ALEC Retreats, the Right Wing Freaks

From Dissent Magazine:

Mark Engler
April 27, 2012

Customers should be able to know if companies that they are supporting with their purchases are busy spending money on groups that undermine environmental regulations, attack workers’ rights, promote “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, advance discriminatory “Voter ID” laws, and otherwise bolster the right-wing legislative vanguard. And if these consumers don’t like this behavior, they should be at liberty to take their business elsewhere.

That proposition seems to fall pretty safely within a free market, vote-with-your-dollars paradigm. In fact, watchdogs who are providing consumers with full information about misbehaving corporations should be seen—again, within a free-market framework—as providing a valuable service, since informed consumers are supposed to be an important part of efficiently functioning capitalism.

But no. If you ask right-wing talking heads, campaigners who dare to suggest that consumers express displeasure with corporations are waging a war on “open thinking and discussion of legislation.”

The impetus for this debate is the effort to hold companies accountable for their memberships in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, groups including and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have been encouraging consumers to tell corporations paying hefty dues to ALEC that not all of us approve of their behavior. The tactic has worked beautifully. More than a dozen institutions have dumped ALEC, with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Yum! Brands (owner of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut), and Procter & Gamble all joining the exodus since I last wrote.

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Henry Rollins’ Letter to a Young American

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Are cops too trigger happy?

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Man Who Attacked CeCe McDonald Had a Swastika Tattooed on His Chest

Let me get this straight.

A Nazi and a bunch of his thug friends attack a black transgender woman with both hate as a motive and with intent to cause great bodily harm, if not murder her and instead of being a willing victim, she fights back and Nazi-boy winds up dead.

The thugs who committed the hate crime are free and the victim is in jail.

This is not fucking Nazi Germany where Nazi thugs get to attack people with the intent of murdering them and people are prosecuted for fighting back.

I want my country back from the Taliban Christians.

I want my country back from the Republican, Nazi KKK.

I want a world where decent people can defend themselves when Nazis and the KKK attack them.

I want a world where the police and all those spy on the citizens organizations protect us from Nazis and the Klan.  Not one where they protect the Nazis or the Klan from decent people.

From Minnesota Public Radio:

Judge will rule if tattoo is allowable evidence in murder trial

by Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio

April 27, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A man who was killed outside a Minneapolis bar last summer had a tattoo of a swastika on his chest.

At a hearing today, the attorney for a transgender woman accused of fatally stabbing Dean Schmitz said the tattoo is relevant to next week’s murder trial of CeCe McDonald because it symbolizes Schmitz’ hatred of people who are different.

McDonald, an African American, says Schmitz, who is white, taunted her with racist and transphobic slurs. McDonald maintains she acted in self-defense after a woman in Schmitz’ group smashed a glass against her face.

Judge Daniel Moreno will decide whether to allow photographs and testimony about the tattoo as evidence. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday.

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Kansas Will Become Hotbed Of Co-Ed Church Showers! (According to WorldNetDaily)

This I why I get angry with post-ops who mouth this shit.

It is also why I think the so called “radical feminists” aren’t really feminists but are trolls aimed at abetting the ultra right wing’s war on women.

From Truth Wins Out:

by Evan Hurst
April 25th, 2012

Here is a hysterical screed meant to induce panic in the hearts and minds of garden variety wingnuts, written by Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily:

Yes, look how far we going! So, if you’re guessing that this is typical anti-trans panic about “men in dresses” peering at wingnut ladies in the bathroom, you’re right.

Homosexual activists are demanding cities across Kansas add sexual orientation and “gender identity” to their protected classes, a move attorneys warn could hit even churches and other faith-based groups.

The “coed shower” plans have been around for several years, with the infamous battle in Montgomery County, Md., several years ago in which officials adopted special provisions for those who choose an alternative sexual lifestyle then manipulated election rules so that voters were not allowed to express their opinion on the law at the ballot box.

If you’re confused as to how we went from, in one paragraph, anti-discrimination laws, to “coed showers” in the second paragraph, then you are obviously not an excitable wingnut.

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Don’t Be An Accidental Wingnut By Repeating Their Bullshit!

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U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran

From Wired:

April 27, 2012

The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.

The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.

It’s been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq Boeing-made F-15Cs flew air patrols from Saudi Arabia, but the Iraqi air force put up no resistance and the Eagle squadrons soon departed. For the next nine years Air Force deployments to the Middle East were handled by ground-attack planes such as A-10s, F-16s and twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagles.

The 1980s-vintage F-15Cs, plagued by structural problems, stayed home in the U.S. and Japan. The brand-new F-22s, built by Lockheed Martin, suffered their own mechanical and safety problems. When they ventured from their home bases in Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico, it was only for short training exercises over the Pacific. The F-15Cs and F-22s sat out last year’s Libya war.

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States of Fear in a World of Injustice

From Common Dreams:

Robert C. Koehler
Published on Friday, April 27, 2012 by Common Dreams

This was the headline: “Zimmerman, Martin’s parents to face off in court.”

The words, of course, merely summed up a moment in the news cycle last week. We, the news-consuming public, were primed – by CBS, but it could have been any mainstream outlet – for a tidbit of potential drama the next day in the hottest murder trial around right now. But in the process, we were also silently reminded, yet again, that everything is spectacle. At the level at which we call ourselves a nation, nothing is serious, not even matters of life and death

There’s something so painful about all this – painful beyond the horror of the crime itself, or the national murder rate. The 24-7 media trivialize the stakes and gleefully report the “courtroom drama” as a sporting event; but even more distressingly, the legal bureaucracy swings into motion without the least awareness of any value beyond its own procedures. It all happens with a certainty of purpose that generates the illusion that things are under control and social order prevails.

But none of this has anything to do with what social order actually requires when harm has occurred, which is . . . healing.

The next day, at George Zimmerman’s bond hearing, he surprised his lawyer and everyone else by addressing Trayvon Martin’s parents directly, if pathetically: “I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not.”

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Jesus loves you, but not the Colorado civil union bill – Senate debate

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Prison Industries: “Don’t Let Society Improve or We Lose Business”

From Truth Out:

By Dina Rasor
Thursday, 26 April 2012

One out of every 100 people in the United States is imprisoned. Even though we are 5 percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of the prisoners in the world. We are number one in the world in the number of people we imprison – we even beat China. A normal reaction to this situation would be to try to reform our laws, our judicial system – including sentencing – our prison system and our society so that we would not have the disconcerting distinction of being the number-one jailer in the world.

Instead, in the past decade, there has been a movement to privatize more and more of our state and federal prisons to save money (which has not materialized) and ease overcrowding under the pressure of the courts. This has led to a wide world of influence peddling, self-dealing and lobbying while preying on a captured group of people to fill prison beds. Just as I have feared that privatizing the logistics of war will encourage private war-service industries to lobby for a hot war or long occupation to keep their industries viable, there has emerged a group of prison industries, state and federal legislators, and other players who will continue to benefit from our disgraceful ranking as the world’s largest warden.

There are two very large and influential prison companies in the United States who are manipulating the system to make sure they have plenty of business: The GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). In the first part of this two-part series, I will explore The GEO Group’s influence peddling; next week, I will look at CCA.

If you have any doubt in your mind that improving society and lowering the number of prisoners in our country (normally considered a worthy social goal) is a threat to the prison industry business, all you need to do is to read about that concern in The GEO Group’s 2011 annual report:

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If You’re A Progressive, Prove It!

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Scientists cry fowl over the FDA’s regulatory failure

From The Guardian UK:

Overuse of antibiotics in factory farming kills thousands every year, yet the industry is force-feeding chickens pharmaceuticals, Friday 27 April 2012

In 2005, the antibiotic fluoroquinolone was banned by the FDA for use in poultry production. The reason for the ban was an alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant campylobacter bacteria in the meat of chickens and turkeys – “superbugs”, which can lead to a lethal form of meningitis that our current antibiotics are no longer effective against.

Antibiotic-resistant infections kill tens of thousands of people every year, more than die of Aids, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America. This problem is on the rise because antibiotics are recklessly overused, especially in the commercial livestock industry, where 80% of all antibiotics manufactured in the US end up.

Fluoroquinolone used to be fed to chickens primarily to stimulate their growth. But why did the banned substance show up recently in eight of 12 samples of “feather meal”, the ground-down plumage leftover from commercial poultry production?

This was just one of the mysteries uncovered in a study conducted jointly by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Arizona State University. The research, published last month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, uncovered a whole slew of other drugs in the feather meal that the scientists had not expected to find there.

Traces of the arsenic compound Roxarsone, for example, were present in almost all of the samples. Farms administer arsenic to chickens to turn their flesh just the right shade of pink that consumers find attractive. Yet, in June 2011, the FDA gave Pfizer 30 days to discontinue selling Roxarsone, a proven carcinogen. So why is it still showing up in our chickens?

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Banks cooperate to track Occupy protesters

From SF Gate:

Max Abelson
Friday, April 27, 2012

The world’s biggest banks are working with one another and police to gather intelligence as protesters try to rejuvenate the Occupy Wall Street movement with May demonstrations, industry security consultants said.

Among 99 protest targets in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday are JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America offices, said Marisa Holmes, a member of Occupy’s May Day planning committee.

Events are scheduled in more than 115 cities, including an effort to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where Wells Fargo investors relied on police to get past protests at their annual meeting this week.

“Our goal is to kick off the spring offensive and go directly to where the financial elite play and plan,” she said.

After evictions and arrests from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to London that began last year, the movement against income inequality and corporate abuse will regain strength, said Brian McNary, director of global risk at Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations.

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Occupy the Farm: A Model of Resistance

From Civil Eats:

By Antonio Roman-Alcalá
April 26th, 2012

We all know that “Every Day is Earth Day” and many environmentalists feel that their eating habits are their daily affirmation of a commitment to the planet. But what does it look like to take action for the environment, beyond the fork? There are many options, of course, but one particularly inspirational tactic manifested this past Earth Day in Albany, CA.

On April 22, a week after the International Day of Peasant Struggle, hundreds of Bay Area food sovereignty activists and community members broke the locks on a huge piece of urban agricultural land, tore up mustard weeds, and planted veggies. “Occupy the Farm” was organized as an occupy-style protest, including tent encampments and a “farmers assembly,” but with one very meaningful difference: This act of “moral obedience” (AKA civil disobedience) was the direct outgrowth of years of neighborhood organizing around the piece of land in question.

The “Gill Tract” is a 10-acre parcel that has been owned by University of California, Berkeley since 1928. The university’s founding as a land grant college made the purchase of this Class 1 agricultural land an obvious choice for experimentation, and for years much of the property was used for biological and chemical pest control research. By the late 1990s, however, the future of the site was unclear, and UC began seeking other uses.

Then came the formation of the Bay Area Coalition for Urban Agriculture (BACUA), composed of UC professors in the College of Natural Resources, food justice and sustainability organizations, and local citizens. They petitioned UC to consider a proposal to develop the site into a community-focused educational farm showcasing sustainable practices. According to their mission, “The center would conduct fundamental technical, economic, and sociological research and education into ways cities can create food systems that serve citizens and the environment well through localized, economically healthy and ecologically sustainable production and distribution.”

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Do We Secretly Envy the Childfree?

From Slate:

Or is childlessness still a taboo?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rationally, of course, we know that not everyone should have kids, and that not everyone wants to have kids, and that life without kids is an entirely plausible and even pleasant possibility; and yet, do many of us secretly feel sorry for or condescend to or fail to understand women who don’t have children? Do we assume they are bravely harboring some deep disappointment, do we think they can’t possibly be happy with things as they are, that there is some brittleness, some emptiness at the center? This is the argument of the French feminist, Elisabeth Badinter, and I think she is probably right.

A recent Pew Poll found that one in five women in her early 40s has not had a child. So the decision, or the situation, is not exactly exotic, and yet to many, a woman without a child is still a tragic or at least disappointed figure.

Taboo is a strong and unsubtle word, probably, for how we feel about childlessness; it might be more precise to say that the shrewder, wilier form that taboo takes is probably something closer to pity, as if the childless woman has somehow not pulled it together, as if she is damaged or thwarted. Especially if that childless woman conforms to our clichéd narrative, and say has a dog or cat, or a dog and a cat, or multiple dogs or cats: the general interpretation is that she is sad, not that she is doing a different thing.

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‘Agent Orange Corn’ Debate Rages As Dow Seeks Approval Of New Genetically Modified Seed

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — A new kind of genetically modified crop under the brand name of “Enlist” — known by its critics as “Agent Orange corn” — has opponents pushing U.S. regulators to scrutinize the product more closely and reject an application by Dow AgroSciences to roll out its herbicide-resistant seeds.

The corn has been genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, an ingredient used in Agent Orange that some say could pose a serious threat to the environment and to human health. Approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency would allow farmers to spray it far and wide without damaging their crops, boosting profits for the agribusiness giant.

Dow and its allies have insisted that their product is well tested, while industry regulators have so far overlooked critics’ concerns.

“This is going to be a solution that we are looking forward to bringing to farmers,” Dow’s Joe Vertin told Reuters.

More than 140 advocacy groups have participated in a letter writing campaign calling on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject Dow’s regulatory application for the herbicide and herbicide-resistant crops, submitting more than 365,000 missives ahead of a public comment period that ends April 27.

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