N.J. woman to break new ground as first elected transgender DNC member

From New Jersey.com:    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/09/nj_woman_to_break_new_ground_a.html

By David Giambuss
Sunday, September 02, 2012

EDISON — Barbra Casbar Siperstein is scheduled to arrive in Charlotte today as the first elected transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. She has been New Jersey’s first and only transgender power broker for a lot longer.

In a state with a reputation for machismo, that’s no small feat for someone who describes herself as “a woman scarred by years of testosterone.”

But for Siperstein, known to most as Babs, it’s surprisingly easy to get people past the fact that for almost 50 years much of the world knew her as Barry: an Army veteran, a small-business man, a husband and a father of three.

“I would encourage as many transgender people to engage in the party as possible,” said Siperstein, 70, of Edison. “Most of us are stealth.”

In 2009 the DNC added “gender identity” as a characteristic for nondiscrimination in the party charter. This year, the DNC will make marriage equality an official plank of the party platform.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/09/nj_woman_to_break_new_ground_a.html

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Heavy Load – Obama for America

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Calif. Democratic Party chair: Paul Ryan is like Nazi Joseph Goebbels

Its about time we spoke the truth about the degenerates who have seized the Republican Party.

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/03/calif-democratic-party-chair-paul-ryan-is-like-nazi-joseph-goebbels/

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, September 3, 2012

The chairman of the California Democratic Party said Monday that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Republican National Convention (RNC) speech contained such a “big lie” that it seem to be ripped from the playbook of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

“They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie,” Calif. Democratic Party chair John Burton told San Francisco Chronicle reporter Joe Garofoli. “Joseph Goebbels – it’s the big lie, you keep repeating it.”

Ryan’s speech was widely criticized for a series of major inaccuracies, including a claim that President Barack Obama’s policies led to a General Motors plant in Wisconsin being closed down. Burton said that “horse’s ass” Ryan told “a bold-faced lie.” He added: “He doesn’t care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie.”

“He lied on something that was just like, right there,” Burton added. “What that says is you don’t tell the truth. If you don’t tell the truth, people start wondering about anything you say.”

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/03/calif-democratic-party-chair-paul-ryan-is-like-nazi-joseph-goebbels/

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Capitalism’s Ideological Crutches

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/11241-capitalisms-ideological-crutches

By Richard D Wolff
Monday, 03 September 2012

Capitalism’s crises have always threatened it. True, capitalism’s defenders could fairly easily dismiss crises when they were shallow and short with limited suffering for the unemployed, bankrupt and their dependents and communities. Some said they were merely “bumps in the capitalist road” to growth and prosperity. Others saw crises as capitalism’s way to “clean out inefficient firms” and thus prepare its next upswing. Such interpretations of capitalism – ideologies – have long served to counter criticisms of its instability, recurring cycles and the suffering they impose.

However, such ideologies arouse many more than the usual skeptics when – as in the 1930s and again since 2007 – capitalism’s downturns cut deep and persist. Then capitalism’s stark inefficiencies become too glaring as millions of unemployed workers alongside idled productive capacity yield massive waste and long-lasting social costs. Bailouts of large financial capitalists by the governments they control turn skeptics into critics. The critics then become mobilized into a real political opposition when subsequent government “austerity” policies shift the costs of crisis and bailouts onto the mass of people.

Capitalists and the rich remain determined now NOT to bear the costs of the bailouts or the crisis. Unlike in the 1930s, they don’t see organized, determined and militant workers’ movements to worry about today – nor any USSR positioned as an alternative to modern capitalism. So, they push austerity policies for governments everywhere. To sustain governments’ austerity policies, capitalists and the rich lean on their ideological crutches to try to thwart political opposition.

The mainstream ideology that works best as capitalism’s crutch is blame the government. This interpretation of modern society insists that the ultimate root and cause of economic problems is the government, not capitalism nor capitalists. If you are unemployed, foreclosed, or underpaid, the problem is not the capitalist who refuses to employ you, evicts you, or pays you poorly. It is instead partly your own fault, but mostly that of the government: the politicians and the bureaucrats.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/11241-capitalisms-ideological-crutches

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Is This California’s Last Labor Day?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/californias-last-labor-day

If conservatives have their way, there won’t be much of a labor voice by this time next year.

By Brigid O’Farrell
August 30, 2012

Attacks on hard-working people are nothing new in America. Sixty-five years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady and architect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, wrote these words : “Labor Day this year is not a day for rejoicing for the labor groups, or for those who are interested in good labor conditions throughout the nation.” In 1947 she was worried about the Taft-Hartley Act, which was the first major legislation to weaken unions since the New Deal. The rights of the people who drive the economy and form the backbone of the country were under siege.

How true her words ring today.  And nowhere are they truer than in California.

While the attack on workers and their unions has been steady for decades, anti-union fervor escalated in the past two years since Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin and the entire country watched him eliminate collective bargaining for public sector unions. His torch has been picked up in Ohio, Indiana and many other states. The Republican anti-union plans were on full display at the convention last week in Tampa, Florida.

Now it has come to California in our initiative process. Proposition 32, the “ Billionaires Bill of Rights ,” is on the ballot this November. Its purpose is to virtually eliminate the ability of labor unions to make contributions to political candidates and campaigns.

Prop 32 would ban money raised through voluntary deductions from a worker’s paycheck being used for political purposes.

This will mute workers’ voices in the political process. Unions will not be allowed to communicate with their own members on political issues, much less communicate with the general public on candidates and issues affecting their everyday lives: cuts to our schools, police and fire protection, patient health, workplace safety.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/californias-last-labor-day

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The era of cheap food may be over

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/02/the-era-of-cheap-food-may-be-over/

By Larry Elliott, The Guardian
Sunday, September 2, 2012

The last decade saw the end of cheap oil, the magic growth ingredient for the global economy after the second world war. This summer’s increase in maize, wheat and soya bean prices – the third spike in the past five years – suggests the era of cheap food is also over.

Price increases in both oil and food provide textbook examples of market forces. Rapid expansion in the big emerging markets, especially China, has led to an increase in demand at a time when there have been supply constraints. For crude, these have included the war in Iraq, the embargo imposed on Iran, and the fact that some of the older fields are starting to run dry before new sources of crude are opened up.

The same demand dynamics affect food. It is not just that the world’s population is rising by 1% a year. Nor is it simply that China has been growing at 9% a year on average; it is that consumers in the big developing countries have developed an appetite for higher protein western diets. Meat consumption is rising in China, India and Brazil, and since it takes 7kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef (and 4kg to produce 1kg of pork), this is adding to global demand.

Farmers have been getting more efficient, increasing the yields of land under production, but this has been offset by two negative factors: policies in the US and the EU that divert large amounts of corn for biofuels and poor harvests caused by the weather.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/02/the-era-of-cheap-food-may-be-over/

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Madeleine Albright: ‘I Can’t Understand Why Any Woman Would Want To Vote For Mitt Romney’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/03/madeleine-albright-mitt-romney_n_1852789.html


09/03/2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There’s been no shortage of musing over Mitt Romney’s failure to win over female voters. The gender gap is pronounced, and with the efforts of the president’s political team, growing wider. Romney has been criticized for his failure to speak out in support of equal pay for equal work, he’s been tied to some of his party’s more hardline positions on abortion, and has been caricatured as a relic of a bygone era in which women put career ambitions aside.

But for all the talk of Romney’s trouble among women voters, no Democrat has put it in the terms that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did in an interview with The Huffington Post on Monday.

“I’m not sure I’m going to state this exactly right,” she said, sitting amidst a sea of convention-related activity and daytime wine drinkers in the Westin hotel lobby in downtown Charlotte. “But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand — I mean, I’m obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can’t understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney.”

Albright then revised her pool of rationally thinking female Romney supporters to include his five daughters-in-law, an obvious but hardly generous expansion. Even with the rhetorical flair, however, Albright’s comments reflect a genuine disturbance that many Democrats — women and men — feel about the tone of the discussion of women’s issues during the course of the campaign.

The former secretary of State, who has been an outspoken advocate for women in the workplace, said she found the assertion by Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) that a rape victim can shut down her body to avoid pregnancy to be “one of the more outrageous” comments she’s witnessed in her 75 years.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/03/madeleine-albright-mitt-romney_n_1852789.html

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