Meet the spiritual forefather of conservatives’ War on Women

Radical Feminists like Dworkin and McKennon joined Keating and the Moral Majority  in this campaign.  Today there is the same sort of sketchiness surrounding the anti-trafficking movement.

Yet another case where the most important question one can ask is: Cui Bono?  Who benefits?

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/meet_the_spiritual_forefather_of_conservatives_war_on_women/

Charles Keating was best known for his shady financial dealings, but his politics were even more destructive


Sunday, Apr 13, 2014

The late Charles Keating, who died last week at the age of 90, is remembered primarily for his role in the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, as a symbol of the frauds and excesses of an unregulated financial sector — a debacle from which we seem to have learned very little. Yet, ironically, those of us interested in American sexual politics remember a very different side of Keating: the smut-fighting moral entrepreneur who called for more regulation — as long as it pertained to matters of obscenity, rather than investment.

Keating’s pioneering activity in junk-bond innovation has all but eclipsed what may, in fact, be his most lasting legacy. As founder and longtime leader of Citizens for Decent Literature (CDL), Keating pioneered a new form of sexual conservatism, modernizing it to meet the changing mores of the mid-20th century. Through CDL, Keating developed a legalistic, pseudo-empirical anti-porn movement that worked hard to show itself as not anti-sex, but rather anti-perversion. As such, Keating brilliantly framed CDL for a post-Kinsey America, leaving a lasting imprint on conservative sexual politics.

A young Catholic lawyer in socially conservative Cincinnati in the 1950s, Keating watched with alarm as the newsstands and paperback racks of the nation filled with pulp novels and Playboy imitators, and he assessed the American moral landscape with a clarity few at the time possessed. Even as the Cold War witnessed a dramatic sexual retrenchment that ranged from aggressively domestic ideals for women to state-sponsored violence and suppression toward queer “deviants,” anti-smut activism seemed to be at low ebb. “Censorship” was unpopular, viewed through a Cold War prism as a tactic of the totalitarian Soviet Union, not freedom-loving Americans — none less than President Dwight D. Eisenhower castigated “the book burners” in 1953. Meanwhile, old forms of moral activism had fallen into disrepute. Anti-smut activist Anthony Comstock, in whose name the 1873 federal obscenity law had been passed, was now viewed through a post-Freudian lens as a repressed Victorian, and Catholic cultural influence was on the wane, with the traditional boycott methods of the Legion of Decency under attack in the media and the Hollywood Production Code disintegrating rapidly.

Yet Keating uniquely recognized the opportunities afforded by the Supreme Court, whose 1957 Roth v. United States opinion determined that obscene materials were not protected by the First Amendment. Today we remember Roth for helping unleash the sexual revolution. Because Justice William Brennan restricted obscenity to only those works completely devoid of “socially redeeming value,” the case cleared the path for Henry Miller novels, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” and ultimately “Deep Throat.” But Keating recognized the conservative opportunity the Court afforded: Banning books could be framed as something other than censorship. If a sleazy book with a name like “Lust Agent” is obscene, it has no constitutional claim to free speech. Ipso facto, to suppress it is not to censor it.

Or at least, that’s how Keating’s semantic gambit went — and it worked, marvelously. His CDL rapidly rose from a local Cincinnati group to a national behemoth, easily the nation’s preeminent anti-pornography organization in the 1960s and beyond. Keating stripped the movement against smut of its association with repression and prudery, instead boldly declaring that his cause could be reconciled with a sexually liberated age. “I spent over 8 years in the Navy,” his right-hand man declared in a typical 1962 CDL stock speech, “and I think sex is great!” The right kind of sex, of course: heterosexual and married, not “deviant.” Though himself Catholic, Keating kept CDL militantly broad-based to avoid the charge that it was an extension of sectarian Catholic beliefs. To the notion that moral offenses were victimless crimes, an idea promoted by Alfred Kinsey and others, Keating had an answer as well.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/meet_the_spiritual_forefather_of_conservatives_war_on_women/

What Do the Koch Brothers Really Want?

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/11-10

by Bernie Sanders

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process.

Perhaps, the biggest winners of Citizens United are Charles and David Koch, owners of the second-largest privately run business in America Koch Industries.

Among other things, the Koch brothers own oil refineries in Texas, Alaska, and Minnesota and control some 4,000 miles of pipeline.

According to Forbes Magazine, the Koch brothers are now worth $80 billion, and have increased their wealth by $12 billion since last year alone.

For the Koch brothers, $80 billion in wealth, apparently, is not good enough. Owning the second largest private company in America is, apparently, not good enough.  It doesn’t appear that they will be satisfied until they are able to control the entire political process.

It is well known that the Koch brothers have provided the major source of funding to the Tea Party and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In 1980, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980.

Let’s take a look at the 1980 Libertarian Party platform.

Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform that David Koch ran on in 1980:

  • “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”
  • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
  • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
  • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
  • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”
  • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence.  Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”
  • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”
  • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
  • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”
  • “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”
  • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State.  Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
  • “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
  • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
  • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
  • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”
  • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”
  • “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”
  • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”
  • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”
  • “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”
  • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”
  • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
  • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
  • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

In other words, the agenda of the Koch brothers is not only to defund Obamacare.  The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.

It is clear that the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires are calling the shots and are pulling the strings of the Republican Party.

And because of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, they now have the power to spend an unlimited amount of money to buy the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the next President of the United States.

If they are allowed to hijack the American political process to defund Obamacare they will be back for more.

Tomorrow it will be Social Security, ending Medicare as we know it, repealing the minimum wage.  It seems to me that the Koch brothers will not be content until they get everything they believe they are entitled to.

Our great nation can no longer be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, for the sake of our economy, we have got to let democracy prevail.

Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty

One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was ‘capitalism isn’t working’. Now, in an epic, groundbreaking new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they’re right


The Observer, Saturday 12 April 2014

The École d’économie de Paris (the Paris School of Economics) is actually situated in the most un-Parisian part of the city. It is on the boulevard Jourdan in the lower end of the 14th arrondissement, bordered on one side by the Parc Montsouris. Unlike most French parks, there is a distinct lack of Gallic order here; in fact, with lakes, open spaces, and its greedy and inquisitive ducks, you could very easily be in a park in any British city. The campus of the Paris School of Economics, however, looks unmistakably and reassuringly like nearly all French university campuses. That is to say, it is grey, dull and broken down, the corridors smelling vaguely of cabbage. This is where I have arranged an interview with Professor Thomas Piketty, a modest young Frenchman (he is in his early 40s), who has spent most of his career in archives and collecting data, but is just about to emerge as the most important thinker of his generation – as the Yale academic Jacob Hacker put it, a free thinker and a democrat who is no less than “an Alexis de Tocqueville for the 21st century”.

This is on account of his latest work, which is called Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This is a huge book, more than 700 pages long, dense with footnotes, graphs and mathematical formulae. At first sight it is unashamedly an academic tome and seems both daunting and incomprehensible. In recent weeks and months the book has however set off fierce debates in the United States about the dynamics of capitalism, and especially the apparently unstoppable rise of the tiny elite that controls more and more of the world’s wealth. In non-specialist blogs and websites across America, it has ignited arguments about power and money, questioning the myth at the very heart of American life – that capitalism improves the quality of life for everyone. This is just not so, says Piketty, and he makes his case in a clear and rigorous manner that debunks everything that capitalists believe about the ethical status of making money.

The groundbreaking status of the book was recognised by a recent long essay in the New Yorker in which Branko Milanovic, a former senior economist at the World Bank, was quoted as describing Piketty’s volume as “one of the watershed books in economic thinking”. In the same vein, a writer in the Economist reported that Piketty’s work fundamentally rewrote 200 years of economic thinking on inequality. In short, the arguments have centred on two poles: the first is a tradition that begins with Karl Marx, who believed that capitalism would self-destruct in the endless pursuit of diminishing profit returns. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the work of Simon Kuznets, who won a Nobel prize in 1971 and who made the case that the inequality gap inevitably grows smaller as economies develop and become sophisticated.

Piketty says that neither of these arguments stand up to the evidence he has accumulated. More to the point, he demonstrates that there is no reason to believe that capitalism can ever solve the problem of inequality, which he insists is getting worse rather than better. From the banking crisis of 2008 to the Occupy movement of 2011, this much has been intuited by ordinary people. The singular significance of his book is that it proves “scientifically” that this intuition is correct. This is why his book has crossed over into the mainstream – it says what many people have already been thinking.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty

Who Goes To Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap From Wall Street to Main Street

RuPaul Blasted For Transphobia By The Advocate; Not Everyone Agrees

We don’t live in Fucking North Korea, although listening to so many of the thought police in the so called “Trans-Community” the feeling that we might is understandable.

A few years back I called folks practicing the only approved words and pure approved thoughts the  “Transgender Borg.”  They acted as though there was only one approved way of thinking and that one should use only politically correct approved word to express one’s thoughts regarding being trans.

Fuck that…

I gotten a ton of shit from the thought police over the last 20 years for my refusal to embrace the term transgender as either identity or descriptive term.  I was transsexual.  I had a sex change operation.  It was many years ago, so long ago in fact I am now post-transsexual.

Every other person in the “Transgender Community” gets to use their preferred term ergo I get to use my preferred term.

I also have the freedom to tell individuals I disagree with to piss off.

Over the years I have watched as the transgender community has tried to colonize the Stonewall Riots while at the same time disavowing association with drag queens.

Heterosexual transvestites  cross-dressers (in politically correct speak) are part of the transgender community but drag queens aren’t, unless they happen to be murdered and then they are martyrs.

It is all bullshit.

I stand with Calpernia and Andrea James

As much as I like Zinnia Jones and Kelli Busey, I abhor their attacks on both Andrea and Calpernia.  Both Andrea and Calpernia are right to denounce this brand of slacktivism coming from the twits of the twitteratti, who seem to think tearing down two women with a long history of activism will accomplish anything positive.

All this shit does is drive people away once they are over and done with their SRS.

From Queerty:  http://www.queerty.com/rupaul-blasted-for-transphobia-by-the-advocate-not-everyone-agrees-20140407/

By Andrea James
April 5, 2014

UPDATE:

Logo announced on 14 April 2014 that “it has decided to remove the term “she-male” from future episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and pull a recent episode that featured the word.” This came about after weeks of direct negotiation on how to proceed. My critics have also published an open-letter response to this article, in which the authors and the letter’s signatories take issue with my criticisms. Big Freedia won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Series, and I was proud to be present at the event, supporting World of Wonder and all their remarkable work for the trans community.

PREVIOUSLY:

“I fucking hate @RuPaul.”

Normally, a journalist making this pronouncement wouldn’t also report “objectively” about RuPaul that same day, but editors at LGBT website Advocate.com think this lack of ethics and professionalism by writer Parker Molloy is A-OK. It perfectly summarizes the current state of post-disruption journalism and its unhealthy addiction to Twitter, as well as the brain drain that has happened in LGBT media.

f

When not expressing hate for subjects of her reporting, Molloy is part of the eyeroll-inducing “hashtag activist” movement currently infecting the internet. Rants and beta male humorlessness once limited to blogs and social media are now creeping into other outlets. In a sign of the times, The Advocate, a venerable and respected LGBT print magazine founded almost 50 years ago, is now a separate entity from Advocate.com. The website is overseen by a separate editorial team who favors bloggers and tweeters like Molloy over journalists; quantity over quality. Molloy’s specialty is trafficking in outrage, the basest coin of the internet, and Advocate.com is harnessing Molloy’s background as a search engine marketer in its current deathmatch with HuffPo Gay Voices.

ru-judge-lookWhy does Molloy, who is transgender, fucking hate RuPaul? Ru used the word “shemale” recently on RuPaul’s Drag Race and has unapologetically used a number of other taboo words over several decades, like “tranny” and what-not. Imagine that, a drag queen breaking a taboo! Any entertainer deals with hecklers, and Molloy is one of RuPaul’s. Heckler culture has grown stronger as we devolve into a society of media consumers, where everyone is a critic. The only difference between a heckler and a critic is manners, and now hecklers are apparently considered journalists.

Disdain for drag in general and RuPaul in particular has occasionally flared up from folks who transition from male to female with the zeal of a religious convert. They often dabble in online heckling like this before they inevitably flame out. The internet allows these shut-ins to spend their waking lives online, agreeing with like-minded victim cultists who share their views of acceptable transgender thought and behavior. These trans folks have developed their own pseudo-academic jargon like cis-het, which means “cisgender heterosexual,” which itself means “non-transgender straight person.” Most trans folks throwing around cis-het would have been labeled cis-het themselves a few years ago. It’s noteworthy that the most vocal anti-RuPaul hecklers are trans women who are primarily attracted to women. These newly-minted queers are derided as Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) by the anti-heckler movement. The burgeoning backlash forming on 4chan and Reddit mocks SJWs as privileged pseudo-activists who seek to hurt others using the hard-earned weight of actual political movements.

Bret Easton Ellis calls these online hecklers Generation Wuss, oversensitive precious snowflakes raised on smugfuckery via LiveJournal, Twitter, and Tumblr. They exist in every subculture and demographic, and these internecine battles rarely move beyond a community squabble. In the LGBT community a hallmark of this online “activism” is little direct face-to-face interaction with the larger community or our critics. Their primary idea of activism is insulting someone they don’t like with a tweet or post involving the crutch word fuck. So fucking brave! Like all hecklers, their attention-seeking behavior helps these self-haters feel better about themselves.

While experienced activists seek to build bridges and establish empathy between cultures, these elitists’ ideas of success involve extracting apologies from media figures for perceived slights. This just drives intolerance underground, where it manifests in more pernicious ways, winning very few over to a new way of thinking and entrenching everyone. Witness #CancelColbert.

Continue reading at:  http://www.queerty.com/rupaul-blasted-for-transphobia-by-the-advocate-not-everyone-agrees-20140407/

From Kelly Busey: Open letter to Andrea James and Calpernia Addams

From Zinnia Jones: Open Letter: 200+ Trans Women and Transfeminine People Stand Against Calpernia Addams and Andrea James

The Arbitrary Way Companies Are Labeled ‘Anti-Gay’

From The Daily Beast:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/12/the-arbitrary-way-companies-are-labeled-anti-gay.html

04.12.14

GM, yes. Washington Post, no? The Human Rights Campaign’s standards for corporate America’s gay-friendliness have modernized—but it’s evaluation methods haven’t.
On April 1, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation honored more than 300 major employers at the 12th Annual LGBT Workplace Awards Reception.  Some of the biggest names in corporate America were celebrated at the gala event, including AT&T, Viacom, Nike, and Boeing. Even companies that have recently faced criticism for ethically questionable business practices were honored, including Bank of America, Pfizer, Monsanto, and General Motors.

All of these companies earned their spots at the dinner at the Time Warner Center in New York City by receiving a perfect score of 100 percent on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Absent from the night’s honorees was the Washington Post (which was evaluated by its 2013 record, before it was formally purchased by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in October). In fact, not only was a publication of the so-called liberal media at the heart of the Beltway not invited to the reception, it received a lowly 20 percent in the CEI report. Its score was worse than Dominos, BJs, Autozone, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

But before you cancel your subscription to the Washington Post, take a look at what earned one of the most prestigious publications in the country a measly 20 percent. The newspaper received 15 points for offering health insurance to the same-sex partners of employees and an additional 5 for offering other, “soft” benefits to partners, though apparently not enough to earn the full 10 points.

What exactly did the former Washington Post Co. do that was so antagonistic to LGBT employees that it couldn’t scrape up a few more points? For that matter, how did Whole Foods, which rather surprisingly does not grant employees’ same-sex partners health insurance, manage to score a far more respectable 75 on the CEI?

Continue reading at:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/12/the-arbitrary-way-companies-are-labeled-anti-gay.html

HAPPY TAX DAY, AND WHY THE TOP 1% PAY A MUCH LOWER TAX RATE THAN YOU

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ To Refrain From Using ‘Transphobic Slur’ In Wake Of Controversy

I have never watched “Drag Race” and never will.  I’m a hill billy hippie old lady.  The Drag Races I occasionally watch on late night TV usually involve cars and/or motorcycles.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/rupauls-drag-race-transphobic-slur_n_5142855.html

by  James Nichols
04/14/2014

Over the past several weeks, popular reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” landed itself in hot water over the use of terms some activists claimed were transphobic or disrespectful to transgender people.

During a mini-challenge on the show titled “Female or She-male,” contestants were asked to identify whether a photo showed a cisgender (non trans) woman or a former “Drag Race” contestant after viewing a cropped portion of the photo. Some transgender people claimed that the segment was transphobic, as “she-male” is considered by many to be a violent word used against trans bodies and lives.

Following an initial statement regarding the use of the word posted after the segment aired, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and Logo TV are now making a huge change to their programming in order to address the allegations of transphobia.

A new statement sent to The Huffington Post by Logo reads:

We wanted to thank the community for sharing their concerns around a recent segment and the use of the term ‘she-mail’ on Drag Race.

Logo has pulled the episode from all of our platforms and that challenge will not appear again.

Furthermore, we are removing the ‘You’ve got she-mail’ intro from new episodes of the series.

We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We sincerely apologize.

Earlier this month, The Huffington Post reached out to two former contestants on the show that later came out as transgender to seek their perspective surrounding the controversy. Transgender model Carmen Carrera responded with a statement she made on her Facebook, claiming, “Drag Race should be a little smarter about the terms they use and comprehend the fight for respect trans people are facing every minute of today. They should use their platform to educate their viewers truthfully on all facets of drag performance art.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/rupauls-drag-race-transphobic-slur_n_5142855.html

Dear RuPaul: Tell Transphobia to ‘Sashay Away’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nico-lang/an-open-letter-to-rupaul-_b_5070136.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Parker Marie Molloy’s Transphobic and Homophobic Slurs Don’t Matter, but Our Response Does

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/calpernia-addams/parker-marie-molloy_b_5077322.html

Calpernia Addams
04/02/2014

A few weeks ago newcomer to transition and lesbian/trans issues Parker Marie Molloy purposefully misgendered me and called into question my identity as female in an op-ed piece for Advocate.com by calling me a “drag queen” and saying that I “[refer] to [myself] as ‘a transsexual.’” Apparently she’s expressed similar sentiments about Carmen Carrera and others. I was freshly returned from speaking at Oxford University and recording my acoustic LP in London, so I filed the incident under “See If This Still Matters to You in a Few Days” and resumed my busy life here in Los Angeles.

I wasn’t sure who Molloy was, but I assumed that she was another one of the nutty trans hacktivists who had been “triggered” by the buzz generated when Jared Leto thanked me in his Oscars acceptance speech. A small but vocal handful of new transitioners are particularly horrified by my love for the gay community and my willingness to cooperate toward shared goals rather than demand and grab what I want. All these angry, attacking women seem to share certain telling characteristics. Perhaps conditioned to bully and take by a lifetime of white, heterosexual, male privilege in academia and business, these women seem to relish the co-opting of yet another source of power: Often in only a year or two, they drop the mantle of white, straight, male privilege, having wrung every benefit that a 20- to 30-year-old person can from it, and take up the currently unassailable position of being a queer female with all the zeal of a new conqueror. What’s the thing they rail against when not decrying other trans people? “Cis-het privilege”?

2014-04-02-parkermolloyadvocatequote.jpg
Molloy’s original Advocate.com passage misgendering and slurring me. After a few emails from me, Advocate.com did edit the transphobic slurs without comment or apology, and the piece was scrubbed from online archives. After another email, they added a notation that the slurs were removed. After more emails, they added that The Advocate “regrets the error.” Whew!

Now, I’ve known plenty of people who were able to live successfully integrated into heteronormative culture as someone of the gender they were assigned at birth, and who then went on to become strong voices for the trans community and the LGBT community at large after joining us. And I don’t discount anyone’s identity as female here, regardless of their privilege or behavior. I won’t fall into the trap of Oppression Olympics, trying to “win” by discounting another person’s struggle in favor of my own.

Those who reject the mantle of male privilege in order to join our community are to be applauded. Most who transition later in life sacrifice almost everything they’ve built to join us. But at any age, those who just use the gains and habits of this privilege to step in as word police and identity police should be called on it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/calpernia-addams/parker-marie-molloy_b_5077322.html

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Jesse Winchester 1944-2014 RIP

Calpernia Sings “Ugly Hearts”

Years of Living Dangerously Trailer

#CancelColbert and the Return of the Anti-Liberal Left

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/179160/cancelcolbert-and-return-anti-liberal-left#

Michelle Goldberg
on April 2, 2014

Perhaps every political generation is fated to be appalled by the one that succeeds it. In the 1960s, longtime socialist intellectuals were horrified by the anarchic energies of the new left. Then some of those new leftists reached middle age and watched, aghast, as new speech codes proliferated on college campuses during the first iteration of political correctness. I was in college then and am now in my thirties, which means it’s my turn to be dismayed by a growing left-wing tendency towards censoriousness and hair-trigger offense.

It’s increasingly clear that we are entering a new era of political correctness. Recently, we’ve seen the calls to #CancelColbert because of something outrageous said by Stephen Colbert’s blowhard alter ego, who has been saying outrageous things regularly for nine years. Then there’s the sudden demand for “trigger warnings” on college syllabi, meant to protect students from encountering ideas or images that may traumatize them; an Oberlin faculty document even suggests jettisoning “triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.” At Wellesley, students have petitioned to have an outdoor statue of a lifelike sleepwalking man removed because it was causing them “undue stress.” As I wrote in The Nation, there’s pressure in some circles not to use the word “vagina” in connection with reproductive rights, lest it offend trans people.

Nor is this just happening here. In England’s left-wing New Statesman, Sarah Ditum wrote of the spread of no-platforming—essentially stopping people whose ideas are deemed offensive from speaking publicly. She cites the shouting down of an opponent of the BDS movement at Galway University and the threats and intimidation leveled at the radical feminist Julie Bindel, who has said cruel things about trans people. “No platform now uses the pretext of opposing hate speech to justify outrageously dehumanising language, and sets up an ideal of ‘safe spaces’ within which certain individuals can be harassed,” wrote Ditum. “A tool that was once intended to protect democracy from undemocratic movements has become a weapon used by the undemocratic against democracy.”

Call it left-wing anti-liberalism: the idea, captured by Herbert Marcuse in his 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance,” that social justice demands curbs on freedom of expression. “[I]t is possible to define the direction in which prevailing institutions, policies, opinions would have to be changed in order to improve the chance of a peace which is not identical with cold war and a little hot war, and a satisfaction of needs which does not feed on poverty, oppression, and exploitation,” he wrote. “Consequently, it is also possible to identify policies, opinions, movements which would promote this chance, and those which would do the opposite. Suppression of the regressive ones is a prerequisite for the strengthening of the progressive ones.”

Note here both the belief that correct opinions can be dispassionately identified, and the blithe confidence in the wisdom of those empowered to do the suppressing. This kind of thinking is only possible at certain moments: when liberalism seems to have failed but the right is not yet in charge. At such times, old-fashioned liberal values like free speech and robust, open debate seem like tainted adjuncts of an oppressive system, and it’s still possible for radicals to believe that the ideas suppressed as hateful won’t be their own.

“One of the most striking characteristics of ‘60s radicalism was its aversion to liberalism,” wrote Alice Echols in Daring to Be Bad, her history of radical feminism. “Radicals’ repudiation of liberalism was not immediate; rather, it developed in response to liberalism’s defaults—specifically, its timidity regarding black civil rights and its escalation of the Vietnam War.” Something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, happened after Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it, and it’s happening now, as economic misery persists under Barack Obama. There’s disenchantment not just with electoral politics, but with liberal values as a whole. “White liberal” has, once again, emerged as a favorite left-wing epithet.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/179160/cancelcolbert-and-return-anti-liberal-left#

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

S.A. transgender pioneer Christie Lee Littleton Van De Putte has died

From Q San Antonio:  http://www.qsanantonio.com/christie-lee.html

QSanAntonio, April 3, 2014

Christie Lee Littleton Van De Putte, a San Antonio transgender woman who in 1999 was denied the status of a surviving spouse after her husband’s death, died on March 15.

Van De Putte, a San Antonio native, was 61 years of age and worked as a hair stylist. No cause of death was made public. Her funeral mass was on March 25 at Holy Family Catholic Church. Interment was at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.

QSanAntonio has learned that the San Antonio Gender Association is planning a vigil for Van De Putte. Details about this event will be forthcoming.

The 1999 legal ruling that made Van De Putte’s story famous, was made by former Mayor Phil Hardberger when he was Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals. In that case Van De Putte (then Christie Lee Littleton) had been legally married to a man in Kentucky but denied widow’s benefits upon his death.

Hardberger agreed with 285th District Court Judge Frank Montalvo in his ruling that, because of chromosomal evidence, Littleton’s marriage to Jonathan Littleton was a same-sex marriage and therefore illegal.

“The male chromosomes do not change with either hormonal treatment or sex reassignment surgery,” Hardberger wrote in his ruling. “Biologically a post-operative female transsexual is still a male.”

Hardberger’s decision became law in the thirty-two counties located in South Texas and the Texas Hill Country that comprise the Fourth Court of Appeals.

In March of 2007, Hardberger addressed a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio and discussed the case during a question and answer session.

Continue reading at:  http://www.qsanantonio.com/christie-lee.html

All the President’s Bankers: Nomi Prins on Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

Melissa Gira Grant: ‘I got into sex work to afford to be a writer’

Sex work is real work.  Most people in the anti-Trafficking Movement do a great deal of harm to those employed in the sex industry and virtually nothing that benefits sex workers.

Every thing they do makes life more dangerous for sex workers and it harder for people, particularly women to work in the sex industry or to leave the sex industry when they no longer wish to be employed in it.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

Melissa Gira Grant was one of the first webcam girls, before becoming a journalist. She talks to Liz Hoggard about the proposed changes to the UK’s prostitution laws

Read an extract from Melissa Gira Grant’s new book, Playing the Whore

Interview by
The Observer, Saturday 15 March 2014

American journalist Melissa Gira Grant wants to change the way we think about prostitution and sex work. Rather than dwelling on the “sex” part, Grant suggests we focus on “work”. By doing so, she argues, sex workers become neither corrupters, nor victims who need rescuing, but workers who need access to healthcare, a safe work environment and protection from abuse and exploitation.

A former sex worker herself (she was one of the first “webcam girls”), Gira Grant, 36, believes it’s possible to be anti-sex work but pro-sex workers’ rights. She has written extensively about sex, politics, labour and technology for the Guardian, Glamour, Wired, Jezebel and the Washington Post, and published Take This Book, an ebook on the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library, and Coming and Crying, an anthology of true stories about sex.

And now, just as prostitution is at the forefront of the news again with the proposed introduction to the UK of the Nordic model of criminalising clients and pimps instead of prostitutes, she is publishing her new book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.

Born in Boston, she studied comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts and is a graduate of the National Sexual Resource Centre’s Institute on Sexuality, Health, and Inequality at San Francisco State University. Today she lives and blogs in Brooklyn.

The sex industry is an endless source of fascination for the mainstream media. But rarely do dispatches come from sex workers themselves. What do you believe your new book adds to the debate?
When I first started looking for things to read about sex work in the late 1990s, most of the books that had been published were memoirs, though there were a couple of great anthologies of political essays written by sex workers that I just found so valuable. But in the past few years there haven’t been as many books like that, so I wanted to write something about sex work post-2000, to update that literature. Most of the stories about sex workers that I came across in the press focused on sex workers’ behaviour – or, even worse, treating sex workers as a problem to be solved. It made me think that what needed to be done was invert the question, and take the people who were shaping and controlling the lives of sex workers (police, press, policy makers) and to put the focus on them. And to ask questions about their motivations, beliefs and values, and also what they stood to gain from the kinds of stories they shared about sex work, and the kinds of policing and sex policy they were introducing around sex work – particularly with the absence of sex workers involved. These people I focus on are presumed to be the experts on sex work, even though in most cases they haven’t done sex work themselves. It happens all the time that politicians will convene and debate laws about sex work without actually having sex workers participate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

See Also:

Truth Out: The Work of Sex Work: Laura Flanders With Melissa Gira Grant

Rabble Ca: No, I will not stop having ‘feelings’ about women’s lives and human rights

The Nation: Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?

Why do we work so hard? Cadillac and Ford have very different answers

The Cadillac Suit is a total dick.

I hate my job, I hate my job, I hate my job – what many think but won’t tell the boss

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/i-hate-my-job-court-typist

A Manhattan court typist’s antics may have jeopardised many criminal convictions, but I can’t help feeling a pang of joy


theguardian.com, Friday 4 April 2014

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a wage slave typing: “I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job,” on a keyboard, for ever. That’s what a Manhattan court typist is accused of doing, having been fired from his post two years ago, after jeopardising upwards of 30 trials, according to the New York Post. Many of the court transcripts were “complete gibberish” as the stenographer was alledgedly suffering the effects of alcohol abuse, but the one that has caught public attention contains the phrase “I hate my job” over and over again. Officials are reportedly struggling to mitigate the damage, and the typist now says he’s in recovery, but it’s worth considering how long it took the court officials to realise he hadn’t been taking proper notes at all.

You can’t help but feel a small pang of joy at part of the story, though. Surely everyone, at some point, has longed, but perhaps not dared, to do the same. In a dreary Coventry bedsit in 2007, I read Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, the tale of a new employee who calmly refuses to do anything he is paid to do, to the complete bafflement of his boss, and found myself thinking in wonder: “This is the greatest story I have ever read.” No wonder it still resonates. Who hasn’t sat in their office, and felt like saying to their bosses: “I would prefer not to,” when asked to stuff envelopes or run to the post office?

For some bizarre reason, it’s still taboo to admit that most jobs are unspeakably dull. On application forms, it’s anathema to write: “Reason for leaving last job: hated it”, and “Reason for applying for this post: I like money.” The fact that so many people gleefully shared this story shows that many of us, deep down, harbour a suspicion that our jobs aren’t necessarily what we want to be doing for the rest of our lives. A lot of us aren’t always happy and fulfilled at work, and aren’t always completely productive.

Dreaming of turning to our boss and saying: “I would prefer not to,” or spending an afternoon typing “I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job” into Microsoft Word seems like a worthy way of spending the time. And, as with the court typist, maybe people wouldn’t even notice. In one of my workplaces, before a round of redundancies, on my last day my manager piled yet more work on to my desk and said yet again that she was far too busy to do her invoices. With nothing to lose, I pointed out that she had a large plate glass window behind her, so for the entire length of my temp job, I’d been able to see that she spent most of the day playing Spider Solitaire.

Howard Beale’s rant in Network, caricaturish as it is cathartic, strikes a nerve too: there’s something endlessly satisfying in fantasising about pushing your computer over, throwing your chair through the window and telling your most hated colleagues what you’ve always thought about them. But instead we keep it bottled up, go to the pub and grind our teeth. Still, here’s to the modern-day Bartlebys.

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