Republican mega-donor’s firm accused of ‘directing’ prostitution at its casinos

From Raw Story:

By Muriel Kane
Friday, June 29, 2012

A former executive at the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Steve Jacobs, has filed a wrongful termination suit in which he accuse the company of “controlling and directing” prostitution at its Macau casinos.

The charges are politically significant because the company’s chairman, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has been perhaps the most generous GOP donor of the current campaign cycle. He has promised to supply “limitless” funds to defeat President Barack Obama, much of which would be channeled through 501(c)(4) non-profits that do not divulge the names of their donors.

Adelson’s donations appear to be inspired in large part by his close personal friendship with Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as his opposition to any kind of two-state solution for the Palestinian territories.

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The Julian Assange Show: Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali

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Air Force Rocked by Increasingly Major Sex Scandal

From Jezebel:

Cassie Murdoch
Jun 29, 2012

A sex scandal is right now spreading through the Air Force that is threatening to become one of the biggest in military history. There are allegations that a dozen male boot-camp instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas assaulted, harassed, or had sex with female recruits under their command. All told there have been 31 victims identified so far, and there are signs that this is but a hint of a much more widespread problem in the Air Force’s training program.

The investigation centers on a particular unit of boot-camp instructors at Lackland where each year 36,000 recruits undergo basic training. It began back in June of last year, when a female recruit said she’d been sexually harassed. Four months later, three instructors came forward to report that the misconduct among their colleagues was far more widespread. All of the 31 victims identified thus far are still in the Air Force.

Charges have so far been filed against six instructors, and the allegations range from rape to having “improper sexual relations” with trainees. One trainer who admitted to having inappropriate relationships with 10 of his trainees has taken a plea deal and was sentenced to 90 days in prison, 30 days hard labor, and a demotion. He has agreed to testify against two other trainers who’ve been chaged. There are six additional instructors being investigated who have not yet been charged. The commander of the 331st Training Squadron, Lt. Col. Michael Paquette, was also relieved of duty by the Air Force because of “an unacceptable level of misconduct” in his unit. Officials say that most of the misconduct happened while recruits were in basic training—under the care of instructors who abused them—but in some cases the contact happened after recruits had moved on to other programs.

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‘Heat… Fire… Disaster’: What Climate Change Looks Like

From Common Dreams:

Western US fires are being driven by extreme temperatures, which are consistent with IPCC projections

– Common Dreams staff
Published on Friday, June 29, 2012 by Common Dreams
“What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, referring to raging wildfires in the US west, in a press briefingon Thursday. “It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster… This provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.”Oppenheimer, speaking alongside other scientists, argued that shorters winters with less snow, coupled with earlier Springs, and extreme summer heat — all contributors for the fires burning in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico — were also conditions that he and his colleagues at the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted would result from carbon-induced climate change.According to “Heat Waves and Climate Change,” a new report from Climate Communication, a nonprofit science outreach group which, along with Climate Nexus, coordinated the conference call with Oppenheimer and others, the “remarkable run of record-shattering heat waves in recent years, from the Russian heat wave of 2010 that set forests ablaze to the historic heat wave in Texas in 2011 and the “Summer in March” in the U.S. Midwest in 2012 all typify the ongoing trend driven by climate change.

The stage was set for these fires when winter snowpack was lighter than usual, said Dr. Steven Running, a forest ecologist at the University of Montana, reports Reuters. Mountain snows melted an average of two weeks earlier than normal this year, Running said. “That just sets us up for a longer, dryer summer. Then all you need is an ignition source and wind.”

“Now we have a lot of dead trees to burn … it’s not even July yet,” he said. Trying to stop such blazes driven by high winds is a bit like to trying to stop a hurricane, Running said: “There is nothing to stop that kind of holocaust.”

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Marshall Chapman

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The UNAUTHORIZED Trans* March of Toronto’s Pride Week

From Christin Malloy:

I want to draw some attention to an excellent street march event which is set to take place in Toronto tomorrow, Friday June 29th.

The UNAUTHORIZED Trans* March of Toronto’s Pride Week is billed as an opportunity for Trans* (transgender and transsexual), Genderqueer, and other gender variant people and their allies to get out into the major streets of Toronto, and march in support of their community. I’m proud to be part of organizing this important event.

From the event listing:

We will march through Toronto’s Major Streets on the eve of PRIDE weekend, to bring the message of Respect, Acceptance, and Solidarity for Trans*, Genderqueer, and gender variant people OUT from behind the rainbow curtain, and into the awareness of the greater community.

We are marching AFTER the “Official” Pride Toronto Trans March, on Friday June 29th. We encourage all of our participants to consider marching in BOTH events, and we’ve designed our march specifically to make that possible.

It’s pretty neat. The plan is to start up from the precise point where the “Official” Pride Toronto Trans March will finish off, so anyone doing the official march can just join in to this (bigger) March as well.

Here are the key points:

Please feel free to bring your own message– signs are welcome and encouraged. The event organizers’ main messages will be:
1. STAND in solidarity, with those who have suffered from transphobic violence and oppression, and recognize the ongoing intersecting struggles of all people marginalized by transphobia and gender binaries.
2. CELEBRATE Provincial Victory for Trans Human Rights (“Toby’s Act”)
3. DEMAND Federal Action for Trans Human Rights (“C-279″)
4. DEMONSTRATE for societal change; respect for trans* and gender variant identities and expressions

More information is available on the facebook page. I hope to see you there.

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Toronto Ca.: Transcending Stereotypes

From Now Toronto:

It will take a while for this to sink in, but it’s not only immoral to discriminate against trans people – it’s now illegal
By Susan Gapka
June 28-July 5, 2012

When you unpack it all, human beings have more in common with each other than we have separating us. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

Two weeks ago we took another step toward that commonality. Ontario passed Bill 33, an act to amend the Human Rights Code with respect to gender identity and expression. This would protect transsexual and transgender persons. And I’m overjoyed.

Not only is it wrong to discriminate against trans people, but it’s now illegal, a fact that sends a clear message to employers, landlords, restaurant owners and gyms that they can never say, “We don’t serve, hire or rent to people like you.” It tells the trans community that we are included, that we are valued.

Of course, there are still people who don’t get it yet, but we hope to surround them with positive, supportive messages. The issue is, we look different, we sound different. Our body image doesn’t always express who we think we are inside, and sometimes people see us as different.

Imagine me on the telephone, for example. I’ve been refused credit card validation, had trouble activating accounts and dealing with student loans – those at the other end of the line don’t believe I’m Susan because of my deep voice. I have to be more patient, but it wears me down.

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