The Manufactured Colleen Francis Kerfuffle

I’ve watched this kerfuffle grow over the last couple of weeks.

Initially it started out as a complaint by some right wing Christo-Nazi that Colleen Francis, a transgender woman was being allowed to use a University swimming pool at the same time as her teenage daughter.

Then like the telephone game the story be became more and more lurid with each retelling posted by the ultra right wing Christo-Nazi blogs and media outlet.

It was such a pack of lies and hyperbole that I avoided commenting on the story as I was busy with the run up to the election and didn’t want to have to deal with moderating comments from the hysterical HBS trolls.

I looked at the sources of the stories and found they were the usual suspect sources named as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Therefore I decided these stories were totally lacking in credibility.  That the lie repeated often enough gains enough credibility to be picked up by mainstream media doesn’t not give the lie greater credibility, nor the source of such bigotry motivated smears.  It merely means the mainstream media outlet caved and treated a non-credible source as credible.

One reason I run so many videos from Right Wing Watch of the creeps who out this sort of propaganda is because I want my readers to be familiar with these people so they don’t fall into the trap of treating them as credible sources on any topic.

There is a purpose behind the act of blowing up an incident that may have occurred solely in the mind of the original right wing source of this story.

Presumed Collective Guilt and Preemptive War Measures

I’ve watched as the Christo-Nazis and rabid right have  lost the war on women and are losing the war on marriage equality.

Transsexual and transgender people are their new Eastern Front in the Culture Wars.

Over the past two years I have watched as religious fanatic, right wing neo-Nazis and so call radical feminists have formed an unholy alliance for the purpose of attacking civil rights/non-discrimination measures that are aimed at insuring TS/TG people have the same rights as as non-TS/TG people.

The game the Axis of Hate is using is as old as the hills.  Dehumanize, libel and destroy or if not destroy then deny equality.

I’m old enough to remember when the parents of these people mutilated and murdered a fourteen year boy named Emmett Till.  The year was 1954, I was a little kid of seven and this boy, barely a teenager was brutally lynched in that hell hole humanity forgot, a place called Mississippi.

They say he whistled at a white woman.

But who knows because too many white people in Mississippi goddamn are truth challenged at best.

Sort of like the HBS folks, religious right, neo-Nazis and radical feminists of today.

I wanted to become a history teacher when I was in high school.  I won a scholarship and everything, but when I got to school I was told I was too obviously queer to ever get a teacher’s license, and even if I did I would be unemployable.

In the mid 1970s during the rise of the Republican radical right and the Christo-Nazis, Anita Bryant whipped up a “Save the Children” campaign.  They used fear of gay and lesbian teachers contaminating children with queer cooties to fight civil rights laws aimed at protecting gay and lesbian folks from discrimination.

You see the bigots deal in lies and fear.  They take a reality and let their fantasies run wild.

Just like how they are hysterical regarding Obama’s re-election.

Even when there is a grain of truth and an individual of a despised and dehumanized minority is guilty of an offensive or even evil act that act should not be used to justify collective punishment of an entire class of people.  Collective guilt and mass punishment of all other members of the community from which that individual comes is the sort of behavior we saw committed by the Nazis during World War II when they would kill ever tenth man in a village near where partisan activity had occurred.

Such behavior is an internationally recognized crime against humanity.

But that doesn’t stop the bigots.

The racists accuse every male person of color of being a rapist out to defile white women.

The bigots accuse ever LGBT person of being a pedophile when most child molestation takes place within the family and is heterosexual in nature.  With a large chunk of the rest being performed by authoritarian religious figures abusing their power.

It is the same big lie, the same blood libel.  the targets of this lie, this blood libel may change but the same people are always behind the lies and libel.

Cristin Williams at Ehipassiko  has an excellent piece  Bigots Unite! Deploying the Klan Fallacy in 3… 2… 1…

Of course  with great predictability the HBS Sonderkommando Unit including Jennifer Usher and Ben-Girl (Elizabeth) lined up to attack Colleen Francis.  Elizabeth even mentioned Fox News as being the credible source (sic) for her information.

Oh well I suppose that is better than citing Focus on Fascism or one of the other hate groups named by the SPLC.

Now I will be attacked for defending Colleen Francis.  You see in the case of these folks, who think sucking up to a bunch of neo-Nazis will somehow benefit them, my not joining the lynch mob is the same thing as throwing support behind a person I know nothing about.

I have no way of separating truth from fiction so I don’t presume guilt.  Especially considering the sources of the accusations.

Trans woman found dead, burned in France

This is the month when many of us gather together to mark a Day of Remembrance for TS/TG people who have been murder during the previous year.

Too much violence, too many murders.

Too little opportunity, too much discrimination.

Too many people treating TS/TG women as though they are human garbage, whose lives are worthless.

Too little love and support.

Too little in the way of assistance to those TS/TG women who do sex work to survive.

Too few people willing to admit how many TS/TG women have no other option other than sex work or crime if they wish to survive.

From Lexie Cannes:

Lexie Cannes
November 8, 2012

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — The dead woman, reportedly migrated from Peru, was found October 4th in a forest near Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville. The body appeared burned and while authorities are investigating and have made no official announcement as to the cause, trans activists fear “Cassandra” may have been burned to death.

News reports say she most recently a sex worker living in or near Rouen. Trans activists say a recently enacted law that is forcing sex workers to operate under more dangerous conditions. They also say they’re concerned about the lack of legislative action to head off the murders of trans people.

(Note to readers: Due to the translation glitches, I am not entirely how many trans murders occurred in France this year. Trans group “ACCEPTESS” stated that there have been 12 deaths.  This number may include other causes, such as AIDS. The group is however, saddened with number of deaths in 2012 and will be remembering these deaths on TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance).

Thanks to Helene Hazera for the tip.

Both sources are in French: Rouen : un travesti retrouvé mort en forêt, partiellement brûlé – Tendance Ouest.

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Ali Forney Center For New York City Homeless LGBT Youth Devastated By Hurricane Sandy

From Huffington Post:


The Ali Forney Center, the country’s largest and most comprehensive organization providing services and shelter to homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy last week.

The Center’s drop-in location, located a half-block from the Hudson River in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, was completely destroyed and the space is now inhabitable. A statement from the organization stated that “the water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.”

Carl Siciliano, the Ali Forney Center’s Executive Director and a blogger for HuffPost Gay Voices, wrote of the Center’s 10-year anniversary earlier this year, saying:

“Ten years later I am filled with gratitude for the response we have achieved from the LGBT community and many of our allies. This response has allowed the Ali Forney Center to become a remarkable success: We have become the largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth in the country. We now offer emergency shelter and longer-term housing, with a combined total of 77 beds in nine different residential facilities. We also offer two drop-in centers, where we are able to provide food, clothing, showers, free medical and mental-health care, and educational and vocational assistance, helping thousands of kids who have flocked to us for help from all over the country and the world.”

Sadly, now one of those drop-in centers is gone. As the release from Ali Forney states, “this space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.”

For more information on how you can help Ali Forney Center and the thousands of LGBT homeless youth who rely on their services, click here.

Below, view a slideshow featuring the stories of some of the Ali Forney Center’s youth:

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Ireland, where it’s okay to be gay but tough to be trans

From The Irish Times:

Orla Tinsley
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When Richard Kohler was nine he witnessed the transformation of a country. He was born in 1980 in the German Democratic Republic and his parents were active in the movement that helped bring down the Berlin Wall. Accompanying his parents to demonstrations instilled in him what he calls a heritage. “It showed me how a very strong but determined crowd could change the world,” he says.

Kohler is the policy and capacity officer for Transgender Europe, an NGO working towards equality and inclusion of transgender people (the term for a person who feels they have been born to the wrong gender). He cites Slovenia and Ireland as the only two countries in Europe that fail to provide mechanisms to allow transgender people to change their gender legally.

The recently published Europe Rainbow Map details the human rights afforded to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, country by country. Ireland ranks 14th out of 48 European countries. While this makes us one of the safest places to live if you are lesbian, gay or bisexual, our record falls short on transgender rights.

A 2007 High Court ruling in the Dr Lydia Foy case found the State breached the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered it to provide gender-recognition laws.

The Gender Recognition Advisory Group reported to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in 2011. Although there is no legislation yet, the current proposals require people who want to attain recognition either to divorce their current spouse, accept a diagnosis of gender-identity disorder, or prove they have had gender-reassignment surgery. “Germany is much farther ahead than Ireland,” says Kohler. “Changing documents is possible and the requirements of sterilisation or forced divorce in order to have gender recognised are no longer there.”

Some of the most pressing difficulties for trans people in Europe are in the workplace. Kohler mentions a woman he knows who has not yet got gender recognition. “Her marker is still male and her employer won’t let her use the female bathroom – she has to go to a cafe next door. It’s one of the practical issues people deal with.”

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French government approves gay marriage bill

From Gay Star News:

The French cabinet has adopted a bill for marriage equality today which will be put to a parliamentary vote early next year

By Dan Littauer
07 November 2012

France’s Socialist cabinet adopted a draft bill to authorise gay marriage and adoption today (7 November) despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and others.

‘This is an important step towards the equality of rights,’ said Minister of Family Affairs Dominique Bertinnoti to AFP.

The French president Francois Hollande, made the issue a key part of his electoral platform, stating it was an advance ‘for all of society’.

Bertinnoti rejected criticism from religious and conservative groups that the move would ‘destroy’ the family, saying: ‘On the contrary it is a legal protection.’

The bill, will be introduced for a vote in early 2013 in the parliament, has attracted strong critique from religious and conservative groups without fully addressing the demands of France’s LGBT community.

The text of the bill stipulates: ‘Marriage is contracted by two persons of different sex or same-sex.’ The bill also grants the right for adoption for gay couples.

The text of the draft bill also stipulates the use of the words ‘parent/s’ replacing the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’.

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Pat Robertson on Obama’s Victory: ‘What is Going On with the American People?’

What’s happening, Pat is that the people are tired of your Christo-Nazi con game and hate speech.

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NOM: ‘Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.’

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on November 7, 2012

Brian Brown, president of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, just stated, “Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Brown, facing a massive defeat that spanned the nation, and probably worrying about his job, has decided to ignore reality — including decisions in four states yesterday and three years of polls that say the majority of Americans support marriage equality.

“Our opponents and some in the media will attempt to portray the election results as a changing point in how Americans view gay marriage, but that is not the case,” Brown writes in a statement.

Yes, keep telling yourself that, Brian.

Your old boss, Maggie Gallagher, sure is also trying to spin it.

“Real America” didn’t vote for same-sex marriage, just those who showed up: “The Obama electorate.”

“Real America,” in Gallagher’s eyes, and in Brown’s stayed home.

“Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Brown continues. “The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states.”

Yes, the very liberal states of Washington, Maryland, Maine, and Minnesota.

Minnesota, where they have already banned same-sex marriage, just wanted to ensure “activist judges” could not undo the law so they tried to force it into their constitution. Minnesota, home to an anti-gay hate group so anti-gay they still insist on calling HIV/AIDS, “GRIDS.” Minnesota, home to the Michele Bachmann and a “suicide contagion area” known as the Anoka-Hennepin school district.

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Women In Senate: 2012 Election Ushers In Historic Number Of Female Senators

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — The 113th Congress will have 20 female senators, the most ever in U.S. history.

Joining the Senate will be Republican Deb Fischer (Neb.) and Democrats Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

All six Democratic women up for reelection — Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) — won their races.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) lost her Senate race to incumbent Dean Heller.

Five Republican female candidates lost on Tuesday. Wendy Long ran against Gillibrand, Elizabeth Emken went up against Feinstein and Linda Lingle ran against Hirono. Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Heather Wilson in New Mexico also lost.

There are currently 17 female U.S. senators, which had also been a record number. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are both retiring, meaning the next Congress will have just four female Republican senators.

Female candidates were a key part of the Democratic Party’s strategy to keep the Senate, with candidates like McCaskill, Baldwin and Warren in some of the most competitive races in the country.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), consistently touted the fact that it had recruited a record number of female candidates.

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Owens: If Marriage Equality Passes the ‘Whole Gamut of the Family is Going to be Destroyed’

Another Nazi for Jesus loses it.  Or maybe he’s just a whore for NOM’s payoff…

From Right Wing Watch:

by Brian Tashman
on Wednesday, 11/7/2012

William Owens of the virulently anti-gay Coalition of African-American Pastors and the National Organization for Marriage talked to Sandy Rios and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association for their organization’s election night special about the “unbelievable” impact if Maryland voters approve their state’s marriage equality law, which did indeed pass. He said if we “change God’s law” by legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption then “the whole gamut of the family is going to be destroyed and all areas of the social life will be destroyed from what has been for thousands of years.”

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Legalize It! Historic Night for Marijuana Reform as Colorado and Washington Take the Big Step

From Alternet:

Massachusetts joins the drug reform current sweeping the nation.

By Steven Wishnia
November 6, 2012

In an unprecedented popular vote, Colorado and Washington have approved ballot initiatives to legalize the sale of marijuana under regulations somewhat stricter than those for alcohol.

“These are not just the first two states to do this,” exulted Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance. “They’re the first two political jurisdictions in the world to do this.”

In Colorado, Amendment 64, which would “regulate marijuana like alcohol,” had 54 percent of the vote with more than 85 percent counted. (It was outpolling President Obama, who carried the state, by almost 50,000 votes.) The measure will let people 21 or older possess up to an ounce or grow six plants, and the state will license growers and retailers.

“We’re glad to be the first state to set it off,” said Art Way of the Drug Policy Alliance of Colorado. “We hope we’re the tipping point for the nation.”

He credits the state’s experience with regulating medical-marijuana dispensaries for the initiative’s success. “The conversation has been going on in Colorado for the past seven or eight years, so we’ve laid the groundwork,” he said.

In Washington, Initiative 502 had 55 percent of the vote with more than half the ballots counted, buoyed by a 150,000-vote margin in Seattle. It will have the state Liquor Control Board license growers, processors, and stores. Buyers will pay a 25 percent sales tax, and stores can’t be within 1,000 feet of a school. It was somewhat controversial among marijuana users because it defines 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in the blood as evidence of drugged driving.

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How gay equality became the new normal of US politics in 2012

From The Guardian UK:

From the ballot initiatives to Tammy Baldwin’s Senate win, this was a historic election for gay rights. With barely a ripple, Wednesday 7 November 2012

It was not so long ago – 2010, to be exact – that the best gay rights proponents could hope for on election day was for civil rights not to be pruned back further. In 2004, 11 states voted to define marriage as “between a man and a woman”. In 2006, seven states took the same step. In 2008, three. 2010 was a banner year: gay marriage bans weren’t on the ballot anywhere. Invisibility has often been the only option for those seeking some form of equality, but it’s not a sustainable way of being.

Tuesday night saw the largest expansion of gay rights in American electoral history, as Maine, Maryland and Washington became the first states to approve of marriage equality by popular vote and Wisconsin elected Representative Tammy Baldwin as the nation’s first openly gay senator. My adopted home state of Minnesota became the second state to reject a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages – amendments that have passed in 30 other states since 1998, including in the first state to reject one, Arizona.

Marriage equality has moved forward mostly through the courts, gaining legal status inch by inch, even as popular culture sailed blithely ahead. There has probably been no cause in American history in which our national imagination about progress and the lived reality of those who want it have been so far apart.

While the civil rights struggle as it pertains to race is still hardly over, the problem facing non-whites is their lack of representation in popular culture more than it is a too-rosy portrayal. To judge by the Bravo network, you’d think that gay marriage was not just legal, but mandatory – and that, of course, may have been part of the problem. Americans remained squeamish about gay rights because so many saw the movement proceeding without a sense of their having said that was OK with them.

So what has changed? A 2010 New York University study found that voters decided against gay marriage ballot initiatives for the reasons they decide against most things: campaigns don’t change people’s minds.

“Neither advocates nor opponents tended to gain support in any consistent fashion in these campaigns, despite the millions of dollars spent by both sides over the past decade.”

If that study’s findings can be applied to Tuesday night’s results, there is good news and bad news for backers of marriage equality: the good news is that you’ve won the argument; the bad news is that you might not have needed to spend quite as much money as you did. Gay rights have inertia, not momentum, on their side: the effort it takes to convince someone to oppress someone else has become greater than the status quo. This is civil rights not as the unstoppable force, but the immovable object.

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Women Voters Won Last Night — But Did Anyone Get The Message?

From Huffington Post:


Women voters were the prize in the 2012 campaign. They turn out in higher numbers than men and it has long been impossible to win an election without them.

And yet, for far too long, candidates seemed to think women’s votes could be gotten with good looks (most recently the Wisconsin ad urging women to “Vote for the cute one,” before that the selection of Dan Quayle because, as one prominent Republican noted at the time “I can’t believe a guy that handsome wouldn’t have some impact”) or a pandering placement on the ticket (hello, Sarah Palin), or by spending a lot of time calling us Mom.

Perhaps last night they finally gotten the message. Or, messages:

You don’t win if you dismiss us. Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” struck a chord because it felt like a rare moment of candor. He seemed to see us as a box to be checked. A former governor who appointed competent, talented women to his cabinet because he saw them as integral and intrinsic to governing rather than tokens of their gender would never have used those words.

You don’t win if you think you know more about our bodies than we do. Especially if you are horrifyingly wrong. Todd Akin proved that when Missouri voters rebuked him for saying that pregnancy rarely results from “legitimate rape” because a woman’s body “has ways to shut the whole thing down.”  (It didn’t help that he later explained he was confident he would win because opponent Claire McCaskill did not appear “ladylike” during their September debate, and went on to compare her to a dog.)

You don’t win if you equate rape with anything other than the evil that it is.  Defeated Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock knows that now, after saying that pregnancies resulting from rape are  “something that God intended to happen.”

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Glenn Greenwald: The Right Is Crippled — Now Let’s Make Sure Dems Don’t Sell Out Social Security and Medicare

From Alternet:

The delirium of liberals this morning is understandable. By all rights, they should expect to be a more powerful force in Washington. But what are they going to get from it?

By Glenn Greenwald
November 7, 2012

The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night’s election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant.

To begin with, it is hard to overstate just how crippled America’s right-wing is. Although it was masked by their aberrational win in 2010, the GOP has now been not merely defeated, but crushed, in three out of the last four elections: in 2006 (when they lost control of the House and Senate), 2008 (when Obama won easily and Democrats expanded their margins of control), and now 2012. The horrendous political legacy of George Bush and Dick Cheney continues to sink the GOP, and demographic realities – how  toxic the American Right is  to the very groups that are now becoming America’s majority – makes it difficult to envision how this will change any time soon.

Meanwhile, new laws to legalize both same-sex marriage and marijuana use were enacted in multiple states with little controversy, an unthinkable result even a few years ago, while Obama’s late-term embrace of same-sex marriage seems to have resulted only in political benefit with no political harm. Democrats were sent to the Senate by deeply red states such as Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, along with genuinely progressive candidates on domestic issues, including Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, who became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate. As a cherry on the liberal cake, two of the most loathed right-wing House members – Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and Allen West of Florida – were removed from office.

So the delirium of liberals this morning is understandable: the night could scarcely have gone better for them. By all rights, they should expect to be a more powerful force in Washington. But what are they going to get from it? Will they wield more political power? Will their political values and agenda command more respect? Unless the disempowering pattern into which they have voluntarily locked themselves changes, the answer to those questions is almost certainly “no”.

Consider the very first controversial issue Obama is likely to manage, even before the glow of his victory dims, literally within the next couple of weeks. It is widely expected –  including by liberals  – that Obama intends (again) to pursue a so-called “Grand Bargain” with the GOP: a deficit- and debt-cutting agreement whereby the GOP agrees to some very modest tax increases on the rich in exchange for substantial cuts to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, the crown legislative jewels of American liberalism.

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Morning in America

From Michael Moore:

By Michael Moore
November 7th, 2012

This country has truly changed, and I believe there will be no going back. Hate lost yesterday. That is amazing in and of itself. And all the women who were elected last night! A total rebuke of Neanderthal attitudes.

Now the real work begins. Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do. Mr. President, do not listen to the pundits who today call for you to “compromise.” No. You already tried that. It didn’t work. You can compromise later if you need to, but please, no more beginning by compromising. And if the Republican House doesn’t want to play ball, do a massive end run around them with one executive order after another – just like they have done and will do if given the chance again.

We have to have Obama’s back. As he is blocked and attacked by the Right, we need to be there with him. We are the majority. Let’s act like it.

And please Mr. President, make the banks and Wall Street pay. You’re the boss, not them. Lead the fight to get money out of politics – the spending on this election is shameful and dangerous. Don’t wait til 2014 to bring the troops home – bring ’em home now. Stop the drone strikes on civilians. End the senseless war on drugs. Act like a pit bull when it comes to climate change – ignore the nuts, and fix this now. Take the profit motive out of things that any civilized country would say, “this is for the common good.” Make higher educational affordable for everyone and don’t send 22-year-olds out into the world already in massive debt. Order a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions. Enact economic policy that will create good-paying jobs and spend the money that’s needed to do that. Make your second term one for the history books.

Finally, thanks must be given to the Occupy movement who, a year ago, set the tone of this election year by getting everyone to talk about the 1% vs. 99%. It inspired Obama and his campaign to realize that there was a huge popular sentiment against what the wealthy have done to the country and there was something wrong if just 400 rich guys owned more than 160 million Americans combined (all those moochers and bums). This led to Romney’s “47%” remarks and THAT was the beginning of the end of his campaign. Thank you Mother Jones for releasing that secret tape, and thank you to the minimum wage worker who placed a camera on the serving buffet next to the candle. This morning’s headline in the Washington Post says it all: “At Romney headquarters, the defeat of the 1 percent.” Thank you Sandra Fluke for enduring the insults hurled at you and then becoming an important grassroots leader against the war on women. Thank you Todd Akin for…well, for just being you. Thank you CEOs of Chrysler and GM for coming out forcefully against the Republican(!) candidate, saying he lived in “some parallel universe” when he lied about Jeep. Thank you Governor Christie for your new bromance with Obama. You know, you really didn’t have to!

And you, Mother Nature, with all your horrific damage, death and destruction you caused last week, you became, ironically, the undoing of a Party that didn’t believe in you or your climate changing powers.

Perhaps they’ll believe now.

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On a Progressive Civic Agenda

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader
Published on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 by Common Dreams

The “democracy gap” in our politics and elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote, or listlessly vote for the ‘least worst’ every four years and then wonder why after every cycle the ‘least worst’ gets worse. People need to be “Expert Voters” and “Expert Citizens.”

The important work of our democracy does not end on election day, rather it begins anew once the votes are counted.

A civic agenda that starts to end the corporate domination of our country should:

* End ballot access obstructionism
* Open up the Presidential debates
* Public financing of campaigns
* Raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour
* Adopt single payer national health insurance
* Launch a nationwide public works and repair program
* Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
* Retire nuclear power, expand Renewable Energy to deal with climate change
* Crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare
* Adopt a carbon pollution tax and end tax escapes for corporations and the wealthy
* Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
* Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law
* Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax
* End corporate personhood
* Defend, Restore and Strengthen the Civil Justice System

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Superstorm Sandy—a People’s Shock?

From The Nation:

Naomi Klein
November 5, 2012

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on, he explained that the city’s refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: “Mom-and-pop stores simply can’t do what big stores can in these circumstances,” he wrote.

And the preemptive scapegoating didn’t stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then “pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act” would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn’t be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to “public private partnerships,” known as “P3s.” That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits.

Up until now, the only thing stopping them has been the law—specifically the absence of laws in New York State and New Jersey that enable these sorts of deals. But Rapoport is convinced that the combination of broke governments and needy people will provide just the catalyst needed to break the deadlock. “There were some bridges that were washed out in New Jersey that need structural replacement, and it’s going to be very expensive,” he told The Nation. “And so the government may well not have the money to build it the right way. And that’s when you turn to a P3.”

Ray Lehmann, co-founder of the R Street Institute, a mouthpiece for the insurance lobby (formerly a division of the climate-denying Heartland Institute), had another public prize in his sights. In a Wall Street Journal article about Sandy, he was quoted arguing for the eventual “full privatization” of the National Flood Insurance Program, the federal initiative that provides affordable protection from some natural disasters—and which private insurers see as unfair competition.

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If private industry is always more efficient why do they have to be concerned with government competition?  Just use that efficiency to out compete the government.

Oh I forgot the vaunted efficiency of the corporations is one huge lie.

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