposes the use of stereotypical sex roles  upon all women, those same sex roles that have kept women the second sex for thousands of years.

It is male privilege to tell female people that you get to define woman and that having a penis should not keep one from being considered female.

It is male privilege to decouple  woman from female, to demand adherence to gender stereotypes when adherence to rigid gender stereotypes has been a patriarchal tool used to oppress women and which has become part of a massive attack upon women’s most basic rights.

 

Punishing Protest, Policing Dissent: What Is the Justice System for?

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/punishing-protest-policing-dissent-what-justice-system/1329418798

by: Erik Hoffner
Monday 20 February 2012

This year promises to be another historic year of people calling for change worldwide. Citizens took to the streets for a wide variety of reasons, from the Wisconsin Capitol to DC, which hosted many actions last year, including the highly visible civil disobedience of activists seeking to halt the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The resulting mass arrests, totaling over 1,200 by early September, surely played a large role in President Obama’s decision to delay approval of that climate- and water-supply-threatening project.

The climate justice movement also experienced a low point this year, though, when its most visible young leader, Tim DeChristopher, was sentenced to two years in prison for disrupting a federal oil and gas lease auction by peaceful means. Even though the auction was later shown to be illegal, DeChristopher’s case proceeded in a manner that made it clear that the government’s prosecutor sought to make an example of an activist who showed no remorse.

For his part, Tim saw it as a necessary action to protect his future from runaway climate change, and seemed ready to prove that his movement is unafraid of such retribution when he refused to apologize or take a plea deal. As he told Terry Tempest Williams in Orion recently, “… it’s important to make sure that the government doesn’t win in their quest to intimidate people … They’re trying to make an example out of me to scare other people into obedience.” The punishing protest is not unusual, and can result in long-term victories for those targeted, but that didn’t comfort Patrick Shea, DeChristopher’s lawyer, who said in a recent post that he’d witnessed “a miscarriage of justice, fairness, and what I believed America stood for.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/punishing-protest-policing-dissent-what-justice-system/1329418798

How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/20

by Ellen Brown
Published on Monday, February 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

In an article titled “Still No End to ‘Too Big to Fail,’” William Greider wrote in The Nation on February 15th:

Financial market cynics have assumed all along that Dodd-Frank did not end “too big to fail” but instead created a charmed circle of protected banks labeled “systemically important” that will not be allowed to fail, no matter how badly they behave.

That may be, but there is one bit of bad behavior that Uncle Sam himself does not have the funds to underwrite: the $32 trillion market in credit default swaps (CDS).  Thirty-two trillion dollars is more than twice the U.S. GDP and more than twice the national debt.

CDS are a form of derivative taken out by investors as insurance against default.  According to the Comptroller of the Currency, nearly 95% of the banking industry’s total exposure to derivatives contracts is held by the nation’s five largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs.  The CDS market is unregulated, and there is no requirement that the “insurer” actually have the funds to pay up.  CDS are more like bets, and a massive loss at the casino could bring the house down.

It could, at least, unless the casino is rigged.  Whether a “credit event” is a “default” triggering a payout is determined by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), and it seems that the ISDA is owned by the world’s largest banks and hedge funds.  That means the house determines whether the house has to pay.

The Houses of Morgan, Goldman and the other Big Five are justifiably worried right now, because an “event of default” declared on European sovereign debt could jeopardize their $32 trillion derivatives scheme.  According to Rudy Avizius in an article on The Market Oracle (UK) on February 15th, that explains what happened at MF Global, and why the 50% Greek bond write-down was not declared an event of default.

If you paid only 50% of your mortgage every month, these same banks would quickly declare you in default.  But the rules are quite different when the banks are the insurers underwriting the deal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/20

David Lazarus: Paid time off? The U.S. is no holiday

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Opus Dei: Neofascism Within the Catholic Church

From Daily Kos:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/19/1066389/-Opus-Dei-Neofascism-Within-the-Catholic-Church

OllieGarkey
Sun Feb 19, 2012

What we are seeing today in the fight over birth control is a revival of a very old, and very dangerous kind of Catholicism. It is not one supported or practiced by most Rank and File Catholics. It is a kind of Catholicism which has done irreparable harm. It is a kind of Catholicism unfit for existence in the modern world.

It was the underpinning of the regimes of Mussolini in Italy, The National Catholicism of Francisco Franco, in Spain; The Parti Rexiste in Belgium; The Irish Blueshirts; The Croatian Ustaše, the Nazi puppet government in Croatia, and ultimately, was the kind of Catholicism practiced by the Sainted Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Catholic order Opus Dei.

That’s where the story begins and ends: Opus Dei.

Spain, The Founding of Opus Dei

Josemaría Escrivá is the best place to start. He was a catholic priest during the Second Spanish Republic, who developed a kind of Catholicism in the late 1920′s which Fascists found very attractive. He rose to prominence and political influence during Franco’s spain. His book describing Opus Dei was first published with an introduction by a Pro-Franco bishop, which contained many statements in support of National Catholicism. Saint Escriva personally preached to Franco during a week-long prayer retreat at Franco’s Palace.

Saint Escriva has been accused by catholic priests who knew him of Holocaust Denial, and many recall statements by Escriva defending Hitler. Saint Escriva has said that hitler couldn’t have killed 6 million Jews, and that “Hitler against the Jews” really meant “Hitler against communism.”

He famously wrote a letter to Franco in the 1950′s saying

Although a stranger to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found. I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.

None of this is to say that all Catholics supported Franco. Plenty of Catholic bishops and priests opposed him, including bishop Mateo Múgica, and Cardinal Francisco Vidal Y Barraquer. I would also like to point out that neither Vidal Y Barraquer or Mateo Mugica were sainted. They are relatively forgotten. Múgica doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page in English.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/19/1066389/-Opus-Dei-Neofascism-Within-the-Catholic-Church

What’s My Debt, Dad? ‘Greece left to beg for pocket money’

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Pain Without Gain

From The New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/opinion/krugman-pain-without-gain.html?_r=1

By
Published: February 19, 2012

Last week the European Commission confirmed what everyone suspected: the economies it surveys are shrinking, not growing. It’s not an official recession yet, but the only real question is how deep the downturn will be.

And this downturn is hitting nations that have never recovered from the last recession. For all America’s troubles, its gross domestic product has finally surpassed its pre-crisis peak; Europe’s has not. And some nations are suffering Great Depression-level pain: Greece and Ireland have had double-digit declines in output, Spain has 23 percent unemployment, Britain’s slump has now gone on longer than its slump in the 1930s.

Worse yet, European leaders — and quite a few influential players here — are still wedded to the economic doctrine responsible for this disaster.

For things didn’t have to be this bad. Greece would have been in deep trouble no matter what policy decisions were taken, and the same is true, to a lesser extent, of other nations around Europe’s periphery. But matters were made far worse than necessary by the way Europe’s leaders, and more broadly its policy elite, substituted moralizing for analysis, fantasies for the lessons of history.

Specifically, in early 2010 austerity economics — the insistence that governments should slash spending even in the face of high unemployment — became all the rage in European capitals. The doctrine asserted that the direct negative effects of spending cuts on employment would be offset by changes in “confidence,” that savage spending cuts would lead to a surge in consumer and business spending, while nations failing to make such cuts would see capital flight and soaring interest rates. If this sounds to you like something Herbert Hoover might have said, you’re right: It does and he did.

Now the results are in — and they’re exactly what three generations’ worth of economic analysis and all the lessons of history should have told you would happen. The confidence fairy has failed to show up: none of the countries slashing spending have seen the predicted private-sector surge. Instead, the depressing effects of fiscal austerity have been reinforced by falling private spending.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/opinion/krugman-pain-without-gain.html?_r=1

Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/20/canada-eu-tar-sands

The row over the EU’s plan to label tar sands oil as highly polluting escalates as Canada says it ‘will not hesitate to defend its interests’


guardian.co.uk
, Monday 20 February 2012

Canada has threatened a trade war with European Union over the bloc’s plan to label oil from Alberta’s vast tar sands as highly polluting, the Guardian can reveal, before a key vote in Brussels on 23 February.

“Canada will not hesitate to defend its interests, including at the World Trade Organisation,” state letters sent to European commissioners by Canada’s ambassador to the EU and its oil minister, released under freedom of information laws.

The move is a significant escalation of the row over the EU’s plans, which Canada fears would set a global precedent and derail its ability to exploit its tar sands, which are the biggest fossil fuel reserve in the world after Saudi Arabia. Environmental groups argue that exploitation of the tar sands, also called oil sands, is catastrophic for the global climate, as well as causing serious air and water pollution in Alberta.

Darek Urbaniak, at Friends of the Earth Europe, which obtained the new documents, said: “These letters are further evidence of Canadian government and industry lobbying, which continuously undermines efforts to combat climate change. We find it unacceptable that the Canadian government now openly uses direct threats at the highest political levels to derail crucial EU climate legislation.”

The unveiling of Canada’s threats is the latest in a series of recent embarrassing revelations. On 12 February, the occurrence of a secret strategy “retreat” in London in 2011 was discovered. High-level officials discussed the “critical” issue of winning the tar sands argument in the EU, to “mitigate the impact on the Canadian brand” and to protect the “huge investments from the likes of Shell, BP, Total and Statoil”. Representatives of Shell, Total and Statoil attended the meeting alongside the UK’s state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/20/canada-eu-tar-sands

Why Is Rick Santorum Obsessed With Your Sex Life?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/story/154211/why_is_rick_santorum_obsessed_with_your_sex_life/

Most Republicans like to talk about contraception and sexuality without actually talking about sex. Santorum seems to revel in it–and it freaks the GOP out.

By Ana Marie Cox
February 19, 2012

Instead of writing this column, I should just be able to turn in a picture of the witness table at Thursday’s congressional hearing (convened by showy California Republican Representative Darrell Issa) on Obama’s birth control policy: five middle-aged men. When Democrats tried to put a female college student on the witness list, Issa rejected the appeal, saying:

“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception, but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”

I watched an hour or so of the hearing and I’ll give Issa partial credit: the hearing was definitely about the administration, and it was definitely not about reproductive rights. It was about the opposite of reproductive rights.

Republican congressmen used their time on the C-Span stage to rail against the administration supposedly overstepping its bounds, a weird formulation when you consider that providing birth control is a way of offering people more choices, more freedom. There was a lot of hand-wringing about Obama’s lack of respect for the first amendment, a topic guaranteed to generate so much echo-chamber energy that it propelled some representatives to eyebrow-raising rhetorical excess. Rep Trey Gowdy (Republican, South Carolina), veering off the whole “religious freedom” script, questioned government involvement in birth control access on any level: “What,” he sputtered, “is the compelling state interest in providing free contraception?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/154211/why_is_rick_santorum_obsessed_with_your_sex_life/

Touré: “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?”

From The Dallas Morning News:  http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20120217-point-person-our-qa-with-author-toure.ec

February 19, 2012

In his new book, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, social commentator Touré explores the question of what it means to be black in America in the aftermath of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Touré recently shared his observations about post-blackness and the nuances of growing up without many of the traditional constraints of earlier generations.

So what is post-blackness?

I’m talking about a concept of being rooted in, but not constrained by, blackness. So if you are black and come from the black community, there is an air about black traditions. But that doesn’t constrain who we are. You have the freedom to do anything you want, especially those things that are not considered normative blackness. There is no reason you can’t do yoga or eat sushi or be a Republican.

A key example of how this works I mention in the book. I went skydiving, and on my way there I’m told my people don’t do that. The one thing that I got from parachuting down was this sense that there must be a God and what a small part of the world I am. If I had not done that, I would have missed out on an opportunity to grow as a human being.

You make a distinction between post-racial and post-blackness. What do you mean?

Post-blackness is about a freedom to view in all complexity what it means to be black. Post-racial is a very weird, amorphous, undefined term that generally when I hear it, I find that people mean a time when race doesn’t matter or racism doesn’t exist. None of those things are true. I hear white people using it seriously and black people using it ironically, but we certainly know that there is not a post-racial America. It’s a ridiculous concept.

What has happened is that we had a ’60s period of active battle for de facto and de jure rights and equality. When you get to the ’70s, most of those battles are completed. For those of us who arrived in the ’80s into the schools and job force, we are dealing with a period where there are not legal constraints holding us back from what we want to do and there is affirmative action pushing some of us forward. Now there are so many black people who are doing things that previously were considered outlying behavior that it is absurd to call it outlier. The fact that my generation comes up not having to fight in the way our parents did really changes black America’s relationship with the rest of America.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20120217-point-person-our-qa-with-author-toure.ec

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‘Perpetual Growth Myth’ Leading World to Meltdown: Experts

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/20-5

UN-Sponsored Papers Predict Sustained Ecological and Social Meltdown

- Common Dreams staff
Published on Monday, February 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

“The current system is broken,” says Bob Watson, the UK’s chief scientific advisor on environmental issues and a winner of the prestigious Blue Planet prize in 2010. “It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5°C warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self.”

“We cannot assume that technological fixes will come fast enough. Instead we need human solutions. The good news is that they exist but decision makers must be bold and forward thinking to seize them.”

Watson’s comments accompanied a new paper released today by 20 past winners of the Blue Planet Prize – often called the Nobel Prize for the environment, and comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Rio+20 conference – which takes place in June this year – where world leaders will (it is hoped) seize the opportunity to set human development on a new, more sustainable path.

Civilization Faces ‘Perfect Storm of Ecological and Social Problems’

The Guardian‘s John Vidal reports:

In the face of an “absolutely unprecedented emergency”, say the [...] past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has “no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us”.

The stark assessment of the current global outlook by the group, who include [Watson]… US climate scientist James Hansen, Prof José Goldemberg, Brazil’s secretary of environment during the Rio Earth summit in 1992, and Stanford University Prof Paul Ehrlich. [...]

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/20-5

The Abortion Wars: The Real People Behind the Restrictions

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/abortion-wars-real-people-behind-restrictions

by Carole Joffe, University of California
February 19, 2012

The last ten days or so we have seen Republicans, and their religious allies, wage a war against contraception—and bungle it badly. With poll after poll showing that a majority of Americans support contraceptive coverage in health reform, and with the 98 percent figure (of American women who have ever used contraception in the context of heterosexual sex) endlessly repeated in the media, the Republicans nonetheless push ahead with this attack, providing a welcome gift to the Obama reelection campaign and much material to political artists and comics. I have lost count of the number of parodies that have been inspired by that now gone viral picture of five male clerics testifying at the Congressional hearing called by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). A picture that of course immediately brings to mind another image of a similar tone deaf moment on the part of social conservatives,  the nine men surrounding President George W. Bush as he became the first president to sign a ban on a particular technique of performing abortion, in the case of so-called “partial birth abortion.”  It’s no wonder that the term “patriarchy” has made a comeback in the blogs!

The well-publicized refusal of Issa to permit the testimony of a female witness put forward by the Democrats, Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student planning to speak to the health consequences of denied contraception at Catholic universities, only added to the disastrous p.r. of that event. And the “aspirin between her knees” remark of Rick Santorum’s major funder later that day didn’t help either.

But while the media is momentarily fixated on the second big story this month of a losing fight against family planning (remember the Susan G. Komen Fund fiasco?), less attention has been paid to a related war that is not going well at all.  The assault on abortion that has resulted from the 2010 elections–the Republican takeover of Congress and many statehouses and governorships–has arguably produced the most serious threat to abortion access since the Roe decision in 1973.  What we mainly have heard about this situation are the statistics, the unprecedented number of abortion restrictions introduced and eventually passed in state legislatures at a time when one might assume politicians’ focus would be on the economy.

But there are real people behind the numbers and details of the restrictions. And the enormous toll that the abortion wars take on individual women seeking the procedure and the providers who try to help them are insufficiently appreciated by the general public.  Consider the case of Jennie McCormick, a destitute Idaho woman, a single mother of three, who, facing an unwanted pregnancy and unable to travel several hours to the nearest abortion clinic, ordered abortion medication over the Internet, and is now facing criminal charges.  She has also been stigmatized in her own community to a degree to which the fictional Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter fame could relate.  Here is a description of her daily life, as described in a British newspaper:

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/abortion-wars-real-people-behind-restrictions

THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE! Outside Montreal Stock Exchange FEB16 2012

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Greece shows us how to protest against a failed system

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/greece-protest-failed-system

The rage displayed in Greek cities against austerity measures inspires all who are suffering for the benefit of banks and the rich


guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 February 2012

I do not like violence. I do not think that very much is gained by burning banks and smashing windows. And yet I feel a surge of pleasure when I see the reaction in Athens and the other cities in Greece to the acceptance by the Greek parliament of the measures imposed by the European Union. More: if there had not been an explosion of anger, I would have felt adrift in a sea of depression.

The joy is the joy of seeing the much-trodden worm turn and roar. The joy of seeing those whose cheeks have been slapped a thousand times slapping back. How can we ask of people that they accept meekly the ferocious cuts in living standards that the austerity measures imply? Do we want them to just agree that the massive creative potential of so many young people should be just eliminated, their talents trapped in a life of long-term unemployment? All that just so that the banks can be repaid, the rich made richer? All that, just to maintain a capitalist system that has long since passed its sell-by date, that now offers the world nothing but destruction. For the Greeks to accept the measures meekly would be to multiply depression by depression, the depression of a failed system compounded by the depression of lost dignity.

The violence of the reaction in Greece is a cry that goes out to the world. How long will we sit still and see the world torn apart by these barbarians, the rich, the banks? How long will we stand by and watch the injustices increase, see the health service dismantled, education reduced to uncritical nonsense, the water resources of the world privatised, communities wiped out and the earth torn up for the profits of mining companies?

The attack that is so acute in Greece is taking place all over the world. Everywhere money is subjecting human and non-human life to its logic, the logic of profit. This is not new, but the intensity and breadth of the attack is new, and new too is the general awareness that the current dynamic is a dynamic of death, that it is likely that we are all heading towards the annihilation of human life on earth. When the learned commentators explain the details of the latest negotiations between the governments on the future of the eurozone, they forget to mention that what is being negotiated so blithely is the future of humanity.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/greece-protest-failed-system

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