Dim Sum on New Years Day – and feeling “foreign”

From Another Old Woman: http://anotheroldwoman.blogspot.com/2012/01/dim-sum-on-new-years-day-and-feeling.html

By Tina Sokol
January 3, 2012

Reposted with permission

Sunday we went to a really good Dim Sum place here in the DFW area — JS Chen’s DimSum & BBQ.

New Years Day, and the place was absolutely filled with families. Long lines outside, etc. Mostly Chinese — with a meager sprinkling of other folks. Even though almost all the servers spoke English as well, or better than I do, I saw myself as “foreign” — in truth, I saw them as “foreign” also. There is a good chance most of the other folks in the restaurant saw us as “foreign” too.

The “restaurant chatter” — something I tend to attempt to listen to (because I’m nosy) was in one or another Chinese dialect — adding to that sense of “foreignness”.

Ah-ha, I thought, this must be a little like the way my mother felt as an immigrant to the USA — surrounded by people who see YOU as different, speaking a language you do not understand, eating food you really don’t quite understand, with customs just a little (or, a lot) different from yours.

This must be the way a Mexican housewife, new to the USA, feels wandering around places in the USA. Is it any wonder she wants to deal with, shop, in places where she is understood? Is it any wonder she wants to raise her children in a way that respects her heritage?

So, as a result, people who do not think, refuse to think, will not think, accuse her (and her family) of being unable, and unwilling, to “assimilate”.

The USA has had a history of immigrants who were seen as “unable to assimilate”.

Germans, Italians, all the various Slavs, the Irish, Jews of all sorts, assorted Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, various folks from South America, the Caribbean area, South Asia, Asia, China, Japan, etc., etc., etc., and of course, those folks we brought here in chains, as slaves, as less than human, as nothing but chattel.

ALL those folks were seen as “less than” — often by folks just a few steps above them on the socio-economic ladder (sometimes thought of as “the road to whiteness”).

I guess no one thinks of the poor Scots-Irish descendents in “Appalachia” as “unable to assimilate”, even though folks tend to discount them, ignore them, and denigrate them. In many ways, an awful lot of folks see them as “not quite citizens”, and a subgroup worthy of intense study — to be celebrated for their “independence”, ridiculed for their stupidity “folkways”, and shunned by “polite society”. In many ways, the Scots-Irish in the USA have “assimilated” less than any of the immigrant groups

Still, since they tend to stay “among their own” — folks tend to ignore them (even though they have roots in the USA that go back to BEFORE The Revolution).

Most of the vile discrimination that is “acceptable” is directed toward “illegal aliens”, toward those “Latinos”/”Hispanics”/etc., etc. — with a subset directed toward Muslims, and “Brown People”.

In the USA this is just a rerun, an again. Just the same old script claiming “we are lost”, “the Republic is gone”, etc., etc., etc.

In fact, the truth seems to be the folks who cry the loudest, are the very ones who want to destroy The USA, want to limit citizenship — the way it is in other countries. They want to limit opportunity — only their kids, or grandkids — not those strange brown, black, yellow, “different” white folks, etc.

Oh yeah — and while you’re at it — destroy education, science, climate studies — but make sure we all have cell phones, flat screen TV’s, and the fruits of science.


Climate change – our real bequest to future generations

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/03/climate-change-real-bequest

Deficit hawks try to scare us about the debt we’re leaving. That’s economic nonsense – unlike the costs of global warming

, Tuesday 3 January 2012

It is remarkable how efforts to reduce the government deficit/debt are often portrayed as a generational issue, while efforts to reduce global warming are almost never framed in this way. This contrast is striking because the issues involved in reducing the deficit or debt have little direct relevance to distribution between generations, whereas global warming is almost entirely a question of distribution between generations.

Seeing the debt as an issue between generations is wrong in almost every dimension. The idea that future generations will somehow be stuck with some huge tab in the form of the national debt suffers from the simple logical problem that we are all going to die. At some point, everyone who owns the debt being issued today, or over the next two decades, will be dead. They will have to pass the ownership of the debt to someone else – in other words, their children or grandchildren. This means that the debt is not money that our children and grandchildren will be paying to someone else. It is money that they will be paying to themselves.

There are certainly issues of intra-generational distribution. If Bill Gates’s grandkids own all the debt, then there will be a serious issue of income inequality 50 or 60 years out – but that is not an intra-generational issue.

Of course, some of this debt will be owned by foreigners. The interest and principle payments by our grandchildren will make the country as a whole poorer. However, the foreign ownership of US financial assets, including government debt, is determined by our trade deficit, not our budget deficit.

Those who proclaim themselves concerned that our grandchildren will be stuck making huge payments to the Chinese or other foreigners should be focused on reducing the value of the dollar. A more competitively priced dollar will be the key to getting our trade deficit closer to balance and reducing the outflow of dollars each year that are used to buy up US financial assets.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/03/climate-change-real-bequest

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Climate change – our real bequest to future generations

Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

From The LA Weekly:  http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/01/occupy_the_rose_parade_5000_protesters_giant_octopus_fail_to_make_live_tv.php

By Simone Wilson
Mon., Jan. 2 2012

Apparently the 70-foot octopus float carried by an estimated 5,000 Occupy L.A. protesters at the end of today’s Rose Parade wasn’t awesome enough for KTLA, the premiere local station covering the event.

Reporters gushed over marching bands, floral arrangements and even a police horse brigade led by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. But after float No. 43 had passed the finish line, the cameras shut off.

Raw video” of the unofficial Occupy entry has been relegated to a corner of KTLA’s website, because…

… the station is surely aware of the immense national (and international) interest in the parade-ending spectacle. It is, after all, Occupy’s much-anticipated answer to carrying its last three months of momentum into the new year.

Unlike the usual motley crew of nutty picketers at the end of the parade, the Occupy the Rose Parade endeavor was thousands-strong, with 250 feet of visuals. Aside from Octupy, protesters carried two huge U.S. Constitution scrolls, cardboard houses tagged with “foreclosure” and a “1 percenter” in a throne. More from City News Service:

Complete Article at:  http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/01/occupy_the_rose_parade_5000_protesters_giant_octopus_fail_to_make_live_tv.php

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

To Protect North Carolina’s Children, Vote Against The Marriage Amendment

From Pam’s House Blend:   http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/01/02/to-protect-north-carolinas-children-vote-against-the-marriage-amendment/

By: Scott Rose
Monday January 2, 2012

Reposted with the generous permission of both Pam and Scott

The Southern Baptist Convention has a dirty little secret — and wants their very aggressive public war against gay North Carolinians to distract you from it.

It is known that there is a history of SBC child rapes.  . . but the public does not know nearly the full extent of the crimes . . . because the SBC leadership does not want the public to know the full extent of its child rape crimes.

One exceptionally courageous SBC child rape survivor, Christa Brown, has written a book about child rape in SBC churches and additionally maintains a website about SBC crimes of child rape, StopBaptistPredators.org

After you’ve read Christa Brown’s book and website, start looking through comment threads where she has published articles on the topic of SBC child rape.

Many alleged victims fear that if they came forward, their Baptist communities would retaliate against them.

Brown herself has encountered some actual, and/or attempted retaliation from SBC members.

Where fear historically has been used to keep victims silent, you can be sure there are numerous victims.

And, after the SBC child rape problem started to come to light, the Southern Baptist Convention behaved dishonorably. SBC is centralized. But, faced with desperate please from survivors of child sex abuse — SBC leaders abdicated responsibility by saying that each SBC church has autonomy to deal with such issues as it sees fit.

To clarify what that means; Southern Baptist Convention leaders are aware of child rapes within their organization, but — out of whatever motivations — can not be bothered to take effective organizational action to provide maximal safeguards against additional child sex abuse crimes in Southern Baptist Convention churches.

And, it isn’t that the Southern Baptist Convention could not take centralized actions — applying to all of its member churches — if it wanted to. In 2006, for example, the SBC tightened its already severe strictures against acceptance of homosexual human beings. Among other new SBC rules then introduced and now in effect, any SBC church that accepts a gay member who does not “repent” of her/his homosexuality is to be booted out of the SBC fold. The whole Church kicked out of the SBC, for accepting one out gay human being in its congregation.

The contrast between 1) the Southern Baptist Convention’s disingenuous refusal centrally to help stop child sex abuse, despite pleas from child rape survivors,  and 2) its zeal to stigmatize gay human beings is stark.

(How can these monsters sleep at night?)

To the extent that the SBC tries to mask the malice of its anti-gay animus, it says that it will minister to homosexuals so long as they repent. Yet even where a non-evidence-based, anti-scientific Southern Baptist claims to be acting in good faith towards gay human beings, the atmosphere such people create for gay youth and other gay people constitutes psychological abuse, every bit as ignorance-fueled and unacceptable as the abuse that occurs when a Christian Scientist refuses chemotherapy for their child when the course of treatment has a 90% cure rate.

Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse in a court, ignorance of modern medicine, psychiatry and psychology is no acceptable excuse for inflicting psychological injuries on gay persons, young gay persons included. Never mind, for now, that many Baptist Churches not part of the SBC welcome out LGBT members. The American Medical Association’s position on sexual orientation clearly is against such public political gay bashing as that occurring now around the proposed North Carolina marriage amendment.

Who do you think knows better about protecting the mental health of young people? A strict regional “religious” group that doesn’t make an adequate effort to stop church child rape, or America’s leading medical experts?

In North Carolina, the proposed marriage amendment was pushed forward by the late Senator James Forrester, who also was a Deacon of the First Baptist Church in Stanley. Yes, Senator Forrester was more interested in writing anti-gay discrimination into the state constitution than he was in using the power of government to protect children from sex abuse in Southern Baptist Convention churches.  Almost as bad, from a human rights standpoint, is this sordid gang’s oft-repeated motive of putting the suppression of gay citizens’ civil rights beyond the review of a judge.

That goal is, in its way, every bit as dishonorable as the SBC’s shirking of responsibility over its child rape crisis. Firstly, the notion that anti-scientific, anti-gay bigots may impose an anti-gay state-level constitutional amendment and then hope never to see the amendment reviewed for its constitutionality is hubristic.

But additionally, what ethics do these political gay bashers bring to the process of campaigning for their anti-gay marriage amendment?  You read that right; I want to talk about the anti-gay bigots’ leaders’ ethics. US Courts of law are evidence based — and additionally, “Thou Shallt Not Lie” is the Ninth Commandment.  Yet the sponsor of the amendment, the late Senator and SBC Church Deacon James Forrester routinely told malicious, demonizing lies against gay human beings, the better to incite his followers to anti-gay discrimination. Caught out in his malicious lies, Forrester played the victim, saying that equality supporters were trying to “discredit” him. But what if he had born false witness, i.e. perjured himself under oath on a witness stand? Why is an elected official telling lies about a minority to the public, when in a court of law he could be tried for perjuring himself in such a fashion? Tried and convicted for perjury, would the dishonorable Forrester whine that the jury had discredited him?

Forrester’s widow Mary Frances Forrester also has engaged in malicious lying defamation against gay people as part of inciting voters to anti-gay discrimination. In 2008, Mary Frances Forrester wrote an anti-gay hate speech document, packed full of anti-gay defamation — outright lies — for the so-called Christian Action League. The extreme level of her lying, anti-gay defamation was noticed; under pressure to do the right thing, CAL removed Mary Frances Forrester’s hate speech document from their site.  Had she lied that way under oath in court, she could have been convicted for perjury, but it appears she has not even thought to apologize to the victims of her malicious lying. A fine, lying example she sets for youth. Reverend Mark Harris, President of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, has personally been involved in Southern Baptist Convention decisions not to take effective action against SBC child rapes, and is strongly pushing for the anti-gay marriage amendment by many means, including by telling ignorance-and-malice-fueled anti-gay lies. The hypocrisy, that out of all of the Bible’s outdated strictures and commands, Harris insists on his interpretations of the alleged anti-gay ones, but does not even follow The Ninth Commandment in talking about those of his fellow citizens that happen to be gay.

In sum, here are the reasons that campaigning and voting against the anti-gay marriage amendment will help better to protect the children of North Carolina:

1) To some extent, the leaders of the Southern Baptist Conference appear to be using their opposition to gay rights to distract public attention from unresolved child sex abuse issues within the SBC;

2) Even those religious persons that sincerely believe it is “right” to attempt to “save” people from the “sin” of homosexuality — (including by campaigning and voting for the anti-gay marriage amendment) — are, objectively considered, inflicting psychological harm on young gay people and others. If you can grasp that it is wrong for a Christian Scientist to deny medical treatment to their child with a curable heart condition, you can grasp that it is wrong for Southern Baptists, and others ignorant and/or willfully ignorant of modern 1) medicine; 2) psychiatry; and 3) psychology to inflict psychological harm on gay human beings, including young gay human beings;

3) Young North Carolinians should be given ethical adult role-models to emulate; the political and religious leaders of North Carolina that are routinely, shamelessly and unapologetically lying about sexual minorities are presenting a profoundly dishonorable model of behavior to the state’s young people;

Don’t forget to take a good, long look around Christa Brown’s site StopBaptistPredators.org, and to read her book This Little Light; Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and his Gang


Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on To Protect North Carolina’s Children, Vote Against The Marriage Amendment

Nobody Understands Debt

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/krugman-nobody-understands-debt.html

Published: January 1, 2012

In 2011, as in 2010, America was in a technical recovery but continued to suffer from disastrously high unemployment. And through most of 2011, as in 2010, almost all the conversation in Washington was about something else: the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.

This misplaced focus said a lot about our political culture, in particular about how disconnected Congress is from the suffering of ordinary Americans. But it also revealed something else: when people in D.C. talk about deficits and debt, by and large they have no idea what they’re talking about — and the people who talk the most understand the least.

Perhaps most obviously, the economic “experts” on whom much of Congress relies have been repeatedly, utterly wrong about the short-run effects of budget deficits. People who get their economic analysis from the likes of the Heritage Foundation have been waiting ever since President Obama took office for budget deficits to send interest rates soaring. Any day now!

And while they’ve been waiting, those rates have dropped to historical lows. You might think that this would make politicians question their choice of experts — that is, you might think that if you didn’t know anything about our postmodern, fact-free politics.

But Washington isn’t just confused about the short run; it’s also confused about the long run. For while debt can be a problem, the way our politicians and pundits think about debt is all wrong, and exaggerates the problem’s size.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/krugman-nobody-understands-debt.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Nobody Understands Debt

New York mosque firebombed in ‘hate crime’ spree

As part of the Anti-fascist movement I deplore all attacks on minority groups, particularly those attacks that select groups out based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexuality etc.

The targeting of minority groups for special persecution has a dark and bloody history.

Supporting social justice and equality demand people of conscience denounce such anti-humanist violence.

To not speak out in opposition to such scapegoating is to tacitly condone it.

Better to aspire to the highest ethical standards and oppose bigotry and hatred.

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/02/new-york-mosque-firebombed-in-hate-crime-spree/

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 2, 2012

New York’s mayor expressed outrage Monday after a mosque was hit by a firebomb in an arson spree that police said they were investigating as a hate crime.

The Imam Al-Khoei Foundation building in the borough of Queens suffered damage to the front door from a Molotov cocktail thrown late Sunday, police said. Two similar attacks occurred in the same neighborhood, including one in a convenience store run by Muslims.

The foundation, which describes itself as the biggest international Shia Muslim organization, said on its website that two firebombs were “hurled at the main entrance” but that thankfully “no major damage no injury was caused by the blast.”

 The statement said the foundation “reiterates its resolve to continue to serve the community and to strive to bring love where there is hatred, light where there is darkness and enlightenment where there is ignorance.”

In a statement Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the three Molotov cocktail attacks “stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we’ve built together.”

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/02/new-york-mosque-firebombed-in-hate-crime-spree/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on New York mosque firebombed in ‘hate crime’ spree

2012: The Year of Nonviolence?

From Waging Non-Violence:      http://wagingnonviolence.org/2011/12/2012-the-year-of-nonviolence/

December 28, 2011

If 2011 was the year of the protester, 2012 may prove to be the year of nonviolence. What’s the difference? It’s as great as between yes and no. A crucial awakening that envelopes humanity’s collective struggle for justice, peace and democracy is happening; it is an awakening that clarifies the circumstances we embrace with a yes and those by which we respond with a vehement no. Like many I know, I often teeter between despair and hope–stuck in a kind of uncomfortable tension resembling Wendell Berry’s poetic instruction to “be joyful though you have considered all the facts” –grasping for some measure of sanity to make sense of all that is happening.

It is tempting to succumb to despair, what with the onslaught of major media coverage telling us all the bad news, dismissing the promising news, and ignoring the good news. Consider the challenges: the unraveling violence of the Egyptian revolution, the 5,000 killed in Syria, climate change and the instability and disasters brought by extreme weather patterns and an ill-equipped global populace with inadequate leadership, the threat of random violence and terrorist activity–Norway, Belgium, India, the US, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq–and state and cultural violence against immigrants, women, refugees, the poor, GLBTQ persons, and people of color. So where is the hope? Well, in 2011, the fires of our hope were stoked by the global protest movements–the Arab Spring, the Indignados, Occupy Wall Street–of millions of people rising up to say:

كفاية …Basta…Enough!
Resistance was in the streets and occupations in city squares. A resounding “no” echoed around the world–what Bernard Harcourt has perceptively termed “political disobedience”–signifying contempt, dissatisfaction, and rejection of entrenched governments and status quo economics. Dictators were ousted in Egypt and Tunisia. Revolutionary fervor was sparked by nonviolent action in Libya, Syria and Yemen. South Korean activists are poised to possibly shutter the building of a controversial US naval base with profound geopolitical implications. Afghan youth are getting organized–an incredible feat considering all the challenges they face. Palestinian nonviolent resistance and the Free Gaza movement is growing as are Israeli protests for social justice. In the US, activists and organizers in Wisconsin and Ohio occupied their state capitals to protest budget cuts and GOP anti-unionism. Undocumented students–DREAMers–took it to the streets and Senators’ offices. Environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, students and citizens staged sit-ins at the White House to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline–whose fate is still TBD but the resistance is growing. And then there was Occupy Wall Street. The movement propelled American activism back into public purview and is proving to be the era where a generation of young people–equipped with the tools, knowledge and experience of the civil rights and anti-war generations–are cutting their teeth in nonviolent social change. We are telling ourselves that there is reason to hope because we incarnate it.

Continue reading at:   http://wagingnonviolence.org/2011/12/2012-the-year-of-nonviolence/