Picking Your Battles: Jenna Talackova

More transsexual, transgender and post-transsexual people should read Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, because it is really as much about life as it is about war.

Particularly life when one’s validity is subject to attack.

At some point I may put together a survival guide for post-transsexual women, because there seems to be a real need for some people who are long time post-ops to do just such a guide.

One major rule would be follow the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer.

The other is:  Walking point.  Being in the front of a charge at some sort of hostile opponent means you will be the one getting killed, figuratively speaking.

There are transsexual women in modeling and it isn’t a new phenomena as there were sisters in modeling in the early 1970s.

There are some incredibly beautiful sexy sisters out there.  Performers like Calpernia Addams and Nina Arsenault.  Models like Lea.

Considering how it is now possible for post-transsexual folks to compete in the Olympics I’m going to assume there are probably Beauty Pageants open to post-transsexual sisters.  I might be wrong in that assumption as the thinking behind such pageants is so reactionary and based on  sexual and gender purity  stereotypes.  The pageant world is probably more closed minded  than the fashion world with its creative people and easy acceptance of not just LGBT/T folks but edge pushing in what is both aesthetic and imaginative.

Trump on the other hand is a scumbag who has called our President, a liar, a Muslim and challenged his place of birth.

Putting your faith in the good will of a total douche-bag isn’t the world’s wisest move.

New Counterorrism Guidelines Gives Authorities Vast Access to Private Info of Innocent Americans

From the Electronic Freedom Foundation:   https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/new-counterorrism-guidelines-gives-government-access-private-info-innocent

By Trevor Timm
March 25, 2012

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed expansive new guidelines for terrorism analysts, allowing the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to mirror entire federal databases containing personal information and hold onto the information for an extended period of time—even if the person is not suspected of any involvement in terrorism. (Read the guidelines here).

Despite the “terrorism” justification, the new rules affect every single American.  The agency now has free rein to, as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage put it, “retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats ” and expands the amount of time the government can keep private information on innocent individuals by a factor of ten.

From the New York Times:

The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat. (emphasis ours)

Journalist Marcy Wheeler summed the new guidelines up nicely saying, “So…the data the government keeps to track our travel, our taxes, our benefits, our identity? It just got transformed from bureaucratic data into national security intelligence.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/new-counterorrism-guidelines-gives-government-access-private-info-innocent

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Occupy May Day: Not Your Usual General Strike

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/26-8

Based on a talk by Jeremy Brecher to Occupy University, Zuccotti Park

by Jeremy Brecher
Published on Monday, March 26, 2012 by Common Dreams

Last December, Occupy Los Angeles proposed a General Strike on May 1 “for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights.”  The idea has spread through the Occupy movement.  Occupy Wall Street in New York recently expressed solidarity with the proposal and called for “a day without the 99%, general strike, and more!” with “no work, no school, no housework, no shopping, take the streets!”  Reactions are ranging from enthusiastic support to outraged skepticism.  What form might such an action take, and what if anything might it achieve?

General Strikes and Mass Strikes

One thing is for sure: Such a May Day action is unlikely to be very much like the general strikes that have cropped up occasionally in US labor history in cities like Seattle, Oakland, and Stamford, Ct., or the ones that are a staple of political protest in Europe.  These are typically conducted by unions whose action is called for and coordinated by central labor councils or national labor federations.  But barely twelve percent of American workers are even members of unions, and American unions and their leaders risk management reprisals and even criminal charges for simply endorsing such a strike.

Most Occupy May Day advocates understand that a conventional general strike is not in the cards.  What they are advocating instead is a day in which members of the “99%” take whatever actions they can to withdraw from participation in the normal workings of the economic system — by not working if that is an option, but also by not shopping, not banking, and not engaging in other “normal” everyday activities, and by joining demonstrations, marches, disruptions, occupations, and other mass actions.

This is the pattern that was followed by the Oakland General Strike last November.  Those who wanted to and could – a small minority – didn’t go to work.  There was mass participation in rallies, marches, educational, and artistic events and a free lunch for all.  At the end of the day a march, combined with some walkouts, closed the Port of Oakland.     The mostly peaceful “general strike,” in contrast to later violent Oakland confrontations, won wide participation and support.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/26-8

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Pat Robertson blames homosexuality on ‘demonic possession’

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/26/pat-robertson-blames-homosexuality-on-demonic-possession/

By David Edwards
Monday, March 26, 2012

Televangelist Pat Robertson says that demons are most likely to blame for the men who “sin” by having “cheap sex with other men.”

Monday’s broadcast of The 700 Club featured the story of Shawn, a married man who began to have affairs with men after his wife had a baby.

“It took a long time for their marriage to heal,” CBN reporter Gorman Woodfin explained. “Shawn says it was a step-by-step process that began with his repentance and deliverance from his homosexual lifestyle.”

Following the report, Robertson offered his thoughts on Shawn’s story.

“The world says, “OK, Shawn, so you are gay. You want to go out and have affairs with men? That’s cool. You have an absolute right to do that. Why not? So, you’re married? That’s too bad. So, you’re wife doesn’t like it? Well, tough,’” the televangelist opined. “That’s not the right attitude. The attitude is that this is sin. It’s wrong.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/26/pat-robertson-blames-homosexuality-on-demonic-possession/

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Phase III of the War on Contraception: Pretend It Was All A Dream

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/25/phase-iii-war-on-contraception-pretend-it-was-all-dream

by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
March 25, 2012

We’ve now reached phase three of the conservative war on contraception. (I don’t like the phrasing “war on women,” which makes it sound like this is something new, when conservatives have been waging war on women through attacking abortion rights for decades now.)

Phase one was expanding the long-standing war on women to include attacks on contraception, first by attacking government subsidies for family planning and then by trying to keep the Obama administration from including contraception in the list of preventive services that private insurance must cover with no co-pay. Phase two was abandoning all pretense for waging this war—be it “life” or “religious liberty”—and simply screaming loudly that women who have sex for pleasure are two-bit sluts looking for a handout, instead of upstanding citizens who want to share in the benefits of a society to which they contribute.

Now we have phase three: Playing the victim.

I won’t even bother you with Rush Limbaugh’s victim-posturing, since that’s basically the point of his whole life, much less his whole show. The claim that it’s not fair to criticize conservatives for supporting anti-woman policies because they aren’t the ones who “started” this has reached the mainstream of the Republican Party. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington trotted out the most recent talking point, arguing that it’s not that there’s a war on women, but Democrats are just making  it all up to “scare” women into voting for them.

Of course, she’s creating a false dichotomy. Are Democrats trying to scare women? Sure. But sometimes scaring someone is what you have to do in order to make them realize they’re in danger. If I see someone about to step in front of a moving vehicle, and I yell, “Watch out! That car is about to hit you!,” you could argue correctly that I’m trying to scare them. But I’m also trying to save them from being hit by a car. When something is scary, you should be scared. And the attacks on women’s rights are scary.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/25/phase-iii-war-on-contraception-pretend-it-was-all-dream

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Atheists in US demanding religious equality

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The “Good News Club”: How the Religious Right is Taking Indoctrination into Public Schools

From PoliticusUSA:  http://www.politicususa.com/the-good-news-club/

By: Deborah Foster
March 26, 2012

Going door to door, risking that each knock will be met with rejection, right wing evangelical Christians have gotten frustrated with the slow pace of recruitment to their beliefs. They needed a new tactic to fill their pews and the easiest targets for indoctrination are young children who don’t yet have the capacity to question whether they are being manipulated. So, the best place to find impressionable minds is in schools. There are thousands of parochial schools across the country where parents send their children to have an education that blends religion with reading, writing, and arithmetic. But this wasn’t good enough for the Christian Right; they needed to cast a much wider net. This is how the “Good News Club” came into being.

Ostensibly, an after-school club, the organization, sponsored by the international ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, is actually a foothold into the public schools to begin a base of evangelizing Christian beliefs, particularly fundamentalist beliefs, to youth. What are the beliefs that the “Good News Clubs” want children to adopt? According the author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children,” Katherine Stewart, they endorse the Bible as a literal and infallible word of God, teach that conversion to their own version of Christianity is the only path to salvation, while other types of Christians are not actually Christian, and they heavily emphasize the role of Satan in everyday life. One anecdote shared by Katherine Stewart in her book is instructive of how the “Good News Clubs,” treat children of other faiths. A Catholic boy had a brother die, and he told a leader at a club that his brother was an angel in heaven. This women stated, “I had to tell him that no, his brother was not an angel in heaven…I could see the look in this boy’s eyes. He was just devastated.” This was because he wasn’t “saved.”

Public schools are supposed to provide a secular environment where children are free from indoctrination into religious ministry. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that after-school activities must be open to religious groups alongside any other group, and by 2010, there were 3,439 “Good News Clubs” in public schools across the country. This seems reasonable enough for a group of Christian students to do Bible study or Muslim students to meet for discussions of Islam. They even have to have parent permission for children to participate. However, “Good News Clubs” have a coordinated national alliance of religious organizations behind them with more than just a self-contained student club on their agenda. They want their version of Christianity to be spread far and wide to susceptible children. They use all of the tactics one would expect to draw in vulnerable youth including offering candy and cookies. Mathew Staver, a leader of the club initiative and President of Liberty Counsel, has written: “Classrooms are full of unchurched children waiting to hear about a Savior who loves them and forgives sin.” Clearly, the group isn’t limiting its reach to current believers, but instead intends to evangelize to other children who are not believers in their faith. Indeed, the clubs teach the children who attend to go out and recruit other children to their meetings. According to Katherine Stewart, “Parents have reported many instances in which children tell playmates of other faiths that they will go to hell.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.politicususa.com/the-good-news-club/

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The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_polite_conference_rooms_where_liberties_are_saved_and_lost_20120326/

By Chris Hedges
Posted on Mar 26, 2012

I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government’s effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill.

The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.

Judge Katherine B. Forrest, in a session starting at 9 a.m. Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, will determine if I have standing and if the case can go forward. The attorneys handling my case, Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, will ask, if I am granted standing, for a temporary injunction against the Homeland Battlefield Bill. An injunction would, in effect, nullify the law and set into motion a fierce duel between two very unequal adversaries—on the one hand, the U.S. government and, on the other, myself, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, the Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir and three other activists and journalists. All have joined me as plaintiffs and begun to mobilize resistance to the law through groups such as Stop NDAA.

The deposition was, as these things go, conducted civilly. Afran and Mayer, the attorneys bringing the suit on my behalf, were present. I was asked detailed questions by Torrance about my interpretation of Section 1021 and Section 1022 of the NDAA. I was asked about my relationships and contacts with groups on the U.S. State Department terrorism list. I was asked about my specific conflicts with the U.S. government when I was a foreign correspondent, a period in which I reported from El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Middle East, the Balkans and other places. And I was asked how the NDAA law had impeded my work.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_polite_conference_rooms_where_liberties_are_saved_and_lost_20120326/

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Sexual Counterrevolution in the GOP

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-cohen-phd/sexual-counterrevolution-_b_1372923.html?ref=elections-2012

03/26/2012

Americans “have a constitutional right to be gay.” So said Barry Goldwater, the 1964 right-wing Republican presidential candidate, in 1994. How the Republican Party has changed. Indeed, how the GOP changed goes a long way toward explaining America’s national political delirium.

We’ve grown so accustomed to a Republican Party consumed with gay marriage, abortion, and now even birth control that many Americans likely do not know it was ever any other way. The GOP bills itself as the party of small government and personal liberty, and in an earlier day, when the GOP was the party of women’s rights and Planned Parenthood, that claim was true enough. As David Frum recently pointed out, Republicans in the ’40s and ’50s were the ones who tried to repeal Connecticut’s state ban on the sale of birth control, only to be voted down again and again by Democrats.

The Republicans’ live-and-let-live tradition first came under lethal attack in the 1970s, in the wake of the sexual revolution and the women’s and gay rights movements. Those cultural and social movements revolutionized sex, gender roles, the family, the workplace, and popular culture in the space of a little more than a decade. Simultaneously, and in large part responding to these social movements, Congress outlawed gender discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled that laws against birth control and abortion were unconstitutional, half the states repealed their sodomy laws, and local governments passed anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians.

Most Americans ultimately welcomed the expansion of personal and sexual freedom. Yet given that the government had long been in the business of legislating puritanical sexual mores, it is understandable that those who thought the old ways were just fine, thank you, chose to wage their reactionary, theologically based crusade through the political system.

The GOP’s recent bender over birth control, sex, women, and gays isn’t an aberration. It is the logical result of 40 years of sexual counterrevolution.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-cohen-phd/sexual-counterrevolution-_b_1372923.html?ref=elections-2012

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FBI encourages young Muslims to snitch

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A Boy to Be Sacrificed

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/a-boy-to-be-sacrificed.html

By ABDELLAH TAÏA
Published: March 24, 2012

Paris

IN the Morocco of the 1980s, where homosexuality did not, of course, exist, I was an effeminate little boy, a boy to be sacrificed, a humiliated body who bore upon himself every hypocrisy, everything left unsaid. By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it, I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men. And I knew that no one would save me — not even my parents, who surely loved me. For them too, I was shame, filth. A “zamel.”

Like everyone else, they urged me into a terrible, definitive silence, there to die a little more each day.

How is a child who loves his parents, his many siblings, his working-class culture, his religion — Islam — how is he to survive this trauma? To be hurt and harassed because of something others saw in me — something in the way I moved my hands, my inflections. A way of walking, my carriage. An easy intimacy with women, my mother and my many sisters. To be categorized for victimhood like those “emo” boys with long hair and skinny jeans who have recently been turning up dead in the streets of Iraq, their skulls crushed in.

The truth is, I don’t know how I survived. All I have left is a taste for silence. And the dream, never to be realized, that someone would save me. Now I am 38 years old, and I can state without fanfare: no one saved me.

I no longer remember the child, the teenager, I was. I know I was effeminate and aware that being so obviously “like that” was wrong. God did not love me. I had strayed from the path. Or so I was made to understand. Not only by my family, but also by the entire neighborhood. And I learned my lesson perfectly. So deep down, I tell myself they won. This is what happened.

I was barely 12, and in my neighborhood they called me “the little girl.” Even those I persisted in playing soccer with used that nickname, that insult. Even the teenagers who’d once taken part with me in the same sexual games. I was no kid anymore. My body was changing, stretching out, becoming a man’s. But others did not see me as a man. The image of myself they reflected back at me was strange and incomprehensible. Attempts at rape and abuse multiplied.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/a-boy-to-be-sacrificed.html

Reason Rally, Prof. PZ Myers Speech

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ALEC, the NRA, and the Killing of Trayvon Martin

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-berkowitz/alec-the-nra-and-the-murd_b_1375836.html

03/23/2012

There is little doubt that it was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old self-appointed “neighborhood watch vigilante,” who shot and killed the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month as he “returned from a trip to 7-11 with an iced tea and a pack of Skittles.”

Less known is the relationship between the Florida “stand your ground” law, which may allow the killer of Trayvon Martin to walk free, and a powerful but private, behind-the-scenes organization that has channeled such bills into the legislatures of Florida and other states.

The Florida law that is drawing such sudden attention due to the death of a teenager in Sanford “is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) ‘model bill’ that has been pushed in other states,” PR Watch’s Brendan Fischer recently reported.

Fischer says that “Evidence suggests a major reason Zimmerman thought he needed to use deadly force against the unarmed Martin is because the teen was black… Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime.”

According to Fischer, “The bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and fits into a pattern of ALEC bills that disproportionately impact communities of color.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-berkowitz/alec-the-nra-and-the-murd_b_1375836.html

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