European Parliament: World Health Organization must stop treating transgender people as mentally ill

From the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights:

Press Release:

September 29th, 2011

In a resolution adopted yesterday, the European Parliament has called on the World Health Organization to stop considering transgender people as mentally ill. Gender dysphoria is currently classified as a ‘mental and behavioural disorder’ in the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases.

The text adopted yesterday “calls on the Commission and the World Health Organization to withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioural disorders, and ensure a non-pathologising reclassification in the negotiations on the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases.”

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) serves as a global reference on physical and mental troubles. Until 1990, the ICD also classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The list is currently under review; the next version should be finalised in 2015, after lengthy consultations.

Emine Bozkurt MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and author of the amendment, explained: “Transgender identities are still considered a mental disorder by the World Health Organization. This must be changed urgently, and certainly by the time the next version comes into effect in 2015. Transgender people wishing to live in a body that matches their identity are of course entitled to medical treatment and its benefits, but the negative stigma surrounding them must stop.”

Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP continued: “Considering transgender people mentally ill means they are not free to decide for themselves, and are often disrespected by the medical profession, their employers and their families. This call sends one clear message to the Commission and the WHO: the pathologisation of gender identity must stop, as the pathologisation of homosexuality ended in 1990.”

The European Commission takes part in ongoing negotiations for the next version of the International Classification of Diseases. Members of the European Parliament expect the Commission to take account of the Parliament’s call, adopted across political parties.

Country music brings home US economic woes

Country Music and its relatives,  American folk music and the blues were common working folks music long before they were discovered by and popularized by college kids and corporations.

One of the joys of moving to Texas was connecting with Texas country, which has a rawness and authenticity that died in Nashville many years ago.  Nashville country runs to safe Corporate Pap errrr Pop.  The country music I like tends to be labeled alt-country or outlaw country and be represented by folks like Willie Nelson and the late Townes Van Zant.

I’m glad that BBC picked up on country music that is usually found a bit left on the dial down below 100 on the FM where one finds the listener supported and college stations instead of the Clear Channel crap.

I’m also glad some mainstream country folks have discovered their fan base is hurting.

From BBC:

By Paul Adams: BBC News, Connecticut
September 26, 2011

It’s known for tackling some of life’s grittier issues, among them loss, poverty and nostalgia. But today’s country music lyrics are turning to the effects of economic hardship.

Country music and hard times. A cliche perhaps, but try telling that to legions of fans across the United States, many of whom are on the frontlines of economic struggles, seeking solace in the music.

Fans like 53-year-old Jim Yocius, from Windsor, Connecticut.

“For the first time in my life, I feel very vulnerable,” he says outside the Comcast Theatre in Hartford, before a concert by Country star Toby Keith.

Barbecue smoke drifts over serried ranks of pickup trucks as fans enjoy pre-concert tailgate parties.

“I feel like that older white male who did everything right, and now I feel like the next generation really wants me gone,” he says.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Country music brings home US economic woes

An act of conscience — going over the fence against the XL pipeline

From Rabble Ca:

By Fred Wilson
September 27, 2011

Holding hands with Maude Barlow and marching with Dave Coles, Tony Clarke, Graham Saul, George Poitras and a group of Aboriginal leaders, we marched slowly towards a metal fence. Media blocked our way and it was difficult to see past them to the police awaiting us, but it seemed to me that they were standing back rather than moving forward to confront us. That was comforting and a small sign that this would more or less go as planned. We were supposed to spread out at arms length to give each of us room to step up onto the lower bar of the fence and swing the other leg over. But the media funnelled us into a narrow space and that just wasn’t going to happen. Coles was first over, the rest of us one or two at a time after. An RCMP approached and told me that I was in a restricted zone and if I did not go back over the fence he would arrest me. He asked again to make sure I understood. Plastic cuffs bound my hands behind me and that was it — my first arrest in a lifetime of political and labour activism.

This was an act of conscience against the Keystone XL pipeline which in spite of Canadian regulatory approval a year and a half ago has not yet received U.S. approval and has not commenced construction in Canada.

Dave Coles, President of CEP, and I were representing our members who have stood opposed to the pipeline and the model of development it represents from its inception. CEP opposed XL at the National Energy Board, appealed their decision to cabinet and then sought leave in federal court to force a judicial appeal.

Continue reading at:


Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on An act of conscience — going over the fence against the XL pipeline

Bolivians march against Evo Morales over jungle highway crackdown

From The Guardian UK:

President halted construction in wake of police violence but remains accused of betraying native peoples

Associated Press, Wednesday 28 September 2011

Tens of thousands of Bolivians have taken to the streets to reproach President Evo Morales over a police crackdown on indigenous protesters.

The marchers decried the perceived betrayal by Bolivia‘s first Indian president of his prime constituencies: native groups and environmentalists.

“Evo was a very strong symbol for many people. He embodied principles of justice, of human rights. But now these people are disenchanted,” said Jim Shultz, an analyst with thinktank the Democracy Centre, which works on Bolivian issues.

Some Bolivians, such as 44-year-old schoolteacher Juana Pinto, said Morales had proved a disappointment. “This government is the worst and it should go because it attacked human beings, the indigenous compatriots who had given it their support, and now it’s turned its back on them,” said Pinto, who took part in a march that brought central La Paz to a standstill.

The president issued a statement saying the protests had been a “profound wake-up call” for his government following weekend police action that broke up a march by Indians protesting against a proposed highway through their protected Amazon reserve.

“I could never order such violence as has been seen by the Bolivian people,” Morales said in a statement released to news media. He asked for forgiveness from the families of the protesters and urged indigenous groups to hold talks with the government.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Bolivians march against Evo Morales over jungle highway crackdown

Study Finds Students’ Knowledge of Civil Rights History Has Deteriorated


Who would have thought that possible what with all the trashing of everything that came out of the 1960s and all the Hippie punching.

I lost any delusions I might of had about Obama being any sort of progressive the minute he said how much he respected Reagan and how essential Reagan was in ending the “excesses of the 1960s and 1970s.”

They have erased the history of every people’s movement this country has had for the last hundred years.

I have people who weren’t there and are clueless  argue with me about events I was a part of.  This is why Howard Zinn and James Loewen are such important historians.

From The New York Times:

Published: September 28, 2011

When Julian Bond, the former Georgia lawmaker and civil rights activist, turned to teaching two decades ago, he often quizzed his college students to gauge their awareness of the civil rights movement. He did not want to underestimate their grasp of the topic or talk down to them, he said.

“My fears were misplaced,” Mr. Bond said. No student had heard of George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama, he said. One student guessed that Mr. Wallace might have been a CBS newsman.

That ignorance by American students of the basic history of the civil rights movement has not changed — in fact, it has worsened, according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, on whose board Mr. Bond sits. The report says that states’ academic standards for public schools are one major cause of the problem.

“Across the country, state educational standards virtually ignore our civil rights history,” concludes the report, which is to be released on Wednesday.

The report assigns letter grades to each state based on how extensively its academic standards address the civil rights movement. Thirty-five states got an F because their standards require little or no mention of the movement, it says.

Eight of the 12 states earning A, B or C grades for their treatment of civil rights history are Southern states where there were major protests, boycotts or violence during the movement’s peak years in the 1950s and ’60s.

“Generally speaking, the farther away from the South — and the smaller the African-American population — the less attention paid to the civil rights movement,” the report says.

Alabama, Florida and New York were given A grades. Those states require relatively detailed teaching about the decade and a half of historic events, roughly bookended by the Supreme Court’s 1954 school desegregation ruling and the April 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the enactment of the federal Civil Rights Act a week later.

Many states have turned Dr. King’s life into a fable, said Mr. Bond, who now teaches at American University and the University of Virginia. He said his students knew that “there used to be segregation until Martin Luther King came along, that he marched and protested, that he was killed, and that then everything was all right.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Study Finds Students’ Knowledge of Civil Rights History Has Deteriorated

Obama must face meaningful Democratic primaries

From The Guardian UK:

Only a slate of serious candidates can oblige the president to listen to his loyal Democratic base as he runs for re-election,
Tuesday 27 September 2011

America’s two-party dictatorship – a model unknown in any other western country – keeps reinventing the ways it closes doors not just on third party candidates but on any challenges to their incumbent presidents within the party’s primaries.

Now, it is the turn of the Democrats to make a mockery out of the first amendment rights of others to speak, assemble and petition their government by running inside the upcoming presidential primary season that runs from January to June 2012. After President Obama took his liberal/progressive base for so many one-sided corporatist rides in his administration, he and his allies are very determined to give him a free ride by having him campaign around the country on Air Force One as an unchallenged, one-man primary.

This tedious scenario would have his supporters watch President Obama repeatedly respond, on his omnipresent teleprompter, to the crazed Republicans and their issues – instead of offering a ringing affirmation for his second term of the neglected majoritarian liberal/progressive agendas.

Clearly, the Republicans are not going to initiate any attention to getting out of the quagmire wars in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan and the mini-wars elsewhere. Republicans are not going to ask why Obama did not press forward for full Medicare for all, instead of his limited, incomplete, corporate-subsidised Obamacare. Nor are the Republicans going to demand that he explain why he has turned his back on labor and the impoverished, whose hopes for change he raised so high with specific promises in 2008.

But with one in three workers receiving Walmart-level wages, with 45,000 of the 50 million people without health insurance dying each year for lack of coverage, with pensions for millions of Americans being looted or drained by their corporate masters, with tax systems skewed for the wealthy during high unemployment, and with the White House routinely engaged in constitutional violations in its foreign/military adventures, the “no debate” mantra deepens autocracy.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Obama must face meaningful Democratic primaries

‘Occupy Wall Street’ Fighting Bankster Greed and the Surveillance State

Along with Mainstream Media making a concerted effort to deny left wing protest by people being injured in the Class War that is being waged by the rich upon the poor we have started to hear all sorts of un-American, anti-constitutional proposals such as limiting the right of the poor to vote.

We are subjected to the PATRIOT ACT which helped legitimatize a police state. Can we expect another attempt at shoving sedition laws down our throats that will criminalize our making disparaging comments about the Fed and other corporations?

From Alternet:

Over a week in, and despite mass arrests, the protesters are still camped out around the corner from Wall Street, and the Internet is watching.

By Sarah Jaffe
September 27, 2011

The crackdown on the Wall Street protesters this weekend seems to have backfired. The campsite-cum-experiment in radical democracy is still there, holding general assemblies just shouting distance from Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street bull. It even appears to be growing.

The complaints that the media has ignored the sustained protest seem to be resonating—the park has cameras aplenty today, and food trucks line one side of the plaza. (Local eateries have been taking out-of-town orders for protesters.) Tourists seem to be catching on that this is something, as they snap pictures of protest signs.

While even theoretically like-minded folks had been a bit dismissive of the Wall Street occupation before Saturday, the heavy-handed moves by police to control a small march have brought worldwide attention to Zuccotti Park, formerly Liberty Plaza. The Guardian has broken stories ahead of the New York media, outing the police officer caught on tape pepper-spraying penned-up protesters as the same officer named in a wrongful arrest lawsuit from 2004’s Republican National Convention protests.

Techniques honed from the “Battle in Seattle” in 1999, including penning up protesters with temporary fences or an orange mesh net, were deployed in 2004 and then exported to the UK in the past year, as student activists fighting their government’s attempt to impose fee hikes on university attendees found out when they were trapped outside in so-called “kettles” for hours in the cold, unable to leave.

Continue reading at:

The Federal Reserve Plans To Identify “Key Bloggers” And Monitor Billions Of Conversations About The Fed On Facebook, Twitter, Forums And Blogs

From The Economic Collapse:

September 25, 2011

The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify “key bloggers” and to monitor “billions of conversations” about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs.  This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact.  As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a “Request for Proposal” to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a “Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution”.  In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are.  Obviously, any “positive” feelings about the Fed would not be a problem.  What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively.  It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign.

You can read this “Request for Proposal” right here.  Posted below are some of the key quotes from the document (in bold) with some of my own commentary in between the quotes….

“The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.”

A system like this is not cheap.  Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that gathering all of this information is very important.  In recent years, criticism of the Federal Reserve has become very intense, and most of this criticism has been coming from the Internet.  It has gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it had better listen to what is being said and find out who is saying it.

“Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources.  They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.  They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Fighting Bankster Greed and the Surveillance State

Thom Hartmann: European Market Predicted to Melt Down Within Next 12 Months

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Thom Hartmann: European Market Predicted to Melt Down Within Next 12 Months

The new sparks of labor resistance

From Socialist Worker:

There’s a new surge of labor struggles in the U.S.–and what unites them is the activism and solidarity on display, despite a hostile media and aggressive employers.

September 28, 2011

PICKET LINES are popping up with greater frequency across the U.S.–and strikers are displaying a new, fighting mood that exists among growing numbers of working people fed up with being forced to pay for an economic crisis caused by Wall Street and Corporate America.

These struggles represent a challenge and an opportunity for working-class activists and socialists to put forward a strategy for taking on Corporate America and the business-backed attack on public-sector workers.

The struggles are varied. They include teachers who defied a judge’s order to win a strike in Tacoma, Wash.; hospital workers who struck the Kaiser health care system in California for two days, with nurses honoring the walkout; professors on the picket line at Long Island University in New York; Hyatt hotel workers carrying out a weeklong strike at six hotels in four cities; members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) blocking trains filled with scab cargo at the port of Longview, Wash.; a strike at the Central Park Boathouse restaurant in New York City against a notorious union-buster; and the beginnings of a campaign by postal workers’ unions against the assault on their members at the U.S. Postal Service.

All this follows the two-week strike at Verizon in August, where roving pickets and demonstrations at the company’s wireless stores caught management by surprise–and, earlier this year, the uprising in Wisconsin against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting attack on public-sector workers.

Workers haven’t yet prevailed in all of these struggles, nor will all of them win in the future. But what unites these fights is the activism and solidarity on display, despite a hostile corporate media and aggressive employers.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The new sparks of labor resistance