Chirstina Kirk reads Susan B. Anthony

Canada Day In The Petro-State

From Common Dreams:

by Chris Genovali
Published on Saturday, July 2, 2011 by

Just in time for Canada Day, Alberta Finance and Enterprise Minister Lloyd Snelgrove chose to exhibit why Canadian democracy is devolving into something akin to corporate rule (“Ottawa urged to get behind Enbridge pipeline,” Edmonton Journal, June 23). This particularly appears to be the case in the province of Alberta where, more often than not, it is government of the oil industry, by the oil industry, for the oil industry.

In an interview with Postmedia News, Snelgrove called on the federal government to essentially undermine the National Energy Board’s assessment process and endorse the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline post-haste before the NEB’s Joint Review Panel hearings on the highly controversial project have even commenced. Enbridge is proposing to build a twinned pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to British Columbia and then transport what many have called the world’s dirtiest oil by supertanker from BC’s north coast to offshore markets.

Snelgrove’s childish temper tantrum directed at federal and provincial governments, which to his dismay are not out cheerleading for Northern Gateway at the same volume as the budding petro-state of Alberta, contained several ironic elements. A few of them are explored here:

Snelgrove contends that Northern Gateway is “of national economic significance.” Like Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel before him, Snelgrove reflexively conflates the interests of Enbridge’s shareholders and unnamed $100 million investors with the interests of the Canadian people, but the incongruence of his assertion goes far beyond that.

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Role Models

Among the Borg it has become fashionable to talk about the need for “trans-role models” and how important they are for young people struggling with being either transsexual or transgender.

It is almost as though the Borg think “Trans” is or should be the central core of the lives of every person born with transsexualism or transgenderism.

I think that while people who have dealt successfully (and successfully means mainly surviving and finding some happiness in life,  Not necessarily great wealth or prestige) with either being TS or TG can show people that it is possible to live whole and complete lives, that TS/TG people might be better off looking at the world of ordinary men and women, straight and gay when looking for role models.

I realize that transgender people and transsexual people are almost completely different in our dreams and desires, that while it may be taboo to say this these differences are at the heart of the trans-wars.

When I look back at my own life I find almost no “trans-role models”.  First there weren’t very many in the 1950s and early 1960s.  Christine Jorgensen was totally square no matter how much she tried to be cool.  April Ashley came closer but still as attractive as going to Paris seemed my idea of the Paris I wanted to be involved with was closer to the Sorbonne than the Carousel.

Out of necessity those of us who came out in the late 1960s found our role models among ordinary women.  Some times in books, movies, TV and sometimes in real life.

I took as role models girls who were active and broke out of the gender/sex role straightjacket of the 1950s and early 1960s.

I was enthralled with “Gidget”, not just the movie but the book.  Women Olympic atheletes were another role model.  But I also found role models in women writers, poets, artists, musicians.

Joan Baez, Diane di Prima, Lenore Kandel, Dorothy Parker.  Sharp tongued brilliant women, who weren’t afraid to say what they meant and who meant what they said.

Then came the women who were radical in first the civil rights movement and later the anti-war movement.  Yet later in the Second wave Feminist Movement and the Lesbian Movement.

Some of my friends chose other women, more glamorous women as role models but they chose ordinary women not “trans-women”.

I never understood the thinking behind the idea of choosing other transsexuals or transgender people as role models if one wants to actually transition and become an ordinary woman or man.

I became the woman I am through my contact with all the women and girls who have passed through my life starting with my mother.  I learned about being a woman through the lessons they shart, sometimes verbally and sometimes by example.

Those women who shared the same birth situation I did and had the same operation I had are but a small part of the vast number of role models I have found over the years, and often times they have been more example of things not to do as so many of my sisters have been so self-destructive.

I think the Transgender Borg want us to be part of a third gender, a closed society like the hijra or the katoey where we only find our role models among each other.

That we might want to be just ordinary women or men is treated with semi-contempt and the ghetto sneer of elitist and separatist.

In the end I think it is better for some one who is changing their sex to mostly choose ordinary women (or men) as role models instead of looking for”trans-role-models.”


FDR Warning about Today’s Republicans

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Mark Ruffalo reads Eugene Debs

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What Michele Bachmann and Her Teapot ‘Patriots’ Do Not Know About America

From The Nation:

July 2, 2011  

The unsettling thing about Michele Bachmann’s failed discussion of the founders and slavery is not that the Tea Party “Patriot” knew so little about the birth of the American experiment that she made John Quincy Adams—the son of a somewhat disappointing founder (John) and the cousin of one of the true revolutionaries (Sam)—into something he was not.

Bachmann has for some time peddled the notion that the nation’s founding fathers worked “tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” She is simply wrong about this. The last of the revolutionaries generally recognized by historians as the founders—signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and their chief political and military comrades—passed in 1836, with the death of James Madison. That was twenty-seven years before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, and twenty-nine years before the finish of the Civil War.

But Bachmann has never been bothered by the facts. Until now.

As she has moved from the fringe of the House Republican Caucus—which earlier this year dismissed her candidacy for a minor leadership role—into serious contention for the Republican presidential nomination, she has finally begun to be called out on some of her more outlandish statements.

Noting that many of the founders were slaveholders, George Stephanopoulos asked Bachmann the other day on ABC News’s Good Morning America to explain how she came to her distinctive view of the nation’s founding. “Well, if you look at one of our founding fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true,” the Minnesota congresswoman chirped. “He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery…”

In fact, John Quincy Adams was just 8 when the Declaration of Independence was signed and just 20 when the Constitution was being cobbled together at a convention that agreed to a “compromise” that identified a slave as three-fifths of a human being. He did not sign either document. Nor did he participate in any significant manner in the debates regarding those documents—or the compromises contained in them—until the last years of his life.

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Alice Walker reads Sojourner Truth

Shining the Spotlight on the Corporate Pay Gap

From Truth Dig:

By David Sirota
Posted on Jul 1, 2011

We’ve long known that executive pay has skyrocketed during the last 40 years—and especially during the last 20. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the average CEO makes roughly 300 times what the average worker earns—up from 100 times the average in the early 1990s and 40 times the average in the 1970s. In this new Gilded Age, we are inundated with stories about how executives—even in taxpayer-subsidized industries like banking—are paying themselves record salaries. This is nothing new—in fact, it’s lately been a bragging point for firms in their efforts to attract talent.

So, then, why is Corporate America suddenly so shy about compensation rates?

This is the question after a recent Washington Post report on big corporations lobbying against a new regulation compelling them “to report the median annual total compensation for workers and the annual total compensation for the chief executive, and to report the ratio of the two.” Companies, of course, were already obligated to publish CEO pay rates—the new provision just asks them to publish the same information about the average worker on a company-by-company basis.

The fact that this modest provision has prompted such an aggressive opposition campaign suggests business leaders fear something. Do they fear that revelations of huge pay gaps will alienate socially conscious customers? Or is it a fear of something more? I’d say the latter.

First and foremost, it’s likely CEOs don’t want these ratios being published because they would fuel shareholder activism that is already threatening to curtail executive abuse.

Remember, last year, Congress granted shareholders “say on pay” powers, allowing them to cast nonbinding votes on executive pay packages. These votes, however, happen in an information vacuum whereby shareholders only see executive pay data, but not how that data compares to the rest of a company’s compensation rates. Should firms now have to publicize that comparison, executives know that downward shareholder pressure on their salaries will only intensify.

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WikiLeaks’ Brilliant MasterCard Commercial Parody

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America the Vulnerable: Government Does Nothing as Right Wing Violence Surges

From Alternet:

Home-grown terrorism is on the rise, but the Department of Homeland Security is scaling down intelligence units that might catch the next Timothy McVeigh before it’s too late.

By Mark Potok
June 27, 2011

This March, federal prosecutors charged six members of an antigovernment group called the Alaska Peacemakers Militia with plotting to wage a campaign of murder and kidnapping against court officials and state troopers. They had already amassed an arsenal of weapons, including hand grenades, assault rifles, and a .50-caliber machine gun.

That’s exactly the kind of violence that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned law enforcement agencies about two years ago in a report about the growing threat of terrorism from right-wing extremists.

But after that 2009 report was leaked to the media, conservative groups and politicians complained — quite wrongly — that it unfairly tarred those on the political right as violent extremists. The American Legion, for example, didn’t like the report’s assertion that extremists would be interested in recruiting veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, even though it was completely accurate.

Rather than defend the report, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano quickly disavowed it — and criticized it as shoddy work that had not been properly reviewed within the agency.

Bowing to misguided political criticism was bad enough. Now we know that the DHS went much further: It gutted the unit that developed intelligence on the activities of non-Islamic domestic extremists — making it much harder to catch the next Timothy McVeigh before he strikes.

Daryl Johnson, the former DHS analyst who was the principal author of the controversial 2009 report, told the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in an explosive interview for our quarterly journal,Intelligence Report, that the unit he once headed now has a single analyst where there were once six. Further, Johnson said, the DHS instituted restrictive policies that have effectively ended the issuing of any of the dozens of important reports it previously prepared for law enforcement each year.

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