March On!

Yesterday evening Tina and I went to a Get Equal sponsored screening of the documentary film March On!

The film is a gentle reminder of why so many of us started marching for so many causes and have continued marching for those causes, be they peace and freedom, equality and justice or love and dignity.

Sometime we march for ourselves, sometimes for others.

I felt so renewed by this film.

When I was a kid marching for the rights of the Vietnamese to choose their own form of government without outside interference there were old CP folks and veterans of the Spanish Civil War marching beside us, survivors of the McCarthy era.  There was Morris Kight and Harry Hay, Barbara Gittings, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, founders of the modern gay and lesbian movement.

Now I am the old timer still marching, still speaking out.

It must be the ghost of Joe Hill or Mother Jones, Emma Goldman or Lucy Parsons.  Maybe standing up for justice and equality is just the right thing to do.

Go see this film if it show at a benefit for an organization you support or as part of a film festival.  Maybe it will show on PBS, if we can save PBS or on Logo if they ever decide to show serious films.

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Shoppers Wary of GM Foods Find They’re Everywhere

From Common Dreams:

by Mary Clare Jalonick

Published on Friday, February 25, 2011 by the Associated Press

You may not want to eat genetically engineered foods. Chances are, you are eating them anyway.

Genetically modified plants grown from seeds engineered in labs now provide much of the food we eat. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States have been genetically modified to resist pesticides or insects, and corn and soy are common food ingredients.

The Agriculture Department has approved three more genetically engineered crops in the past month, and the Food and Drug Administration could approve fast-growing genetically modified salmon for human consumption this year.

Agribusiness and the seed companies say their products help boost crop production, lower prices at the grocery store and feed the world, particularly in developing countries. The FDA and USDA say the engineered foods they’ve approved are safe — so safe, they don’t even need to be labeled as such — and can’t be significantly distinguished from conventional varieties.

Organic food companies, chefs and consumer groups have stepped up their efforts — so far, unsuccessfully — to get the government to exercise more oversight of engineered foods, arguing the seeds are floating from field to field and contaminating pure crops. The groups have been bolstered by a growing network of consumers who are wary of processed and modified foods.

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

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Time to show our power

From Socialist Worker:

Unions have the strength to block everything in Scott Walker’s union-busting bill.

February 24, 2011

THE BATTLE for Wisconsin’s future has come to a crossroads–and the movement that has electrified the country with its opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-labor assault needs to step up the fight to win.

Last week, the capitol building in downtown Madison took on the spirit and feel of Cairo’s Tahrir Square as growing numbers of workers and students, first from Madison and then from around the state and the country, occupied the building and took over the grounds around it.

Their determined spirit–and action–pressured Senate Democrats to boycott a session where Walker and the Republicans were ready to ram through a proposal that would effectively cut state workers’ wages by 5 to 7 percent and cripple public-sector unions by virtually destroying collective bargaining.

This week, though, Republicans are vowing not to make any concessions, and Walker recruited enough police from around the state to push protesters out of sections of the capitol building. Senate Democrats are still boycotting the session, denying Republicans the quorum they need to conduct most business. But the movement against Walker’s anti-union assault needs to regain the initiative.

Walker’s threat to lay off 1,500 state workers if his proposal isn’t passed by Friday is aimed at breaking workers’ resolve. But it’s more obvious than ever what Walker is after–his premeditated intention to destroy organized labor was highlighted in a recorded conversation with a blogger pretending to be union-hating billionaire David Koch.

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Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Not to belabor a point, but I have been telling people they MUST READ Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” ever since I started this blog.

From The New York Times:

Published: February 24, 2011

Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”

The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

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Marriage Equality in Maryland

From The Advocate:

By Julie Bolcer

February 24, 2011

The Maryland marriage equality bill cleared a crucial hurdle Thursday evening when senators voted 25-21 to pass the bill on the third and final reading. The measure now heads to the house of delegates, where approval is anticipated. Gov. Martin O’Malley has pledged to sign the bill.

Senators convened in the evening for less than one hour of debate, passing the bill shortly before 6:30 p.m. Check back with soon for reactions on the historic approval.

The final approval capped two days of debate in the senate. In an earlier session Thursday morning, senators for and against the marriage equality bill presented their arguments. Speakers in support included Rich Madaleno, the first openly gay Maryland state senator, who spoke poignantly of what the proposal means for the two children he shares with his partner, Mark.

Madaleno told a story about parenthood in which his young daughter asked, “Daddy, will you hold my wishes for me?”

Sen. Bryan Simonaire, an opponent of the bill who tried but failed to advance an amendment Wednesday to exempt public school teachers from teaching marriage equality, continued with his dire warnings of “unintended consequences” if the measure is passed.

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The asshole arguing against same sex marriage are the same asshole who argued against inter-racial marriage.  They are ignorant bigots.

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Study: US wasted billions in Iraq, Afghanistan

If the Republi-Nazis were really interested in saving tax payers money they would support ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as bring the troops home from around the world.

Since private business claims they can do everything cheaper than the government, perhaps we should pay the mercenaries working for the war corporations say 2/3s what we pay our actual military personnel.

Perhaps austerity should start with the Military Industrial Complex and the Prison Industrial Complex.

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 24th, 2011

WASHINGTON – Corruption and waste has cost the US government billions of reconstruction dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an official study on wartime contracting released on Thursday.

The report found that “criminal behavior and blatant corruption” were responsible for much of the waste related to the nearly $200 billion spent since 2002 on US reconstruction and other projects in the two countries.

It did not give exact figures, but cited the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report to Congress in January that found efforts were at clear risk because of poor planning and insufficient oversight.

Another estimate in the “Commission on Wartime Contracting” report found that losses to fraud alone in both war zones could be as high as $12 billion.

“When it comes to oversight of contingency contracting, we’ve been driving beyond the reach of our headlights. Reforms are badly needed,” said the report.

“For many years, the government has abdicated its contracting responsibilities — too often using contractors as the default mechanism — without consideration for the resources needed to manage them.”

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