Arrested for Feeding the Homeless? 5 Outrageous Government Crackdowns on Peaceful Activists

From Alternet:

Activists continue to be arrested, assaulted and otherwise harassed by the nation’s police and government agencies for participating in nonviolent protests and other actions.

By Lauren Kelley
June 21, 2011

In recent months, police and government leaders have inappropriately, unfairly, and in some cases illegally targeted peaceful activists on a number of occasions.

That should come as a shock to no one, since government mistreatment of nonviolent activists has been going on for as long as activists have been pushing for social change in the U.S. — that is, as long as there has been a U.S. government.

Still, it’s distressing that after all these years, activists continue to be arrested, assaulted and otherwise harassed by the nation’s police and government agencies for participating in nonviolent protests and other actions.

What’s more, the recent mistreatment of activists is wildly hypocritical, since the Obama administration has over the past several months scolded governments in the Middle East for their heavy-handed treatment of pro-democracy protesters. For instance, both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had stern words for Egyptian authorities earlier this year, as Chris Dunn reported in the Collegiate Times:

“So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly, association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny,” Obama said in a speech.

Likewise, Clinton said, “We call upon the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain security forces,” and two days later reiterated, “We have sent a very clear message: We want to see restraint, we do not want to see violence by any security forces.”

As Dunn notes, this rhetoric about rights to peaceful assembly and free speech is at odds with the government’s treatment of activists at events like the September 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh, when police and the National Guard, concerned about the actions of a small group of anarchists, targeted scores of nonviolent protesters with tear gas and excessive force.

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Happy Solstice

Even though I’m too atheistic to be a Wiccan I am still into the whole idea of nature and Gaia as kicking butt on the whole patriarchal god trip.

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Warming Accelerates Sea Level Rise on U.S. East Coast

From Scientific American:

A new study finds that sea levels are creeping up faster along the coast of North Carolina thanks to climate change

By Lauren Morello and ClimateWire
June 21, 2011

Sea level is rising faster along the U.S. East Coast than it has for at least 2,000 years, according to new research.

The ocean began rising an average of 2.1 millimeters per year some time between 1865 and 1892 and hasn’t stopped, the study concludes. The current rate of sea level rise is about 3.2 mm per year.

That trend, gleaned from muck collected in North Carolina salt marshes, is a direct consequence of increasing temperatures, said co-author Benjamin Horton, a coastal geologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We can see climate-related patterns,” he said. “We can see our hypothesis that as temperature goes up, sea level goes up.”

The reverse is also true, according to the research, which shows temperatures and sea levels rising and falling in lockstep for at least the last 1,000 years. The findings will be published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Peter Clark, a geologist at Oregon State University, said the new study represents a “significant advance” because it extends the record of sea level rise back two millennia, giving scientists a better context for current sea level rise.

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Time To Retire “Cisgender/Cissexual”

The first person I heard use the cisgender/cissexual was Laura Blake aka Laura Masters, a militantly self-avowing  transgender sister.

She was a very loud and very abrasive voice on the Usenet back in the late 1990s haunting and several alt. groups.

In the sad and sorry history of the creation of the ideology that has become gospel for both the TG Borg Collective and for TG Inc., it sometimes seems as though the most pernicious ideas have come from a handful of people.

Laura Blake/Masters was one of that elite, with ideas that might have seemed good on the surface but really aren’t.

Cissexual/cisgender is one of those terms that using post-modern jargon merits, unpacking.

Like “gender variant”, the whole concept of  “cisgender/cissexual” others people.

It assumes that transsexual people both pre-op and post-transsexual, transgender people and transvestite people are gender transgressives.   If one unpacks the phrase, gender transgressive, it too turns out to be a nice way of saying “pervert”.

As far as I can tell all the pervert labeling is pretty fucking medieval.  It sticks in my anarchistic hippie craw, because it scapegoats people for simply being different, being individualistic and not a clone in some sort of android like army that follows this rigid structure of misogyny, homophobia, and the fucking over of the vast majority of people, all of whom are expected to subserviently bow down and give rim jobs to the rich oligarchs when they aren’t working their slavish service economy jobs.

As a post-transsexual woman, one who in the jargon, of both the TG Borg and TG Inc.,  “passes” in the work place and society, I feel pretty safe in saying the differences in oppression endured by different groups marginalized into identity based political units isn’t all that different from the indignities endured by others of the same socio-economic class.

You aren’t special because of a trans-prefixed word.

Welcome to life in end stage capitalism.  Here’s your apron and name tag.  No last name on the name tag, no honorific and preferably a diminutive if you are a woman.  Dump the smart-assed idea that you should have dignity.

As long as transgender people keep coming up with terms that set them apart as special  rather than focusing on issues both specific to their group and shared by greater society, then matters like “identity” will be more important than making social gains.

Rather than establishing an artificial word barrier couched in identity that sets transgender people apart from others, who may be in the same sort of economic, medical, discrimination position as transgender people (or for that matter post-transsexual people) perhaps it would be better to look at what you have in common with that Walmart worker.  Perhaps that Walmart worker has more education than you think.  Perhaps that barista is working on her Ph.D.

I sometimes wonder if surgery plus many years confers the status of cissexual/cisgender or at least honorary cissexual/cisgender upon post-transsexual women.  I guess not though, since according to the self othering ideology of the TG Borg Collective I should always be considered a “gender variant”.  Even though I don’t have the slightest idea of what being a “gender variant” means.

Cutting through all the bullshit of post-modern jargon is necessary for those who were so in love with the now dead idea of “Transgender as Umbrella”.

Dump the othering jargon, Transgender people aren’t special.  They are just another group getting screwed over in  the process of right wing scapegoating and the economic displacement of the Corporate New World Order.

Food deficits, deadlier than budget deficits

From People’s World:

by: Tim Wheeler
June 21 2011

SEQUIM, Wash. – The United Nations reported recently that global hunger has soared 11 percent from 915 million people to 1.02 billion as consumption of staple crops – wheat, rice, soybeans and corn – outstrips production.

It reverses half a century in which the so-called “Green Revolution” led to a six-fold increase in food production, gradually reducing food deficits around the world. Global climate change, the resulting droughts, floods and other extreme weather, coupled with population growth, are blamed for the resurgent hunger. Food prices in many regions have doubled, touching off food riots and destabilizing nations as far-flung as Mexico, Yemen, Uzbekistan and Egypt.

The New York Times, in a June 5 report headlined “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself,” warned that without prompt action, these food deficits will grow, with the danger of famines that would take the lives of millions.

Living on a farm makes me think long and deep about food deficits here at home and around the world, deficits far more menacing than the budget deficits that lawmakers rant and rave about. The deficits in the stomachs of the poor could turn into starvation – or food poisoning – if Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s draconian budget, with its vicious cutbacks in nutrition programs and food safety enforcement, is approved by the Senate.

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Thom Hartmann: Should billionaires sitting on their butts collecting dividend checks pay 0 taxes?

Paving the Road to a Hungrier, Unhealthier, and Less-Educated Nation

From Other Words:

Massive spending cuts will make the future bleaker for millions of Americans.

  By Deborah Weinstein
June 20, 2011

(With permission)

The number of poor children had already grown by 2.1 million in 2009 over pre-recession levels, with continuing high joblessness among parents raising concerns that poverty will continue to worsen for some time. Since kids who spend more than half their childhood in poverty earn on average 39 percent less than median income as adults, we can expect lasting costs that will hurt the nation’s future economic growth.

And yet, a majority of House lawmakers want to narrow the deficit by making things worse for today’s kids.

If House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal takes effect, or the even more extreme House Republican Study Committee’s budget plan prevails, the nation’s economic future will inevitably get bleaker. Those proposals would reduce the food assistance, medical care, and education available to poor children. When children don’t get adequate nutrition, research shows that they are more likely to suffer illnesses and hospitalizations. Poor health can trigger developmental problems that take a toll on school performance.

The House passed Ryan’s proposal in April along party lines. Not one Democrat supported it and all but four Republicans voted in favor of it. In the Senate, five Republicans joined every member of the chamber’s Democratic majority in rejecting it.

The House budget, best known for Ryan’s proposal to radically change and mostly privatize Medicare, would also reduce spending on food stamps by 20 percent over the next decade. If such a deep cut were implemented through caseload reductions, it would mean 8 million fewer people receiving food stamps, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If instead the cuts took effect by reducing the amount of assistance each family receives, a family of four would lose $147 a month.

Since about half of food stamp recipients are children, such cuts would hurt the chances that those kids will graduate from high school or college, increasing the likelihood of lifelong poverty. The Republican Study Committee’s cuts are far deeper. They would cut food stamps in half over 10 years.

These proposals would have similarly harsh impacts on medical care. The House budget cuts, if implemented solely by reducing eligibility, would deny Medicaid to nearly half the people who rely on it now, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. More likely, there would be some combination of denying people altogether and reducing the care or increasing the costs for those who remain eligible. Either way, the impact would be severe. Again, the Republican Study Committee proposal would inflict even deeper cuts. That proposal calls for halving Medicaid spending by 2021.

How would these plans handle education spending? They’d cut it. We know that the House budget would cut education by nearly one-fifth next year and by a quarter by the end of the decade, with 1.7 million fewer low-income college students qualifying for Pell Grant scholarships. U.S. military spending, which nearly totals the combined military expenditures of every other nation on earth, wouldn’t be cut at all. The Republican Study Committee doesn’t spell out most of its education cuts, but it would cut all appropriations except for military spending by about 70 percent by 2021. Education funding would be slashed from preschool through college.

The GOP deficit reduction plans rely solely on massive domestic spending cuts that would heap more trouble on the recession generation’s already grim prospects. That’s counterproductive. Slower economic growth will cut tax revenue and make it harder to nix the government’s persistent budget deficit problem. Balanced-budget amendments and other proposals to place drastic limits on total federal spending would result in cuts at least as deep as the Ryan and Republican Study Committee budget plans.

There’s a better way. We can take a more responsible and effective approach that would gradually narrow the deficit and spare the programs that low-income Americans rely on through a combination of fair revenue increases and spending cuts that don’t exempt the military. Otherwise, we’ll wind up denying opportunities for a middle-class life to millions of our children.

Deborah Weinstein is the executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies that address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations.

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Who decides what’s medically necessary?

From The Dallas Voice:

Trans advocate says trans health benefits are about what medical treatments are necessary, not about cost or personal beliefs

TAMMYE NASH  | Senior Editor
Posted on 16 Jun 2011 at

Say the phrase “transgender health benefits,” and most people immediately think insurance coverage that pays at least some of the costs of sexual reassignment surgery. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

The problem, said National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling, is that issues of medical treatment are being made by accountants rather than by doctors. And trans-phobia is playing a role in too many of those decisions.

Neither the city of Dallas, the city of Fort Worth, Dallas County nor Tarrant County offer fully inclusive health care benefits for their employees. But they are not alone.

According to reports, when city officials in Portland, Ore., voted unanimously earlier this month to offer transgender health care benefits, the city became only the third local government in the nation to do so. San Francisco city and county — one combined government — was first, and Oregon’s Multanomah County was second.

In the business world, the odds are a little better for trans employees looking for adequate insurance coverage. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2009, 22 percent of the Fortune 100 companies offered trans-inclusive health benefits, while such benefits were offered by 7 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and 3 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies.

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A world united against nukes

From Socialist Worker:

Peter Rugh reports from New York City on a day of action against nuclear power.
June 20, 2011

FORTY LIFE-sized origami cranes stood in New York City’s Tompkins Square in the drizzling rain on June 11. Tilted on one wing or the other, each bore a spray-painted nuclear fallout shelter emblem.

The cranes were folded together by some of the hundred or so demonstrators who gathered to mark three months of the ongoing nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant that began March 11. The rally was held in conjunction with anti-nuke rallies held around the world. Tens of thousands of people in Japan took to the streets to call for an end to nuclear power.

Jo Nakajima said he attended the No Nukes Rally in New York because for 50 years, the Japanese government and energy companies invested in nuclear power, saying it was safe and clean, while ignoring criticism. “Now we see the result,” Nakajima said. “Fukushima’s devastation has to change policy.”

Word of the rally was put out by Todos Somos Japan (We Are All Japan, or TSJ), a newly formed worldwide network of activists standing in solidarity with the people of Japan and dedicated to fighting against what they describes as “atomic capitalism” in the “post-3-11 world.”

Yuko Tonohira spoke on behalf of TSJ. Her voice choked with emotion as she described how the mothers of Fukushima Prefecture were being marketed radioactive milk, eggs and vegetables and told that their families must patriotically consume them in order to convince the world that everything is okay.

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Van Jones l Power Shift 2011 Keynote

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