Growing strikes against austerity policies in Italy

From World Socialist Web Site:

By Mike Jobson
1 February 2012

After a wave of strikes and protests by truck drivers and fishermen paralysed Italy early last week, protests continue against the harsh austerity measures the unelected government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is imposing on the Italian working class.

Last Friday, a 24-hour national strike was called by main transportation unions in response to a series of tax and fee increases affecting broad layers of the population: IVA (value-added, or sales, tax) from 21 to 23 percent, taxes on individuals, health care co-pays, fuel taxes and the reinstitution of the tax on first homes (ICI).

According to an estimate by the USB (Federation of Basis Unions) union, 40,000 transportation workers were on strike in Rome, with an average of 70 to 80 percent participation in cities including Bologna and Venice.

Airline workers also went on a 24-hour strike called by the CGIL (General Confederation of Italian Labour) with estimated 100 percent participation. Also on strike were workers of Alitalia maintenance, and of the two main baggage-handling companies, Flightcare and Aviapartner.

Workers of Fiumicino and Ciampino, Rome’s two airports of Rome, are convinced that “without rules this sector is going to collapse, so they ask for the renewal of the collective contract that expired on December 31st,” declared Alessandro Capitani and Stefano Monticelli, two airline union secretaries in Rome.

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Occupy London assault: Bailiff plows car through protesters

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New Airport Screenings Raise Questions for Trans Canadians

From Dented Blue Mercedes:

And Bilerico:

By Mercedes Allen
January 30, 2012

Reposted with permission

Marathon runner Jennifer McCreath has pointed out a recent regulatory change that the Harper Conservatives have made to the Aeronautics Act (i.e. passed by ministerial fiat, rather than shepherded through Parliamentary process) that potentially affects many trans (and cis) Canadians and could even ban some from air travel:

Sec 5.2(1)  An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if

  • (a) the passenger presents a piece of photo identification and does not resemble the photograph;
  • (b) the passenger does not appear to be the age indicated by the date of birth on the identification he or she presents;
  • (c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents; or
  • (d) the passenger presents more than one form of identification and there is a major discrepancy between those forms of identification.

(2) Despite paragraph (1)(a), an air carrier may transport a passenger who presents a piece of photo identification but does not resemble the photograph if

  • (a) the passenger’s appearance changed for medical reasons after the photograph was taken and the passenger presents the air carrier with a document signed by a health care professional and attesting to that fact; or
  • (b) the passengers’s face is bandaged for medical reasons and the passenger presents the air carrier with a document signed by a health care professional and attesting to that fact.

5.3 (1) If there is a major discrepancy between the name on the identification presented by a passenger and the name on the passenger’s boarding pass, an air carrier shall compare the name, date of birth and gender on the identification with those of persons specified to the air carrier by the Minister under paragraph 4.81(1)(b) of the Act.

(2) If the name, date of birth and gender on the identification are the same as those of a person specified to the air carrier, the air carrier shall immediately so inform the Minister.

This is a regulatory change made on July 29, 2011, and so far, it doesn’t appear that there have been any reports of transsexual or transgender people being refused passage on an airline because of this change. However, regulatory changes aren’t always made instantaneously.

“Papers, Please!”

The medical exemption appears to provide an allowance for specifically transsexual individuals, though not all transsexuals take a medical route, and certainly some will forget, be unaware of the requirement or be unable to afford to pay the fee for a sufficient doctor’s letter (my doctor would charge $100 for such a letter under his current fee structure).  It would almost certainly affect undocumented transsexual individuals (surgery-tracked or otherwise), since most Canadian provinces require evidence of genital reconstruction surgery before allowing the change of gender markers on foundational documents (all of them, when it comes to birth certificates).  This is further complicated by the fact that some provinces have removed coverage for this surgery from their “universal” health coverage — and even when coverage exists, standards of care call for a minimum of one year living as one’s identified gender before surgery can occur (2 years in some provinces, including Ontario).

That is to say, the medical exemption appears to provide an allowance for specifically transsexual individuals at first.  The way it’s worded in the new language of the law, the exemption applies only to a discrepancy between the photograph and appearance — discrepancies involving the gender marker on documentation are not addressed.

Still, it’s not explained what circumstances would be necessary to determine whether a person appears to be of the gender indicated on their identification, so people of diverse gender expressions (including some cis / non-trans Canadians) could be potentially affected, and scan-or-search procedures could also unfairly single out visibly intersexed people.  By the letter of the law, a major change in hair length or colour since having an ID photo taken could even be a basis for refusing a person from boarding, though that’s likely stretching it.  But by not clarifying how this value judgment on a person’s gender is to be made, lookism has potentially entered the equation.

And if an airline allowed such a person to board, they would actually be in violation of Federal Law.  From a reply that Catherine Mateo received from Air Canada:

… Air Canada is bound by federal law and as such we must comply with the regulations that if a passenger’s face or gender does not match the government-issued photo identification, we are prohibited from carrying that passenger. Again, if you have a concern regarding this, we respectfully ask that you pursue this with Transport Canada….

Canada’s Parliament passed human rights legislation to include transsexual and transgender Canadians, but it died at the election call, before the bill could be given Royal Assent by the Senate.  An identical bill has been reintroduced into Parliament and could be coming up for Second Reading in 1-2 months (people have been indicating support to their Member of Parliament, right?).  This change comes as trans issues are becoming better known to the federal government and in mainstream society.

The nation has been under pressure from the U.S. government to tighten screening and restrictions on Canadian travelers, including the introduction of full-body scanners, which also single out transsexual and transgender people for special scrutiny.  In September 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the first of several warnings that potential Al Qaeda terrorists might be changing tactics to avoid scrutiny, such as departing from airports in Canada and Mexico, or dressing as women.  Even before the regulation change, trans people — including McCreath — have experienced difficulty travelling to the U.S. and internationally, although not all of that has been at the hands of specifically Canadian border security or travel screening.

Some have speculated that the stress on appearance was also intended to target women who wear the niqab and hijab, making such an assessment impossible, and potentially also banning Muslim women who adhere to this tradition from boarding a plane.  Traditional coverings of this sort have already been flashpoints of controversy regarding citizenship ceremonies and court testimonies.  Although one of the motivations for these bans is supposed to be the status of women, punitive legislation targeting full face and body coverings have a horrible tendency to target women, rather than provide any viable solutions informed by them.

Anyone wishing to do so is welcome to contact the Minister.  Copy to your Member of Parliament as well, and remember to keep it civil but clear that the amended wording of the Aeronautics Act is a serious concern:

Hon. Denis Lebel, Ministre des Transports | Minister of Transport
Courriel | E-mail:
Phone: 613-996-6236
Fax: 613-996-6252
Adresse postale (sans timbre) | Mailing Address (postage free) : Hon. Denis Lebel, Chambre des communes/House of Commons, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Transport Canada
Courriel | Email:
Phone: 613-990-2309
Sans frais | Toll Free: 1-866-995-9737
TTY: 1-888-675-6863
Fax: 613-954-4731
Adresse postale | Mailing Address: Transport Canada, 330 rue Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0N5

h/t Matt McLauchlin for some of this info.

(crossposted to The Bilerico Project, and DentedBlueMercedes)

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Iran and the US: from words to war

The Oil Corporations so have a hard on to go to war with Iran so they can exploit Iran’s oil.  Then they expect working people to suffer even more austerity to pay for it.

From The Guardian UK:

As US intelligence chiefs ratchet up the rhetoric against Iran and our ships patrol the Gulf, the danger of war increases
, Tuesday 31 January 2012

Judging by recent rhetoric, and implied threats, from Washington, predictably echoed in London, anyone would think they wanted any excuse for a military conflict with Iran.

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, dispatched the frigate HMS Argyll to joined the US-led convoy of warships led by the carrier Abraham Lincoln. HMS Daring, the navy’s newest destroyer, is on the way to the Indian Ocean, and the frigate Westminster is on standby.

(And we are constantly told the navy is desperately short of ships.)

Now, the US director of national intelligence James Clapper has told Congress that an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington uncovered last year suggested that shows that some Iranian officials had “changed their calculus … in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime”.

The Iranians have accused the US (and Israel) for the assassination of Iranian scientists (four have been killed in the past two years) connected to the country’s nuclear and missile programmes. The bomb plot and the assassinations (whoever was responsible for them; the US strongly denied any involvement) increase the tension that is already dangerously high.

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Christo-Fascist Propagandist Bryan Fischer Hails Roger Ailes for Running Fox News with ‘Exactly the Style that Jesus Taught’

Because We all Know Jesus was a lying Nazi Scumbag.

Do these Nazi propagandists ever consider how offensive their bullshit is to real Christians?  I’m an atheist and I’m offended by their abuse of the Jesus of the Bible who was a hippie socialist who hung out with the under class and was probably crucified by the Roman because they considered this carpenter/mystic rabble-rouser  the equivalent of a modern day left wing trouble maker.

I’m offended by this bullshit because I am literate and have actually read the Bible cover to cover, both old and new Testaments.  I’ve also read theologians like Merton.  In fact an awful lot of atheists have probably read more theology than most freaking “Born Again” Christians.

These Dominionists are not Christian.  If anything they are Anti-Christians who follow pure Evil.

From Right Wing Watch:

Submitted by Brian Tashman
February 1, 2012

In a column, “Jesus explains the success of Fox News,” American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer claims that Fox News president Roger Ailes’s “leadership style is exactly the style that Jesus taught.” Fischer credits Ailes’s Jesus-like behavior for Fox’s success and says “the key to success in a capitalistic system is to do things Jesus’ way.”

For Fischer, it is “Jesus’ way” to encourage someone to lie under oath, threaten the elderly publisher of a small newspaper, introduce a series of political dirty tricks, including racially charged campaign strategies and television ads, and manage a media outlet which lies and foments extremism on a routine basis.

An interesting story on Politico this morning, explaining the success of Fox News, which has double the audience of CNN and MSNBC. The brainchild of Fox is Roger Ailes, and the Politico piece quotes Shepard Smith about his leadership style:

“We have one dad in this family,” said Shepard Smith, a star anchor who was a correspondent in the Los Angeles bureau at launch. “He makes all the decisions, and you know exactly who you have to go to, and you know when to stop asking. If you get an answer from Mr. Ailes’s office, that’s the answer; it’s time to move on.”

Smith said that when he leaves Ailes’s office, “the last thing he asks me is, ‘What can I do for you?’ And the last thing he tells me is he loves me. That’s not going to work everywhere, and most people will hear that and go, ‘You are full of crap.’ That’s exactly how it is here, and I love it.”

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Shit Republicans Say

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Canada transportation rules: Could they prevent transgender people from flying?

I have had some one launch into the transvestites get what they deserve and this is only for reasons of security and safety fascist line in the comments on the post I put up yesterday about this.

Thing is I don’t have to love transvestites to say this is just plain fucked up.  Yadda, yadda.. .  See I’ve been fucked with by the fascist enforcers of conformity for being a hippie, I’ve been fucked with by them for being transsexual and I’ve been fucked with by them for being punk and wearing a leather jacket.

It’s a bunch of bullshit from Barney Fife wannabee Nazi Storm Troopers issuing orders and enforcing Christo-Nazi discipline.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

From The Washington Post:


It’s always in the fine print.

An Air Canada Jazz airplane. (Brent Lewin – BLOOMBERG) An airport security screening regulation put into place in Canada in July is drawing attention from some critics who fear it could prevent transgender people from being able to fly.

The regulation, noticed by blogger Christin Scarlett Milloy, reads:

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.

The regulation is part of a wider set of rules, equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list, that was put into place by Canada’s Conservative Minister of Transportation, Denis Lebel.

While the regulation is likely intended to prevent people from using fake or stolen IDs, Millroy contends the regulation could also be problematic for some fliers:

For non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is literally impossible to obtain proper travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.

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