Needed: An Antiwar Movement That Puts Peace Over Politicians

From Common Dreams:

by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis
Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 by

After campaigning as the candidate of change, the man awarded a Nobel Prize for peace has given the world nothing but more war. Yet despite Barack Obama’s continuation – nay, escalation – of the worst aspects of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, including his very own illegal war in Libya, you’d be hard-pressed to find the large-scale protests and outrage from the liberal establishment that characterized his predecessor’s reign (and only seems to pop up when a Republican’s the one dropping the bombs).

That’s not for a lack of things to protest. Since taking office, Obama has doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan and now looks set to break his pledge to begin a significant withdrawal in July. He has unilaterally committed the nation to an unapologetically illegal war in Libya and in two years has authorized more drone strikes in Pakistan than his predecessor authorized in two terms, with one in three of their victims reportedly civilians. In Yemen, he has targeted a U.S. citizen for assassination and approved a cluster bomb strike that, according to Amnesty International, killed 35 innocent women and children.

But these war crimes, which ought to shock the consciences of the president’s liberal supporters, haven’t spurred the sort of popular protest we witnessed under Bush the Lesser. At a recent congressional hearing on the bloated war budget, a handful of CODEPINK activists were the sole dissenters. Thousands poured into the streets to cheer Osama bin Laden’s death, but no Americans were in the streets decrying the drone attack that killed dozens of Pakistani civilians weeks earlier.

While die-hard grassroots peace activists continue to bravely protest U.S. militarism, with 52 people arrested last month protesting outside a nuclear weapons factory in Kansas City – if they’d been Tea Partiers protesting Obamacare, you may have heard of them – there’s no denying that the peace movement has taken a beating.

The question is, why? Part of the reason is the financial crisis. It’s hard to protest war when the bank’s foreclosing on your house. And it’s hard to find money for a trip to Washington, DC, when, like 14 million Americans, you’re unemployed.

War has also become normal – routine, boring – to many Americans, with U.S. troops stationed for nearly ten years in Afghanistan and eight in Iraq. And after the first volley of smart bombs, wars are barely covered by the media, eclipsed by the latest scandal involving a politician’s privates. Beyond apathy, many who once took to the street may now no longer see the value of protest in the face of the enormous power of the military-industrial complex.

But a recent study suggests that a major reason why the antiwar movement has withered even as the warfare state has grown is simply that the party in charge has changed.

After surveying 5,398 demonstrators between 2007 to 2009, the University of Michigan’s Michael T. Heaney and Indiana University’s Fabio Rojas found that prior to Obama’s election, up to 54 percent of antiwar protesters were self-described Democrats. After his inauguration, that number fell to less than a quarter.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Needed: An Antiwar Movement That Puts Peace Over Politicians

French transgender woman hopes to run for president

From The Pink News:

by Jane Fae
15 June 2011

A trans woman who has set up a new political party hopes to run in the 2012 French presidential elections.

On May 8th, in an interview with ’20 minutes’, Brigitte Goldberg, president of Avenir 2012 (literally, The Future 2012) revealed plans for her party – which was formally launched two days later – and for her own presidential candidacy next year.

Although Mlle Goldberg herself is transgender, and Avenir 2012 itself owns to having sprung from Trans-Europe, the party is not exclusively for the trans community.

She said: “It is not a transsexual party. It is the first political party with a trans leader.

“We do not claim to represent the entire LGBT community”.

However, the party expresses a simple adherence to the principles of the French constitution of 1793: respect, freedom and tolerance.

Continue reading at:

Focus On Jobs Or Spending Cuts?

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Focus On Jobs Or Spending Cuts?

The Three “T”s: Transvestite, Transgender and Transsexual

I know the Prince of many names hated the word “Transvestite”.  He and later she came up with a half dozen different terms to use in its place.

But to me it is a perfectly good term, no better or worse than “cross-dresser”.  It has mostly seemed to me that transvestites have been the ones most likely to insist it was tainted with the implication of fetishist.  Well all these terms are tainted in one way or another.

A fetishist is a fetishist and according to the alternative press they have Balls…  No not those kinds.  Parties  along with Plushies and Furries.

I’m pro-sex enough and hip enough to think that is great.

When I first heard the term “Transgender” in the mid 1970s I thought great…  Another respectable term with a certain level of formality between transvestite and transsexual.

Certainly no where near as offensive or pathologizing as “gender variant”.

I also never thought of transvestites as fetishists.  Of course most of the transvestites I knew were gay men aka drag queens.

Transvestite is a perfectly good word.  It should be used and leave transgender to people who live full time as a member of the sex not associated with their current genitals.

Then it might be easier to get transgender people covered with an ENDA.

Sock Puppets and Aliases Among the TS/TG World

I have a hard time respecting the opinions of those who hide behind aliases and sock puppets.

I’ve used the same name since 1969 although at different times people have used shortened versions of my name including Suzy. The spelling I generally use is a homophone of the spelling on my legal identification papers.

I don’t go around creating sock puppets.

Over the last 15 years I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth on a number of occasions and retracted things I’ve said, particularly some things said in anger.

Thinking and opinions are subject to change as I am as susceptible to different influences as any other not terribly dogmatic person.

If you aren’t willing to put your name on something you write and you aren’t doing something like what the Hack-tivist Anonymous is doing and aren’t a member of ELF, then you are not going to have the credibility of someone who stands up and owns what they say.

Too often in the TS/TG World, aliases are used like the robes and hood of the KKK, to attack and defame others who are willing to stand up, while using their own name and take a stance.  It doesn’t matter if that stance is right or wrong.

I’m not a pleaser.  I don’t kiss up and pretend or put up some other person’s picture to impress people with how “real” I am (and you aren’t nyah-nyah-nyah).  Fuck that shit I’m an old anarchist hippie dyke who would rather hug a tree and carry a picket sign at a rally where people know who I am than play that game.

I’m not impressed with how stealth you are and how that makes you more of a real woman than me.  If you have a blog or website and comment on half the LGBT/T blogs and websites in the English speaking world, you ain’t really stealth.  Trust me on that one.

If I Google your alias and get pages of hits it kind of makes claims of stealth seem a tad pathetic, especially if you’ve pissed off someone to the point where they did the digging for me and put all your info out there for me to pluck.

Sock Puppets.  I’m actually studying writing and I’m a prolific reader…  Trust me, people have distinct writing styles.

People have legitimate arguments and disagreements with the way post-transsexual folks have been handled by both the Transgender Borg Collective and Transgender Inc.  For one thing both of those groups are dogmatic to the point of making me long for the freedom of expression found in the old Communist Party.

Remember I was part of the faction that kicked the Stalinist Progressive Labor Party out of SDS even when it meant killing SDS.

When institutions that were supposed to be tools of liberation become rigid and dogmatic they, themselves become oppressive.

When people rebelling from that sort of dogmatism show themselves to be filled with that same sort of dogmatism it is disappointing.

We’ve had the problem of people using aliases waging the transsexual/transgender wars… On both sides.

I sometimes find myself wondering, who are the people behind the masks that seem to be the most engaged in waging these wars?

It is disheartening to withdraw from fighting with TG folks.  “Agreeing to disagree.”  Only to find so many people now want to take up some sort of drama queen war over who is really a “true transsexual” and who is not.

Women come in all shapes, sizes, politics, sexualities, and variations on masculine/feminine. If you have a twat then you are a woman.

Why should sisters question each others reasons for getting sex reassignment surgery?

Mostly though why do we follow people who wear masks and hide behind aliases to egg on these constant battles.

Why aren’t we demanding to know why someone who is supposedly so proud of being realer than everyone else has to wear a mask.

Because this all starts to stink, like the whole Kiira affair stunk.

Andrea James has the following section on Internet Frauds:

Calpernia Addams has:  Transsexuals Who Are Ashamed of Transsexuals (TWAATs)

As Calpernia says, “Not everyone has to be out.”

But when you have a blog or website, when you comment all over the damned Internet then your claim to stealth is pretty freaking sketchy.

What you are doing is hiding behind a mask, an alias to stir the shit, abuse people and create drama.

Tina and I didn’t create the meme Women Born Transsexual for it to be used to abuse people.  We created it as a way of saying transsexual was something we were born.

Others who don’t like our politics came up with other memes, most of which seemed aimed at slamming other sisters who had also had SRS because they were different in some sort of way.

Coincidentally these same people often tended to hide behind aliases.

I sometimes wonder if some of these people hiding behind aliases are really sisters because the sort of shit they are stirring is often times so negative that it harms those of us  who would like to stop the endless fighting and just live our lives dealing with our daily problems, which are sometimes but not always complicated with having been born with transsexualism.

The funny thing Is that I have had a fairly large number of friends over the years both among transsexual and transgender people and in 3D we laugh and joke, have deep conversations about life, love hobbies, traumas.

And I’ll be fucked if I can remember the last time any of my friends spent hours endlessly arguing over the fine points of transsexual realness.  And we may grumble about “Those damned transgenders.”  But, spend hours obsessing about them?  I don’t freaking think so…

Taking the Keys – And The Checkbook – Away from Gay Inc.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is time for people to rethink our entire way of doing activism.  This goes for Gay Inc, it goes for Transgender Inc and in many ways for Activism Inc.

Too often it seems as though filling out a donations slip at the end of a link is the only form of activism the people in these major organizations want from those of us out in the hinterlands.

And once the transfer has been made we are forgotten.

What have we gotten for this form of activism?  I honestly think bricking a few corporate windows is more effective.

We have two political parties who both seem wholly owned by the banks, Wall Street, the Military, the corporations and the rich.  They represent their owners.

What is the point of our buying a few A-List activists, Gay, Lesbian TS/TG etc, etc. if all we are accomplishing is improving their social net work and seeing to it that they get to go to numerous parties with the rich and famous power brokers that run the country?

A bail fund for strikers and rioters might be a better investment.

It couldn’t accomplish much less than our current form of activism.

I’m excerpting several paragraphs…  Go read the whole discussion…

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

After millions of dollars, and several decades of mediocre advocacy, is it time to take away the keys, and the checkbook, from Gay, Inc.?

by Tanya Domi on June 14, 2011

in Analysis,Clinton Fein,Opinion,Tanya Domi

Clinton: Seventeen months before the election HRC, the gay community’s largest lobbying organization announced they are endorsing Obama in 2012. The issues they claim to be focusing on are the same ones they’ve been focused on since anyone can remember. The only newsworthy thing about their predictable, yawn-​inducing announcement was that they shot their wad earlier than usual – before the presidential field has been formally established. And even so, hardly anyone noticed.

Tanya: Yes, they will be invited to more White House receptions perhaps because of this endorsement and they may get meetings with some key officials, but in the final analysis, they are not taking the community with them. We still do not have complete repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, nor do we have a date of certification to repeal. David Smith, the Vice President of Programs backed the White House “take or leave it DADT repeal plan” proposed by Jim Messina, the then-​deputy chief of staff of the Whites House in late 2009 (now the Obama ’12 campaign manager), and Smith’s takeaway was essentially “the community may not like it, but we (HRC) will follow the White House lead and do exactly what they dictate, no matter the fall out,” according to a person familiar with the process.

Now, there are anti-​gay amendments included in the House National Defense Authorization Bill that would impede the final steps for repeal. What is the plan? Wait on the White House? That is not a strategy. HRC did not lead alone on the Matthew Shepard/​James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, but co-​chaired the effort with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Anti-​Defamation League, who has led the hate crimes coalition and has been a leader on fighting bigotry for decades. HRC has not moved the Employment Non-​Discrimination Act to a successful vote in Congress, 17 years and counting. They own the federal legislative ponderosa — where is the strategy? So despite all the millions in cash they have raised, they have very little to show for it. It is quite a damning legacy.

Clinton: For decades now, the giddy, star-​fucking Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) hosts lavish ceremonies, providing awards to celebs for playing gay persons without resorting to old, trite stereotypes — as if that’s either an acting or humanitarian achievement. Again, aside from a few self-​defined A-​gays clucking at the thought of being surrounded by a few lower letter celebrities, the world was more interested in just about anything else.

Tanya: The question today is should GLAAD close their doors? They have been bleeding money since late 2008. They have lost nearly 14 board members and numerous staff members during the past year and a half because of alleged dubious actions by Jarrett Tomás Barrios, President of GLAAD. According to an interview by journalist Michael Signorile of GLAAD former Board Co-​Chair Laurie Perper, on June 7, Perper asserted that Barrios, desperate to hang onto vital board support, agreed to endorse the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, in exchange for backing by Troup Coronado, a board member and a former Vice-​President of Public Affairs with AT&T, according to the GLAAD website. Barrios sent a letter of support from GLAAD to the Federal Communications Commission.

Clinton: The whole GLAAD AT&T-T-Mobile mess is unbelievable. Here you have an organization that is supposed to serve as a watchdog to identify and remedy negative portrayals or misrepresentations of gays in the media behaving in a way that brings shame and discredit on the very community it purports to represent. And further, gives fodder to those who have been reprimanded or called out by GLAAD, that their motives are more about self-​enrichment than anything else.

Read the complete article at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Taking the Keys – And The Checkbook – Away from Gay Inc.

Greek government in coalition talks amid riots

From Salon:

A deal would help ensure approval of a new austerity plan that has enraged a nation

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011

As riots engulfed Athens, Greece’s ruling Socialists launched talks to form a coalition government with rival conservatives — even though Prime Minister George Papandreou’s resignation may eventually be the price for a deal.

A deal would help ensure approval of a new austerity plan that has enraged a nation already hit hard by draconian welfare cuts but is also essential to avoid a default that would knock the global economy.

The emergency talks came as riot police clashed with thousands of youths in the main square outside Parliament. Police fired repeated volleys of tear gas to repel rioters hurling firebombs and ripped-up paving stones. A crowd of youths smashed the windows of a luxury hotel in the square.

As unrest spiraled, the coalition talks appeared to come at a high cost: Papandreou’s job.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Greek government in coalition talks amid riots