Bad Moon on the Rise

The last few days just seem so heavy what with the Feebees raiding activist’s homes on fishing expeditions straight out of the Joe McCarty era.  Today’s mass arrests of people protesting the destruction of our country through the act of environmental rape called mountain top removal.  Nearly one seventh of Americans are in poverty and without health insurance, while the Republicans demand that the rich get made even rich by ignoring the principles of progressive taxation.

At the same time places like Greece seem on the verge of revolution and many other countries are facing bankruptcy.  We are at peak oil and there isn’t enough water, the ice caps are melting and weather is becoming more and more extreme.

So a little vintage Credence Clearwater Revival seemed in order.

San Antonio Woman Assaulted; Police and Media Respond With Transphobic Excuses

Reposted From The Curvature: http://thecurvature.com/2010/09/24/san-antonio-woman-assaulted-police-and-media-respond-with-transphobic-excuses/

With the permission of the author:

by Cara on September 24, 2010

in LGBTQ,assholes,bigotry,human rights,law enforcement,media,misogyny,patriarchy,trans,transphobia and trans misogyny,violence against women and girls

Trigger Warning for anti-trans violence, ungendering, victim-blaming, and police and media transphobia/transmisogyny.

Yesterday a man badly beat a woman who was riding in his car and then dumped her in front of an apartment complex before driving away, seemingly for no reason other than that she was trans. Though this is awful enough on its own, police and local media decided to add insult to that injury by fitting as many transphobic tropes as they possibly could into barely one hundred words. The KENS5 news story starts as follows:

A man was in for quite a surprise after learning the woman in his car was a transgender person.

Police say the suspect apparently snapped and beat the woman in the face repeatedly before dumping her off at an apartment complex in the 3200 block of Hillcrest.

The first sentence here is utterly despicable. Rather than identifying with the woman who was assaulted — who I imagine was in for quite a surprise when the man who she was in the car with started beating her in the face — the phrasing immediately and intentionally identifies with the man who assaulted her. Stating that he “was in for quite a surprise” suggests that any normal person — presumed to be cis, of course — would be “surprised” to learn that they were spending their time with a trans* person. And more than surprised, any such person would be rightly appalled. To say that trans* people are inherently “surprising” is to register them as inherently strange and abnormal, their very existence and identities as shocking and upsetting.

This sets the stage to suggest that the assailant had a good reason to assault his victim, just by virtue of who she was. And that’s exactly what the next paragraph goes on to do, even more explicitly.

KENS5 states that according to police, the unnamed assailant didn’t decide to beat his victim. He didn’t make a choice to enact transphobic violence, let alone a hate crime (more on that later). He just “snapped.” Snapping is something that anybody can do. Snapping is something over which we have limited control, which suggests that we are not acting like our usual selves. Snapping is something that is done under extreme stress, something that just sometimes happens, that may even be justified.

And what either police or KENS5 are suggesting here in this choice of words is that the mere presence of a trans* person is enough to make a cis person snap. That beating someone after learning they’re trans* isn’t desirable, but is understandable. That it’s an instinct. An impulsive reaction. Not something done out of hatred, or the desire to reinforce lines of privilege and oppression or to eliminate another human being. Just a natural response to exposure to too much transness.

Things stay just as bad in the next couple paragraphs:

Police are not sue (sic) where the victim was picked up, but they believe the victim had an arrangement with the male suspect.

Preliminarily, investigators think the man responsible for the beating thought he was about to have a good time with a biological woman. But, then he found things were not what they seemed. That discovery may have lead to the brutal beating.

The implication here is clearly not that the victim and assailant were two non-sex working people mutually looking for a casual sexual encounter, but rather a sex worker and a client.

It’s certainly possible that the victim is a sex worker — in which case her additional marginalization as such likely played into the perception by her assailant that she was less than human and deserved to be subjected to violence.

It’s also a simple fact that, due to false stereotypes about trans women and sex workers somehow both being inherently highly sexual, trans women are routinely portrayed as sex workers or automatically assumed to be sex workers even when they’re not. A result of misogynistic, racist, classist, etc. anti-sex worker stigma is that falsely calling someone a sex worker has become a means of attempting to insult and degrade them, and trans women are one of the groups that anti-sex worker slurs and bigotry have been most particularly weaponized against.

The implication, as with all of the “surprise”-related language above, also plays into the old, tired, hateful “trans panic” defense. The “trans panic” defense involves a scenario in which a trans woman “tricks” a cis man into a sexual encounter by not disclosing her trans status, and the man then “snaps” (seeing a trend here?) and assaults or kills her. The defense ignores that failing to disclose one’s trans* status is not in any way a “trick.” It ignores the false premise of the scenario, which is that most trans* folks do disclose their trans status out of concerns regarding potential attacks just like this. It ignores that in a vast majority of such cases, the assailant/murderer had an ongoing relationship with his victim, and knew that she was trans* all along. And it ignores that even if he did not, he still has absolutely no justification for assaulting her.

Which is all to say that even if all of the events occurred exactly as stated here, the framing is atrocious, irresponsible, needlessly salacious, victim-blaming, and transphobic. The tone of article has carried over into the comments — which I do not recommend, though it’s worth noting that clairelouise and zoebrain have started an attempt to educate the ignorant — where transphobia, transmisogyny, and victim-blaming abound. And if the events did not happen as stated, but were rather invented out of transphobic stereotypes, I would not be even remotely surprised.

One last issue I want to address is the police statement that, in spite their own claim that the assailant acted violently because of the woman’s gender identity, they will not be pursuing a hate crime charge. As John Wright states over at Dallas Voice:

Texas’ hate crimes law includes “sexual preference” but NOT gender identity. However, the new federal hate crimes law passed last year does protect transgender people and presumably could be used in this case. If the man beat the victim because she is transgender and not cisgender, then yeah, we’d say that’s a hate crime. Let’s get with it, San Antonio police.

The decision is appalling. Based on the police’s own description, this was absolutely a hate crime. The only possible way I see to interpret it as anything else is to come from the perspective that some hate-motivated crimes are justified, and don’t deserve to be punished — to believe that anti-trans hatred is just so natural that it doesn’t even really count as hate or a bias.

And that right there is fucked up. A woman was attacked. Police believe that she was attacked because she is trans. Hate crimes laws now protect on the basis of gender identity. It’s a hate crime. And calling it anything else is downright hateful in itself.

Mass Arrests in DC: We Shall No Longer Be Crucified Upon the Cross of Coal

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/09/27-7

by Jeff Biggers

Over one hundred protesters from the Appalachian coalfields were arrested in front of the White House today, defiantly calling on the Obama administration to abolish mountaintop removal mining. As part of the Appalachia Rising events, the coalfield residents took part in a multi-day series of events to bring the escalating human rights, environmental and health care crisis to the nation’s capitol.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth leaders Teri Blanton and Mickey McCoy, the first arrested in today’s nonviolent act of civil disobedience, were joined by allies from around the country, including NASA climatologist James Hansen. Meanwhile, protesters led by the legendary Rev. Billy Talen staged a nearby sit-in at the office of the PNC bank, which remains one of the last major financiers of coal companies engaged in this extreme form of strip-mining in Appalachia.

In a stark reminder of the national connection to the coalfields, the Obama administration officials looked on from their White House offices, as their electricity came from a coal-fired plant generated partly with coal stripmined from Appalachia.

As a litmus test of the administration’s commitment to science and the rule of law, Appalachian residents are calling on the EPA to halt any new permit on the upcoming decision over the massive Spruce mountaintop removal mine.

Mountaintop removal coal only provides, in fact, less than 10 percent of all coal production.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/09/27-7

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Creating a Disorder to Make Money

Transsexualism is real.  Gender Identity Disorder is the creation of the APA as a method to cash in on the money to be made in what has become an industry created to help people with transsexualism and transgenderism deal with something they were born, something innate.  Now some of the goods and services professionals offer us are vital and necessary but some are just a way using us to enhance the cash flow of people with degrees in dubious pseudo-sciences.

Prior to the mid-1990s sexual dysfunction was something for comedians to make fun of and was generally so common place as to be considered a normal element of life after a certain age.

This was particularly true of women, both straight and lesbian.  For every story about the heterosexual wife who lost interest there is a story about lesbian bed death.

But drug manufacturing corporations saw a market.  Magnify a minor problem into a major disorder and pound it into the consciousness of people who are insecure regarding their sex lives.  This is easy as sex and sexuality have been kept under a shroud of ignorance and secrecy ever since the rise of the desert religions and their various taboos.

Never mind that the drugs the corporations offered to treat this minor problem had side effects listed that should have scared most people into questioning the need for them.  Sex and gender sell and anxiety about sex and gender sell even more.  Real men have to be potent and real women willing and fertile.

From Alternet:  http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/09/22/is-female-sexual-dysfunction-the-next-big-disease/
Big Pharma Tries to Make Bank off of Women’s Sexual Fears

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Fighting Evolution’s Natural Birth Control

Tina and I were up until 5:00am on Sunday morning watching a movie, “Collapse” a small documentary that didn’t get the exposure Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” did but should have.

When it comes to scary movies most reality based ones dealing with climate change and peak oil are much more frightening than any movie about zombies and other scary monsters.

I am part of that small segment of the boomer population that Gen-Xers and others blame all the shit on even though our ideas and evaluations of the world were correct and our stands for various causes were noble and courageous.

We were and are the ones who wear the peace symbol even when it isn’t turned into a fashion accessory for the corporations to make money selling.  Even more importantly we are the ones who question imperialistic wars.

We are those people who are regularly disparaged by the  sheeple who were the majority of our peers for being tree huggers and losers simply for not wanting a huge SUV and for looking for ways to lower our impact upon the planet and our exploitation of others.

For years the right wing has held President Jimmy Carter up to ridicule mainly because he put solar panels on the White House and suggested we turn off the lights when we left the room, lower the thermostat in winter and raise it a few degrees in summer.

The right wing back lash lived on gaudy conspicuous consumption based on paying workers workers in far away places nothing to produce excessive amounts of junk which we in turn were brain washed into buying.  On credit since real wages have declined since the 1970s for the vast majority of people.

Al Gore’s graph charting the rise in global temperatures and showing a corresponding rise in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide presented part of the picture.  We are releasing carbon that was sequestered for billions of years into the atmosphere when that carbon being sequestered in the earth as coal or as oil is what made Earth inhabitable by humans and animals alike, what made it special in that planets capable of sustaining life as we know it might be rather rare.

“Collapse” featured Michael Ruppert, who discussed the fact that we are at or have passed the point of “Peak Oil”.  From here on out it is going to get harder to find and more expensive to extract.  Say good bye to SUVs and major elements of consumer culture.  Say good-bye to abundant food supplies because they are dependent on oil.

The “Green Revolution” that was supposed to feed the ever expanding billions of people on the planet is about to hit a wall because it was based on using a lot of energy and water to produce the food to feed the growing ranks of consumers that were supposed to support eternal economic growth.

Ruppert displayed two more graphs that matched Al Gore’s graphs of Global Warming,and amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Ruppert”s graphs showed population growth and oil consumption.  I suspect coal and natural gas consumption would produce the exact same graphs.  At any rate Ruppert’s graphs are identical to Al Gore’s.

Malthus was right.  Malthus might not have seen the industrial revolution and the various scientific advances that kept things going but he was right and people ignored him.  When it turned out that his time frame was off the same sort of people who ridicule Darwin and evolution piled on along with those who believe in superstition rather than science.  Sadly, I am forced include a lot of left wing and otherwise intelligent people in this group. No one wants to face the reality that we already have too many people on this planet and that the population is the basis for the exhausting of fossil fuels, the rise of the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate change and decimation of all other species.

Those of us who were involved in the 1970s Ecology Movement all read Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb”.  Like Malthus he too was right about the growing population leading to an ultimate collapse even if he was wrong about the specific time frame.

But we are about to run smack into a major wall with the convergence of all these graphs, all of which were continuing along on a relatively flat and sustainable balance until about 150 years ago and which all show a sky rocketing movement up the graphs in what has been described as a hockey stick shape with all of history prior to about 150 years ago as the handle and since as the curve  where the handle meets the blade.

At the same time climate change and the exhausting of oil is leading to desertification and the melting of glaciers that are major sources of fresh water for about half the people currently living.

When I was a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. One of the books I read was by Theodore “Ted” Sturgeon’s “Venus + X”, a look at a future society populated by androgynous people who were both sexes. One of the nuggets I gleaned from this book was of a study of rat colonies that were subjected to population explosions and how there was a subsquent rise in the numbers of rats displaying homosexual behavior and engaging in cannibalism, even when they had an adequate food supply.

As we have increased the environmental pollution and the usage of complex petrochemicals in all forms of manufacturing and drugs we are seeing an increasing level of infertility.  Something I view as very desirable.  Indeed I would support a complete ban on artificial insemination and all infertility treatments.  No more in vitro or surrogate mothers, no egg donation or sperm donation.

Celebrate the infertile, the queer and the impotent.

Lately I’ve seen people saying that along with the alternate paths of sexuality and gender we should celebrate “asexuality”, a proposition I find completely nonthreatening but which shakes the pillars of corporate interests everywhere.  It seems the corporate interests are quite happy with selling to gay and lesbian folks based on same-sex attraction just as they are marketing virtually the same gender identity based products to straight folks.  Hell, TG/TS folks are a whole specialized niche market for goods and especially services.

But asexual people, people not interested in sex blow the whole marketing scheme because much of selling is based on sexual desire.  Hence the concern about, sexual dysfunction.  There are whole marketing campaigns aimed at convincing people that they should always have the level of sexual desire one finds in a 16 year old and the ability too.

Perhaps asexuality along with androgyny has a great deal to offer.  I know that I have gone for extended periods of life during which I have had neither a partner nor a casual sex life, a sort of yin to my yang periods of promiscuity.  I also know that as I have gotten older I am less interested in sex and more interested in the security and care of a loving companion.

Except we now live longer and nature would rather not have older people make babies.  It isn’t like penile vaginal sex is necessary to show affection.  Actual genital sex acts are not required, even.

Perhaps instead of trying to create fertility when nature isn’t we should celebrate infertility and impotency as part of nature.  Celebrate being LGBT/TQA as being part of the Gaia  scheme to save the planet from ultimate collapse.

We know that we have to stop population growth and lower the planet population back down to about 1 billion over the next few generations otherwise the human population will experience a major die off along with the rest of the species that are rapidly disappearing.

I just reread “Ectopia”, a book from the 1970s. Along with the current economic World Crisis we are faced with a major Eco Crisis, the likes of which we have never faced before.  Time is running out.

Today’s New York Times Editorial

Much of what I read and trust comes from the Left, including Worker’s World, Indy Media, Info Shop, Socialist Workers and World Socialist Web Sites.  They are like the canaries in the mine, the first places to show concern regarding issues largely ignored by the mainstream media.

For years and years, my entire life and the lives of my parents various law enforcement agencies have waged a war against people organizing for the furthering of civil rights, labor’s right to organize and strike, and people advocating for peace instead of war.  When we suspect spying and police subversion of our movements we are not paranoid, we are concerned due to historical experience.

For us on the Left, last weeks raids are just a repeat of illegal government actions going back to the days of John Adams and his “Alien and Sedition Act” and repeated in regular cycles including the Palmer Raids after  World   War I, and the Hoover/McCarthy “Red Scare” after World War II.

Those of us who were active during the civil rights movement, anti-war in Vietnam moments, feminism and the LGBT/T movements are all familiar with the red squads, Cointelpro and other un-Constitutional violations of people’s right to free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from self-incrimination etc.

The raids last week were a fishing operation aimed at intimidation and harassment.  Pure and simple.  Their obviously egregious nature was enough to waken the sleeping gray lady of the mainstream media, The New York Times finally rose from its coma and denounced the raids from its editorial page.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/opinion/27mon2.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

A Reminder for the F.B.I.

Published: September 26, 2010

The day after Thanksgiving, 2002, was a slow day in the Pittsburgh office of the F.B.I., so a supervisor sent a special agent to a rally against the threatened war in Iraq to look for any terrorism suspects who might be there, just to “see what they are doing.” The peace rally was sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, which has opposed violence and armed conflict since the days of Vietnam, and consisted largely of people distributing leaflets. There was not the slightest indication that there were any terrorists there or even the hint of a connection to terrorism. Nonetheless, the agent kept the leafleteers under surveillance and even took pictures.

It sounds like the paranoid approach to dissent of J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., but this and other abuses took place during the Bush administration. A report on the subject by the Justice Department’s inspector general is a reminder of how easily civil liberties can be cast aside during suspicious frenzies, such as that unleashed after the 9/11 terror attacks.

I urge you to continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/opinion/27mon2.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Because you will notice how they assert their confidence in in a recent report that white washed the criminal activity of the various police agencies in targeting these organizations nor do they address the dubious actions evidenced by these most recent raids, which violated the above constitutional restraints.

Remember this same, well respected, indeed most trusted representative of the mainstream media helped the Bush regime sell us on the lie that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11, had weapons of mass destruction and we needed to invade them to neutralize this threat.

Is The New York Times really a media watch dog or is it the lap dog of the rich and powerful?

I think I’ll go check out Worker’s World, Raw Story or The Huffington Post…

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Even Gay Parents Feel Pressure to Raise “Normal” Kids

From The Edge: http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=110666

by A. Sebastian Fortino
South Florida Gay News
Friday Sept. 24, 2010

Studies based on children reared by LGBT/T families reveal they are just as well-adjusted as their peers and classmates, raised by “straight” families. Some studies have even revealed that the children of LGBT families often exhibit stronger academic skills, and perhaps due to the accepting nature of their parents, often have less social problems.

However, a new article published in the journal Family Process examines the pressures of non-traditional parents to raise straight or “normal” children. To quote the article, “Within a heterosexist culture, all children experience pressure to comply with the demands of conventional gender and sexual norms.”

“The underlying assumption of research on LGBTTQ families has been premised on the idea that the children of gay and lesbian people will have unique challenges because of their parent’s sexual orientation. LGBTQ people have had to establish that they are good parents by raising children who are heterosexual and gender-normative, i.e., not like them,” said Arlene Istar Lev, a Family Therapist and Social Work professor with the State University of New York at Albany who wrote the article, “How Queer! – The Development of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in LGBTTQ-Headed Families.”

Despite growing awareness that sexuality is largely determined by genetics, not home environment making children “that way,” the family unit is where children learn about gender identity and the roles they are expected to play based on birth gender. Therefore, it is interesting – and upsetting to note – that Freudian ideology creeps into modern psychology, and still stigmatizes gay families whose children may identify as not straight.

The article highlights the case of Luz and Susannah, an interracial lesbian couple who are described as being masculine and feminine, respectively. Their children have a parent who wears make-up and another parent who excels at carpentry and sports. In essence, traditional gender roles are fulfilled by the couple’s personalities and identities.

This means the idea of a “female” and “male” parent is thus strangely – or perhaps we should say still strangely – absorbed into the fabric of a same sex-couple. The article mentions a lesbian who decided to transition to male after having had children with a female partner. His parents were pleased, rejoicing that at least the children would have a father in the house.

In terms of Luz and Susannah, their two older children – a boy and a girl – generally identify along traditional gender lines. However, their youngest son Kyle, who is about to enter school, prefers girls’ games and toys to boys,’ eschews sports with his older brother and loathes having to identify as a boy. Luz’ father is not happy with the sissy behavior Kyle exudes, which reinforces the idea that LGBT/T couples are expected to raise “normal kids.”

As Kyle is entering school the couple elected to take him to therapy. Like straight couples that have produced a tomboy or an effeminate son they wanted to know if it was something they did.

This is really quite a paradox. Shouldn’t gay families raise their children to be whom they wish to be? Were they not stigmatized as children on the schoolyard, as well?

References cited in the article point out that in terms of gay fathers 10 percent of their sons identify as gay, and 16 percent of daughters raised by lesbian mothers identify as lesbian. Straight parents, after all, raise gay children and if one out of every 10 males supposedly identify as gay the number is not far off from Lev’s findings.

However, perhaps the most interesting thing about the article is that these questions even persist within the home of Luz and Susannah – and other LGBT/T families. The couple raise their children in what is described as a comfortable environment in a liberal city.

In the end, after their youngest is discovered trying to cut off his penis in the bathroom, they decide to have a talk with the school he will soon attend so that Kyle can attend school as Kylia.

His older brother, seems to echo the well-rounded educational and societal outlooks that most research has discovered in the children of non-traditional couples. After his younger brother’s attempt to harm himself he said to his parents, “You can’t make him suffer this way.”

For more information please visit, Onlinelibrary.wiley.com

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