Shelley Hilliard Case: Murdered Transgender Teen Was an Informant

Suspect in her murder is in Detroit Police custody

From Huffington Post:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/shelley-hilliard-murder-transgender-teen_n_1150889.html?ref=fb&ir=Gay+Voices&src=sp&comm_ref=false


Posted: 12/15/11 

New evidence has surfaced in the case of the October murder of transgender teen Michelle Hilliard, and Detroit police now have the alleged killer, Qasim Raqib, in custody.

The 19-year-old Hilliard, also known as Shelley or Treasure, went missing on Oct. 23, and Detroit police in November identified a mutilated and burned torso found on Detroit’s east side as her body.

Some LGBT activists originally believed Hilliard’s murder to be a hate crime, but new information suggests the killing may have originated with a police sting gone wrong.

Hilliard had worked as informant for the Madison Heights police department in a drug sting, Fox 2 reports. She was facing jail time and agreed to help police with a sting against Raqib.

After being arrested in the operation, Raqib later posted bond. He then allegedly bought a new cell phone and lured Hilliard to a house in Detroit, the last place she was seen alive.

A cab driver dropped Hilliard off at the 900 block of Longfellow at 1:20 in the morning on Oct. 23, according to the Free Press. Hilliard’s mother, Lyniece Nelson, told the paper that Hilliard suspected trouble and kept in phone contact with the driver.

According to Nelson, the driver “started to hear [Hilliard] say, ‘What are you doing,’ then scream out loud ‘No,’ then her phone dropped, a few muffling noises, then the phone went dead. By the time he got back around the corner, there was no one in sight.”

Continue reading at:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/shelley-hilliard-murder-transgender-teen_n_1150889.html?ref=fb&ir=Gay+Voices&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Shelley Hilliard Case: Murdered Transgender Teen Was an Informant

Right Wing Scumbag Newt Gingrich on gay as a choice

As if this moral monster has any right to comment on the lives of others.

Wrong Newt, unlike being a serial adulterer being LGBT/T isn’t a choice.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . Comments Off on Right Wing Scumbag Newt Gingrich on gay as a choice

The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?

I just don’t get this one…  Since when did the porno per-pubescent look take hold?

I guess it is part of the porno dictated designer labia and the hairless chest look on men.

I’m part of the hair generation.  Not just long natural hair on both men and women but body hair being treated as a natural part of having adult hormonal levels.

It seems like we’ve become so fucking repressed and perverted by the obsessions of the religious creepazoids that we make ourselves into idealized plastic fantastic dolls with corporate marketed artificial beauty.

I have the latest version of Photoshop on my computer and yet I refuse to use it to artficialize people’s photos.  Skin has pores, scars are a result of living, people aren’t perfect.

We are human beings not imagined identities.

I’d rather smell someone’s natural body scent than the stench of hundred dollar bottle perfume, half of which don’t smell all that good and half of which close down my breathing with their artificial chemical smells.

I don’t find make-up to be attractive although sometimes exotic make-up is interesting in a creative way.

I can only imagine this ripping out of all one’s pubic hair using burn hot wax in the context of some sort of serious S/M ritual, or the shaving of pubic hair as some sort of B/D thingie…

I’ve been shaved there.  It itches.

I found it uncomfortable to bikini shave back when, so I didn’t.

I’ve never had a lot of body hair in my arm pits or hairy legs so I never figured out just why I was supposed to go through the trouble of shaving those places except to spend money on something the advertisers want to sell me.

From The Atlantic:  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/the-new-full-frontal-has-pubic-hair-in-america-gone-extinct/249798/

Ashley Fetters
Dec 13 2011

Meet Sophia Pinto: the 21st century’s standard-issue, all-American perfect 10.

The 5-foot-5 Minnesota native — a sly, funny, 22-year-old natural blonde who spends every summer bikini-clad on the shores of Lake Minnetonka — works out five days a week. Her slim waist and megawatt smile hearken back to the polyvinyl glamour of the original Barbie doll.

In fact, if Mattel were to redesign Barbie based on the new millennium’s ideal woman, she would likely resemble Pinto. Healthy, athletic, alluring, and smart (Pinto will graduate early this month from Northwestern University), she’s both a role model and a sex symbol.

And if you were to undress Pinto, you’d find she embodies yet another trademark characteristic of the plastic glamour girl-turned-careerwoman: Like Barbie, Pinto has no pubic hair.

Every four to five weeks, the East Asian Studies major undergoes a cosmetic procedure known as a Brazilian wax. An esthetician pours wax heated to 140° F (roughly the temperature of a steak fresh off the grill) onto her labia and spreads it like butter on bread. Half a minute later, she swiftly peels away the hardened wax — and with it, a full crop of pubic hair, freshly ripped from the follicles.

If you’re squeamishly wondering how much the college senior gets paid for submitting to these weird acts of perverse, pornographic violence, brace yourself for the truly agonizing part: It’s actually Pinto who shells out the cash, paying her regular waxer, Anna, more than $65 every time. But it beats the ingrown hairs and razor bumps that come from shaving, she says.

Continue reading at:   http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/the-new-full-frontal-has-pubic-hair-in-america-gone-extinct/249798/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?

Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

It is a shame that the first thing one thinks when someone proclaims themselves to be a “Christian” is, “There stands a delusional person who is a bigot and a compulsive liar.”

Particularly when they describe themselves as born again, or “religious”.  Get ready for the bigoted lies and bullshit to start flowing.

I’m tired of Christo-Fascist bullying of business that try to be fair and respect the rights and dignity of minorities.

See first the original story:  Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/12/mat-staver-liberty-counsel-doubles-down.html

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy’s

By Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reposted with permission

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy’s employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson’s actions violated Macy’s policy and that concerns about “religious liberty” and “men in women’s changing rooms” were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was “conjuring up” a story of an “anonymous” Macy’s employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women’s fitting room.

However, that’s not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from “asking men to leave women’s fitting rooms” to “having persistent problems keeping men out of women’s fitting rooms,” but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  “persistent problems” with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy’s policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

“Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy’s,” explains Staver. “They’re tearing up their Macy’s credit cards, they’re sending back their Macy’s gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy’s — and this is a consistent response that we’re seeing from the public around the country.”

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are “literally outraged and shocked” at Macy’s policy.

Staver conveniently doesn’t provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy’s employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy’s and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy’s to not back down. 

President Obama Richly Deserves to Be Dumped

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-6

by John R. MacArthur
Published on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 by The Providence Journal (Rhode Island)

As evidence of a failed Obama presidency accumulates, criticism of his administration is mounting from liberal Democrats who have too much moral authority to be ignored.

Most prominent among these critics is veteran journalist Bill Moyers, whose October address to a Public Citizen gathering puts the lie to our barely Democratic president’s populist pantomime, acted out last week in a Kansas speech decrying the plight of “innocent, hardworking Americans.” In his talk, Moyers quoted an authentic Kansas populist, Mary Eizabeth Lease, who in 1890 declared, “Wall Street owns the country.. . .Money rules.. . .The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.”

A former aide to Lyndon Johnson who knows politics from the inside, Moyers then delivered the coup de grace: “[Lease] should see us now. John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup, and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they fill it. Barack Obama criticizes bankers as fat cats, then invites them to dine at a pricey New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person.”

As it happens, Moyers’s remarks anticipated the trenchant question posed in an interview by another prominent liberal, Barbara Ehrenreich, just after billionaire Michael Bloomberg and mayors of other cities cleared public spaces of Occupy Wall Street protesters: “Where in all this was Obama? Why couldn’t he have picked up the phone and called the mayors of Portland and Oakland and said: ‘Go easy on these people. They represent the anger and aspirations of the majority.’ Would that have been so difficult?” Well, yes, particularly if your principal occupation is shaking down bankers and brokers for campaign donations on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

By now it should be obvious that the system, and the Democratic Party, run Obama, not the other way around. Under this arrangement, the president carries out his duties as pre-eminent party functionary — fundraising being at the top of his list of responsibilities — and defers on legislation, leaving it to corrupt Democratic barons such as Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), devoted friend of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and banking crowd and sworn enemy of reform.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-6

Posted in Class War. Comments Off on President Obama Richly Deserves to Be Dumped

The Book of Jobs

From Vanity Fair:   http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/01/stiglitz-depression-201201

Forget monetary policy. Re-examining the cause of the Great Depression—the revolution in agriculture that threw millions out of work—the author argues that the U.S. is now facing and must manage a similar shift in the “real” economy, from industry to service, or risk a tragic replay of 80 years ago.

By Joseph E. Stiglitz
January 2012

It has now been almost five years since the bursting of the housing bubble, and four years since the onset of the recession. There are 6.6 million fewer jobs in the United States than there were four years ago. Some 23 million Americans who would like to work full-time cannot get a job. Almost half of those who are unemployed have been unemployed long-term. Wages are falling—the real income of a typical American household is now below the level it was in 1997.

We knew the crisis was serious back in 2008. And we thought we knew who the “bad guys” were—the nation’s big banks, which through cynical lending and reckless gambling had brought the U.S. to the brink of ruin. The Bush and Obama administrations justified a bailout on the grounds that only if the banks were handed money without limit—and without conditions—could the economy recover. We did this not because we loved the banks but because (we were told) we couldn’t do without the lending that they made possible. Many, especially in the financial sector, argued that strong, resolute, and generous action to save not just the banks but the bankers, their shareholders, and their creditors would return the economy to where it had been before the crisis. In the meantime, a short-term stimulus, moderate in size, would suffice to tide the economy over until the banks could be restored to health.

The banks got their bailout. Some of the money went to bonuses. Little of it went to lending. And the economy didn’t really recover—output is barely greater than it was before the crisis, and the job situation is bleak. The diagnosis of our condition and the prescription that followed from it were incorrect. First, it was wrong to think that the bankers would mend their ways—that they would start to lend, if only they were treated nicely enough. We were told, in effect: “Don’t put conditions on the banks to require them to restructure the mortgages or to behave more honestly in their foreclosures. Don’t force them to use the money to lend. Such conditions will upset our delicate markets.” In the end, bank managers looked out for themselves and did what they are accustomed to doing.

Continue reading at:  http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/01/stiglitz-depression-201201

France’s faulty breast implants scandal

From The Guardian UK:    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/14/france-faulty-breast-implant-scandal

More than 30,000 women have had breast implants filled with industrial silicone instead of medical-grade fillers

in Paris
guardian.co.uk
, Wednesday 14 December 2011

In a crowd of angry women shouting “We want justice!” outside the French health ministry, an ashen-faced factory worker hugged her anorak around her and fought back tears. Too shy to give her name, she didn’t fit the stereotype too often slapped on the victims of France’s biggest plastic-surgery scandal in decades. Tens of thousands of women complain that their lives are a living hell after being given faulty cheap implants made not from medical silicone but industrial silicone normally used for computer parts or the electronics industry.

“I’ve always suffered from depression and mental-health problems linked to body image,” said the 48-year-old from Normandy. “I earn €1,000 [£840] a month in a factory. I couldn’t afford breast surgery until my late 40s. But after the implants I felt better, I came off the antidepressants, I was able to face work. Then I find out the implants are poison. The tests say they’re still in place but I’m having them removed anyway. I’m terrified they’ll rupture or explode at any moment.

“I try to sleep on my back, if I sleep at all. Some people try to avoid extreme physical exercise for fear of damaging the implants, but I do hard labour on a factory line.

“I go to bed feeling bad, I wake up feeling bad. It’s like living with a ticking bomb inside you.”

Over the past 10 years more than 30,000 women in France, and thousands of others in countries including Spain and the UK, had breast augmentation with what have turned out to be potentially defective implants in what is now described as a cosmetic surgery horror story. The scandal has sent panic through France’s vast plastic surgery industry.

The company Poly Implant Prosthesis (PIP), based in the south of France, was one of the world’s leaders in silicone implant production until last year when it was found to have been cutting corners and saving an estimated €1bn (£840m) a year by using industrial silicone instead of medical-grade fillers in their breast implants. The casing around the filling was also faulty and prone to rupture or leakage. The company has closed and more than 2,000 women have filed legal complaints. A judicial investigation has begun for involuntary homicide over a woman who died from cancer.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/14/france-faulty-breast-implant-scandal

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . Comments Off on France’s faulty breast implants scandal

A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism

From The Wall Street Journal:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203430404577092682864215896.html

How businesses can embrace environmental, social and governance metrics.

By AL GORE AND DAVID BLOOD
December 14, 2011

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, when the United States was preparing its visionary plan for nurturing democratic capitalism abroad, Gen. Omar Bradley said, “It is time to steer by the stars, and not by the lights of each passing ship.” Today, more than 60 years later, that means abandoning short-term economic thinking for “sustainable capitalism.”

We are once again facing one of those rare turning points in history when dangerous challenges and limitless opportunities cry out for clear, long-term thinking. The disruptive threats now facing the planet are extraordinary: climate change, water scarcity, poverty, disease, growing income inequality, urbanization, massive economic volatility and more. Businesses cannot be asked to do the job of governments, but companies and investors will ultimately mobilize most of the capital needed to overcome the unprecedented challenges we now face.

Before the crisis and since, we and others have called for a more responsible form of capitalism, what we call sustainable capitalism: a framework that seeks to maximize long-term economic value by reforming markets to address real needs while integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics throughout the decision-making process.

Such sustainable capitalism applies to the entire investment value chain—from entrepreneurial ventures to large public companies, seed-capital providers to institutional investors, employees to CEOs, activists to policy makers. It transcends borders, industries, asset classes and stakeholders.

Continue reading at:   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203430404577092682864215896.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism

Plan B Backlash: Women’s Groups Sour On Obama

From Huffington Post:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/plan-b-birth-control-morning-after-pill-obama_n_1148769.html


December 14, 2011

Women played a huge role in propelling President Barack Obama to victory during the 2008 elections, supporting him more strongly than men by seven percentage points. His record on women’s issues as president, however, has been spotty, and major women’s rights organizations are warning that if he makes the wrong decision on birth control coverage in the coming weeks, it could cost him the election in 2012.

Many progressive women’s groups who supported Obama throughout his campaign and presidency felt betrayed last week when, without any warning, his administration decided to overturn the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and limit access to Plan B One-Step, a popular emergency contraception pill. Whether or not the president had anything to do with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision, the fact remains that he promised in 2009 that his administration, unlike that of President George W. Bush, would “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

Americans of all demographics overwhelmingly support access to birth control, which is why the Plan B decision especially surprising to women’s health advocates and has severely dented his support among them. Although progressive women still perceive the GOP candidates’ positions on the issues they care about as more damaging, the problem, they say, is voter enthusiasm.

“I think the women of this country are not disappointed, they’re infuriated,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told HuffPost. “I’m gonna tell you the truth — we’re supporting President Obama as a means to get better alternatives. It’s not like we think he’s great for women, but we know we need to move in that direction, and frankly in this moment women must be engaged and must be mobilized to vote for the candidate that is a stepping stone toward real equality, even though there’s no candidate that represents that now.”

“The Plan B decision was a missed opportunity for Obama to strengthen his record on women’s reproductive issues,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “As we’re looking at 2012, we have a key segment of women’s voters, and it’s our job to show them the clear difference between President Obama and the alternatives. The decision last week makes it harder for us to do that.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/plan-b-birth-control-morning-after-pill-obama_n_1148769.html

Posted in Choice, Feminist, Uncategorized. Tags: , . Comments Off on Plan B Backlash: Women’s Groups Sour On Obama

In Defense of Casual Sex

From Psychology Today:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intelligent-lust/201112/in-defense-casual-sex

Sex without commitment can improve your life

by Stanley Siegel, LCSW  
Published on December 12, 2011

In the new film “Shame,” an examination of the extremes of human sexuality,  Brandon Sullivan, a successful, handsome New York executive afraid of intimacy, has frequent, random sex with prostitutes and strangers. At work, he sneaks off to masturbate in the men’s room or extends his lunch hour with  trysts.

The movie  harshly depicts casual sex as an emotionally disconnected, meaningless defilement, as reflected in the the title.  Brandon Sullivan is never permitted sexual enjoyment.  Instead, his getting off is presented as alienating and self-destructive.  The only time he he attempts to have sex with someone he knows, a co-worker,  he can not perform.

In the end, punishment awaits Brandon, the presumable fate for all who have casual sex, as punctuated by the suicide attempt of Brandon’ sister, who is similarly portrayed as sexually depraved.

In a recent interview, director Steve McQueen said the film is based on his research on sexual addiction–a condition whereby the insatiability of sexual cravings is rooted in self-hatred and the avoiding intimacy.

But “Shame” draws an inaccurate comparison between casual sex–an experience typically outside the context of a romantic relationship–and reckless sex. Under the right circumstances, casual sex can be deeply meaningful and more intimate than the sex in a long-term relationship. Those of us who have casual sex know that its not devoid of emotion, nor does it lead to the unhappiness Brandon suffers.

Society dictates that only within marriage or another long-term relationship do sex and intimacy exist and popular culture upholds this as the ultimate formula for happiness.  Despite the high divorce rate, tax laws, for example,  continue to bestow benefits on married couples, while relegating single people to second-class status.

Continue reading at:   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intelligent-lust/201112/in-defense-casual-sex

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on In Defense of Casual Sex

Saving American Democracy Amendment

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Saving American Democracy Amendment

Mario and the Confidence Fairy

From The New York Times:   http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/mario-and-the-confidence-fairy/

Paul Krugman
December 14, 2011

Oh, my. A downbeat FT report includes the following:

Mario Monti, whose technocratic government took office after Italy’s debt crisis toppled veteran premier Silvio Berlusconi, is seeking to tackle public debt levels which stand at 120 per cent of gross national product but faces resistance from labour unions and political foes.

“We are confident that markets will react positively to the efforts Italy is making, maybe not tomorrow, but the reduction in borrowing costs that we anticipate in the coming months will help spur the economy,” Mr Monti told legislators on Tuesday night.

I guess in Europe today “technocratic” is a synonym for “delusional”.

Look, more austerity isn’t going to convince the bond markets that Italy is just fine, let alone cut interest rates sufficiently to make contractionary policies expansionary. In fact, austerity — at least if not accompanied by major policy changes in Frankfurt — is probably self-defeating, because it will hurt the Italian economy more than it helps the short-term budget picture.

Italy faces an immediate crisis of self-fulfilling panic, and a huge medium-term adjustment problem as it tries to get costs and prices back in line with core Europe. The only plausible way to resolve these problems is via much more liberal policy from the ECB, in the form of bond purchases now and an implicit (but understood) willingness to let inflation run a bit high for an extended period.

The story optimists were telling themselves was that all this austerity stuff was to provide cover for the ECB to do the necessary. But this now looks like wishful thinking; Europe’s delusional technocrats apparently still believe that one more turn of the austerity screw will do the trick.

Continue reading at:   http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/mario-and-the-confidence-fairy/

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Austerity, Economic Issues, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Mario and the Confidence Fairy

Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

From The New Civil rights Movement:    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

by David Badash
December 14, 2011

While I didn’t have a glorious and candy-​coated childhood, I did have it pretty good. And I’ll confess to being pretty lucky — lucky enough to have two parents who never beat me. Beating your child is morally wrong, but sadly, corporal punishment — “the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable” — is apparently legal in America, at least when done by a parent in their home.

(Note: We’re not legal experts, and are not delivering legal advice. All the more reason to never beat your children. If it’s not illegal, it should be.)

Despite that, a 2006 American Psylogical Association study found “adolescents who were more likely to engage in fighting, bullying, and victimization of others reported that their parents engaged in corporal punishment as a disciplining method.”

In other words, parents who are beating their children are raising children who are more likely to be violent. Good job, parents!

And let’s be honest, spanking is beating. And it’s unacceptable.

That said, regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement remember all too well Evangelical Christian pastor Michael Pearl and his wife Debi.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

Posted in Abuse, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Human Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

Shut down the city of London!

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Shut down the city of London!

Markets of Shame Before the Collapse: Crisis, Crisis, Everywhere

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-4

by Danny Schechter
Published on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Earlier this week, Stephen Colbert announced dramatically that there were important developments underway in Europe that we should know about.

True to form, Colbert’s Repor didn’t talk about the big problem. His story, ha ha ha, was about a butter shortage in Norway.  Talk about going from the obscure to the ridiculous.

We all know that European countries have been wrestling with what to do about saving the Euro.

There have been warnings of an economic catastrophe if the Euro falls, and it’s plain that the already shaky American economy will take a big hit if it happens.

The drama in Europe seems to be beyond the ability of both comedy and financial programs to explain. Perhaps it’s more of a divine comedy in the Dantean sense, because we are all perched on the edge of circle of hell that many of us don’t want to wrap our minds around.

While many news outlets prefer to recycle endless soundbites of Gingrich bashing Romney and vice versa, and as American diplomats seem to be cranking up a war against Iran as if that can save the economy the way World War 2 pulled us out of a depression, the world economy is tottering thanks to all the debt American firms sold Europeans who then managed it so stupidly and corruptly.

Now we have Timesman Paul Krugman, for years an economist holding up the liberal middle, finally admitting that nothing is working;

It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/14-4

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Austerity, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Globalization, Uncategorized. Tags: , . Comments Off on Markets of Shame Before the Collapse: Crisis, Crisis, Everywhere

It’s now illegal to know what’s in your food

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on It’s now illegal to know what’s in your food

How Credit Collectors Have Reinvented the Debtors’ Prison

From New Deal 2.0:  http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

by Mike Konczal
Wednesday, 12/14/2011

ew tactics have an old ring to them and low-income debtors are falling prey.

NPR just ran a story called “Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars.” As they report, ”Here’s how it happens: A company will often sell off its debt to a collection agency, generally called a creditor. That creditor files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest.” Marie Diamond has more.

This is increasingly common across the country. My colleagues Matt Stoller and Bryce Covert have both written about debtors being jailed for failure to appear in court. Debtors’ prisons are illegal, and some point out that this is really jail for a summons problem, not a payment. But I haven’t had a full vision of the practice until I read this excellent working paper by Lea Shepherd of Loyola Chicago law school, “Creditors Contempt” (h/t creditslips). Beyond laying out the problems with the current system, which gives a disproportionate amount of the coercive powers of the state to creditors, this paper also has implications for another topic I’m interested in — the class bias of the submerged state.

The key here is something called in personam debt collection remedies. In an agrarian economy, it was relatively straight forward for creditors to order a sheriff to seize the property of a debtor. In rem actions, where a sheriff would go and seize property, would work just fine. But this became harder to do as time went on.

The debt collection market evolved in personam debt collection remedies. This in personam action has two goals: discovery and collection. The court orders the debtor to disclose information about his property, location of his assets, etc. to help creditors track down those assets. Then the court orders certain payments to be made, which allows for collection. This court order is enforced through the court’s authority to hold debtors in contempt, which in turn is enforced through threats of imprisonment. Depending on the jurisdiction, contempt charges can be made against either the failure to show up for the discovery process or the failure to stick to the collection ordered.

Continue reading at:   http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

Word of the Day: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Word of the Day: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

Air Too Dangerous to Breathe: How Gas Drilling Can Turn Rural Communities Into Industrial Wastelands

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/153417/air_too_dangerous_to_breathe%3A_how_gas_drilling_can_turn_rural_communities_into_industrial_wastelands_%5Bwith_photos%5D/

Drilling is just the tip of the iceberg. Compressor stations have been associated with significant headaches, bloody noses, skin lesions, blisters, and rashes.

By Nina Berman
December 13, 2011

View a slideshow from award-winning photographer Nina Berman below. You can see more of Nina’s work at NOOR.

The exploding faucet may have launched the movement against fracking, but it’s the unsexy compressor station that is pushing it to maturity.

Last week, more than a hundred activists from Pennsylvania and New York, including actor Mark Ruffalo, brought thousands of gallons of drinking water to 11 families in Dimock, Pa., who had been left dry after Cabot Oil and Gas stopped their water deliveries.

The mess Cabot created in 2009 from shale gas drilling had now been cleaned, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which meant no more water for the Dimock 11, the holdout families in a long-running feud over water contamination and cleanup.

At issue was the safety of well water symbolized by a jug filled with brown fluid taken from Dimock resident Scott Ely’s well. Held aloft by Ruffalo, who was flanked by families and Gasland director Josh Fox, the crowd challenged officials to come and take a swig if the water was so safe. Paul Rubin, a hydrogeologist, painted a grim picture, laying out a future of continued water contamination. The Ely water had arsenic, manganese, aluminum, iron, and lead at several times the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for safe drinking water.

The visuals were dramatic, and the anti-frack action ended with supporters triumphantly holding a huge water line that snaked from a tanker truck on Carter Road to a family’s “water buffalo” — a large storage tank. The Dimock 11 were now supplied.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/story/153417/air_too_dangerous_to_breathe%3A_how_gas_drilling_can_turn_rural_communities_into_industrial_wastelands_%5Bwith_photos%5D/

Posted in Chemical Pollution, Corporate Abuse, Ecology, Environment, Uncategorized. Tags: . Comments Off on Air Too Dangerous to Breathe: How Gas Drilling Can Turn Rural Communities Into Industrial Wastelands

After Durban: Climate Activists Target Corporate Power

From Yes Magazine: http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/madeline-ostrander/after-durban-climate-activists-target-corporate-power

After another disappointing round of UN negotiations, climate justice activists have a new strategy.

by Madeline Ostrander
posted Dec 13, 2011

“I feel like I’ve written the same story for the past three years,” climate reporter Kate Sheppard tweeted from Durban, South Africa, last week.

Indeed, this year’s United Nations climate negotiations in Durban—the Conference of the Parties, where world governments get together ostensibly to talk about reining in climate change—proceeded much like the previous two. Experts predicted the talks would fall apart. Scientists released frightening warnings about the world’s failure to act (including a report that greenhouse gas emissions shot up 5.9 percent last year, likely the largest increase since the Industrial Revolution). The talks ended in the early morning hours on Sunday with an extension of the Kyoto Protocol and a two-page agreement (called the “Durban Platform”) to make another agreement by 2015, next time “with legal force.” But the negotiations produced no binding commitments from the participating nations substantive enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, a threshold that was once considered “safe,” though new research suggests even that much warming poses serious environmental and economic dangers. Still, many major press outlets proclaimed the “Durban platform” a success, because it was, perhaps, better than not having an agreement at all.

Many of the citizen groups that gathered at Durban see the talks as a failure. Inspired, in part, by the Occupy movement, they are beginning to cry foul at the ways they believe corporate influence at home has stymied their governments’ participation in the U.N. process year after year.

“We’re not going to be overly distracted by the ongoing shell game of endless U.N. negotiations,” Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist group 350.org, said in a statement after the close of the climate talks. “We know that the real debate is between the bottom line of the scientists, and the bottom line of the fossil fuel companies … we’re going to take on the subsidies that make the oil companies so rich, and the systemic corruption that makes them so politically powerful.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/madeline-ostrander/after-durban-climate-activists-target-corporate-power

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Corporate Abuse, Environment, Uncategorized. Tags: , , . Comments Off on After Durban: Climate Activists Target Corporate Power