Gays Remain Minority Most Targeted by Hate Crimes

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/rights/149378/gays_remain_minority_most_targeted_by_hate_crimes/

The religious anti-gay right has been knocked back on its heels by gay rights advances. But its hardest core angrily presses on.
By Mark Potok, SPLC Intelligence Report
Posted on December 31, 2010,

Four teenagers commit suicide in a three-week span after being bullied, taunted or outed as homosexuals. Seven students — at least four of whom had endured anti-gay bullying — kill themselves over the course of a year in a single Minnesota school district. In New York, 10 suspects are arrested for torturing three gay victims. In Covington, Ky., a series of violent anti-gay attacks shock a trendy neighborhood. In Vonore, Tenn., a lesbian couple’s home, its garage spray-painted with “Queers,” is burned to the ground. A rash of attacks hits Washington, D.C. And in Michigan, a prosecutor harasses a local gay rights student leader for months.

All of this is only a sampling of the anti-gay attacks occurring around the nation, most of it drawn from just the last few months. Although the rash of student suicides drew major media attention for a few days, the reality, gay rights advocates say, is that the LGBT world has been plagued by hate violence for years.

But that’s not the way a hard core of the anti-gay religious right sees it.

Responding to the wave of teen suicides — including, most dramatically, that of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who leaped off the George Washington Bridge in New York City in September — anti-gay leaders instead blamed those who sought to protect students from bullying.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said gay rights activists “pressure these students to declare a disordered sexual preference when they’re too young to know better, [so] they share some culpability.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a key critic of anti-bullying programs, said gay activists were “exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda.” He said that gay kids may know “intuitively” that their desires are “abnormal” and that the claim, pushed by gay activists, that they can’t change “may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel said those activists want “to use the tragedies to increase pressure on the real victims: Christians.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/rights/149378/gays_remain_minority_most_targeted_by_hate_crimes/

This is why I support the Southern Poverty Law Center.  They fight Nazis and had the guts to sue at least one branch of the Klu Klux Klan out of existence.

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Taliban Christer, Congressional Prayer Caucus asks for ‘correction’ to ‘E pluribus unum’

According to Jeff Sharlet in his book “The Family” the “Congressional Prayer Caucus” had its origins in a shadowy  cult movement  that is only nominally Christian that included a number of serious Nazi sympathizers.

The origin of “In God We Trust” dates to the neo-Nazi movements of the 1950s that were led by Joe McCarthy as well as racists like Strom Thurmond.

It goes against everything our founding fathers stood for.

But the right wing lying sacks of shit never let a little truth stand in the way of their demagoguery.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/congressional-prayer-caucus-asks-correction-e-pluribus-unum/

By David Edwards
Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Members of the (ultra right wing extremist) Congressional Prayer Caucus wrote to President Barack Obama in last month to ask that he correct speeches they say disregard the nation’s religious heritage.

The members took specifically exception to a speech the president gave in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov. 10, 2010, where he referred to the US motto as E pluribus unum.

The words are Latin, meaning “Out of many, one.”

E pluribus unum is not our national motto,” the letter (.pdf) said. “In 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved the law establishing ‘In God We Trust’ as the official national motto of the United States.”

Obama used the term E pluribus unum in his speech to illustrate that in America, like other nations, “hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”

Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/congressional-prayer-caucus-asks-correction-e-pluribus-unum/

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Janine Pommy Vega, Restless Poet, Dies at 68

Growing up different in the plastic world of numbingly mindless conformity that constituted the 1950s there were certain thing that became life savers that I clung to in order to survive life in butt fuck Nowheresville upstate New York.  One of those things was rock and roll.

The other was Beat Culture, and later folk music.

The pictures of Greenwich Village and the knowledge of the existence of a different world gave me something to cling to.

“On the Road”, was the first beat book I read.  It was one of those cheap paperbacks my mother read in profusion.

Later I read things she wouldn’t have like beat poetry.

The reality of the late 1960s there were thousands of us kids out there in search of something.  Something real, that wasn’t plastic fantastic conformity.

The other night I said to Tina, “Most people don’t read poetry any more…”

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/arts/03vega.html?ref=obituaries
By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: January 2, 2011

Janine Pommy Vega, a poet and intimate of the Beat generation luminaries Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky whose lifelong quest for transcendence took her to San Francisco in the 1960s and on a pilgrimage to neolithic goddess-worship sites in the 1980s, died on Dec. 23 at her home in Willow, N.Y. She was 68.

The cause was a heart attack, her companion, Andy Clausen, said.

Ms. Vega’s life course was set when, as a teenager in Union City, N.J., she read Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” “All the characters seemed to have an intensity that was missing from my life,” she wrote in her memoir “Tracking the Serpent: Journeys Into Four Continents,” published by City Lights in 1997.

After reading a magazine article about the Beats, she and a high school friend headed straight for the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village where, as luck would have it, they met the poet Gregory Corso and, through him, Ginsberg and Orlovsky, who became Ms. Vega’s first lover.

The day after she graduated as valedictorian of her high school in 1960, she announced to her mother, “I’m going to live with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky in Greenwich Village,” and she embarked on her sentimental education.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/arts/03vega.html?ref=obituaries

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WikiLeaks: US, Japan discussed ‘action’ against anti-whaling groups, leaked cable reveals

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/japan-discussed-action-antiwhaling-groups-leaked-cable-reveals/

By The Associated Press
Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Japanese and American officials discussed taking action to weaken a prominent anti-whaling group, with Tokyo insisting that Sea Shepherd’s confrontations on the high seas actually hurt efforts to reduce whaling, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The U.S. representative to the International Whaling Commission, Monica Medina, discussed revoking the U.S.-based conservation group’s tax exempt status during a meeting with senior officials from the Fisheries Agency of Japan in November 2009, according to the documents released by WikiLeaks on Monday.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s yearly protest campaigns — which chase Japan’s whaling fleet in boats trying to disrupt the hunt by fouling fishing lines and throwing rancid butter at whalers — have drawn high-profile donors and volunteers, and spawned the popular Animal Planet series “Whale Wars.” In Japan, the harassment is seen by some as foreign interference in national affairs, making politicians wary of getting involved.

Action against Sea Shepherd would be a “major element” in achieving success at international negotiations on the number of whales killed each year, the cables cite the director general of Japan’s fisheries agency, Katsuhiro Machida, as saying.

Referring to Sea Shepherd, Medina said “she believes the USG (U.S. government) can demonstrate the group does not deserve tax exempt status based on their aggressive and harmful actions,” according the cables.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/japan-discussed-action-antiwhaling-groups-leaked-cable-reveals/

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WikiLeaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/world/149387/wikileaks%3A_israel_plans_total_war_on_lebanon%2C_gaza/

The Israeli military is planning out massive bombings of areas thick with innocent civilians.

By Juan Cole

January 3, 2011

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has summarized an Israeli military briefing by Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi of a US congressional delegation a little over a year ago and concludes that:

The memo on the talks between Ashkenazi and [Congressman Ike] Skelton, as well as numerous other documents from the same period of time, to which Aftenposten has gained access, leave a clear message: The Israeli military is forging ahead at full speed with preparations for a new war in the Middle East.

The paper says that US cables quote Ashkenazi telling the US congressmen, “I’m preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite.”

The general’s plans are driven by fear of growing stockpiles of rockets in Hamas-controlled Gaza and in Hizbullah-controlled Southern Lebanon, the likely theaters of the planned major new war. Ashkenazi does not seem capable of considering that, given a number of Israeli invasions and occupations of those regions, the rockets may be primarily defensive.

Ashkenazi told the visiting delegation that Israeli unmanned drones had had great success in identifying rocket emplacements in southern Lebanon, and that it had been aided in this endeavor by the US National Security Agency,which spies on communications.

The new, major war will be a total war on civilians, Ashkenazi boasted: “In the next war Israel cannot accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas.” (I den neste krigen kan Israel ikke godta noen restriksjoner på krigforing i byområder in Norwegian, or let us just translate it into the original German: In den nächsten Krieg, den Israel kann keine Beschränkungen Kriegsführung in städtischen Gebieten.) Mind you, the civilian deaths deriving from this massive and unrestricted bombing campaign on targets in the midst of civilian urban populations will be “unintentional.” Planning to bomb civilian areas with foreknowledge that you will thereby kill large numbers of civilians is a war crime.

Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/world/149387/wikileaks%3A_israel_plans_total_war_on_lebanon%2C_gaza/

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Big Brother is Watching: Police admit keeping records on people who report crimes

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/03/police-record-people-reporting-crimes

Freedom of information request reveals ‘Big Brother’ culture among police staff affecting millions in UK

James Meikle
The Guardian, Monday 3 January 2011

Police forces in England and Wales have gathered data on millions of people who have called to report possible crimes or pass on information, it was revealed yesterday.

In some cases, staff not only recorded names, addresses and contact details, but asked about the callers’ date of birth and ethnicity. Senior officers admitted details could be used in future investigations but insisted their databases were needed to fight crime, protect vulnerable people and ensure concerns were dealt with appropriately.

Critics warned that figures collected by the Press Association news agency from freedom of information requests answered by 13 forces indicated a “Big Brother” state.

The forces revealed personal information was spread across up to 22 databases, saying details of the same person could be recorded several times. They said staff and officers were following guidance published by the National Policing Improvement Agency.

West Midlands police, the second largest force, holds 1.1m records of people who have reported offences over the past 12 years. Lancashire, Cleveland, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, West Mercia and North Wales hold more than 150,000 each.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/03/police-record-people-reporting-crimes

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European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated

From The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/28/AR2010122800936.html

By NICOLE WINFIELD and DEREK GATOPOULOS

The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 28, 2010; 5:23 PM

ROME — A loosely linked movement of European anarchists who want to bring down state and financial institutions is becoming more violent and coordinated after decades out of the spotlight, and may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent’s financial crisis, security experts say.

Italian police said Tuesday that letter bombs were sent to three embassies in Rome by Italian anarchists in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists, who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global “revolutionary war.”

Identical package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Dec. 23, badly wounding the two people who opened them. A third bomb was safely defused at the Greek Embassy on Monday.

“We’re striking again, and we do so in response to the appeal launched by our Greek companions,” the Italian group known as the Informal Anarchist Federation wrote in a claim of responsibility for the third bomb that was released by police here Tuesday.

Extreme left-wing and anarchist movements have existed for decades in Europe – waging deadly attacks across the continent in the 1960s and 1970s that trailed and became sporadic in recent decades. Officials, meanwhile, focused far more intensely on the threat of Islamist terrorism.

Continue reading at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/28/AR2010122800936.html

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