“Like a Dog?” Nasty GOP Insults Flung at Women Candidates

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/dog-nasty-gop-insults-flung-women-candidates

Todd Akin put his foot in his mouth again with comments about his opponent, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked Elizabeth Warren.

By Alex Kane
October 22, 2012

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin can’t stop putting his foot in his mouth.

During an October 20 fundraising event with Fox News star and evangelical Christian Mike Huckabee, Akin compared Claire McCaskill to a “dog.” McCaskill is Akin’s Democratic opponent for the Senate seat.

“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” said Akin, according to the website PoliticMO.com . “She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”

The comments  are only the latest controversial remarks from Akin. He became a household name in August when he claimed on television that “legitimate rape” victims rarely get pregnant because “ the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin also said last month that McCaskill’s debate performance against him was not as “ladylike” as she was in 2006.

Akin is trailing McCaskill narrowly in the polls.

Meanwhile, another male, conservative politician has hammered away inaccurately at a female candidate. In a New York Times interview, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw his weight behind Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who is running against the progressive Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg told the Times that a vote for Warren is a vote to “bring socialism back, or the USSR.”

Complete article at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/dog-nasty-gop-insults-flung-women-candidates

Illinois Family Institute, Anti-Gay Hate Group, Condemns School For Transgender-Inclusive Policies

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/anti-gay-group-condemns-school-transgender-inclusive-policies_n_1974096.html?ref=topbar

10/17/2012

An Illinois anti-gay Christian hate group voiced its condemnation of a newly affirmed school policy for transgender-inclusion, claiming the “feckless school board has made a decision to accommodate, not the needs of gender-confused teens, but their disordered desires.”

The East Aurora school board voted Oct. 15 to approve a policy that addresses the needs and rights of transgender and other non gender-conforming students, with policies such as allowing the student to use the restroom he or she associates with and using the modified name he or she has chosen, The Beacon-News reported.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Family Institue released an angry vitriol against the new transgender-inclusive policies.

“Apparently, all that’s needed for school personnel to be compelled to participate in a fiction is for a student to pretend ‘consistently’ at school that he or she is the opposite sex.The school board is now imposing non-objective, ‘progressive’ moral, philosophical, and political beliefs—not facts—about gender confusion on the entire school. This feckless school board has made a decision to accommodate, not the needs of gender-confused teens, but their disordered desires and the desires of gender/sexuality anarchists who exploit public education for their perverse ends.”

The IFI goes on to say transgender individuals “suffer” from a “mental and moral disorder.” The group calls the school board’s decision “biased, radical, and offensive” to taxpayers, warning that it could very well “embolden activists all over the state and country.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/anti-gay-group-condemns-school-transgender-inclusive-policies_n_1974096.html?ref=topbar

Julia Serano has been Targeted for attacks by the RadFem SCUM

First of all embracing SCUM and Valerie Solanis kind of marks people off as nut jobs.

Prior to going on to becoming famous for shooting one of the 20th century’s most important gay male artists (nearly murdering him) Solanis wrote a screed titled The Scum Manifesto.

The RadFem hagiography would have people believe Valerie Solanis was a misunderstood genius with impeccable feminist credentials and not a zoned out homicidal maniac from Alphabet City.

I know there was a movie that tried to paint her as someone cruelty abused by Andy Warhol and the people of the “Factory”.

Reality: She was an abusive stalker.

While SCUM Manifesto has a few viciously funny observations in it it is mostly the blathering of a mentally disturbed person.

After Valerie Solanis was released from prison she wound up dying of exposure while sleeping on a roof top because none of the feminists who lauded her wanted to actually be within pistol range of her.

Oddly enough Solanis wasn’t all that anti-transsexual/transgender or I should say the movie, I shot Andy Warhol, portrays her as being not all that anti TS/TG as it shows her being a friend of the late Candy Darling.

Well, fast forward and the radfem bigots have blogs that invoke Valerie Solanis’s screed.

Like Valerie they are both truth and sanity challenged.

But this blog and others among the radfem and their dubiously claimed intersex male ally Nicky (Komododragon) have embraced Valerie as some sort of icon; they are using this blog and others to attack Julia Serano.

Well not just Julia Serano, but JOS  at Feministing too, as well as a whole range of  highly reputable TS/TG bloggers who have had the audacity to say that the misogyny faced by TS/TG women and transkids is the same misogyny faced by assigned female at birth women and girls.

Unless one is incredibly privileged access to abortion and birth control are not the only issues faced by women today.

This is obvious enough to women who aren’t partners in law offices that defend some of the scummiest corporations in America.

Otherwise the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act wouldn’t be such a big deal.

If women weren’t being fucked over by those Wall Street Banks and Firms defended by the law offices of the above mentioned radfem, then women wouldn’t be out there as part of Occupy.

One has to wonder why the radfems, who sound identical to the Christo-Fascists and radical right, cropped up now to disrupt feminism which is engaged in fighting against the right wing/Christo-Fascist War on Women.  Especially since many TS/TG women are also feminists.  Some, like this Blog regularly keep people abreast of the right wing attacks on reproductive rights.

Julia Serano wrote a serious book that showed the intersectionality of transphobia and misogyny.  A lot of us read it and said, “Fuck Yeah!”

Everyone knows that according to radfems TS/TG women are nothing but mindless fembots controlling the fashion and cosmetic industry forcing women into a subservient position all .001% of us, sort of the same way the Jews supposedly control the world and are responsible for all the evils of the world.

Somehow Julia found time from her busy schedule of perpetuating the patriarchy to write this book that caused a lot of TS/TG sisters to come to the conclusion that transphobia was misogyny directed at a tiny minority group of people who are women in spite of not being assigned female at birth.

Of course the radfems whipped out the disingenuous charge that TS/TG women were some how raping women by taking hormones and having operations that allowed us to feel at home within our very own skins.

Never mind how feminism has chided those who use rape as a metaphor for actions other than actual rape.

Or that TS/TG people can and are often the victims of rape, assault and murder.

Radfem transphobic bigotry is identical to right wing racism and antisemitism, a whipping up of hatred and bigotry using exaggerated claims and  collective guilt.  The same sort of bigotry one finds behind Jim Crow and Apartheid laws.  The same sort of hatred and bigotry one found behind the Nürnberger Gesetze:

The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating antisemitism as a form of scientific racism. There was a rapid growth in German legislation directed at Jews and other groups, such as the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which banned “non-Aryans” and political opponents of the Nazis, from the civil-service.

The lack of a clear legal method of defining who was Jewish had, however, allowed some Jews to escape some forms of discrimination aimed at them. The enactment of laws identifying who was Jewish made it easier for the Nazis to enforce legislation restricting the basic rights of German Jews.

The Nuremberg Laws classified people with four German grandparents as “German or kindred blood”, while people were classified as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents. A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of “mixed blood”.[1] These laws deprived Jews of German citizenship and prohibited marriage between Jews and other Germans.[2]

The Nuremberg Laws also included a ban on sexual intercourse between people defined as “Jews” and non-Jewish Germans and prevented “Jews” from participating in German civic life. These laws were both an attempt to return the Jews of 20th-century Germany to the position that Jews had held before their emancipation in the 19th century; although in the 19th century Jews could have evaded restrictions by converting, this was no longer possible.

The laws were a legal embodiment of an already existing Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Yes I am comparing the thinking of the radfems to Nazi antisemitism.

Not only are they attacking TS/TG women but any AFAB women who support us including those feminist bloggers.

Ironically I have reason to believe that several of the “radfems” are in fact self hating post-op transsexuals who also hold AFAB women in contempt.

Doma ruled unconstitutional for denying benefits to same-sex couples

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/doma-ruled-unconstitutional-denying-benefits

District court judge in California is third federal judge to issue a similar ruling over 1996 Defence of Marriage Act

in Los Angeles
guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 May 2012

A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.

Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (Doma).

Wilken became the first judge to rule against the controversial legislation since President Barack Obama threw his weight behind gay marriage earlier this month.

Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.

Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year. That ruling is under appeal and is due to go before a circuit court of appeals in September. Thursday’s ruling is also expected to be appealed.

Doma, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/doma-ruled-unconstitutional-denying-benefits

Posted in Equal Treatment, Gay, Homophobia, Lesbian, LGBT/T. Comments Off

Global Protests Against Draconian Education Cuts, Tuition Hikes

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/168049/global-protests-against-draconian-education-cuts-tuition-hikes

Allison Kilkenny
on May 24, 2012

Austerity protests have become part of the new global landscape, a reality underscored by a wave of recent protests in Philadelphia and Quebec.

More than 1,000 people rallied Wednesday to protest the Philadelphia District’s plans to “transform schools,” a pleasant euphemism generally meaning school closures and mass layoffs. The Philly district plans to possibly lay off 2,700 blue-collar workers, including every member of SEIU B2BJ Local 1201, the city school union representing bus assistants, cleaners, mechanics and other workers.

Philly.com reports that all these workers have received pink slips and could be let go by the end of the year.

Eleven men and three women were arrested during Wednesday’s protest, including B2BJ president George Ricchezza, union health and welfare administrator Dennis Biondo and retired teachers Lisa Haver and Ronald Whitehorne, among others. They were later released and are to be arraigned in June.

The individuals were arrested for “clogging traffic,” according to a local CBS affiliate.

Earlier in the month, the school system announced that it expects to close forty public schools next year and sixty-four by 2017, shocking figures that received little national attention, prompting Black Agenda Report’s Bruce A. Dixon to publish an article titled, “Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News?

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/168049/global-protests-against-draconian-education-cuts-tuition-hikes

These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For: Gender Diversity, Scapegoating and Erasure in Medicine and Media

From GID Reform Blog:   http://gidreform.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/these-arent-the-droids-youre-looking-for-gender-diversity-scapegoating-and-erasure-in-medicine-and-media/

Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
GID Reform Advocates
www.gidreform.org
April 21, 2012

On the April 18th broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show, Dr. Maddow reported an “explosive revelation” that Psychiatrist Robert Spitzer had rescinded his controversial 2001 claim that sexual conversion, or sexual reparative, psychotherapies can change sexual orientation in gay and lesbian people. Quoting an interview of Dr. Spitzer in The American Prospect, Maddow celebrated the historical significance of Spitzer’s reversal for the gay rights movement, calling it,

step one in what we’re now going to see as a real change, a real reckoning, in antigay politics.

Sadly, Dr. Maddow only told half of the story. For four decades, Robert Spitzer has played pivotal roles in mental health policies, not only on sexual orientation, but on gender diversity as well. This week, Rachel Maddow and other journalists turned a blind eye to Dr. Spitzer’s failure to retract a lifetime of trans psychopathologization, stereotyping gender identities and expression that differ from assigned birth roles as mental disease. This omission speaks to the marginal status of trans people within the GLbt rights movement and progressive media, as much as Spitzer’s omission speaks to trans marginalization by mental health policymakers. Shifting stigma from one oppressed class to a more oppressed class is not real change.

At the 1973 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Robert Spitzer played a central role in arguing for declassification of same-sex orientation as mental illness:

In the past, homosexuals have been denied civil rights in many areas of life on the ground that because they suffer from a ‘mental illness’ the burden of proof is on them to demonstrate their competence, reliability, or mental stability.

This led to the gradual deletion of sexual orientation categories from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) between 1973 and 1987. The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and remains the medical and cultural definition of mental disorder in North America. As Chairman of the DSM-III and DSM-III-R Task Forces and chief editor of the diagnostic manual, Spitzer oversaw removal of the last major vestige of gay diagnosis, “Ego-dystonic Homosexuality,” from version III-R.

However, while depathologizing same-sex orientation, Dr. Spitzer simultaneously directed a massive expansion of trans-pathology diagnoses in the DSM. In 1980, a new category of Gender Identity Disorders (GID), including a Transsexualism (TS) diagnosis, was added to the class of Psychosexual Disorders in the DSM-III. The TS coding was paradoxical and controversial for many trans people. Many community advocates and medical providers agreed (and do today) that some kind of diagnostic coding was necessary to facilitate access to medical and/or surgical transition care for those trans and transsexual people who needed it.  On the other hand, defining a medical transition coding as a mental illness, rather than a treatable medical condition, contradicted access to hormonal and/or surgical transition care and encouraged gender conversion, or gender-reparative, psychotherapies– unsubstantiated treatments attempting to change gender identity and shame trans and TS people into the closets of their assigned birth roles.  Vulnerable trans and gender nonconforming youth were targeted and institutionalized as a consequence of diagnostic criteria based on nonconformity to birth-assigned stereotypes.

Continue reading at:  http://gidreform.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/these-arent-the-droids-youre-looking-for-gender-diversity-scapegoating-and-erasure-in-medicine-and-media/

Posted in Activism, Discrimination, Equal Treatment. Comments Off

Trans Canadians fight for recognition on legal documents

Lately they’ve started requiring a passport to cross the boarder between the US and Canada. An extra expense for working people who live along the border.

But for pre-op TS folks or TG folks this becomes an oppressive burden due to their being denied passports that reflect the gender they live full time. I know this tread the line between sex/gender but when people commit to living full time as a member of a particular sex even if they don’t actually have SRS to become a member of that sex it seems a matter of human rights to permit them necessary identification documents that do not place an extra burden upon them by automatically revealing their being TS/TG to petty bureaucratic border enforcement officers.

I’m tired of the government spending so much energy on snooping in the lives of individual citizens while they totally ignore the crimes of the corporations and rich.

From Xtra Canada: http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Trans_Canadians_fight_for_recognition_on_legal_documents-11256.aspx

Andrea Houston
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Talia Johnson is nervous to travel. One look at her passport tells a border guard everything they need to know about her gender status.

Johnson, who has had her name legally changed, now wants to change the sex designation on her passport – a simple correction from “m” to “f” – to ensure all her documents accurately reflect her gender.

The federal government says trans people must undergo sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), or provide a letter guaranteeing the procedure will take place within a year.

The Ottawa resident has not yet had SRS, mainly due to the financial cost of the surgery. She would also have to take time off work and travel to Toronto. “The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto is the only organization in Ontario that offers SRS. There is a long wait and it’s not easy to get.

“The status now is I don’t have a passport. Without the sex designation change, trans people are put in constant danger while traveling under the assumed sex. At this point in my life, I will have trouble if I travel.”

Susan Gapka, chair of the Trans Health Lobby Group, has been working on this issue for years. Her group is pushing to make transitioning easier by opening up access to SRS and removing the red tape around changing legal documents.

“If your legal documents don’t match at the border there could be problems,” Gapka says. “I have had bad experiences at the airport. You can be singled out for looking different. A police officer could ask questions. It opens the door to harassment and discrimination.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Trans_Canadians_fight_for_recognition_on_legal_documents-11256.aspx

Oral Arguments Heard in Golinski DOMA Case

From Frontiers LA: http://www.frontiersla.com/Blog/FrontierBlog/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10327929

By Karen Ocamb
December 16, 2011

The Obama administration appears to be keeping its word regarding the Defense of Marriage.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Dept. of Homeland Security agreed to join in a motion with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)—according to Immigration Equality—to stop the removal of Michael Thomas, whose legal marriage to Massachusetts resident John Brandoli did not prevent the threat deportation because of the Defense of Marriage Act. The government has also closed cases for other binational couples—though others still have not yet been so lucky, according to Stop the Deportations.

While Michael and John celebrated on the East Coast, Friday on the West Coast, in San Francisco, federal employee Karen Golinski—who has been fighting for years to secure health insurance for her wife Amy Cunninghis—found that the DOJ sent one of its top senior lawyers to help argue in U.S. District Court that DOMA is unconstitutional.

Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner has been following the story. Here’s an excerpt from his excellent report:

Golinski’s case, which began as an ordinary request to include her wife, Amy Cunninghis, on her federal employee health insurance plan, became, initially, a dispute between the branches of government about how court employees are managed—and who can do so. Since then, however, it has evolved into its current status as a challenge to DOMA.

Continue reading at:  http://www.frontiersla.com/Blog/FrontierBlog/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10327929

Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, The Fall of the “Liberal Elite”

From Tom Dispatch:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175480/tomgram%3A_barbara_ehrenreich_and_john_ehrenreich%2C_the_fall_of_the_%22liberal_elite%22/

Posted by Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich
December 15, 2011

Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs.

– E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class

The “other men” (and of course women) in the current American class alignment are those in the top 1% of the wealth distribution — the bankers, hedge-fund managers, and CEOs targeted by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have been around for a long time in one form or another, but they only began to emerge as a distinct and visible group, informally called the “super-rich,” in recent years.

Extravagant levels of consumption helped draw attention to them: private jets, multiple 50,000 square-foot mansions, $25,000 chocolate desserts embellished with gold dust. But as long as the middle class could still muster the credit for college tuition and occasional home improvements, it seemed churlish to complain. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, followed by the Great Recession, and the 1% to whom we had entrusted our pensions, our economy, and our political system stood revealed as a band of feckless, greedy narcissists, and possibly sociopaths.

Still, until a few months ago, the 99% was hardly a group capable of (as Thompson says) articulating “the identity of their interests.” It contained, and still contains, most “ordinary” rich people, along with middle-class professionals, factory workers, truck drivers, and miners, as well as the much poorer people who clean the houses, manicure the fingernails, and maintain the lawns of the affluent.

It was divided not only by these class differences, but most visibly by race and ethnicity — a division that has actually deepened since 2008. African-Americans and Latinos of all income levels disproportionately lost their homes to foreclosure in 2007 and 2008, and then disproportionately lost their jobs in the wave of layoffs that followed.  On the eve of the Occupy movement, the black middle class had been devastated. In fact, the only political movements to have come out of the 99% before Occupy emerged were the Tea Party movement and, on the other side of the political spectrum, the resistance to restrictions on collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

Continue reading at:   http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175480/tomgram%3A_barbara_ehrenreich_and_john_ehrenreich%2C_the_fall_of_the_%22liberal_elite%22/

Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

It is a shame that the first thing one thinks when someone proclaims themselves to be a “Christian” is, “There stands a delusional person who is a bigot and a compulsive liar.”

Particularly when they describe themselves as born again, or “religious”.  Get ready for the bigoted lies and bullshit to start flowing.

I’m tired of Christo-Fascist bullying of business that try to be fair and respect the rights and dignity of minorities.

See first the original story:  Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/12/mat-staver-liberty-counsel-doubles-down.html

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy’s

By Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reposted with permission

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy’s employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson’s actions violated Macy’s policy and that concerns about “religious liberty” and “men in women’s changing rooms” were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was “conjuring up” a story of an “anonymous” Macy’s employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women’s fitting room.

However, that’s not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from “asking men to leave women’s fitting rooms” to “having persistent problems keeping men out of women’s fitting rooms,” but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  “persistent problems” with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy’s policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

“Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy’s,” explains Staver. “They’re tearing up their Macy’s credit cards, they’re sending back their Macy’s gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy’s — and this is a consistent response that we’re seeing from the public around the country.”

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are “literally outraged and shocked” at Macy’s policy.

Staver conveniently doesn’t provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy’s employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy’s and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy’s to not back down. 

Why is Facebook Protecting Pro Rape Language and Abuse of Women?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Despite a campaign that included 180,000 signatures, Facebook continues to post pro-rape pages, showing, yet again, that they care about users so long as they’re profitable.

By Melissa Gira Grant
December 12, 2011

 Since August, tens of thousands of Internet activists have taken to social media to protest a social media giant — Facebook — for its apparent tolerance of user-created pages that make sexual violence into a punchline. The pages, with titles like “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont [sic] want to wake her up” and “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” have been common to Facebook for some time, but campaigns against them began when a Facebook representative commented to the BBC on its decision not to remove that kind of content, stating, “Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.” The pub analogy comment circulated among feminist activists on Facebook, and it was quoted widely on blogs, sparking a series of petitions that circulated for months, demanding the removal of the pages. When Facebook failed to respond, online activists organized a Twitter hashtag Day of Action, #notfunnyfacebook, to further pressure Facebook to enforce its own terms of service and hold its users accountable. Finally, following the Twitter action, Facebook elected to delete a few of the pages. It also allowed others to remain, so long as they were retitled as parodies.

The victory came as a half-hearted one for activists, who, with more than 180,000 signatures and hundreds of Twitter participants on their side, had not been able to call Facebook to account. New pro-rape pages are still being posted. One I just visited is called “That one slut you have always wanted to kick in the face.” After scrolling past three nearly identical wall announcements explaining how I could make easy money at home today (not involving, as I had first assumed, being “slutty”), I found a handful of nasty comments, all so poorly spelled it would be difficult for them to retain any air of menace. Then I recalled the anonymous person who scrawled “FAGETS” on the wall of a student organization I worked with in college. Then I saw what the page was really used for: with the “tag a user in this post” function, fans of the page could add the name of their intended target to their wall post, and that target would potentially see the post and the threat. It made me queasy.

If it was not clear before, we must understand now that Facebook wasn’t built for us — it was built for the profit of the very few. That Facebook is of value to the public as a communications platform is only important to Facebook insofar as it allows them to sell targeted advertising against our own speech. Its governing document, the Terms of Service, has been repeatedly applied unfairly and without accountability to its users, as its purpose is to legally protect Facebook from our conduct, not provide us with a free space, or even a safe space. Facebook needs to be only as minimally welcoming to us so as to ensure our return to use it again. And that we might use Facebook as a public square for activism? Not even in the business model.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Bullies and the Bullied

Bullies are bullies because they reflect the patriarchal paradigm.

Bullies are considered tough.  Because being tough means being able to dish out pain, hurt and humiliation without feeling guilt.

Being able to take pain, hurt and humiliation without being destroyed by it is called celebrating one’s victimization. Even though surviving such abuse without committing suicide or killing one’s tormentor takes great strength.

Destroying the lives of others is rewarded while having one’s life destroyed by bullying is punished further by people who treat the victims of bullying as weak and cowardly, unworthy of decent opportunities in life.

Damages are rarely awarded to people whose childhoods were destroyed by bullies.  Or to children who were deprived of their right to an education and the right to experience school as a safe place in which to grow and learn.

Bullies bully because bullying is the path to success.  It is the path to alpha status whether in a wolf pack or in the corporate structure.

Refusal to join the bullies places one with the victims.  Joining the bullies gains multiple rewards.  That is the mentality of Tea Baggers and lynch mobs alike.

When I was 13, I played goalie on a junior hockey team (my father required me to play sports).  They gave me the position because I wasn’t a good skater or an aggressive player.  But I turned out to be a really good goalie, years of learning blocking of punches and flinching had paid off.

Because I was good at playing goalie the bullies gave me the opportunity to join them.  All I had to do was beat up a kid who was a sissy like me.  Physically it would have been easy, I was strong and toughened by the summers spent working on the farm.  But I couldn’t do it.  I hit this kid once and stopped.

The next day I went to the school’s office and told the Principal what had happened.  I was put on a different bus because I would have been severely beaten by the bullies.

I made what I saw as a moral choice.  My family raised me well.  You do not join the thugs and beat up the oppressed just as you do not cross union picket lines.

I think a lot of people like Eddie Long and all the queer haters who look and sound so queer themselves also faced that ethical dilemma at some point or other in their lives and decided that it was more rewarding to be part of the bullies than the bullied.

I was already branded a teen age drag queen by my parents when I made my choice as to which side I was on.  I went on to grow into a left wing radical who believes in human rights.  Even when I tried to join the mob and the bullies about 10 years ago it never felt right.

As adults bullies have many glorified titles.  CEO, CFO, General, Admiral…  They are the ones who feel no guilt about the inflicting of pain upon others.  Psychiatrists call that sociopathic  behavior.  Those who take pleasure in the inflicting of pain upon others are psychopaths.

But the reality is society rewards bullies.  Society celebrates the conquering hero no matter how egregious and monstrous the actions.

Just as society blames the rape victim, the beaten wife, the murdered transsexual or transgender woman.

The victim is always seen as making the bully act in a monstrous manner.  Society always offers up mitigating circumstances that the bully may have never thought of on his own.

The victim of bullying is told to suck it up, get over it.

I was a tough little transkid.  I retaliated.  Because bullies rarely act on their own and usually act as part of a mob, I would wait till one was alone and unaware and I would attack him without warning using what ever means were necessary to hurt him.

Oddly all those authority figures who never found a reason to punish the bullies always found a reason to punish me.  But if I had to suck it up and take being punished it was better to take it for fighting back than for being abused.  In the process bullies decided it was better to pick someone else to bully.

I never made the connection as a child but as I became a teenager, who listened to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, I realized that if the bullied and intimidated got together, why there were more of us than there were of the bullies.

I also realized bullies do not stop being bullies when they grow up.  They just become sadistic sociopathic adults.  The sort who rape as an exercise of power.  The sort who join the military not to defend the country but so they can murder people who do not have the same military might.

Bullies grow up to abuse their wives and children.  Bullies don the robes of the KKK and the Republican Party.  Bullies seek out positions that reward their sick desires to abuse.  They join the police departments so that when the victimized, the raped and abused go to the police they are going to people more likely to side with the abuser than with the victim.

Suck it up.  It is your own fault.  If you would just not exist then the bullies wouldn’t be forced to treat you like the scum you are.

Look at what those who are bullied are called.

Sissy, nerd, freak, faggot, dyke, queer, whore, trannie, geek.  Words that hurt. Words that scar.

Words that say we should just kill ourselves because we are such misfits.

A year and a half ago when I started this blog I laid down the law to the “HBS/Classic Transsexual” that their name calling wouldn’t be permitted on this blog.  I had come to the conclusion that they were people who desperately wanted to join the non-trans bullies who abuse transsexual and transgender people, something I wanted no part of and that I would not permit in a space I controlled.  Now this set of people seem to devote an inordinate amount of energy to denouncing me.

I don’t care.

I know which side I am on and that is the side of the oppressed.

While bullies have whole armies of friends, lynch mobs who laugh and cheer them on as they bully and abuse too often the bullied and abused are forced to suffer alone.

I remember what it was like to feel I was the only one in the world.  I remember what it was like to feel that I was despised not only by the bullies but by institutions that either refused to intercede or who blamed me for provoking the abuse simply by being.

I knew I was different.  The nugget of truth that kept me going was thinking, “Yeah, I’m different. So What!”

But I was near suicide on more than one occasion as a child.  I thought how easy it would be to kill myself.  I dwelt upon the ways I could kill myself.  Sometimes the only thing that kept me alive was the will to deny the bullies the pleasure they would feel if I did kill myself.

I deliberately failed out of college after winning a New York State Regents Scholarship.  The reasons were complex and included desire to just not be there when the 1960s were happening and there were others like myself out there making a life.  But there was also a darker truth…  The 12 years of being bullied had so damaged my education and my ability to focus that I needed time to regain my sense of self worth.

In the last couple of years of high school I actually had a few friends.  We were hipper than the rest of the kids in school, listened to folk music and studied together.  I was no longer a complete misfit.

In college I became a radical and part of the SDS/ hippie crowd.

When I left school I was sustained by the radical left and hippie movements.

When I met other transsexual and transgender people I realized we had all been abused.  Drug and alcohol abuse was endemic to our crowd.  So was sex work.  Our lives had been shredded by that abuse.

It is okay for Dan Savage to say, “It gets better.”

It does but we need to tell the truth.  Admit that we were bullied and abused.  Admit that it destroyed our childhoods.  Demand redress from the educational system that failed us while it rewarded the bullies who often captained sports teams and won awards.

We need to create space for bullied kids to get together and expand that space to the kids who avoid supporting bullied kids out of fear that the bullies will turn on them.

We Need To Make It Better For Bullied People who are Adults

The pain of having been bullied does not stop once one becomes an adult.

As a feminist I listened to women tell of the pain of having been sexually abused and I was silent about my own pain.  I went home and poured a glass of wine and then another.  Other friends took pills or shot heroin.

We trivialized our scars because having been the victim of bullying was even more shameful than having been victimized by incest or childhood sexual abuse.

We have a hard time talking about it.  We go to AA or NA and keep silent about why we substance abuse.  We wind up in abusive relationships and wonder why.

We are haunted by depression and take Prozac or other drugs and still do not name the reason.

It took me all week to write this, a dozen attempts.  I asked myself if I should admit to having been one of the bullied.

The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us.  We will remember, as well we should those transsexual and transgender people who were murdered but we should also remember those who died of over doses and organ failure from years of substance abuse for they too are victims of a violent crime.  Bullies with their torture and abuse are the ones who started so many on the path that finally takes their lives.

This year I celebrate my tenth year of sobriety.  I have someone I love who loves me and I have learned to speak out.  I tell her right away if I think her yelling at me is starting to be abusive.  I’m touchy and trigger easily but I am in recovery not only from drinking but from my childhood of being abused.

To make life better we have to have the space to name the secret scars that cause the pain we drink or drug to numb away.

I know I have focused this mainly on TS/TG folks but I include gays and lesbians as well as straight folks.  It just seems as though institutionalized misogyny means that assigned male at birth TS/TG kids get the worst along with feminine gay kids.

The freedom from bullies should be a basic human right and a matter of social justice.

Bullying is a part of misogyny, racism and classism.  It says that one group of people are superior to another group and that one group should be permitted to abuse another group.  That makes all bullying a form of hate crime.

Are Muslims Replacing Queers as America’s New Scapegoat?

Thought for the day and maybe forever:  “The left wing and progressives have always stood for inclusion and equality. The right wing and conservatives have always stood for exclusion and elitism/inequality.”

I’m an Atheist and therefore freedom of religion is important to me since the very concept implicitly includes the freedom to not believe.

I was a child in the “good old days” of the 1950s which were good only if you were white, right and well to do and what we described as WASP.

To be queer was so outre as to be sufficient reason to be driven from small town America to seek ones life in the ghettos around America where we could find a modicum of acceptance among “liberal and sophisticated people” described as artistic.  Indeed queer was considered so taboo that they describe LGBT/TQ kids as “sensitive” rather than as queer.

Racism and anti-Semitism were alive and well and anyone who said either were wrong was a “Goddamned Red”.

They also had choice name for people whose ethnic back grounds didn’t conform to the WASP ideal were were being programmed to think of being “normal”.

It was a time when using racial and ethnic slurs was widely accepted.  People who argued for politeness of language were not being “politically correct”, they were “Goddamned Reds”.

The charge of  “Political Correctness” has been cut loose from its founding root in the left wing communities where it was used as ironic chastisement for people who were getting carried away with their own superior level of consciousness.  When it used by right wing it is an euphemistic way of calling someone a “Goddamned Red”.

But heaven forbid one point out to the right wing that their ideology bears a great deal more resemblance to something found in Nazism than in the US Constitution.

They wrap themselves in the flag and wave a Bible in your face while wiping their asses with the Constitution.  In the world according to the right wing the US is a “Christian Nation” and the Constitution only has one amendment, the Second Amendment.

I was a child of the 1950 but I came of age in the 1960s.  Oh wasn’t that a time?  To be young and radical meant hearing everyone’s call for equality and social justice.  It didn’t much matter to those of us who read Steinbeck’s Grapes Of Wrath as high school students and were so moved as to take Tom Joad’s soliloquy to heart.

Whenever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Whenever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there . . . . I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’-I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build-why, I’ll be there.

From Wikipedia:

At the time of publication, Steinbeck’s novel “was a phenomenon on the scale of a national event. It was publicly banned and burned by citizens, it was debated on national radio hook-ups; but above all, it was read.” [5] Steinbeck scholar John Timmerman sums up the book’s impact: “The Grapes of Wrath may well be the most thoroughly discussed novel – in criticism, reviews, and college classrooms – of twentieth century American literature.” Part of its impact stemmed from its passionate depiction of the plight of the poor, and in fact, many of Steinbeck’s contemporaries attacked his social and political views. Bryan Cordyack writes, “Steinbeck was attacked as a propagandist and a socialist from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. The most fervent of these attacks came from the Associated Farmers of California; they were displeased with the book’s depiction of California farmers’ attitudes and conduct toward the migrants. They denounced the book as a ‘pack of lies’ and labeled it ‘communist propaganda’.[6] However, although Steinbeck was accused of exaggeration of the camp conditions to make a political point, in fact he had done the opposite, underplaying the conditions that he well knew were worse than the novel describes[7] because he felt exact description would have gotten in the way of his story. Furthermore, there are several references to socialist politics and questions which appear in the John Ford film of 1940 which do not appear in the novel, which is less political in its terminology and interests.

I’m watching the hysteria being whipped up by the right wing and the cowardly acquiescence of so many in the Democratic Party who seem more concerned with acting like good Germans by not rocking the boat and I think this is how something like the Third Reich happened.

People were too afraid to say, “No, this is wrong.  Too afraid to not join the lynching mob.”

Yesterday I quoted  Pastor Martin Niemöller . Last night Tina and I went to see Jr. John and the Lower 911. In one of their songs they inserted a song I used to sing on special occasion when I faced the thugs in blue with their clubs and Mace, “I shall not, I shall not be moved, Just like a tree standing by the water, I shall not be moved..”

I wasn’t Black, yet I stood for African American Civil Rights.

They were never going to draft me, yet I opposed the draft.

I was not a Native American yet I supported AIM

I was not a Chicano migrant farm worker, yet I supported the United Farm Workers

I am not Muslim (Indeed I find their religion among the most misogynistic of all religions and abhorrent on many levels),, yet I support their constitutional right to freedom to practice their beliefs.

The scapegoating of Muslims and blaming the entire world of people who practice Islam for the acts of 18 people who committed 9/11 is ugly, stupid and ridiculous.

Let them have their cultural center and their equal rights.

The memory of LGBT/TQ people having to fight various city halls for the rights to open and maintain our community and cultural centers is to fresh for me to join the lynching mob.

It appears as though beating up on Muslim people has become the new sport of the right, replacing LGBT/TQ bashing.  Or perhaps it has just momentarily supplanted it.

It is all the same hatred that is the stock and trade of the right wing.  Do not be fooled if it puts on a different mask.

Police State

I grew up left wing.  I may not have been a red diaper baby but my diapers definitely had a union label.

We were Democrats in part of New York State that had been down with the GOP since they sent volunteers to fight for the Union.

My parents were FDR New Deal Democrats who thought it stupid to vote against the interests of the working people.

I was raised to be careful about telling others things my parents talked about because it was the McCarty era and my father was first generation Polish American at a time when they were stripping people of their citizenship and deporting them for being Reds.

There was a fictional short story by Phillip Nolan called “A Man Without a Country”, about a man stripped of his citizenship and condemned to a life aboard ships.  I don’t remember the specifics of the short story, but John Adams instituted the Alien and Sedition Acts  that could have done something like that.  The moral of the story was supposed to be about how sad the man was to never be permitted back in America. I saw the moral as being, “Freedom of speech, means freedom to agree.”

I came away with a different take on it, perhaps because of my family.  My take on it was that there was a serious gap between what the Constitution says and how the Police State functions.  Freedom of speech should mean just that, after all the Constitution doesn’t have the disclaimer, “So long as one never speaks a disparaging word regarding corporate fascism, police abuse of power, racism, imperialism or the military industrial complex.”

In school I was taught that in the Soviet Union and life under Communism, the citizens had their lives spied upon and could lose their jobs and even be imprisoned for speaking their mind.  Which was way different from the US,  where people were being arrested, spied upon, interrogated, force to name names or face imprisonment as well as be denied employment all under the aegis of “protecting freedom.”

As a kid I couldn’t tell the difference.  But I knew that one of the things that could get one labeled Red was supporting equality for Black people.  At the same time people who murdered and horribly mutilated a Black child named Emmett Till were not prosecuted the way people who said that was wrong were persecuted.

There were things my family spoke about in whispers and that I was told to never speak about like their discussing loyalty oaths.

I was a radical in the 1960s.  I was arrested for my opposition to the war and for standing up for things I knew to be right.

We were subjected to having warrantless raids performed on our places of residence as well as stop and search violations of our rights in the streets.  Even though these warrantless searches were a clear violation of our Constitutional rights.

They called it “The War on Drugs”, they used it as part of a war on anyone the police were bigoted towards.

In the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up

It was after all the war on drugs and the only people speaking out were either drug users or left wing scum like the ACLU.  Generally the position was, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.

Then a few years later as the government became much more rabidly right wing and the Constitutional rights of Americans were eroded further in various ways including “the War on Crime” and “The War on Drugs” private companies began to demand employees submit to drug testing.  It didn’t matter if you showed up for work stone sober, they wanted to know what you did on the weekends.  And thanks to things like Employment At Will and the Taft Hartley Act workers had lost the ability to protest against these violations of personal privacy.

After all, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”  Like the dark days of the 1950s when a version of that same mantra was the subtext behind the assumption of guilt when people refused to name names for Joe McCarthy and HUAC, refusal to submit to a violation of one’s Constitutional rights to freedom from warrantless search was taken as an admission of guilt.

And so it goes, one baby step at a time we surrendered our Forth Amendment rights.

Did you speak out regarding this violation of people’s rights?  If you did you were in a minority.  There are gulags across America filled with people whose only crime is the violation of the drug prohibition laws.

Some where along with all the get tough on crime propaganda there was a new mantra introduced, “What part of illegal do you just not get?”  All the while there were obviously two sets of laws one for the rich and one for the poor.

Yet who, other than those pesky Reds spoke up?  And yes it is a truism that if one speaks out against the right wing police state then one is automatically a “Red”.  Even if they have never read a word of Marx/Engels/Lenin.  Even if they are no further left than Obama.

Then came the “War on Terror” with the TSA and NSA, Echelon, and Total Information Awareness.  To speak out against this infringement was to once again be a Red and soft on terror.  We learned new words and phrases like “rendition” and “water-boarding”.

But we weren’t being thrown in concentration and torture camps. So we sat back and repeated the mantra we had long ago taken to heart. “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

In the process we learned to internalize the police state, to watch what we said and wrote, to point fingers and condemn as “Reds” and “Agitators” those who spoke out and questioned what the fuck was going on.

Remember Cindy Sheehan and the Crawford Ranch Demonstration?  Cindy, who son was killed in Iraq, had the audacity to ask  W., “What noble cause?” Perhaps more of us should have asked, “What noble cause?” Because our civil rights were going down the tube and had been for many years.

One of the major problems of identity politics is the compartmentalization and focus on an issue that is supposed to unite in spite of the people who supposedly share that identity having all sorts of different politics.

I have met too many sisters who were classist, racist, anti-feminist and right wing to believe that just having an association at some point and time with a trans-prefixed word makes them my sister.

I have been called a “Red” too many times by people I am supposed to have common ground with according to the ideology of Transgender Inc.

But now the Police state has become real for them too.

We Do NOT Have All the Same Body Parts and Body Scanners Violates Your Privacy

http://blog.seattlepi.com/airlinereporter/archives/218649.asp

It is time to improve privacy!

I haven’t been able to talk about body scanners for a while and it is about time I bring them up again. When I blog about them or am doing research, I constantly see the same argument, “What’s the big deal, we all have the same parts, get over it.”

The thing is we are not all the same and even if we are, we still have a right to privacy. With my obvious dis-like (maybe that is too nice of a word) for the body scanners, I get people who write me in support and calling me  fool. Recently I had a woman write me who is  a pre-operative transsexual, meaning she self-defines as a woman, but still has male genitalia. It is absolutely her right to keep her situation private and no one should have the ability to invade her privacy. Talking about privacy, I will call her “Jane” to keep her anonymous for this blog.

I asked Jane what it is like being asked to go through a body scanner and she told me, “that having to go through a body scanner would be particularly difficult for me as the body scanners actually reveal a person’s gender. ” She also explained it becomes even more difficult because she has, “anxiety which makes the thought of using these even more difficult.”

Jane lives in the UK and unlike in the US, passengers cannot opt-out of body scanners. If you get “randomly selected” , you must be scanned or you don’t fly.

Another argument people often use is, “if you don’t like it, don’t fly then.” There are so many reasons why this argument is weak. If you don’t agree with something, you should stand up for what you think is right and try to change the system.

Jane told me she doesn’t fly as much now due to the fear and has missed out on some very important life experiences. “I have relatives in India who I would like to see again and would also like to travel to India to pay my respects to relatives who have died but feel unable to pass through an airport whilst passing through a body scanner is a condition to boarding my flight,” Jane explained.

We are a global society and need to allow people to fly around the world to continue to grow and prosper. We should not become  society that violates a person’s privacy, so passengers can get a false sense of security that the body scanners provide.

Trans-gender fliers, disabled passengers, folks with body issues and those that have gone through a traumatic experience involving their body should not have to endure evasive security to be able to function in our society. Is giving up your privacy worth the false sense of security you get going through body scanners? I say absolutely not.

And then they came for_______ and suddenly the mantra, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” becomes very personal to some who were all too willing to accept the privileges they enjoyed in the past when the people whose rights were being violated were Reds and drug users.

The time to stand up against the Police State is when they start scapegoating and imprisoning the under-privileged, those Justice Marshall referred to as the “despised and dispossessed”.  Not when they finally come for you because by then the only people left will be those still saying, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

One Little N-Word

Laura Schlessinger, who may have a doctorate just not in psychology or psychiatry has been spewing hatred and bigotry towards LGBT/TQ people for years.

For those of you unfamiliar with this self appointed dispenser of advice from the fetid swamp land of ultra right wing hate radio and television Dr. Laura has had a radio show for years.

During that time she has told women it is their own fault if they suffer spousal abuse but that they will go to hell if they divorce.  Unlike so many for whom I use the label of Christo-fascist Dr. Laura is different, she is a Judeo-fascist.

This makes her an oddity as there is this incredible history of Jewish support for so many truly progressive causes here in America.  The neo-con movement has been the exception rather than the rule.

In some ways right wingers have been given a pass for their spewing of hate.  I guess it sells in Peoria, a mythical standard of heartland America.

The reality is the full force of the state has been used and abused in the silencing of nearly every progressive cause that has reared its head in America.  This has included laws that make it difficult if not impossible to form labor unions capable of wielding power equal to that of the corporations.

The labeling as Red of anyone who dares speak the dreaded word “equality” or stand for the subversive cause of social justice.  Speaking of the labeling of people as “communist”.  why is there no equivalent of Godwin’s rule regarding red-baiting?

Dr. Laura is part of a tradition of hate speech on the radio and television, protected because it sells products without too much “blow back”. What makes Dr. Laura different from many of the spewers of bigotry is that she is not some dubiously credentialed fundamentalist preacher spewing misogyny and homophobia from the sanctity of the pulpit, nor is she some ignorant pundit reading ultra right wing neo-Nazi talking points that pass as political analysis to gown and hood wearing bigots stoked on “White Panic” and “Gender Panic”.

While working on this I received a bulletin from Media Matters for America that had two parts related to this essay:  http://mediamatters.org/research/201008180029

Malkin, other conservatives voice support for Dr. Laura

Following Laura Schlessinger’s announcement that she will end her radio show in the wake of widespread criticism for her use of a racial slur, Michelle Malkin and other conservatives have responded by praising Schlessinger and her comment that, by quitting the show, she will regain her First Amendment rights.

Michelle Malkin, aka “the rabid Shihtzu” is engaging in a typical right wing tactic of lying with regards to the First Amendment.  Freedom of Speech is no guarantee of a platform. Were this defense of Dr. Laura but a thread in a tapestry, a history of defending free speech on the part of the “rabid Shihtzu then perhaps it would not be such an egregious distortion. But I have never once seen or heard anyone on the right wing ever once support “Free Speech” for anyone on the left.  I’m not referring to a commercially financed platform for where one gets paid for speaking their piece. No, I’m speaking about the right wing defending say the rights of protesters to gather, march and present their position.

If anything the right wing spewers of hate use their platforms to not only belittle the opinion of their opposition (much the same way as I use my platform to belittle them) but they use state power to deny their opposition any platform at all.  It has long taken great courage in this nation to support progressive cause such as equality and social justice.  Too often people on the left have had to face blacklisting, spurious laws enforced by the state, police state type tactics directed at even the most innocuous of groups (hence my using the example of “Quaker Vegans for Peace” as organizations subjected to fascist police state tactics). Too often demands for equality and social justice for people who Dr. Laura slurred by use of the N-word have been met by Concerned Conservative Christian Citizens and their lynching rope.

Schlessinger announces end to show after racial rant
Schlessinger: “I articulated the ‘n’ word all the way out — more than one time.” On August 10, Schlessinger launched into a racially charged rant, during which she — in her own words — “articulated the ‘n’ word all the way out — more than one time.” Among other things, Schlessinger told an African-American caller that she had a “chip on [her] shoulder” and later stated: “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.” The next day, Schlessinger apologized.

During an August 17 interview on CNN’s Larry King Live, Schlessinger announced that when her radio contract expires at the end of the year, she will not renew it. She said that, following her racial rant, “my First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups.”

I can’t help but wonder how one can cry censorship when one is not being forced to resign as a result of engaging in the spewing of hateful speech, when in point of fact one has had an entire career of many years and has earned big bucks getting paid to spew misogyny, homophobia and other right wing garbage that has contributed to a hate movement that has denied LGBT/TQ people their equal rights.  How is voluntarily not renewing one’s contract, censorship?

Would anyone care to bet that Dr. Laura has another even more highly paying platform  to preach hate from lined up and awaiting her signature on a new contract?  Contrast that with the victims of the right wing black list of the Hoover and McCarty eras.  Those people had their careers destroyed not for preaching hatred and bigotry but for taking stands that supported among other things, opposition to Franco, support for labor unions and support for racial equality.

No…  Dr. Laura’s use of the N-word was not some sort of courageous stance taken in the defense of free speech. It was simply a public airing of what is all to often voiced among those claiming to support “traditional values’ those who wrap themselves in the flag in order to hide their swastikas and Klan robe.

Dr. Laura let her sanctimony slip and revealed her true face.  One that is as ugly as Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism  or the racism of Aryan Nation.

Were it only true that Dr. Laura would be reduced to Blogging without sponsors and supporting that blogging working in a Big Box Store.

Yippie!!!! We Won Judge Over Turns Prop 8

From Raw Story: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0804/breaking-court-throws-california-gay-marriage-ban/

Breaking: Federal judge throws out California gay marriage ban

By John Byrne
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 — 4:56 pm

Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declared Wednesday that the amendment to the California Constitution barring same-sex marriage, adopted in November 2008 as Proposition 8, violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Freedom to Marry, the national nonprofit fighting for same-sex marriage equality, issued a statement praising the decision.

“Today’s federal ruling strikes down a cruel and unfair constitutional amendment that should never have become law and affirms that the freedom to marry belongs to every American,” the group said in a statement. “As the first court to strike down race restrictions on marriage said in 1948, ‘the essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.'”

“There is no gay exception in the Constitution to personal choice and the right to marry, and there is no good reason to continue excluding same-sex couples from marriage,” the group added. “Judge Walker’s decision will be appealed and litigation will continue, but what we witnessed in the clear light of his courtroom cannot be erased. The witnesses, evidence, and arguments all demonstrated what we’ve long known: exclusion from marriage harms committed same-sex couples and their families, while helping no one, and the unjustified and unfair denial of marriage to same-sex couples violates the United States Constitution. The judge’s ruling reflects the growing consensus in courtrooms and legislatures across the country, and around the world, that there is simply no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage.”

Continue Reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0804/breaking-court-throws-california-gay-marriage-ban/

One grain of sand at a time.

One drop of water, freezing and thawing

Each action taken.  Each small step forward

And the rock will wear away

Tina and I are going to a rally that was planned no matter what.

Savor the victory because it was truly a win for social justice and equality.

I Hate the Smell of Sophistry in the Morning

Reposted with author’s permission from ENDABLOG: http://endablog.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/i-hate-the-smell-of-sophistry-in-the-morning/

By Katrina Rose

[Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend]

Very early morning (at least in the CDT.)

This post is another update regarding the goings-on in the Texas case of Nikki Araguz, the trans widow of firefighter Thomas Araguz.  Her marriage and identity are under attack by her deceased husband’s ex-wife (purportedly representing the interests of the children of Thomas and the ex.)

Even if you’re not otherwise following the case – or even if you from some reason are disinclined to sympathize with Nikki – you should, at some point in the next few minutes, be picking your jaw up off of the floor.  Legal arguments don’t get much more twisted than the one that the lawyers representing the ex-wife of Nikki’s late husband pulled out today.

A key element of Nikki Araguz’s case to validate her marriage to her late husband Thomas is going to be a change to Texas law that happened pretty much under the radar last year:

FAMILY CODE

TITLE 1. THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

SUBTITLE A. MARRIAGE

CHAPTER 2. THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

SUBCHAPTER A. APPLICATION FOR MARRIAGE LICENSE

Sec. 2.005.  PROOF OF IDENTITY AND AGE.  (a)  The county clerk shall require proof of the identity and age of each applicant.

(b)  The proof must be established by:

(8)  an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant’s name change or sex change

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 978, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.

Essentially, it implicitly recognizes change of sex – and, in turn, that implicit recognition statutorily overturns whatever degree of legal authority that was embodied by the 1999 anti-transsexual decision in Littleton v. Prange, often – though wrongly – referred to as ‘the law in Texas’ regarding change of sex; in fact, it was a decision of but one of Texas’ fourteen intermediate appellate courts and no higher court ever made a substantive ruling in the case.

Again: Clearly, the law implicitly recognizes change of sex.

Here, however, is the spin that attorney Chad Ellis puts on that:

An attorney for the firefighter’s family, Chad Ellis, says the law mentions nothing about allowing someone to legally change gender.

It just acknowledges that such changes occur.  But wait – it gets weirder.

Instead Ellis says it was designed for someone like Nikki who was born a man to apply for a marriage license to marry a female.

Uh huh.  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Brain, meet hurt.

But this is typical of the anti-transsexual arguments made against laws recognizing change of sex.  Even where the legislature in question is much more specific than Texas’ was in 2009, the argument will invariably be made: ‘Well, the legislature didn’t really mean it.’  Those are never the exact words, but that’s the argument – like that made by the dissenting judge in 2004 in Louisiana’s Pierre v. Pierre:

I am not convinced that because Louisiana law provides for a detailed procedure allowing a person’s name and gender to be changed on a birth certificate after a sexual reassignment surgery has been undertaken, see La. R.S. 40-62, the legislature has expressed its intent to confer an accompanying change in the legal status of a person who has chosen to alter his or her appearance.

BTW…

The statute in play there?

PART II.  BIRTH RECORD AFTER CHANGE IN SEX DESIGNATION

§62.  Issuance of new birth certificate after anatomical change of sex by surgery

A.  Any person born in Louisiana who has sustained sex reassignment or corrective surgery which has changed the anatomical structure of the sex of the individual to that of a sex other than that which appears on the original birth certificate of the individual, may petition a court of competent jurisdiction as provided in this Section to obtain a new certificate of birth.

B.  Suits authorized by this Section shall be filed contradictorily against the state registrar in the judicial district court having jurisdiction over the parish in which the petitioner resides or over the parish in which the petitioner was born.  A nonresident born in Louisiana shall file the petition in the parish of birth.  The suit of any petitioner born in Louisiana shall be filed contradictorily against the state registrar.  In the event the petitioner is married, the spouse shall also be a necessary party to the suit.  To the extent that the petitioner’s name is to be changed, the district attorney shall also be a necessary party.  In all cases the petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the petitioner’s original birth record, in which case the short-form birth certificate card shall not be sufficient.

C.  The court shall require such proof as it deems necessary to be convinced that the petitioner was properly diagnosed as a transsexual or pseudo-hermaphrodite, that sex reassignment or corrective surgery has been properly performed upon the petitioner, and that as a result of such surgery and subsequent medical treatment the anatomical structure of the sex of the petitioner has been changed to a sex other than that which is stated on the original birth certificate of the petitioner.

If the court shall find that the evidence sustains the required proof, the court shall render a judgment ordering the issuance of a new birth certificate changing the sex designated thereon from that shown upon the petitioner’s original certificate of birth.  The petitioner may in the same suit seek to have the name of the petitioner changed, and the court may render judgment in accordance with law upon this additional petition at the same time.

….

The legislature really didn’t mean it.

Any bets out there as to how far a similar argument would fly against an anti-trans statute?

Yes, your honor, we know what the ADA says about excluding transsexuals and we know what the senators said on the record in the Congressional Record about excluding transsexuals, but that’s not really what they really meant.

Or…

Yes, your honor, we know what the 1977 Tennessee anti-transsexual birth certificate amendment says about not allowing transsexuals to change their birth certificates and we know what the legislators said back in 1977 about not allowing transsexuals to change their birth certificates, but that’s not really what they meant.

Bar? Meet Dis.

Now, this isn’t to say that Nikki has a slam dunk now, even if – somehow – she gets in front of a judge (and eventually judges) who aren’t Rick Perry worshippers or who are otherwise into legal pretzel logic:

Nikki’s attorneys say at the very least she had what amounts to a common law marriage….

“She has a legal and informal marriage since September 2, 2009 up until the day her husband was taken,” said Phyllis Frye, Nikki’s attorney

It sounds as though the argument is that Texas law prior to 9/1/09 – whatever it was – would have prevented Nikki and Thomas from being married in Texas but that, due to the fact that Texas still allows for common law (informal) marriage, the 2009 change in the law created (for lack of a better phrase) a springing exectutory heterosexual relationship which, due to operation of Texas’ common law marriage requirements, became a marriage immediately thereafter.

Brain, meet more hurt – only this is the headache that should prevail.

Should.

Posted in Equal Treatment, Social Justice. Comments Off

On Medicare anniversary, lawmakers tout inevitability of single payer

On Medicare anniversary, lawmakers tout inevitability of single payer

From Raw Story: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0731/medicare-anniversary-lawmakers-tout-inevitability-single-payer/

By Sahil Kapur
Saturday, July 31st, 2010 — 11:33 am

A trio of progressives in Congress invoked the 45th birthday of Medicare Friday to call for a national single payer health insurance system, predicting it’s “inevitable” if Americans want lower costs.

“It has never been more important to have a strong movement behind Medicare for All,” wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and John Conyers (D-MI) in a letter addressed to “friends of health care for all.”

The trio, all of whom have sponsored single payer bills, argued that cost controls are insufficient in the health reform law enacted March and claimed the growing need to save money would galvanize support for such a system.

“As we honor Medicare’s 45th birthday today, I am proud to say that the movement for Medicare for All remains strong and vibrant,” Kucinich said.

While various lawmakers have endorsed single payer proposals, it remains far out of the reach of Congress due to the prevalence of anti-government public sentiments and the political influence of the private insurance industry, which would be torn down.

Continue Reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0731/medicare-anniversary-lawmakers-tout-inevitability-single-payer/

Argentina legalizes gay marriage in historic vote

[But of course the Christo-fascist Catholic Church  of Pedophilia has its knickers in a twist.  Time for the institution of Catholicism with its homophobia, misogyny and support for right wing dictators and royals.]
From 365 Gay
By The Associated Press
07.15.2010 8:50am EDT

(Buenos Aires) Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to grant gays and lesbians all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.
<
After a marathon debate, 33 lawmakers voted in favor, 27 were against it and 3 abstained in Argentina’s Senate in a vote that ended after 4 a.m. Since the lower house already approved it, and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it now becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin.

The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have increasingly found Buenos Aires to be more accepting than many other places in the region.

The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.365gay.com/news/argentina-legalizes-gay-marriage-in-historic-vote/

Fort Worth Christo-Fascists urge city to overturn gay-friendly policies

It is time that people start realizing that there is no difference between the Christo-Fascists extolling bigotry as a traditional value and the Taliban.  They are both misogynistic and homophobic ideologies that deny freedom and equality to women as well as LGBT/T people.
Along with banning the burqa we need to start taxing  churches including the salaries of those sky god peddlers and all their property and assets.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Fort Worth churchgoers urge city to overturn gay-friendly policies

By MIKE LEE

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2010

FORT WORTH — More than 100 people from local churches urged the City Council on Tuesday night to overturn some of the policies that the city adopted last year in the wake of protests after arrests at the Rainbow Lounge, a gay bar on the near south side.

One patron was seriously injured during the “bar check” on June 28, 2009.

After weeks of protests by gay activists and sympathizers, city officials adopted several proposals recommended by a task force.

Among them were more training for employees and the appointment of a Police Department liaison to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Other proposals, such as extending health and retirement benefits to gay couples and covering sex reassignment surgery under the city’s health insurance, are still being studied.

On Tuesday, speakers said the city went too far and didn’t take their Christian beliefs into account.

Too often we give in to the bigotry of these religion waving bigots.  In doing so we only empower them and encourage them in their practice of un-American forms of hate.  No living in or visiting to this country should ever be denied their inalienable rights, especially based on the rantings of insane bigots who tend to not only be misogynist and homophobic but racist as well.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers