Guantánamo files lift lid on world’s most controversial prison

From The Guardian UK:

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release
Read the original documents
David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain and Jason Burke
The Guardian, Monday 25 April 2011

More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America’s controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called “worst of the worst”, many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified “secret”, cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.

The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.

The old man was transported to Cuba to interrogate him about “suspicious phone numbers” found in his compound. The 14-year-old was shipped out merely because of “his possible knowledge of Taliban…local leaders”

The documents also reveal:

• US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation alongside groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence.

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Massachusetts High Court Limits Police Searches in Small Marijuana Cases

From The ACLU:

Posted by Scott Michelman, Criminal Law Reform
Apr 20th, 2011

Reason and justice prevailed this week in Massachusetts, where the Commonwealth’s highest court ruled by a 5-1 margin in Commonwealth v. Cruz that police can no longer search or seize someone they suspect of possessing a small amount of marijuana. The basis for this ACLU victory was the Massachusetts ballot measure known as Question 2, which made possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction instead of a crime. Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved Question 2 with 65 percent of the vote in November 2008.

The ruling has several implications for civil rights and civil liberties, all of them positive.

First, and most obviously, it’s an important step forward for marijuana decriminalization. The justices took seriously the notion that when Massachusetts voters said they didn’t want police harassing marijuana users or using limited law enforcement resources to combat minor drug use, they meant it. In the words of the court:

By mandating that possession of such a small quantity of marijuana become a civil violation, not a crime, the voters intended to treat offenders who possess one ounce or less of marijuana differently from perpetrators of drug crimes. . .The statute does away with traditional criminal consequences, including the long-term and embarrassing effect that a criminal record has on employment or applying for school loans, demonstrating the intent of the voters to change the societal impact of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.

The court understood that Question 2 wasn’t just about lowering the penalty for personal-use possession to $100; it was about changing the Commonwealth’s whole attitude about marijuana. Criminalizing marijuana makes criminals out of ordinary people and wastes police resources to do so. The people of Massachusetts have had enough of this. Even if police haven’t gotten the message yet, the court did.

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McDonalds’ Super Sized Hate At Ground Zero


By Arianna Kitti

Reposted with permission

McDonalds and especially some of it’s employees strike it big again this time.

(While Arianna’s post replayed the video I am not going to rerun it out of consideration to Chrissy Lee Polis.  We’ve seen it and that is enough.)

” “Where am I supposed to go??”
The plaintive cry of a transwoman in between savage beatings as two teen girls in Baltimore respond to her mere presence with extreme violence. It seems this individual, who is clearly presenting as female, regardless of her personal identity or legal sex, attempted to use the bathroom deemed socially appropriate for her at the time.”

From “The Human Eye”

A woman of transsexual or transgender experience, walked into a locally owned and operated franchise of the sprawling McDonalds fast food empire. Her simple intentions were to possibly get some food and use the bathroom, but what transpired next, turned out to be a tragic abusive, inhuman orgy of transphobic esctasy. It would also be an evening where several Mcdonalds employees exposed their base predatory selves, as they facilitated and mocked the merciless beating of Chrissy Lee Polis. One employee, Vernon Hackett, laughing hysterically, recorded the assault for fun, while the other shift employees stood by watching as well. They not only verbally (and by action or inaction) disrespected her gender identity, they egged the 2 teen girls on! They excitedly exclaimed: “It’s a man! Beat it’s ass, kill the thing”. The shift manager stood by as well… entertained for several minutes, until he made 2 weak attempts to shoo the girls away and sqeaking out the word “stop!” He then joined in the facillitation of violation and humilation of the woman, by encouraging the savages to get away before the police arrived and acting as a look out. By the way, the Baltimore PD was not seriously contacted until 17 minutes after the attack began.

We are then further treated to more wonderful displays of humanity as our ace videographer Vernon, continues to record the suffering of the victim as she goes into a seizure, spitting up the blood from her internal injuries. We can clearly see the shift manager walking around amused and slightly curious, staring down at Chrissy as she helplessly convulses as a result of several kicks and blows to the head. One employee was more concerned about having to clean up her blood and dime store hair extensions that were pulled out her head, than about her welfare or her life, yes quite lovely.

Sure, these “human” girls were initially worried about Chrissy speaking 3 – 4 words to one of their boyfriends (“Not now, but thanks”), as she made her way to the womens restroom -but the perpatrators and employees who supported their actions, were angry about that, when they perceived her to be transgender or transsexual, that’s what helped to fuel the raging attack upon her.

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun yesterday, Polis says before she was attacked, one of the teens said Polis was a “man” using the women’s restroom and accused Polis of “talking to her man.”

Our fearless video person decides to upload the crime to UTube, allowing it to go viral. The dilemma here is that on the one hand, we are fortunate that this video exists, because it is alomst unimpeachable criminal evidence in and of itself. yet on the other hand, it is a tool of oppression, stigmatization and humilation, created and spread around by an ignorant creep.

Chrissy Lee has been released from the hospital, after she was listed in fair ccondition. But now understandably, she is too terrified to leave her house. Yet, here’s where the abuse continues: the police and media have not only disrespected her privacy and especially her identity, by portraying her as a “cross dressing male” in blaring headlines and police released to the public, they have also displayed her past record of minor criminal offenses, including charges of prostitution which of course she had engaged in, in order to simply survive, eat and get beaten at greasy places like the Rosedale, MD Mcdonalds franchise. Of course she worked the street, because no one would hire her, just because she is transsexual/transgender and possibly did not “fit” American society’s backward, narrow idea of what is “female” or “male”.

The McDonalds franchise where this horrible event occured and the corporation of McDonalds are definitely responsible in this case because of what’s called: “Premise Security Liability” which is a civil action where a landlord or property manager can be legally held liable for injuries inflicted during a violent criminal attack committed on the rental or store property under premises liability law.

Maryland as a state, has an implicitly implied set of codes that specifically addresses this:
‎”Shopping mall owners and operators may be held responsible for the parking lots and common areas such as bathrooms. **Businesses may be held responsible for incidents happening within their stores**. Banks may be held liable for incidents occurring at their ATM machine or lobbies.”

Since the McDonalds franchise located in Baltimore (specifically in it’s subcommunity of Rosedale), is considered a “satellite” business unit of the main corporation, it is an economic “arm” that represents it. The same code of Premise Security Liability applies to McDonalds Coporate, they had to request permission from the Baltimore city, county and state, to operate. Therefore, McDonalds Coporate is responsible for contributing to the safety of it’s customers in that area. Now a legal counsel for McDonalds and relevant franchise can make an argument called: “Comparative Fault” stating that the injured person was partially at fault for what happened. But in this case, there was very clear evidence that the victim did not have that much control over what happened to her. Also, the criminal nature of the documented assault, will help her case as well.

This is a general overview of Premises Liability:

Exactly one week before the hate crime beating, the Maryland Senate effectively killed the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill, also known as HB 235, which would have protected transgender people in housing, banking, and employment. While the bill would have had no direct impact on this incident, the Maryland Senate sent Maryland citizens a strong message by killing the bill. Nontheless, the past bill still had no protections for public accomodations, such as public restrooms.

This is the “Emmett Till” moment or Ground Zero for trans people and allies. Sorry I had to say that, but if you can recall some history involving the civil rights movement, he was a 14 year old boy who went to visit relatives near Money, Mississippi in 1955. He was kidnapped, continuosly severely beaten, eye gouged out and then shot to death, accused of making a pass at a white woman. This crime of Human Rights became a spark for widening and further igniting that movement. The story about Emmett Till rapidly spread across the states (and several places around the world); An image of what happened to him was very clear and available for the world to see, just like this case. The Emmett Till crime woke many people up, illuminating the condition of oppression against a group of people.

McDonalds seriously needs to review, update and sincerely enforce their diversity and antidiscrimination policies right on down to the newest employees.

We hope and pray for Chrissy Lee Polis, we must reach out to her with love and full compassionate support to let her know that she is not alone, people care about her and that all are not darkness personified.

There is a rally and vigil against hate, scheduled for this Monday April 25th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm to be held under the “golden arches” at 6315 Kenwood Ave in Rosedale, MD:

Also another rally, Stand Up Against Hate! Will be held on Thursday, April 28 · 6:00pm – 9:00pm, to be held at the same McDonalds location on the public side of the sidewalk adjescent to it:!/event.php?eid=110187879067417

To join the boycott:

Please sign the petition:

To file a complaint with McDonalds Corporate:
2111 McDonalds Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone # 1-800-244-6227
Fax: (630) 623-8843

A Dad Testifies for His Transgender Teen Daughter

From The Huffington Post:

Joanne Herman
Transgender advocate and author of “Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not”
Posted: 04/24/11

Reposted with permission

It’s not uncommon to see a mom speaking out for her transgender child, but April 12 saw a dad front and center. The scene was a Maine Judiciary Committee hearing about proposed bill LD 1046, would allow the operator of a restroom or shower facility in that state to decide who can use which gender’s restroom based upon “biological sex.”

But “biological sex” is not defined in the bill, nor is the method to be used to verify it. In my case, I am generally viewed as female wherever I go, and while I have had genital reconstruction surgery, I still have male chromosomes. Would this bill allow someone who knows my history to insist that I use the mens’ room?

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kenneth Fredette, implies that I am not the concern. “What situation do we put young children in when they go into a private place and then what they perceive to be the person of the opposite sex comes into that bathroom? That could be quite shocking.”

Yet this conservative dad’s daughter looks and acts “all-girl” to those who know her and hardly seems out of place in the girl’s room. The problem arose when an adult, who knows the girl’s history, forced her school to deny her access to the girls’ room.

I had the pleasure of meeting the girl and her family a couple of years ago and have stayed in touch since. After the dad spoke out for his first time publicly at the hearing, he sent me the full text of his testimony (excerpted in the Bangor Daily News article). It’s worth a read:

My name is Wayne Maines, I live in Old Town. I have a 13-year-old transgender daughter. In the beginning, I was not onboard with this reality. Like many of you I doubted transgender children could exist, I doubted my wife and I doubted our counselors and doctors. However I never doubted my love for my child. It was only through observing her pain and her suffering and examining my lack of knowledge about these issues did I begin to question my behavior and my conservative values. I learned that the medical standard of care requires parents seek assistance from a panel of experts. We did this and our team of doctors recommended my daughter to live fully as a girl. We cannot turn back now.When my daughter lost her privileges at school and both children and adults targeted her, I knew I had to change and I have never looked back.

When we moved to Maine, it was clear my daughter was transitioning from male to female with us or without us. She used the girl’s bathroom with no fanfare; she was confident and very social. Her strong personality helped the entire school transition right along side of her. She was proud and secure with herself and when people asked at the young age of six she openly stated that she was a girl trapped in a boy’s body.

The transformation was amazing, but her happiness would not last. Unfortunately the fears of others would destroy everything that our team of doctors, teachers, school counselors, friends and classmates had work so hard to establish.

I know that it is difficult for some of you to understand the needs of transgender children. You only need to spend some time with these kids to see that they are struggling and suffering beyond your imagination only because they are singled out and misunderstood. They are just like your children and grandchildren; they have the same hopes and the same dreams.

In the fifth grade because of significant negative exposure we had to take drastic measures to protect her from harm, including splitting our family up to go in hiding and we are not the only family that has had to do so. When she was told she could no longer use the appropriate bathroom her confidence and self-esteem took a major hit. Prior to this my daughter often said, “Dad being transgender is no big deal, my friends and I have it under control.” I was very proud of her. It was only when adults became involved with their unfounded fears that her world would be turned upside down. “She came to me crying and asked, “Daddy what did I do wrong? Daddy please fix this?” That is what dads do — we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, “You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this, but we will try.”

Continuing to single these kids out is not necessary. Having the opportunity to use the bathrooms of their true gender is essential for these kids’ well being. This bill places transgender children in a position of doom and hopelessness. This bill tells my daughter that she does not have the same rights as her classmates and reinforces her opinion that she has no future. Help me give her the future she deserves. Do not pass this bill.

Maines tells me, “I am just a dad who wants to protect his daughter and others like her.” Sounds a lot like conservative family values at work, doesn’t it?

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Santorum: Gays already have enough rights

More bigoted babblings from the man whose name is synonymous with name for the frothy mix of lube, cum and shit one occasionally experiences with anal sex.

From Raw Story:

By David Edwards
Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Likely Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday that LGBT people don’t deserve equal rights.

“You opposed gay marriage,” Wallace noted.

“I did,” Santorum agreed.

“You oppose civil unions, you want to reinstate ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Do you think gays have any rights, should have any access to benefits as partners?” Wallace asked.

“Well, sure. I mean there are all sorts of contractual benefits that anybody can contract for. But the question is whether we should institutionalize that in public policy? My feeling is that people can live their lives however they want to live it,” Santorum explained.

“The question is: what are you going to do to try to impact public policy to recognize particular relationships?” he continued. “My feeling is the relationship that should be recognized in public policy that provides exceptional benefit, unusual unique benefits to society is marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman who are there to join together for the purpose of continuing society, which is having children and raising the children in a home with a mom and a dad.”

“But you wouldn’t give them any rights as a matter of public policy?” Wallace wondered.

“It depends what you mean by ‘rights.’ Are you talking benefits as far as rights? They have the right to be able to — employment. I don’t know what you mean by rights. What I’m talking about are privileges. Privileges of marriage, privileges of government benefits is a different thing than basic right to live their lives as they well should and can as free Americans,” Santorum replied.

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The question is: If people are supposed to have equality as mandated by the US Constitution, why should some people be privileged with rights denied to others.

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Buy This Book: Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism, By Laurie Penny

I seldom recommend a book I haven’t read yet. But this book won’t be released here until mid-May so that means unless someone in the UK sends me a copy express mail I’m going to have to wait until late May or June to actually get a copy in my hands.

From The Independent UK:

Does pop culture come at too high a cost?

Reviewed by Abby O’Reilly
Sunday, 24 April 2011

At just 24, the talented journalist and student activist Laurie Penny is already a respected commentator.

Meat Market, her debut feminist polemic, offers a brutal materialist critique of popular culture to expose the tyranny of “the patriarchal capitalist machine” that perpetually denies the true value of female potential. Penny discusses women’s sexualisation, eating disorders, gender stereotyping and the labour market, covering prostitution, housework, the marketisation of domesticity as a kitsch hobby, the prevalence of class delineation as a form of control and the positioning of the Playboy Bunny as an emblem of manufactured desirability.

She balances sophisticated theorising with the anecdotal, which prevents Meat Market from becoming a dense academic diatribe. The most evocative passages are rooted in the personal, including comments by diverse interviewees, and Penny’s insightful exposition of the psychological nuances that precipitated her own battle with anorexia. “From time to time, I still miss my eating disorder,” says Penny. “I miss the sense of control that comes when avoiding food is your highest ambition.”

At times, her indictment of capitalist oppression – especially in relation to the policing of women’s bodies and female sexuality – becomes a glib, less cogent reflection of arguments articulated by the established feminists to whom she is indebted. However, this does not mitigate the potency of her work, and she highlights the need for young feminists to reignite a debate that has been stifled by an acceptance of inequality as part of the status quo.

Her discussion of transsexualism, a divisive issue in feminist circles, forms the most perceptive chapter. She confidently dissects notions posited by Julie Bindel and Germaine Greer to argue that trans women are not proponents of gender stereotyping, but subject to restrictive definitions of “male” and “female” modes of behaviour, forced “to fight at every turn for the constrained right to consumer femininity.” Though her statement that “not a single person on this planet is born a woman” is a hat-tip to Simone de Beauvoir, it stresses that pressures to emulate synthetic images of female beauty are universally detrimental, making trans activism rightly a “vital” part of the feminist movement.

Penny is an exceptional writer with a shark-bite wit, yet here her trademark hyperbole has been diluted. Though not completely lacking her excellent acidic branding, the rage that provokes impassioned responses to her journalism has been somehow trimmed and moulded into a more palatable form, which, though not hugely detrimental, is a shame.

On the whole, Meat Market is a nutritious thought-snack for emergent feminists and those approaching female cultural positioning from a socialist perspective. Penny’s emphatic delivery centralises the urgent need for collaborative action that lets women know “with a clear and brilliant certainty, that our persons are powerful”.

Pastor Is Accused of Helping to Kidnap Girl at Center of Lesbian Custody Fight

From The New York Times:

Published: April 23, 2011

Federal authorities last week arrested and charged a Tennessee pastor with aiding in the “international parental kidnapping” of a girl who has been missing since late 2009 and is at the center of a lengthy custody battle between her two mothers — a onetime lesbian couple who were in a civil union.

The two had a bitter falling-out after one became an evangelical Christian and denounced the other’s continued “homosexual lifestyle.”

Their legal battle over visitation rights and custody, carried out over the last seven years in Vermont and Virginia courts, received wide publicity because of the clashes over sexual orientation and religion, and because it raised questions about the rights of nonbiological parents in same-sex unions that are not recognized in many states.

Lisa Miller, the girl’s biological mother and a newly fervent Baptist, was championed by conservatives for her efforts to shield her daughter from homosexuality. A Vermont court had granted her primary custody of the daughter, Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, after Ms. Miller split with her partner, Janet Jenkins, in 2003. But the court also declared Ms. Jenkins to be a legal parent with liberal visiting rights, and Ms. Miller, who had moved with the girl to Virginia, defied repeated orders to permit the visits.

The case took a turn in late 2009, as the Vermont family court, citing Ms. Miller’s noncompliance, shifted primary custody to Ms. Jenkins. Ms. Miller and Isabella, who is now 9, disappeared. A warrant was issued for Ms. Miller’s arrest, and they have not been heard from since.

According to an F.B.I. affidavit unsealed in Vermont on Thursday, the pastor, Timothy David Miller of Crossville, Tenn., helped arrange in September 2009 for Ms. Miller and Isabella to fly from Canada to Mexico and travel on to Nicaragua, where he worked as a missionary for Christian Aid Ministries. (The F.B.I. said it had no evidence that Mr. Miller and Lisa Miller were related.)

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McDonald’s attack victim speaks out

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Redefining the Sexes in Unequal Terms

No Comment regarding the author…

From The New York Times:

Published: April 23, 2011

The good news is that the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field, have worked hard to come up with a new policy to deal with athletes whose sex development is unusual.

Although sports officials contend that this reworking is not a specific response to the fiasco surrounding the South African runner Caster Semenya, what happened to Semenya constitutes reason enough to seek reform. Surely no athlete should learn from watching television, as Semenya did, that her sex has been called in question on the international stage. And no athletes should have to face the previous patchwork policy on sex testing, wondering what will happen if their particular condition is not clearly explained in the rules.

The new policy no longer allows any room for a simplistic “I know it when I see it” approach to who counts as a female athlete. Women who test in the male range for functional testosterone will have to have their levels chemically squashed in order to play. (Functional testosterone means not just the amount the body makes, but also how the body responds to it, because some people’s cells lack receptors to respond.)

The bad news is that the new policy seems sexist in its philosophy. Indeed, it is so sexist that it may even count as a violation of Title IX, which will matter because the international policies will undoubtedly trickle down to school-based sports.

The hormones in question are not naturally exclusive to men. Women and men naturally make androgens — sometimes called strength-building hormones — including testosterone.

Yet despite the fact that testosterone belongs to women, too, the I.O.C. and the I.A.A.F. are basically saying it is really a manly thing: “You can have functional testosterone, but if you make too much, you’re out of the game because you’re not a real woman.”

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Franklin Graham: Second Coming of Christ will be on YouTube, Twitter

Living in a Christo-Fascist state the Main Stream Media doesn’t dare tell these fucks to their faces that they are evil stupid people spreading vicious nasty superstition and lies.

That task falls to irreverent atheists like me who always enjoy sticking a sharp knife in the belly of hypocrisy  and superstition and gutting it.

This is also why I am so happy I found Pat and Zinnea on You Tube as they provide me with this wonderful catalog of videos to further drive home my point.

Franklin Graham, scam artist son of reputed Anti-Semite Billy Graham and well known moronic bigot is one of the Rapture Bunny Dominionist gang.

I sometimes wish these douches would all get raptured on out of here leaving all their ill gotten gains to decent people. Particularly all those schools and other buildings that could be turned into non-sectarian community centers and schools.

From Raw Story:

By David Edwards
Sunday, April 24th, 2011

“Social media could have a big part” in the Second Coming of Christ, evangelist Franklin Graham said in an interview that aired Sunday.

“I believe there’s no question, I believe we’re in the latter days of this age,” Graham told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. “When I say latter days, could it be the last 100 years or the last 1,000 years or the last 6 months, I don’t know, but the Bible, the things that the Bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency.”

“So what will the Second Coming look like?” Amanpour wondered.

“Well, the bible says that every eye is going to see it. And, you know, I thought how is that going to happen? There’s so many phones today. And just look at what’s happening in Libya or Egypt and everybody has got their phone up, and everybody is taking recordings and posting it on YouTube and whatever and sending it to you or — and they get shown around the world. I don’t know but he said they’ll be coming on the clouds and the world is going to moan. They’re going to groan,” Graham explained.

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful but could there be a second coming by social media? Is that what you mean?” the ABC host asked.

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End of Days in May? Believers enter final stretch


‘A lot of people might think, ‘The end’s coming, let’s go party.’ But we’re commanded by God to warn people’

The Associated Press

updated 1/3/2011

RALEIGH, N.C. — If there had been time, Marie Exley would have liked to start a family. Instead, the 32-year-old Army veteran has less than six months left, which she’ll spend spreading a stark warning: Judgment Day is almost here.

Exley is part of a movement of Christians loosely organized by radio broadcasts and websites, independent of churches and convinced by their reading of the Bible that the end of the world will begin on May 21, 2011.

To get the word out, they’re using billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs and volunteers passing out pamphlets on street corners. Cities from Bridgeport, Conn., to Little Rock, Ark., now have billboards with the ominous message, and mission groups are traveling in countries from Latin America to Africa to spread the news outside the U.S.

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Germany expels openly homophobic imam

I attack Christianity more than Islam on my blog because the Right Wing extremists and Christo-Fascists have made Christianity the State religion and a virtual requirement for being elected to office.

I think when it comes to homophobia, transphobia and sheer misogynistic woman hating Islam actually manages to outdo Christianity when it comes to sheer hatefulness.

I do not believe in god, I do not need to. If I want to worship anything I can worship the Earth, the Sun and the Universe. Things that are not patriarchal god used by man as instruments of power to oppress others and to maintain the power of the elite.

No gods, no masters.

From Deutsche Welle:,,6510494,00.html


Authorities in Germany have ordered the expulsion of a visiting Islamic preacher who argues that homosexuals should be condemned to death. The move comes after Bilal Philips gave an open-air address in Frankfurt.

German police officials announced on Wednesday that Abu Ameena Bilal Philips, a hardline Islamic preacher from Jamaica who defends use of the death penalty for homosexuality, had been ordered to leave the country and asked never to return.

The officials said that immigration authorities had issued an order – prior to Philips’ address to some 2,000 spectators in Frankfurt – instructing the 60-year-old Islam convert to leave Germany within three days, claiming his professed beliefs infringed on federal laws.

German law allows for the expulsion of visitors who “incite hatred against parts of the population” or advocate the use of violence against them. In a sermon published on the video website, Youtube, Philips can be heard defending the death penalty as a justified punishment for proven homosexual acts.

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Ik ben een meisje! “I am a Girl”

A film featuring a 13 year old transgirl, with subtitles.

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Texas: LEGE UPDATE: Senate flirts with trans marriage ban; LGBT youth removed from suicide bill

From The Dallas Voice:

Posted on 22 Apr 2011 at 9:25am
Daniel Williams
An attack on opposite-sex marriage, movement on anti-bullying bills and the removal of protections for LGBT teens from a suicide prevention bill marked this, the 15th week of the Texas Legislature’s 20-week regular session.

On Friday morning , April 15, urgent alerts went out from state and national transgender advocacy groups asking Texans to call Democratic members of the Senate and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 723. The bill would remove a court-ordered “change of sex” from the list of identifying documents which Texans can use to obtain a marriage license, potentially voiding all opposite-sex marriages in Texas where one partner has changed their legally recognized sex.

The alert was caused by the placement of SB 723 on the Senate’s “intent calendar” for Monday, April 18.

Senate rules require bills to be considered in the order they are filed, but the Senate hardly ever follows that rule. Instead they file a bill at the front of the line (the “blocker bill”) and everyone agrees not to vote on it. In order for the Senate to consider a bill filed after the blocker bill they must vote to “set aside” the Senate rules and take the bill “out of order.” Senate Rule 22.02 says that setting aside the rules requires a two-thirds majority of the members present. The intent calendar is a list of bills that Senators intend to bring up out of order that day. The Senate creates an intent calendar each week, and any bill not taken up on Monday rolls over to Tuesday and then to Wednesday. They then start a new intent calendar the following week.

There are 31 Senators: 12 Democrats and 19 Republicans. In order for a bill to receive the required two-thirds (or 20) votes it needs, at least one of the Democrats must support it. Thus the urgency of the alert.

On Monday, when the Senate convened, LGBT activists waited anxiously to see if the Senate would bring up SB 723. After four hours of consideration the Senate adjourned without voting on the bill.

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Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids

From People for The American Way:

Table of Contents

* Introduction
* Facing the Problem
* The Indoctrination Myth
* The “Special Rights” Smear
* Playing the Victim
* Blaming the Victims
* Conclusion


Students deserve an education that is free from bullying and harassment, and in many districts parents, teachers, principals, community members and students are working together to create a safe and welcoming environment for all children. Bullying can impede learning and ruin lives. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said, “bullying is doubly dangerous because if left unattended it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse.” Close to nine in ten Americans believe that bullying is a “serious problem,” and many communities are directly challenging harassment and violence in schools.

However, many Religious Right activists want to derail efforts to combat bullying. An increasing number of conservative leaders and organizations have fiercely opposed anti-bullying programs developed by schools and education groups for the sole reason that such programs identify and attempt to combat the widespread bullying of LGBT youth.

Rather than recognize and address the problem of bullying against students who are gay or perceived to be gay, Religious Right groups want schools to embrace a policy of inaction. Many resort to repeating discredited lies about sexual orientation and vilifying the LGBT community and its allies to back up their opposition to anti-bullying programs that mention anti-gay bullying. Concerned students, families, teachers, education professionals, and public officials should not be fooled by the far-right’s attempt to smear anti-bullying programs, and should instead ensure that schools address bullying with a direct, honest and comprehensive approach.
Facing the Problem

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, and those perceived to be LGBT, encounter unique problems at school. LGBT youth are often not open about their sexual orientation to their families or friends, who are often an important support network for young people who are bullied. In many cases these children even face hostility from their families, other students, and school officials because of their sexual orientation.

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The Growing Food Crisis, and What World Leaders Aren’t Doing About It

From Common Dreams:

by Michelle Chen
Published on Saturday, April 23, 2011 by Colorlines

f all goes as planned for the G-20 this year, leaders of the world’s most powerful economies will convene to issue bold proclamations, talk past each other, and quietly agree to do virtually nothing. The stakes might be a little higher now, though, as the political poker table will be stacked with millions of the world’s hungriest people. Guess who’ll come away empty handed?

World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned at a recent World Bank-IMF meeting that the planet was hurtling toward a food crisis, akin to the chaos that erupted in 2007-2008 across the Global South. The context this time is in some ways more daunting: a perfect storm of social and economic upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East, natural and nuclear disasters in Japan, debt crises in Europe and the U.S., and epidemic unemployment worldwide.

In the past year, Zoellick said, soaring food prices have plunged some 44 million people into poverty. Another ten million would become impoverished with just a 10 percent further rise in the UN’s food price index, which jumped by 25 percent last year. Poor regions hover on the brink of malnourishment due to depleted safety nets and broken emergency back-up resources.

Following the G20 meeting in Washington this month, Oxfam issued a statement criticizing the conference’s failure to come up with meaningful ways to stave off the coming crisis:

Leaders today said the food crisis is desperately urgent, and that the G20 will act on it at its next meeting in June. That’s 66 days away; nearly half a million children will have died of hunger by then.

The World Bank says we’re one shock away from a full-blown crisis but makes no mention of the three things rich countries have done to cause it—burning food for biofuels, gambling in commodity casinos, and subsidizing farmers in rich countries.”

Indeed, even the World Bank’s food fund, a stopgap measure, has been hobbled by underfunding, Oxfam noted.

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