Shills R Us: (GLAAD) Organizations That Get AT&T Cash Endorse its Mega-Merger with T-Mobile

From Alternet:

A growing number of nonprofits are recipients of AT&T grants; are they violating their IRS nonprofit status by shilling for the company’s interests?

By David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick
June 21, 2011

The first real blood in the fight to derail AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile’s wireless business was spilled on Saturday, June 19th, when Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was forced to resign his position.  This is a remarkable occurrence because it came as a result of the group’s board of directors’ opposition to the merger.

One of the rituals that take place during a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) merger hearing is the introduction of statements of support of the merger by a gaggle of nonprofit organizations.  This is a traditional, rubber-stamp exercise used to present a patina of legitimacy or social benefit to an obvious corporate consolidation grab.

Amidst the current and well-scripted Noh theater performance now taking place in Washington, DC, over the merger, AT&T has pulled out all the stops.  It has called in the chips from three hundred nonprofit groups, labor unions, trade associations, state and local politicians, and private corporations.  AT&T wants the acquisition to go through.

The action by the GLAAD board joins a growing chorus of public-interest groups and senators raising concerns about the merger.

Earlier this month, reported that GLAAD had received $50,000 from AT&T and was among a long list of nonprofit recipients of AT&T largesse.  GLAAD supported the merger on the spurious grounds that “the merger will increase functionality and speed, thus growing engagement and improving the effectiveness of the online advocacy work that is advancing equality for all.”  While insisting, “we do not make policy decisions based on what’s best for our corporate sponsors,” it nonetheless backed the deal.

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Apple’s Pre-emptive Strike Against Free Speech

From Save The Internet:

By Tim Karr
June 22, 2011

So you think you control your smartphone? Think again.

Late last week reports uncovered a plan by Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, to patent technology that can detect when people are using their phone cameras and shut them down.

Apple says this technology was intended to stop people from recording video at live concerts, which should worry the creative commons crowd. But a remote “kill switch” has far more sinister applications in the hands of repressive governments. And it further raises concerns about the power new media companies hold over our right to connect and communicate.

Imagine if Apple’s device had been available to the Mubarak regime earlier this year, and Egyptian security forces had deployed it around Tahrir Square to disable cameras just before they sent in their thugs to disperse the crowd.

Would the global outcry that helped drive Mubarak from office have occurred if a blackout of protest videos had prevented us from viewing the crackdown?

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The anti-trans Catholic paper has nothing to do with human rights

From The Guardian UK:

The UN may have supported trans rights, but Catholic opposition is still working from the cheat sheet of predetermined doctrine, Tuesday 21 June 2011

On 17 June, the UN human rights council passed a resolution in favour of the rights of lesbians, bisexuals, gay men and trans people; the coalition that opposed this included Russia, Pakistan and Nigeria. And, of course, the Catholic church.

In the aftermath of that historic victory, a couple of US Catholic NGOs distributed a 2009 paper produced by three Catholic bioethicists – Richard Fitzgibbons, Philip Sutton and Dale O’Leary – from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. Their paper The Psychopathology of “Sex Reassignment” Surgery argues that trans people are mentally ill, and by implication need therapy not rights; it asserts that there is no evidence that trans identity, or indeed gay identity, is innate.

The motives behind the distribution may be to persuade the UN not to bother itself further with the rights of gay or trans people – surprisingly, one might think, given the astonishingly high worldwide murder statistics for the trans community in particular, and the number of states in which homosexuality carries the death penalty. The three doctors responsible for the paper are all committed anti-abortionists, but they are less voluble about the right to life of people who have actually been born.

For some Catholics – by no means all – human rights are best defined as the right to do what the church says is God’s will. There is a tottery structure of circular logic to this: the church knows what the true purpose of human life and sexuality is, and it is to do what the church says. O’Leary, for example, has written papers arguing that feminism is a heretical movement – a liberation theology she says in the snippy tones of someone for whom that is a “bad thing”. (Her and her colleagues’ dislike of feminism does not, of course, preclude their quoting those feminists – such as the ex-nun Janice Raymond – who happen to dislike and defame trans people as much as they do.)

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Trans Pride Parades? Count Me Out…

I’m not transgender.

Why would I march in a Transgender Pride Parade?  Even though I did in the 1990s before I realized how  the TG Borg Collective/Transgender Inc demanded not just my support but that I “identify” as transgender.

Now I think the whole idea of “identity” is pretty ridiculous.  But in any case transition and sex reassignment surgery were so long ago I really don’t feel I have any real connection.

Tina was just playing some Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young from Woodstock when she chimed in with, “It was 42 years ago…”

Yeah and so was Stonewall…

I had my SRS 39 years ago today and 42 years ago I went 24/7 after a couple of months on hormones.  I would have gone 24/7 earlier but  the People’s Part Rebellion got in the way.

Forty two years and people wonder why I lack a sense of immediacy with the issues people face in transition or as transgender.

Well the Pride Day Parade her in Dallas is in late September around the time the Texas State Fair opens.

Depending on how I am feeling I may do something with the folks at Get Equal.

Or we might just go, watch, photograph and blog about it.

I don’t think they have a Dyke March.  Those were fun in LA and I would run into a bunch of post-transsexual sisters there as well as friends from the 1970s Women’s Building.

I don’t feel there is any purpose to my being part of any sort of “Trans Pride” event.

Conferences are different where people discuss issues and possible resolutions the Pride Events are a public display.

Tina and I are pretty obvious old dykes.  Just about every where we go people assume correctly that we are a couple.

But that’s me.

If you want to go to Trans Pride… More power to ya…

If it is your first Pride Day enjoy…  The energy is incredible…


Impeach Clarence Thomas

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House Bill Would Cut Clean Energy and Efficiency Programs by 40 Percent

From Solve Climate News:

Appropriations bill puts renewable energy and efficiency funding about $1 billion below current levels, roughly equaling dollars doled out in 2005

By Elizabeth McGowan, Solve Climate News
Jun 21, 2011

WASHINGTON—Even though Republicans have vowed an “all-of-the-above” approach to America’s energy future, Democrats are accusing them of clinging to a narrow, antiquated, hydrocarbon-heavy past.

Members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition are furious about a 2012 energy and water appropriations bill that they claim shortchanges President Obama’s efforts at innovation and competition in favor of an addiction to oil, coal and natural gas.

“Now is the worst possible moment to slash funding for the research and development of sustainable energy technologies,” coalition member Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said about the $30.6 billion bill that advanced out of the House Appropriations Committee last Wednesday.

“At a time when our economy is already fragile, abandoning scientific research would cause the United States to lose even more high-tech jobs to our foreign competitors.”

Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona was the sole Republican who joined 19 Democrats in opposing the bill that passed on a 26-20 vote. The full House will be considering the measure, one of a dozen sweeping federal spending bills, after Independence Day.

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Convenience at What Cost: The Connection Between Chemicals and Breast Cancer

From Physicians for Social Responsibility:

By Nancy Buermeyer and Connie Engel, PhD
June 21, 2011
This essay is in response to: What are we learning about the relationship between environmental toxicants and cancer? How should our regulatory system respond to this information?

After World War II, the United States experienced a chemical revolution. Stockpiles of chemicals developed to fight the war made their way into everyday commerce. Pesticides radically altered age-old agricultural and pest-control practices. Plastics brought modern conveniences into every kitchen. Synthetic chemicals made their way into our everyday products—from BPA in our food can linings to phthalates in our shampoo to flame retardants in our mattresses. It was better living through chemistry.

We now know that our bold rush into the age of synthetic chemistry has come with a hidden cost. Biomonitoring research (measuring chemicals in people) shows that our bodies are home to pesticides, plastics chemicals, heavy metals, flame retardants, and scores of other chemicals. Growing scientific evidence is finding links between chemical exposure and health concerns that are on the rise, including many cancers, metabolic disorders, asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

We embraced the chemical revolution without adequate caution. The federal government didn’t (and still doesn’t) require comprehensive testing to ensure a chemical is safe before it enters the marketplace. The handful of chemicals that have been tested have relied on the outdated rules of toxicology that assume the dose makes the poison—that what matters most is how much of a chemical we’re exposed to. We now know that low-dose exposure, the timing of exposure, the mix of chemicals we are exposed to and interactions between chemicals and our bodily systems and genetics all impact toxicity.

One of the most disconcerting set of chemicals linked to diseases, including breast cancer, are those termed endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), including BPA, phthalates and other chemicals found in our everyday products. EDCs disrupt the body’s hormone systems, which regulate nearly every aspect of the intricate and exquisite process of life—from the awe-inspiring process of fetal development to the dramatic changes in puberty to the everyday processes of turning food into energy. Since one of the known risk factors for breast cancer is increased exposure to estrogen, it stands to reason, and the research bears out, that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that look like estrogen to our cells would increase the risk of developing the disease.

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