Michael Moore: In Defense of My Friend Bill Maher’s Statements on Islam

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/media/michael-moores-defense-bill-maher-over-his-controversial-comments

“When Christians do these things we speak up — loudly. So why not speak out when Muslims do it?”

By Michael Moore
November 9, 2014

Bill Maher is a friend of mine. He stood up for me when I was attacked after my Oscar speech (given on the fourth night of the Iraq War, a war Bill publicly opposed while 70% of the country, including the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, supported it), and I stood up for him when ABC fired him and cancelled his show when he attempted to stop the hysteria and fear-mongering after 9-11 — resulting in the Bush White House publicly ordering him to watch what he says — or else. When Bill got his HBO show, he went on a 7-year tear against the Bush administration and became one of our most unapologetic and unrelenting voices against the insanity being shoved down our throats.

I, for one, am glad there’s at least one top comedian who isn’t afraid to say the word “capitalism” or give credence to the good of socialism.
You may not agree with Bill on everything. Yet I’m guessing you love it when he goes after the Uterun Police/Protectors of Child Rapists (also known as The Vatican), or when he brilliantly satirizes the crazy Christian Right which has controlled much of our politics for the past 33 years. I certainly do.

But when Bill goes after Islam, or crazy people professing to be Muslim, we grow uncomfortable. Why is that? Because when he bravely ridicules and attacks Christian assassins of abortion doctors who cite the Bible as justification for their evil acts, we heartily applaud him. But when he mercilessly stomps on Islamic assassins who cite the Koran, we grow uneasy. Why the switch on our part? Is it because Bill doesn’t just stop with the Islamic assassins — he thinks anyone who follows the Koran is a bit nuts? Or the Bible or the Talmud or the… you name it. He thinks it’s all coo coo for cocoa puffs.

I have, when I’m on Bill’s show, told him there are far more examples historically of the death and destruction that Christians have brought to the planet, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the wiping out of Native Americans to the Holocaust. But he points out that, in truth, the Jesus followers seem to have taken a break lately in their genocidial lust — and that the debate should be about the present; i.e., which religion is now doing most of the terrorizing?

Though I would maintain that it is still the Judeo-Christian West whose armies and banks and institutions keep much of the third world under a heavy economic boot, resulting in a lot of hunger, suffering and death, Bill asks, “If I draw a cartoon of Jesus in a dress, will Christian leaders issue a call to assassinate me?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/media/michael-moores-defense-bill-maher-over-his-controversial-comments

Pope Francis: “Unbridled consumerism” will have destructive consequences for the planet

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/11/13/pope_francis_unbridled_consumerism_will_have_destructive_consequences/

In letter to host of upcoming G-20 summit, the pope decries free market fundamentalism

Thursday, Nov 13, 2014

Free market fundamentalism poses a grave threat to both economic security and the health of the planet, Pope Francis warns in a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the host of this weekend’s Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane.

 The letter touches on such issues as fair taxation, hunger, unemployment, financial regulation, climate change, terrorism and poverty. Francis, leader of the globe’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urges leaders to remember that “many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions” in Brisbane. “[I]t would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle,” the pope adds.

Francis outlines a turbulent state of global affairs, warning that economic insecurity and social exclusion risk violence and decrying the destructive consequences of “unbridled consumerism.”

“Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists,” he writes. “In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.”

Drawing attention to human rights challenges like the dire situation confronting religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, the pope writes that leaders must also acknowledge “forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious.”“I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximization of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity,” he continues.

Rather than allowing the free market to go unchecked, the pope calls on leaders to place the poor and vulnerable at the heart of their agenda.

“A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice,” he writes. “Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level.”

Energy saving tips / Simple Winter life hacks anyone can do to keep Warm and Save money.

Leslie Feinberg

I am not going to contribute to the creating of a hagiography of Leslie Feinberg.

Leslie wasn’t really a hero to me.  Leslie was an ordinary person who wrote for the Communist Party USA newspaper Worker’s World.

I have always been far too anarchistic and frankly pro-American to embrace the ideals of the CP-USA and its apologists for Stalin and the Soviet Union.

Leslie and I are both Baby Boomers from upstate New York.  Leslie was from Buffalo and I am from the small towns of the Adirondacks.

We shared a working class background along with growing up obviously different from the sort of people we were expected to grow up to be.

The years before Stonewall were a hard time to be an obvious trans-kid.

Leslie turned 18 in 1967 during the height of the Vietnam War and the Year of the Hippies.

The energy was incredible and sides were chosen.

I was down with SDS and the anti-war movement but I was also part of the hippie culture while Leslie was part of the dyke bar scene.

I came out in 1969.

Leslie’s  roman-à-clef, “Stone Butch Blues” is set in the 1970s, an era that was far less bleak for many TS/TG people than milieu painted by Leslie.

Leslie had an agenda.  One that showed in her non-fiction works as well.

Leslie was many different things to different people, a chameleon reflecting what people wanted to see in hir.

To some Leslie was a stone butch dyke, to others a Communist, to yet others a transgender warrior.

People have a tendency to reduce complex people, especially people they admire into paragons representing an ideal of the quality they admire that person for.

It was damned hard to do that with Leslie, just as it is hard to do that with many people who grew up in that era.  Even those whose lives were not impacted with trans-prefixed words, or other labels from the queer glossary.

People who have complex lives challenge us, at times they infuriate us.  Their contradictions make us think rather than simply admire.

I used to come across Worker’s World and the Weekly Worker on occasion.  I would find them in freebee news racks and in piles near the door of various used book stores.

I thought that Leslie was a good writer who made me think even when I disagreed with her, which I often did.

I also think that “Stone Butch Blues” is an incredible book and that if Leslie is remembered for nothing else then she should be remembered for that book.

(According to Minnie Bruce Pratt Leslie preferred female pronouns .)


Transgender Pioneer and Stone Butch Blues Author Leslie Feinberg Has Died

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/books/2014/11/17/transgender-pioneer-leslie-feinberg-stone-butch-blues-has-died

She was a pioneer in trans and lesbian issues, workers rights, and intersectionality long before anyone could define the phrase. Her partner, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and family offered us this obituary.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
November 17 2014

Leslie Feinberg, who identified as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist, died on November 15. She succumbed to complications from multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease, babeisiosis, and protomyxzoa rheumatica, after decades of illness.

She died at home in Syracuse, NY, with her partner and spouse of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt, at her side. Her last words were: “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation,” and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing.

Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies and also passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, the novel has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with her earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women).

In a statement at the end of her life, she said she had “never been in search of a common umbrella identity, or even an umbrella term, that brings together people of oppressed sexes, gender expressions, and sexualities” and added that she believed in the right of self-determination of oppressed individuals, communities, groups, and nations.

She preferred to use the pronouns she/zie and her/hir for herself, but also said: “I care which pronoun is used, but people have been disrespectful to me with the wrong pronoun and respectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.”

Feinberg was born September 1, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in Buffalo, NY, in a working-class Jewish family. At age 14, she began supporting herself by working in the display sign shop of a local department store, and eventually stopped going to her high school classes, though officially she received her diploma. It was during this time that she entered the social life of the Buffalo gay bars. She moved out of a biological family hostile to her sexuality and gender expression, and to the end of her life carried legal documents that made clear they were not her family.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/books/2014/11/17/transgender-pioneer-leslie-feinberg-stone-butch-blues-has-died

Friday Night Fun and Culture: New Lost City Ramblers


In Defense of Going Barefaced

I get tired of the whole gender, gender, gender business.  I especially get tired of the idea that since I am a woman I always wear high heels, make-up and love pink.

For the record I prefer purple and running shoes.  I don’t remember the last time I wore make-up.  Maybe on a job interview but even then I feel like it is false advertising since since chances of my wearing make-up to work ever day hover some where in the range of slim to zero.

The whole gender queer thing leaves me feeling as though people are putting me on because it give credence to the stereotypes sold by corporations are real instead of advertising.  I sometimes wonder if the realization that advertising is the projection of a fantasy world and bears no connection to reality makes some of us gifted with the ability to see beyond the spectacle to reality.

From Cafe:  http://www.cafe.com/r/315d6157-ac76-435c-a5dd-995c8d01a947/1/i-hate-makeup-in-defense-of-going-barefaced

by Deborah Copaken
Thursday, November 13th 2014

A couple of years ago, just before Facebook went public, I was sitting with its COO Sheryl Sandberg in a green room off the Museum of Natural History, just prior to an important presentation she was giving to the New York advertising industry. (I’d written an article about how Facebook had saved my then four-year-old’s life, and Sandberg had reached out and invited me as an example of the actual good social networks can do.) The excitement in that green room, pre-IPO, was palpable. Sandberg looked radiant in her blue dress, raring to go. This despite the fact that her face—the face of Facebook—was completely devoid of makeup.

I wanted to hug her for this. To stand up and jump up and down and shout, “Yes yes yes! You go, girl!”

I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about when the assistant with the clipboard walked in—it was either Sandberg’s upcoming book, Lean In, or the release of my latest novel, which I promised to send her—but I do remember we were deep in our conversation and enjoying ourselves and our beverages when the assistant said, “Okay, Sheryl, you’re needed in hair and makeup.”

Sandberg’s face—her beautifully unpainted face—fell. “It’s crazy, isn’t it?” she said, seeming to read my mind. “And so unfair.” Many of the other speakers that day, all of them heads of various departments at Facebook, were male. They weren’t needed in hair and makeup and never would be. I didn’t have a tape recorder with me that day, so I can’t quote the rest of what Sandberg said directly, but suffice it to say we shared some choice words on the topic of the wasted hours we women lose to primping, just so that we can be taken as seriously as men. A man without makeup is a man. A woman without makeup is making a statement that can grossly interfere with how she is viewed, paid, and heard.

A man without makeup is a man. A woman without makeup is making a statement that can grossly interfere with how she is viewed, paid, and heard.

Neither of us, however, had any quick solutions to this conundrum. It would require the type of feminist awakening, we decided, that no women’s magazine would ever touch. In fact, I told her, I’d tried pitching some version of this story to various women’s magazines over the years, even though I knew they’d never buy it, as they are financially dependent on ad sales from L’Oreal and Maybelline, and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Continue reading at:  http://www.cafe.com/r/315d6157-ac76-435c-a5dd-995c8d01a947/1/i-hate-makeup-in-defense-of-going-barefaced


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