Austerity: The Wrong Prescription

From Michael Moore:

By Carl Gibson
Spokesman and organizer for US Uncut
August 10th, 2011

If you were a patient in intensive care, sick and in pain, what would you say to a doctor whose only recommendation was cutting off your blood supply, meals and therapy, and redirecting your pain medicine to another patient who was already healthy and well? Would you follow your doctor’s orders, or sue them for malpractice?

For the first time in US history, our credit rating has been downgraded, meaning higher interest rates on Americans’ personal debt, like credit cards and student loans. Conservatives have jumped on this as an opportunity to bash President Obama, arguing that not enough spending cuts were made in the recent debt deal to avoid the downgrade. The media has allowed this to be the dominant narrative in the national conversation.

But Conservatives and the media are both ignoring page 4 of Standard & Poor’s research update, published August 5th, which explicitly states, “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.” In their reasoning for our credit downgrade, S&P specifically attacks the GOP for threatening to not pay America’s bills in order to protect tax breaks for billionaires, corporate jet owners and big oil.

While Republicans and the corporate media bemoan the growing federal debt as our most pressing crisis, very few commentators, with the exception of folks like Allison Kilkenny, have mentioned the necessity of addressing America’s most crucial deficit – jobs. We’re on the verge of entering a double-dip recession, and there’s been surprisingly very little conversation in Washington or on cable-news networks about how to actually get millions of Americans back to work.

While America’s middle-class families and small business owners struggle to survive, thousands of tax loopholes for tax-dodging, job-outsourcing companies like GE remain open. We still freely give out $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies who don’t even pay $1 in taxes. Warren Buffett still pays a lower effective tax rate than his receptionist. Congressional Republicans are calling for $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, saying America is “broke.” Yet, by simply ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, we would recoup $5.4 trillion in a decade.

Republicans like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell continue to give our teachers, cops, firefighters and other public services the axe, all to protect these failed “trickle-down” policies that have blown holes in our budget since the Reagan years. Their adherence to such flawed policy ignores reality – the economy has tripled since 1973, but median income has actually gone down since then. Something is trickling down, but it certainly isn’t wealth.

Our economy is on life support, barely holding on while jobs continue their flight overseas. Foreclosures and fuel prices are rising almost as fast as the profit margins of big banks and big oil. Despite all of this, there is still no real economic prescription offered by Republicans and corporate Democrats to heal our economy and get people working again. Instead of “compromising” with the doctors who want to pull the plug on us, America must demand new doctors who are actually interested in curing the disease.

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The Transgender Borg vs Radical Feminists

As you, gentle readers may have noticed about this blog, while it is titled “Women Born Transsexual”, transsexual and transgender specific issues are rarely the blog’s main focus.

This is because I am post-transsexual, a woman with a medical history of transsexualism that is so ancient as to make so much the the identity politics of both the Transgender Borg and Transgender Inc seem like news from a distant alien place and time.

Instead many if not most material I present has to do with economic issues, the environment, women’s rights.

I am a lesbian feminist because I have committed myself to the tenets of feminism and because I have a woman as my life partner.

I have also been called all sorts of filthy names by member of both the Transgender Borg and Transgender Inc over the years because I am in the words of Autumn Sandeen, “A Genital Surgery Essentialist”.  This is due to my refusal to give gender identity/expression primacy over the physical differences between male and female.

I grew up in the country.  I watched animals give birth.  I even helped pull a calf that needed guiding during its birth.  I know enough to look between a lot  of mammals legs and tell male from female.

Until I got on line some 15 years ago I never really thought all that much about gender.  Some people had sex change operations, I was one of those people.  That meant that even though I wasn’t assigned female at birth I was surgically reassigned to female later in life.

I didn’t have a pronoun problem with actual transgender people who lived full time as members of the sex not indicated by their current genitals.  Transvestites, straight or gay were a different story.  I never have quite figured that one out unless they are in drag and then it is a case of politeness.

I have listened to endless lies and fictional history regarding those of us who came out in the late 1960s through the end of the 1970s.

I have been told that I was told things by doctors regarding never even being friends with other sisters.  The irony is that while I was friends with a few sisters, who I went through the surgery program with I found I had little in common with most transgender people or even other transsexuals of that era.

I was further to the left than most of them.  I didn’t take femininity all that seriously.  I was more like the naturally feminine hippie women and feminists I met at meetings, the Women’s Building and on campuses.

I was considered too serious.  I actually had transgender women tell me I had made a mistake because I was a lesbian feminist and more of a warm fuzzy dyke than someone who was maximizing my natural prettiness.

I read, oh did I ever read.  Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kate Millett, Shulamith Firestone, Notes from the Second Year, Charlotte Bunch

Over the years I have watched members of both the TG Borg and TG Inc emphasize the murder and violence experienced by TG who are often sex workers while ignoring the female sex workers who suffer the same levels of murder and violence.  This in spite of how placing the TG victims of this violence within the context of sex work might help bring about protections for all sex workers.

When I listen to the arguments coming from Transgender Inc that the Gay and Lesbian Community should give higher priority to a “Trans-inclusive ENDA” than to Marriage Equality I am reminded of heterosexual men’s rights advocates exercising both their male privilege and heterosexual privilege to dictate the politics of women and gay men.

I have been watching the latest dust up between radical feminists and the Borg regarding the paper presented by Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford  to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

I had the audacity to say that when push comes to shove I am a woman identified woman and support women, hear their concerns, give women primacy over the interests of both the Transgender Borg Collective and Transgender Inc.

Separatist was one of the nicest things I have been called for taking this position.

I am puzzled.  Transgender as umbrella is a social construct, a political identity that developed in the mid 1990s, over twenty years after I had SRS.  When I had SRS our goal was to get away from the queen ghetto and have “normal” lives.  (What ever normal lives meant other than not being part of the queen ghetto.) How can I be separating from something I was never voluntarily a part of?

In my case getting away from the queens (transgenders) had to do with their incredible misogyny/homophobia.  It wasn’t the doctors who had the problem with our being lesbian, it was the transgenders.  It didn’t matter if one was a straight transvestite or a gay one.  If you were post-SRS and weren’t a dick crazy heterosexual the transgender people treated you like a freak and didn’t hesitate to tell you.

It was even worse if you were a lesbian feminist.  Queens and heterosexual transvestites would ask if you were going to go back to being a man, berate you for not being a fembot, for being committed to lesbian feminism.

When I first read Janice Raymond’s book I thought Virginia Prince should sue her for plagiarism, because all Raymond did was regurgitate stuff that was being pushed by Prince, who coined the term, transgender.

Is it any wonder that people like me disassociated ourselves from the queens (TGs).

The latest has Autumn Sandeen over at Pam’s House Blend suggesting that the TG Borg/Inc colonize the newly reintroduce Equal Rights Amendment.  It is pure male privilege and entitlement that keeps these people from seeing just how wrong that is.

Various members of the TG Borg have started warning post-transsexual sisters as to how the radical feminist will “throw us under the bus” or how they will abuse us.

But at this point I wouldn’t support the misogynistic and homophobic efforts of the TG Borg/Inc if I were paid

War Inc. — Pentagon sucks in American youth

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Mississippi Still Burning

From Truth Dig:

By Marcia Alesan Dawkins
Posted on Aug 11, 2011

A scenario ripped from our nation’s troubled racial past made new headlines this week: the slaying of a man allegedly for the simple reason that he was black. But a little digging reveals that there’s more to this story than the label “hate crime” suggests.

This week CNN posted a video capturing the killing of James C. Anderson, 49, an African-American slain in June allegedly by a group of teenagers on a white-power mission. Two members of the group, 18-year-olds Deryl Dedmon Jr. and John Aaron Rice, now await trial. According to reports, Dedmon allegedly ordered Rice and six other teens to beat Anderson, who was then run over with Dedmon’s truck in a motel parking lot in Jackson, Miss., at about 5 a.m. on June 26. Anderson was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

When we look at it in context, Anderson’s death begins to appear more like the latest chapter in a long story of lynching in the American South. Numbers tell part of the story. Though African-Americans have never constituted more than 12 percent of the U.S. population, 73 percent of all lynching victims have been black; more than 95 percent of those were killed in former slave states. Lynchings also tend to occur in areas densely populated by African-Americans. And so it was in Anderson’s case, as his suspected killers allegedly went to the “black part of town” and selected him because he was the first black man they saw.

Sociology tells other parts of the story. From this perspective we can see that a history of violence remains the single best-known predictor of future violence, whether in individuals, families or societies. So in theory at least, Mississippi’s racially violent past could predispose its population to racial violence today. Couple that with a case of historical amnesia about lynching in the South generally and Mississippi specifically—and the fact that most lynchings of black men went unpunished—and we get an environment in which acts of racial violence can be committed without much fear of retribution.

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Of Rights and Resilience: Why Women’s Rights are Key to Thriving in the Age of the “Black Swan”

From RH Reality Check:

by Laurie Mazur
August 11, 2011

This fall, world population will reach 7 billion people at a time of accelerated environmental disruption. This article is the first in a multi-part series comissioned by RH Reality Check to examine the causes and consequences of population and environmental change from various perspectives and the policies and actions that need to be put in place to both avoid and mitigate the inevitable impacts of these changes.

Welcome to the age of the Black Swan.

The tornado that nearly leveled the city of Joplin, Missouri in May was a Black Swan; so was the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March; and the “hundred-year floods” that now take place every couple of years in the American Midwest.

A Black Swan is a low-probability, high-impact event that tears at the very fabric of civilization. And they are becoming more common: weather-related disasters spiked in 2010, killing nearly 300,000 people and costing $130 billion.

Black Swan events are proliferating for many reasons—notably climate change and the growing scale and interconnectedness of the human enterprise.  World population doubled in the last half-century to just under seven billion people, so there are simply more people living in harm’s way, on geologic faults and along vulnerable coastlines. As the human enterprise has grown, we have reshaped natural systems to meet human needs, weakening resilience of ecosystems, and by extension our own. In effect, we have re-engineered the planet and ushered in a new era of radical instability.

At the same time, the world’s people are increasingly linked by systems of staggering complexity and size: think of electrical grids and financial markets. What were once local disasters now reverberate across the globe.

So what does this have to do with women’s rights, you may ask? A lot, as it turns out. The great challenge of the 21st century is to build societies that can cope with the flock of Black Swans that are headed our way.  Advancing and securing women’s rights, especially reproductive rights, is central to meeting that challenge.

The New World, and How We Got Here

The age of the Black Swan marks a sharp turn on the long path of human history. It is hard to overstate how swiftly and profoundly we have transformed the way we live. Imagine that all of humanity’s existence was compressed into a 24-hour day, with each hour representing 100,000 years. Our humanoid ancestors first appeared at midnight, then spent the night and most of the following day hunting and gathering in small, mobile bands. At 11:56 pm, we invented agriculture. In the last seconds before the end of the day came the industrial revolution, the Pill, and The Jersey Shore.

Also in the last seconds before midnight, our numbers increased sevenfold, and—in the blink of an eye—we former hunter-gatherers had colonized every corner of the planet. Just think: it took from the beginning of human history until 1800 for our numbers to reach one billion. Now, just over 200 years later, there are nearly 7 billion of us. And we will likely reach 8 billion by 2025.

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UK’s social 9/11? ‘Cops protect elite – never people’

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Neo-Nazi David Barton on pro-gay marriage NY senators: ‘Hang their bloody scalps over the gallery rail’

Being a Nazi is a matter of philosophy, not if one wars a uniform. Barton like most really creepy racist and bigots shows the same mentality that supported slavery, the same mentality that sent millions of Jews to their deaths in Nazi Germany.

Isn’t it against the law to advocate the murder of elected individuals?

Isn’t that akin to calling for the violent overthrow of the government?

From LGBTQ Nation:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

David Barton, founder WallBuilders, a Texas-based group “dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built,” is calling for the “scalps” of traitorous New York state senators who voted in favor of marriage equality.

Following an interview on Tuesday with Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage, Barton praised the NOM’s retaliation campaign against the pro-equality GOP senators, and warned that unless they are defeated, “Ken Mehlman and his kind [will] come in and start rewarding these guys for going against pro-family stuff.”

Mehlman is the former head of the Republican National Committee and George W. Bush campaign chief who recently came out as gay.

Barton said that “This is where you hang a bloody scalp over the gallery rail” to intimidate other Republicans who consider supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians, reported Right Wing Watch:

“I want to see pro-family guys scared straight that are squishy on this issue, and if we can’t take out these four Republicans and the Majority Leader in New York, we will have opened a huge door for Melhman and his kind to come in and start rewarding these guys for going against pro-family stuff, and you just can’t let that happen …

“No disrespect to our Native American friends, but this is where you hang a bloody scalp over the gallery rail. You hang these four Republican scalps over the Senate rail and every other Republican senator looks up and sees those scalps and says, ‘my gosh, I’ll be hanging up there beside them if I don’t stay with this pro-family stuff.’ And that’s exactly what has to happen.”

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Joining the Labor Movement and the Sustainabilty Movement: Together We Can Stop the Tar Sands Climate Catastrophe

From Common Dreams:

Why I’m Marching with Bill McKibben to Protest the Keystone XL Pipeline

by Joe Uehlein
Published on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by

Sometimes a decision forces you to think deeply about what you believe in and how you act on those beliefs.  It was like that when the climate protection leader Bill McKibben asked me to sign a letter calling for civil disobedience to block the building of a pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.  Opposing the pipeline might strain ties with unions that I’ve worked with and been part of for my whole adult life.  And yet the pipeline might be a tipping point that could hurtle us into ever more desperate acceleration of climate change.  Amid these conflicting pulls, what should I do?  Having lived at the confluence of trade unionism and environmentalism, what’s the right course of action – what has my life’s work meant?

I was born into a union family.  My dad worked in the steel mills in Lorain, Ohio and was a founder of the Steelworkers Union. My mom had been an organizer in the Clothing Workers Union in Cincinnati. I grew up near Cleveland and I walked the picket line with my dad during the 1959 steel strike.

My own trade union life began the day I walked through the factory doors at Capital Products Aluminum Corporation in Mechanicsburg, PA.  I was 17 years old, and I joined the United Steelworkers of America.  That summer I engaged in my first strike.  The following year Hurricane Agnes pounded the mid-Atlantic states; Central Pennsylvania was devastated, and the mill was flooded out.  So I joined the Laborer’s Union and went to work on construction.

That’s where I first learned something about working on pipelines.  I worked building the Texas-Eastern pipeline as it wound its way through the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania.  Small teams of operating engineers, pipefitters, and laborers traveled across the state doing work we enjoyed and that we understood to be useful and important.  (We didn’t know then what we know now.)  It was a great job and I was a member of a great union, Laborer’s Local 158.  We formed friendships and shared a solidarity that touched us all deeply.

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Running through riotous London

From Al Jazeera:

Monday night in Hackney, where young people who bear the brunt of an austerity crisis took over the streets.
Pennie R Quinton
09 Aug 2011

Yesterday, the streets of London were full of the rage of youth.

When I went out to photograph events, the situation was scary and volatile – but I met children who looked out for me, covering my back when I was using my camera, telling me when gangs and thieves were stalking me.

In the Hackney district of the city, the youth were intent on fighting the police. One boy told me that he was sick of being stopped and searched and that this was a settling of scores with the “Feds”, as he called the police.

In 2009, Lord Carlile, reviewing police stop-and-search powers, found that Black and Asian youth in Britain were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites.

Amid the volatile chaos on Monday night, criminal gangs took advantage of the situation. What self-respecting criminal gang would not? I saw a couple of 40-year-old white men heading into the middle of a stand-off between youngsters and police lines, carrying power tools and hammers. A bunch of boys were following, asking each other: “Are they are really going to do so-and-so’s shop?”

Lack of awareness

On Twitter late last night, following the main bulk of the riots, I was astonished at the incomprehension generally expressed as to why they had occurred. There seemed to be an extraordinary lack of awareness that working class youth in Britain are being punished for the financial excesses of the banking collapse.

The public spending cuts this year meant many of the youth summer schemes in London did not run. These riots suggest boredom – and inarticulate rage. The youth are smashing and grabbing the things society tells them to want.

The coalition government’s austerity measures have hit this generation hard. There will be no higher education for those who cannot take on burdensome debt. The chance of ever being able to afford to buy a home in London seems remote – except for those whose wealthier parents can provide the deposit for a home loan.

A generation of young people have been left behind by this coalition’s policies and the policies of previous governments. How can these young people see that they have anything invested in British society that will enable them to become fulfilled and successful adults?

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Double-Dip Recession? How Our Dysfunctional Political Class Has Made Another Grueling Collapse Far Likelier

From Alternet:

Just a few short months ago, few analysts would say publicly that the American economy was likely to slide into another grueling period of recession. That’s changed.

By Joshua Holland
August 9, 2011

The single bright spot in this anemic “recovery” had been steadily rising stock prices. Although the market staged a modest rally on Tuesday, news of the debt ceiling deal was followed by a massive sell-off in stocks – the S&P 500 saw its biggest one-day drop in more than a year the day the deal was announced. After losing $14 trillion in household wealth in the crash, Americans’ nest eggs had rebounded to some degree, but whether their 401(K)s and investment accounts hold their value in the coming months remains to be seen.

The outlook for the economy is extraordinarily bleak. But we’ve pulled ourselves out of deep recessions before. What’s different now is the profound, Tea-Party stained dysfunction plaguing our political class. As I wrote recently, if the economy does end up contracting in the near future, it will be a recession driven by the “age of austerity” embraced by Washington – and the contractionary policies it has ushered in.

That scenario appears more likely today. Just a few short months ago, there were very few analysts who would predict that the American economy stood a decent chance of sliding into another period of grueling recession. The consensus held that while we were recovering far too slowly in light of the depth of the crash, we were nevertheless on the rebound. But that thinking has changed. Last week, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers estimated there was a 33 percent chance of the economy once again falling into recession – the dreaded “double-dip.” Other economists put the likelihood a bit lower, but researchers at the Federal Reserve tell us that, since World War II, about half of the times the economy has grown as slowly as it has in the first half of this year, a recession has followed within 12 months.

For the majority of Americans, the official end of the last recession was merely an abstraction – it in no way reflected the profound economic pain tens of millions of working people continued to feel. Since 2009, when the wonks at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) set the official end of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate has edged down, but most of that was due to people giving up and dropping out of the workforce. The share of the population that has a job today is about the same as it was in the early 1970s, before women entered the workforce en masse.

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