Do What’s Right

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Alice Dreger: UTNE Visionary 2011

I’m not a fan of Alice Reger.  What she has done regarding transsexuals is unconscionable>  She hangs out with some incredibly nasty people who make psychiatry look like quackery.

Yet here she is saying something I realized based on simple common sense coupled with hearing the reason a number of incredibly ignorant of the male anatomy people thought was the reason they must have been born with a vagina and reassigned male via surgery shortly after birth.

Leaving aside all those who had fathered children and that every male has a line down the center of his scrotum, between his balls, because that how male fetuses develop.

The one thing that made me skeptical about the vast majority of intersex claims by people who had been raised as male was this.  “It is much harder to make a pole than a hole.” Especially a functioning penis that looks like a penis.

Most intersex surgeries involved cutting down.  Making girl and cutting down enlarged clits.

From Utne Reader:

by Danielle Magnuson
November-December 2011

Alice Dreger has made it her life’s work to investigate, and at times expose, the unethical medical treatment of people who have intersex conditions. “I either get love mail or hate mail,” explains the Northwestern University bioethicist and medical historian. The hate mail comes from people whose bad deeds she reveals, the love mail from people thanking her for “saving their lives.”

About 1 baby in 2,000 is born with ambiguous genitalia: The phallus could be considered either a micropenis or an overlarge clitoris. Many more are born with subtler disorders of sex development, such as a slightly-larger-than-standard clitoris. Yet other sex anomalies don’t become apparent until adolescence, as in the case of a girl who never menstruates because she has undescended testes rather than ovaries. As recently as 15 years ago, children were routinely subjected to cosmetic genital surgery and hormone treatments in medical practices shrouded in secrecy. “They were sex-reassigning boys with small penises to be girls,” says Dreger. “They were cutting down clitorises willy-nilly. And they were not always telling families what they did and didn’t know.”

Banks Shut Down: Occupy Oakland w/ Cenk

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Noam Chomsky Addresses Occupy Boston Protesters

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Bill Moyers: “Our Politicians Are Money Launderers in the Trafficking of Power and Policy”

From Truth Out:

by: Bill Moyers
Thursday 3 November 2011

I am honored to share this occasion with you.   No one beyond your collegial inner circle appreciates more than I do what you have stood for over these 40 years, or is more aware of the battles you have fought, the victories you have won, and the passion for democracy that still courses through your veins.  The great progressive of a century ago, Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin – a Republican, by the way – believed that “Democracy is a life; and involves constant struggle.”  Democracy has been your life for four decades now, and would have been even more imperiled today if you had not stayed the course.

I began my public journalism the same year you began your public advocacy, in 1971. Our paths often paralleled and sometimes crossed. Over these 40 years  journalism for me has been a continuing course in adult education, and I came early on to consider the work you do as part of the curriculum – an open seminar on how government works – and for whom.   Your muckraking investigations – into money and politics, corporate behavior, lobbying, regulatory oversight, public health and safety, openness in government, and consumer protection, among others – are models of accuracy and integrity. They drive home to journalists that while it is important to cover the news, it is more important to uncover the news.  As one of my mentors said, “News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity.”  And when a student asked the journalist and historian Richard Reeves for his definition of “real news”, he answered: “The news you and I need to keep our freedoms.”  You keep reminding us how crucial that news is to democracy.  And when the watchdogs of the press have fallen silent, your vigilant growls have told us something’s up.

So I’m here as both citizen and journalist to thank you for all you have done, to salute you for keeping the faith, and to implore you to fight on during the crisis of hope that now grips our country.  The great American experience in creating a different future together – this “voluntary union for the common good” – has been flummoxed by a growing sense of political impotence  – what the historian Lawrence Goodwyn has described as a mass resignation of people who believe “the dogma of democracy” on a superficial public level but who no longer believe it privately. There has been, he says, a decline in what people think they have a political right to aspire to – a decline of individual self-respect on the part of millions of Americans.

You can understand why.  We hold elections, knowing they are unlikely to produce the policies favored by the majority of Americans.  We speak, we write, we advocate – and those in power turn deaf ears and blind eyes to our deepest aspirations.  We petition, plead, and even pray – yet the earth that is our commons, which should be passed on in good condition to coming generations, continues to be despoiled.  We invoke the strain in our national DNA that attests to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the produce of political equality – yet private wealth multiplies as public goods are beggared.  And the property qualifications for federal office that the framers of the Constitution expressly feared as an unseemly “veneration for wealth” are now openly in force; the common denominator of public office, even for our judges, is a common deference to cash.

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Anti-gay Bigot “Porno” Pete Labarbera says opponents are part of “Satan’s plan”

Because I’m not in England, where they have questionable freedom of speech rights I am taking the liberty of editing the following text from Pink News.

Further anyone who babbles on about “Satan” is a fucking evil moron.

From Pink News:

3 November 2011

Peter LaBarbera, the founder of anti-gay campaign  Neo-Nazi hate group Americans for Truth Bigoted Lies and Propaganda, claimed this week that the people who say he fosters a “climate of hate”  fight for their Constitutionally mandated equality are part of “Satan’s plan”.

In the interview, given to Linda Harvey, he also claimed the media was “in the tank” with the “homosexual lobby” LGBT/T patriots and as such was not prepared to defend his freedoms  bigotry and filthy lies.

LaBarbera described his detractors as homo-fascists and homo-communists LGBT/T patriots. By criticising him, he argued, they fostered the same sort of hate they were criticising him for promoting.

LaBarbera’s group Americans for Truth Bigoted Lies and Propaganda is “dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist LGBT/T Patriot agenda”. His views bigoted lies and propaganda have courted controversy for a number of years.

Sally Kern drew criticism recently in an interview with Barbera in which she said gays were more dangerous than terrorists   Thoroughly insane ultra right wing kook, Sally Kern, said in an interview that when she isn’t chasing squirrels she loves traveling on UFOs.

LaBarbera also leapt to the defence of Michele Bachmann’s husband’s “gay cure clinic”. In 2007 he had (allegedly) said: “homosexuality is not a civil right; it is a human wrong I really want to suck a big cock but it will blow my high paying position as a professional whore  bigot if I get caught on my knees in a restroom– one that is redeemable as proven by thousands of contented un-happy and troubled former homosexuals and ex-lesbians.”

A transcript of the interview is below:

LaBarbera: The homo-fascism Freedom and equality are on the rise, and let’s just call it for what it is, or if you want to call it homo-communism human rights, because why should the fascists get all the bad—the communists also wanted to shut down speech and did so. What’s happening is they’re ratcheting up what constitutes so-called hate, what is acceptable speech, and because the media is in the tank with the homosexual lobby LGBT/T patriots and will not defend our freedoms, Linda, Christians’ religious freedom Fascism, then essentially they’ve, basically, given a get out of jail free card the same rights straights take for granted  to the homosexual activistsLGBT/T patriots. They can do anything they want and it seems like there’s very little critical, media attention which would restrain them.

Go to Pink News for the original and far more post moderned version that requires sub-textual readings:

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Study: Vermont’s Universal Health System Will Significantly Slow Health Care Spending

From FireDogLake:

By: Jon Walker
Wednesday November 2, 2011

The implementation of the new universal health care law adopted by Vermont earlier this year will result in system wide health care savings there of between 5.5 percent and 18.3 percent in the year 2020, according to a new report (PDF) by the Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office. Vermont’s new health care system will be modeled on a single payer system.

From the report’s executive summary:

The analysis indicates that without reform, Vermont health care spending will more than double from 2009 to 2019, from $4.7 billion to $10 billion. Our estimates, based on national trends, indicate that average growth in Vermont will be about 7% a year. However, we conclude that it is possible to reduce this rate of growth through a wide range of policy initiatives. The actual savings will be determined by decisions yet to be made by the Green Mountain Care Board, the Executive Branch, and the General Assembly, as well as the impact of national initiatives and policy changes, including the amount of federal financial support that we can anticipate.

Savings will be dependent upon the types and scope of cost-containment measures that are implemented, such as regulation, payment reform, or delivery system changes. System-wide savings that result from reductions in provider costs (e.g., simplified administration) will also be affected by the mechanism by which those cost reductions are passed on to payers.

If action is taken in each area of potential savings discussed in this report, savings will begin in 2014 and rise rapidly for the next several years. In 2020, savings are estimated to range from $553 million (5.5%) to $1.8 billion (18.3% of total spending). The table below shows estimated low- and high-range savings in each category discussed in this report.

In order to achieve these savings, substantial investments will be needed. While total investments, including projects already under way, could be higher, in this report, we estimate the portion of those investments attributable to Act 48 to be from $50 to $150 million.

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Tax the One Percent — Make Wall Street Fund America

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 11/2/11

The giant cries of protest sweeping across the country are starting to reverberate in the halls of Congress. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are proposing a Wall Street Tax. Their bill would establish a tiny financial transaction tax of 0.03% on every single trade of stocks, bonds, options, futures, swaps, and credit default swaps.

I think this is a great idea, and Congress should pass the bill. Rebuild the Dream and started a petition so you can show support for the Wall Street Tax.

Notably, a Wall Street Tax is in the Contract for the American Dream, the 10-point plan to fix our economy that more than 131,000 people created earlier this year, through a grassroots, bottom-up process. To date, more than 300,000 people have signed the Contract for the American Dream. In other words, the idea of a Wall Street Tax is already popular.

The Wall Street Tax would be a tiny cost for those of us socking away our savings for retirement or our children’s education — the average person paying into a 401(k) would pay only one dollar per year.

But Wall Street traders could no longer bet thousands of times a second for free. Much of the risk in today’s market comes from rapid-fire “flash trading,” where financial firms use computer algorithms to make thousands of trades per second. This doesn’t add any real value to the market or to our economy.

When we buy something of real value, like a winter coat for our kids, we pay a sales tax, and rightly so. Yet these Wall Street speculators pay zero taxes while making a fortune passing electrons back and forth millions of times a day, all the while destabilizing our economy.

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Cenk @ Occupy Oakland – Angela Davis & More

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Pollution may be strengthening Asian cyclones

From Science News:

Sooty brown cloud cools water and lowers wind speeds, study finds

By Janet Raloff
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

A large and growing brown cloud of persistent air pollution hovering over northern India and surrounding regions has doubled — and occasionally tripled — the intensity of late spring cyclones in the Arabian Sea during the past three decades.

Within the past decade, several notable early-season tropical cyclones have ripped through the region. Gonu, the strongest, smashed through the Middle East in 2007, killing dozens and causing more than $4 billion worth of damage. “This supercyclonic storm was Katrina-like in size and intensity,” says climate scientist Amato Evan of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

These big storms, which invariably make landfall, represent a new environmental impact that can wreak havoc on people from northern India through the Middle East, Evan and his colleagues propose in the Nov. 3 Nature.

Warming sea-surface temperatures can boost the intensity of hurricanes, known in the Indian Ocean as cyclones. And for many decades, Evan says, water in the Arabian Sea has been “really toasty.” But winds in the upper and lower atmosphere there tend to blow briskly in opposing directions, in a phenomenon known as vertical wind shear. “This is the most hostile environment one could imagine for a hurricane,” Evan explains. “It literally tears a storm apart.” That appears to explain why major cyclones here were rare — until recently.

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How could this be? “Banks cancel debit card fees, but anti-bank sentiment remains palpable”

Imposing debt slavery and stealing peoples homes, pensions and 401Ks has a tendency to cause the victims to feel a bit testy.

As in keep fucking us and maybe we will bring back the guillotine.

From PBS:

November 1, 2011

After weeks of public backlash, Bank of America announced today that it would cancel plans to charge a $5 monthly transaction fee for debit card purchases.

The bank has been under fire since it announced the fee in late September, further fueling the air of general distrust in major U.S. banks that has become increasingly palpable in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Earlier this month, Citibank also announced that it would be raising the minimum balance requirement for checking and savings accounts to avoid a monthly fee of $15 or $20, depending on the type of account. Bank of America has cited the so-called “Durbin Amendment” of the Dodd-Frank Act as the reason for imposing the debit card fees. The amendment, which the Senate passed last year, reduced the fees charged to merchants on debit card transactions, thereby limiting banks’ revenue from those purchases.

Many customers, however, have directed their ire at the banks, and the $5 fee announcement has served the breaking point for those already fed up with the practices of large financial institutions. In recent weeks, activists, including those involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests, have been ushering along a growing movement for people to close their accounts with large banks and transfer their money into a local financial institution or credit union. Videos of customers attempting to close their accounts with large banking institutions have gone viral online, and credit unions, the non-profit alternative to banks, have surged in popularity. One group has designated November 5 as “Bank Transfer Day” in an effort to persuade people to switch to credit unions en masse. Another movement, the Move Your Money Project, describes itself as a campaign to “empower individuals and institutions to divest from the nation’s largest Wall Street banks and move to local financial institutions.”

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Occupy the Future

From Truth Out:

by: Noam Chomsky
Tuesday 01 November 2011

Delivering a Howard Zinn lecture is a bittersweet experience for me. I regret that he’s not here to take part in and invigorate a movement that would have been the dream of his life. Indeed, he laid a lot of the groundwork for it.

If the bonds and associations being established in these remarkable events can be sustained through a long, hard period ahead, victories don’t come quickly, the Occupy protests could mark a significant moment in American history.

I’ve never seen anything quite like the Occupy movement in scale and character, here and worldwide. The Occupy outposts are trying to create cooperative communities that just might be the basis for the kinds of lasting organizations necessary to overcome the barriers ahead and the backlash that’s already coming.

That the Occupy movement is unprecedented seems appropriate because this is an unprecedented era, not just at this moment but since the 1970s.

The 1970s marked a turning point for the United States. Since the country began, it had been a developing society, not always in very pretty ways, but with general progress toward industrialization and wealth.

Even in dark times, the expectation was that the progress would continue. I’m just old enough to remember the Great Depression. By the mid-1930s, even though the situation was objectively much harsher than today, the spirit was quite different.

A militant labor movement was organizing, the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) and others, and workers were staging sit-down strikes, just one step from taking over the factories and running them themselves.

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‘Let Eurozone collapse! Greeks, get out now!’

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Occupy movement finds home in Bakersfield

From The Renegade Rip:

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter
November 2, 2011

With signs reading: “Honk if you pay taxes,” “No Fortune, No Voice, No Fair” and “We are the 99%,” the Occupy movement has made its way to the streets of Bakersfield.

Every day, people who want to make their voices heard are gathering together on the corner of Chester Avenue and Truxtun Avenue to protest against America’s current financial and economic state.

The local protesters are calling for a balance between big business and government and a happy medium.

“I’m tired of the corporations weighing down on the government. I’m tired of my classes getting cut over and over,” said Dustin Wolaver, a 21-year-old employed college student.

“It’s insane,” he said, speaking of the financial state of the college system.

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Occupy Philly Protesters Arrested During Sit-In At Comcast Headquarters

From Think Progress:

By Zaid Jilani
Nov 2, 2011

As thousands of Oakland residents join a general strike called by Occupy Oakland today, Occupy Philly engaged in its own action, targeting corporate telecom giant Comcast.

Hundreds of Occupy Philly protesters marched through Dilworth Plaza in downtown Philadelphia and many lodged themselves in the lobby of the Comcast Center. The protesters sought to call attention to the company’s corporate tax dodging and the fact that it escapes paying property taxes in the city due to tax breaks.

Nine demonstrators were arrested by police after the city moved in to dislodge them. Here are a few pictures from the sit-in and arrests, uploaded by Dustin M. Slaughter:

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Is the Electoral College dying?

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Greece given €8bn referendum warning by Merkel and Sarkozy

The Greeks should tell them to take back all their fucking war toys and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.

From The Guardian UK:

Germany and France offer Greece ultimatum to ensure a yes on austerity vote in make-or-break talks ahead of G20 summit

, and in New York, Wednesday 2 November 2011

A showdown between the most powerful leaders in the eurozone and George Papandreou is under way amid increasing concern about the Greek prime minister’s plan to hold a referendum and the impact it is having on financial markets.

Ahead of a crunch two-day summit of the leaders of the G20 in Cannes, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, were holding make-or-break talks with Papandreou. Greece was warned it will not be handed €8bn (£6.9bn) of bailout money due this month unless there is a swift yes vote in the referendum.

Officials at the Greek interior ministry have identified two potential dates in December for the vote – which cannot take place until ratified by parliament. That, in turn, requires Papandreou to survive night’s crucial vote of confidence in his fragile government in Athens.

The European leaders met their international counterparts amid signs that a new recession is now stalking the eurozone – blamed in part on the sovereign debt crisis. A report showed factories in the 17-nation euro area suffered their sharpest decline in output in two years.

Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, also admitted the eurozone crisis was hurting the US. After the Fed warned of “significant downside risks”, Bernanke said it was “a bit frustrating” to watch the euro debacle from the sidelines and listed the crisis – alongside the nuclear accident in Japan and high oil prices – as part of a run of “bad luck” that has held back US recovery.

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