Living the Change We Wish to See Happen

Yesterday I spoke up in support of the Judge who ordered SRS for the murderer.

Since then I have seen a number of posts written by sisters who sound like they have a framed picture of Sheriff Joe Arpiao on the wall over their bed.

All the talk about law and order and getting tough on criminals.

I’ve been on the receiving end of the nightstick.

I’ve been arrested on trumped up charges, charged with possession of drugs which the police brought with them.

I’m white and supposedly have white skin privilege, although a lot of that privilege vanishes when one is working class or poverty class, when one is a hippie or a trans-person.

It is hard for me to cheer the police/prison industrial complex when at times in my life  I have come way too close to being devoured by it.

Sometimes when I hear those who talk so freely about making the criminals really pay and how simple imprisonment is way too cushy I understand how the German people formed the mob that supported the genocide of six million Jews and as many millions of various other groups they were told to hate.

It is easy to go along with the mob.

I was bullied as a child, I still live with what is now called PTSD from that abuse.  It destroyed my education and erased opportunities from my life.  The scars are still there.

Along the way I discovered people who provided me with moral models of thought and behavior.

One of those people is Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

I was still drinking when the apartheid state in South Africa fell, I couldn’t appreciate their Council of Reconciliation, where participants in the apartheid regime confessed their crimes and were forgiven.

The expected blood bath never happened.

Since I quit drinking I’ve come to understand the power of letting go and forgiving others the way I too would wish for forgiveness.

It isn’t about religion.  It is about taking a role in creating the sort of world I wish to live in.

I dream of living in a world where people do not go to bed hungry, or want for a place to live.  A world where people’s medical needs are met.

I do not believe in condoning the abuse of animals including human beings.

If we incarcerate people for committing crimes, isn’t simply separating them from their freedom punishment enough. While giving them an environment to learn the error of their ways and encouragement to change and be come the sort of person who belongs in society would be a better form of treatment than abusing them..

I watch a television show, The Dog Whisper, with Cesar Millan.  He doesn’t beat or abuse dogs to end their viciousness he shows them how to get along.

Why do we treat people with abuse and then expect them to become better people.  It doesn’t work for dogs, why would anyone think it would work with people?

Today one of my Facebook friends wrote of being in a restaurant and listening to people make racist comments about the President.

He called them on it and publicly rebuked them.

Too often, as a white person I have listened to other white people make viciously racist comments about people of color.  Sometimes I have spoken up, sometimes I have said, “I do not share your feelings.” But sometimes I’ve said nothing.

By not speaking out I am giving tacit approval to those racist sentiments.

The same goes with homophobia and transphobia.

There was an old Black Panther Party slogan that arose when the party shifted from its revolutionary stance to its, “Serve the People” position.

You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

We have seven billion people on this not so big blue marble, soon we will have ten.  We face extinction or at least a massive die off as a species unless we make major changes and stop living in the barbarism of the Dark Ages.

We have to find ways to end the wars and brutality, the exploitation of people and nature alike.  But people won’t change as long as we continue with racism and all the other isms of abuse.  We won’t change until we embrace the change within ourselves, until we start taking moral stands against bullying and abuse.

Trans Athlete Joins High School Football Team

From The Advocate:

A transgender man is playing varsity running back for his high school football team in Grosse Pointe, Mich.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
September 06 2012

A transgender man, a senior at Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan, has joined his school’s varsity football team, according to the school newspaper’s website.

Seth Knop says he wanted to join the football team last year but was too afraid to try out. But this year he approached both varsity and junior varsity football coaches and was told that the school’s athletic policy permitted coed sports teams. Knop is a running back for Grosse Pointe’s varsity football team.

“The kids in my grade respect me a lot for it,” said Knop of his being an out transgender athlete. “They treat me just like everybody else, which is what I wanted.”

Knop said reaction has been largely supportive, even in his conservative town of 5,000. Knop’s family supports his gender identity and his desire to play football, he said.

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How Paul Ryan Helped Kill Employment Protections For Transgender Americans

From Think Progress:

By Josh Israel
on Sep 6, 2012

In 2007, Paul Ryan cast the lone pro-gay vote of his career, voting fora version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would have made it illegal to fire an employee just for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. But he refused to support the bill if it included similar protections for transgender Americans.

The vice-presidential nominee was one of 35 Republicans in the House to vote for the bill (after voting to kill the measure moments before in a procedural vote), but did so only after transgender protections had been removed from the measure. According to a 2010 Roll Call article, Ryan pushed the bill’s sponsor — Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) — to exclude protections based on gender identity and expression:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) also said he would likely vote against the legislation with transgender protections, and he said he’s told Frank as much.
“It makes it something you can’t vote for,” Ryan said. “I think ENDA’s the right thing to do,” but transgender language “changes the equation.
Ryan declined to detail his objections, saying he wanted to read the final package.

According to a Task Force survey, 90 percent of transgender Americans have experienced “harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.” The same survey showed 47 percent had been fired, not hired, denied a promotion, or experienced a similar adverse job outcome based on their gender identiy or expression. At present, 34 states offer no legal protection for transgender citizens who experience workplace discrimination.

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Gotta Vote – Obama for America

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Finally, the Democrats Learn How to Fight

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 09/04/2012

So, the 2012 presidential campaign has turned “nasty” (see here, here, here, here, and here). Both teams scream foul, the commentariat and the Sunday talk shows replay “a-nasty-campaign-gets-nastier” theme, the September cover of The Atlantic features Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as boxers — heavy-weight, from the look of it — slugging it out, with sweat flying.

Finally! I thought we’d never get here.

Not that I want a nasty fight. I just want a fight — a decent defense of the Democratic agenda. And now we have it — finally — at the 11th hour: President Obama and Congressional Democrats are returning fire, pretty effectively.

But is it too late?

For way too long, defense was not happening. Early on after his inauguration, President Obama lost control of the narrative, going for bipartisan cooperation — a campaign promise — while Republicans made clear early on their rejection of such cooperation, instead forming their Wall of No. Only because Democrats controlled both houses of Congress could Mr. Obama get his healthcare bill passed — another campaign promise. In the 2010 midterms the GOP exploited the unpopularity of “Obamacare” to take back the House and turn even more obstructionist, threatening to cause the U.S. to default on its full faith and credit in the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.

Meanwhile, even more obstructionist and meeting even less pushback, the Tea Party emerged, screaming (literally) their anti-government screed. I still regret not standing up at a local town hall they commandeered, to point out that “all those bailouts” of the banks were initiated by their guy, George W. Bush; that the “out-of-control government spending” was Mr. Obama’s effort to repair the damage done by the financial crash that erupted on their guy’s watch; and, by the way, where were they with their concerns about spending when Mr. Bush took us from a budget surplus he inherited from Mr. Clinton and flung us deep into deficit and debt — talk about a wind-in-the-hair ride! — with one of the costliest and unnecessary (and thus wasteful) items being the Iraq war? Yet I also recall the fear of many in the hall that these screamers might be armed, so we sat silent.

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Not Just Obama: 70% Of Constitutional Law Professors Call DOMA Unconstitutional

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on September 8, 2012

President Barack Obama in February, 2011, put his official, long-time belief into practice, repeating that not only did he think the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but, now, so did Attorney General Eric Holder, and together they had decided to no longer defend the law in federal court. Barack Obama, who served as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, is not alone in his DOMA position.

Dale Carpenter, who blogs at the popular, ultra-conservative/libertarian law blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, writes:

“Eighty-seven percent of constitutional law professors back marriage for same-sex couples, and 7 out of 10 believe the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only a slight majority of 54% think the federal Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. That’s the result of a survey of 485 constitutional law professors that I conducted this summer…”

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In looming federalism fight, three states say feds can’t ‘unmarry’ gay couples

From Raw Story:

By The Christian Science Monitor
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Three states where members of the clergy and justices of the peace today marry gay couples argued on Friday that it’s a violation of states’ rights for the federal government to then “unmarry” those people under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In an amicus brief to a New York case involving a lesbian widow, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York argue that the federal government had no right, despite the federal designation of marriage as being between a man and a woman, to demand $350,000 in estate taxes when Edie Windsor’s partner died. That would not have happened under a marital tax deduction that lets other married couples pass their assets to their spouse without penalty.

The three states who filed amicus briefs argue that states regulate marriage and family relationships and that Congress doesn’t have constitutional authority to interfere with that license at any level.

Several federal and state judges have struck down parts of DOMA, but it was only earlier this year that a federal appeals court in Boston, called it discriminatory regarding partner benefits, saying the law “fails the test” when looking at its “disparate impact on minority interests and federalism concerns.”

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Romney On Omitting U.S. Troops From RNC Speech: ‘You Talk About Things You Think Are Important’

From Think Progress:

By Ben Armbruster
on Sep 7, 2012

In an interview with Fox News this afternoon, Mitt Romney shot back at critics who complained that he didn’t mention Afghanistan or praise U.S. troops in his convention speech last week, arguing that he focused on issues that are “important.”

Fox News’s Brett Baier told Romney that “several speakers” at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week criticized the GOP presidential nominee for the omissions (actually it was right-wing foreign policy leader Bill Kristol who started the attacks) and asked him if he had any regrets. “I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out,” Romney said, adding that his speech focused on things that are important:

BAIER: To hear several speakers in Charlotte … they were essentially saying that you don’t care about the U.S. military because you didn’t mention U.S. troops and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. … Do you regret opening up this line of attack, now a recurring attack, by leaving out that issue in the speech.

ROMNEY: I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out. When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. And I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military. I think they refer to the same thing.

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Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family Unveil New Pro-Bullying Strategies

Anti-Anti-Bullying equals Pro-Bullying in my book.

Like saying no to their fledgling Hitler Youth thugs is somehow depriving them of their freedom to terrorize LGBT kids.

Fuck their Bible, it is nothing but a bunch of myths and bullshit.

From Right Wing Watch:

Brian Tashman
on Wed, 09/05/2012

Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, has been working with Focus on the Family to put together an “anti-bullying yardstick” that provides quite weak and watered-down measures to fight bullying. But backing ineffective measures to combat bullying may be the point, as the Religious Right has fiercely opposed comprehensive anti-bullying policies because of protections that would help curb anti-LGBT bullying, even to the point of supporting loopholes for bullies. Ironically, just today the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released a report detailing the disproportionately high rates of bullying faced by LGBT youth, and how such bullying is less likely to materialize in schools with stronger anti-bullying policies.

ADF attorney Matt Sharp appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to denounce “oppressive” anti-bullying policies, and while Sharp insisted that the campaign is not linked to either the ADF or Focus’s anti-LGBT advocacy, it probably didn’t help that he was speaking to a talk show host who has consistently denounced LGBT rights and people. Just before Sharp appeared on her program, Mefferd criticized the Democratic Party for backing marriage equality by asking, “where’s the lightning?”

Sharp said that gay rights groups are using bullying as “an avenue for them to insert their homosexual agenda into the schools” and promote “the re-education of students.” He claimed ADF and Focus will provide an alternative to “the propaganda of homosexual activist groups that seek to promote their agenda in the schools,” describing their “propaganda” as books that dare to recognize the reality that some children are raised by same-sex couples!

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Eurozone Crisis Goes Critical – Germany’s Turn?

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We Eat by the Grace of Nature, Not by the Grace of Monsanto

From Common Dreams:

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
Published on Saturday, September 8, 2012 by Common Dreams

“Organic, schmorganic,” fumes New York Times columnist Roger Cohen sarcastically in an article entitled “The Organic Fable.”

He bases his sweeping dismissal of the organic foods movement on a new Stanford University study claiming that “fruits and vegetables labeled organic are, on average, no more nutritious than their cheaper conventional counterparts.”

Cohen does grant that “organic farming is probably better for the environment because less soil, flora and fauna are contaminated by chemicals…. So this is food that is better ecologically even if it is not better nutritionally.”

But he goes on to smear the organic movement as an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype.

“To feed a planet of 9 billion people,” he says, “we are going to need high yields not low yields; we are going to need genetically modified crops; we are going to need pesticides and fertilizers and other elements of the industrialized food processes that have led mankind to be better fed and live longer than at any time in history.

“I’d rather be against nature and have more people better fed. I’d rather be serious about the world’s needs. And I trust the monitoring agencies that ensure pesticides are used at safe levels — a trust the Stanford study found to be justified.”

Cohen ends by calling the organic movement “a fable of the pampered parts of the planet — romantic and comforting.”

But the truth is that his own, science-driven Industrial Agriculture mythology is far more delusional.

Let me count the ways that his take on the organic foods movement is off the mark:

Organic food may not be more “nutritious,” but it is healthier because it is not saturated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and preservatives, not to mention antibiotics, growth hormones and who knows what other chemicals.

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We can’t afford not to save the melting Arctic

From The Independent UK:

In 1979, the Arctic in September had more than 7,000,000sq km of ice.

This September, when the melting season ends in a few days’ time, it is likely to have less than 3,500,000sq km.

John Sauven
Saturday 8 September 2012

To see the ice disappear this quickly is unprecedented. The 2012 melt has comprehensively broken all previous records. We are now heading into uncharted territory because the Arctic helps to cool the climate and regulate our weather patterns.

Its disappearance, maybe within the decade, has the most profound implications. It would indicate the definitive end of the Holocene – the 10,000-year stable climatic period that allowed civilised societies to develop. As the sea ice goes, we are entering what scientists are calling the Anthropocene – an era in which the climate is made by man, where we can radically change what the Earth looks like from space. And it’s not just the Arctic that is breaking records. The US sweltered in the hottest July on record. We cannot go on breaking these fossil-fuelled records if we want to keep within the relatively safe level of a 2C rise in global average temperatures.

Until we understood the nature of climate change, you couldn’t beat fossil fuels as a source of energy. Coal oil and gas are all-pervasive because they’ve been incredibly useful for giving us heat, light and transport.

Now we know better. It has one very major downside, apart from being finite, as the source of carbon dioxide driving climate change and the acidification of our oceans. It’s not too different from the story of CFCs. They were used in everything from aerosol cans to refrigeration. Some saw them as magic chemicals, until we found out that they were destroying the ozone layer. Then we had to act fast and replace them because we can’t exist without the ozone layer. Without it, we would get skin cancer from the sun’s harmful rays.

Climate change and the acidification of our oceans will have a much more dramatic impact, but the solution is not so easy. We have to change our source of energy, not just phase out one easily replaceable chemical. To be clear, the fossil-fuel industry, and this industry alone, holds the power to change the physics and chemistry of our planet.

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by the middle of the century and still have some reasonable hope of staying below the 2C threshold. In late May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its latest figures. Carbon dioxide emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 per cent from the year before.

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For Farms in the West, Oil Wells Are Thirsty Rivals

From The New York Times:

Published: September 5, 2012

GREELEY, Colo. — A new race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil and gas interests, driven by new drilling techniques that use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack the ground and release stores of oil and gas.

A single such well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need.

That thirst is helping to drive an explosion of oil production here, but it is also complicating the long and emotional struggle over who drinks and who does not in the arid and fast-growing West. Farmers and environmental activists say they are worried that deep-pocketed energy companies will have purchase on increasingly scarce water supplies as they drill deep new wells that use the technique of hydraulic fracturing.

And this summer’s record-breaking drought, which dried up wells and ruined crops, has only amplified those concerns.

“It’s not a level playing field,” said Peter V. Anderson, who grows corn and alfalfa on the parched plains of eastern Colorado. “I don’t think in reality that the farmer can compete with the oil and gas companies for that water. Their return is a hell of a lot better than ours.”

But industry officials say that critics are exaggerating the effect on water supplies.

Energy producers do not — and cannot — simply snap up the rights to streams and wells at the expense of farmers or homeowners. To fill their storage tanks, they lease surplus water from cities or buy treated wastewater that would otherwise be dumped back into rivers. In some cases, they buy water rights directly from farmers or other users — a process that in Colorado requires court approval.

“This is an important use of our water — to produce energy, which is the foundation of all we do,” said Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. “Think about the big users of water — agriculture, industrial development. All these things require energy.”

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