US: Violence Against Women Act Renewed

From Human Rights Watch:

Lessons From Renewal Process Should Spur Further Reforms

February 28, 2013

(Washington, DC) – Bipartisan efforts to ensure the safety of all domestic violence victims should continue following the vote in Congress on February 28, 2013, to renew the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), Human Rights Watch said today. The bill includes provisions aimed at improving access to justice and services for victims from a range of backgrounds, and continuing efforts should include advancing protections for immigrant victims of violence during the process of comprehensive immigration reform, Human Rights Watch said.

The bill passed by the House of Representatives addresses gaps in access to justice for victims of violence on Native American reservations. It includes protections against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims, and modestly expands protections for immigrant victims. Efforts to renew VAWA in the last Congress stalled over differences between the House and the Senate on these issues.

“Congress came together today and put partisan politics aside to protect victims of violence,” said Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “With continued cooperation, Congress can make further strides to ensure that everyone has access to justice, to services, and to safety.”

VAWA is the primary federal law providing legal protection and services to counter domestic abuse, sexual violence, and stalking. Congress has reauthorized VAWA twice since it originally passed in 1994. The Senate passed S. 47, a bipartisan bill to renew VAWA, with 78 votes on February 12. The House approved S. 47 with a vote of 286 to 138. The House took the vote after rejecting another bill that would have watered down protections for victims, Human Rights Watch said.

The bill passed by the House addresses the jurisdictional issues that make it difficult to hold non-Native American men accountable for violence committed against Native American women. The bill would restore Native American tribal courts’ jurisdiction in such cases if domestic violence and dating violence crimes are committed on tribal lands. Currently, neither state nor tribal authorities have jurisdiction in such cases. The federal government has jurisdiction but often does not make prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence and dating violence offenses a priority.

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Bradley Manning pleads guilty to 10 charges but denies ‘aiding the enemy’

From The Guardian UK:

Soldier admits guilt in lesser crimes that carry up to 20 years in prison while denying most serious charges against him

in Fort Meade, Thursday 28 February 2013

Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to having been the source of the massive WikiLeaks dump of US state secrets, though he has denied the most serious charge against him that he “aided the enemy” that could see him languishing in military prison for the rest of his life.

Through his lawyer, David Coombs, the soldier pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges that included possessing and wilfully communicating to an unauthorised person all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure. That covered the so-called “collateral murder” video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some US diplomatic cables including one of the early WikiLeaks publications the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan warlogs, some of the files on detainees in Guantanamo; and two intelligence memos.

These lesser charges each carry a two-year maximum sentence, committing Manning to a possible upper limit of 20 years in prison.

Manning also pleaded not guilty to 12 counts which relate to the major offences of which he is accused by the US government. Specifically, he pleaded not guilty to “aiding the enemy” – the idea that he knowingly gave help to al-Qaida and in a separate count that by causing secret intelligence to be published on the internet he knowingly made it accessible to the enemy.

He also denied that at the time he made the transmission of information to WikiLeaks he had “reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation”.

With Manning having pleaded not guilty to these overarching charges, the prosecution is now almost certain to press ahead to a full court-martial which is currently set for 3 June. The judge has indicated that the trial could run for 12 weeks, although Manning’s guilty plea to the lesser charges may short-circuit the process as the government will no longer have to prove that he acquired and communicated the trove of classified material to WikiLeaks.

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nFile Under I Don’t Think So: “‘Gender And Sexual Diversities,’ Or GSD, Should Replace ‘LGBT,’ Say London Therapists”

First of all if I want any fucking advice from therapists I’ll rattle their cage.

I look at therapists the way I look at any sort of religious true believers, some are benevolent, some are malevolent and most simply have nothing to offer.

“Therapy” is a new age version of religion.  It tells people that social oppression is something one can deal with internally instead of rising up and taking action against the oppressing factors.  They administer drugs to keep people quiet and submissive to oppressive systems.

The head line:  ‘Gender And Sexual Diversities,’ Or GSD, Should Replace ‘LGBT,’ Say London Therapists, was on Huffington Post.

While transsexual/transgender seem like they should be natural allies due to our all being lumped together as queer by the nasty right wing religious shits the reality remains gay and lesbian are about who people have sexual relationships with while TS/TG are about what sex/gender people are.  TS/TG people can be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc.

But wait folks the suggestion of these therapists gets worse.  While LGBT people are trying to normalize our existences so we can get marriage equality and employment non-discrimination measures these useless fucks want to saddle us with swingers and other groups that “don’t fit the mainstream”

Screw that.

First of all most LGBT people are pretty damned mainstream.  We live all over the place and work typical crappy jobs in the New World Order, have to deal with the disappearing middle class and student loans.  All the same crap as our straight neighbors.  We aren’t a thrillingly transgressive subculture anymore.

I also love how they plug their services in this suggestion.

To be or not to be
To enter therapy and continue to be oppressed by not only the shitty system but therapist bills
Or to take up arms against the shitty system and thereby liberate myself and others from its oppression
Aye there is the rub.

From Huffington Post:


Could “LGBT” one day become “GSD”? A London-based advocacy group certainly hopes so.

Pink Therapy director Dominic Davies and fellow therapist Pamela Gawler-Wright suggested GSD, or “Gender and Sexual Diversities,” as a more inclusive community term in a new video posted on the group’s Facebook page.

In the clip, Davies noted that the term LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) still excluded “a whole batch of people who didn’t feel able to go to mainstream counseling organizations and also wouldn’t necessarily be welcome at LGBT counseling organizations,” including asexual people and those in otherwise non-traditional relationships, such as swingers.

Added Gawler-Wright: “Now we’re allowing more of a spectrum…people need wider language, people need better language to have that conversation … We exist at this time in a different way of thinking collectively and inclusively.”

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Transgender Girl’s Parents Lobby for Her Right to Use the Bathroom

From Yahoo:

February 27, 2013

The parents of a 6-year-old transgender girl who has been banned from using the girls’ bathroom at her Fountain, Colorado public school have filed a formal discrimination complaint with the aid of a lawyer—and are using the opportunity to speak out publicly in support of their child.

“The more you talk about something, the more awareness and acceptance there is,” Kathryn Mathis, mother of first grader Coy, who was born a boy, told Yahoo! Shine. “We’re really just trying to make it known what the school has done and make them accountable.”

The family has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. It will be investigated, and if either party is unhappy with the outcome, the next step would be a lawsuit.

Kathryn and her husband, Jeremy, appeared with Coy on the “Katie” show Wednesday to talk about the case. “The school is really missing out on something big,” Kathryn, a photographer and certified nurse’s assistant, said during the broadcast. “They could be taking the opportunity to teach all of the students that everybody is different and that we should embrace our differences and we should respect everybody. Instead they’re creating this divided environment where they’re showing all these children that a child is different and we’re going to treat them poorly because of it.”

Kathryn and Jeremy, a full-time student and disabled veteran, have four other children, including a set of triplets, one of which is Coy. Kathryn explained on “Katie” that Coy, a Girl Scout who loves pink, began gravitating toward girls’ toys and clothes by 18 months. Gender eventually turned into a bigger issue when Coy asked, at age 4, “When are we going to go to the doctor to get me fixed so I can be a girl?” A psychologist confirmed then that Coy was indeed transgender, at which point, noted Jeremy, “We really needed to let Coy be who she was.”

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See also: Denver Post: Colorado parents of transgender 1st-grader file complaint over restroom ban

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Bullying’s lasting impact

From The Dallas Morning News:

Emily Bazelon
26 February 2013

A significant new study from Duke provides the best evidence we’ve had thus far that bullying in childhood is linked to a higher risk of psychological disorders in adulthood. The results came as a surprise to the research team. “I was a skeptic going into this,” author and Duke psychiatry professor William Copeland said about the claim that bullying does measurable long-term psychological harm. “To be honest, I was completely surprised by the strength of the findings.”

I’m less surprised, because as I explain in my new book about bullying, Sticks and Stones, earlier research has shown that bullying increases the risk for many problems, including low academic performance in school and depression (for both bullies and victims) and criminal activity later in life (for bullies). But the Duke study is important because it lasted 20 years and followed 1,270 children into adulthood. Beginning at the ages of 9, 11 and 13, the kids were interviewed annually until the age of 16, along with their parents, and then multiple times over the years following.

Based on the findings, Copeland and his team divided their subjects into three groups: people who were victims as children, people who were bullies and people who were both. The third group is known as bully-victims. These are the people who tend to have the most serious psychological problems as kids, and in the Duke study, they also showed up with higher levels of anxiety, depressive disorders and suicidal thinking as adults. The people who had only experienced being victims were also at heightened risk for depression and anxiety. And the bullies were more likely to have an antisocial personality disorder.

The researchers also checked to see if the variation could be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status, or family dysfunction/instability, or maltreatment (which they defined as physical or sexual abuse). All three groups had higher rates of family hardship than the kids who didn’t experience bullying. For the victims, the risk of anxiety disorders remained strong even when taking into account family problems, though the risk of depression did not. For bully-victims, the risk of both anxiety and depression held, and for bullies, the risk of antisocial personality disorder did as well. In other words, these results suggest that bullying scars people whether they grow up in a home with two functional parents or with frequent arguing, not much parental supervision, divorce, separation or downright abuse or neglect. It’s a finding that’s in line with other work.

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More Feminist Than Thou: Moving Beyond Self-Defeating “Choose My Choice” Feminism

From RHReality Check:

by Andrea Grimes
February 27, 2013

I am so tired of “I choose my choice” feminism. So, so tired of it. I just can’t have another fight about whether it’s possible to be a stay-at-home mom, shave your legs, wear makeup, date men, have rough sex, have submissive sex, change your name, watch porn, worship a Judeo-Christian God, shop at Wal-Mart, wear hijab, get breast implants, listen to hip-hop, go on a diet, eat meat, or wash the dishes and be a feminist at the same time.

Let’s stop choosing our choices and start choosing our battles.

Choosing is passive. Choosing is not enough. Choosing devolves into finger-pointing, into holier-than-thou posturing, into casting feminism as some kind of private mental exercise, rather than a powerful force for social change. No one person is making all the right feminist choices, but so many people are fighting good fights.

Choose-your-choice feminism brought us, for example, the so-called Mommy Wars, which pits women against each other, instead of against anti-family work policies and the intersecting mechanics of economic oppression; it pits a very small group of “each others,” usually deeply privileged “each others” against those “each others” who blessedly have the option of choosing at all.

Choose-your-choice feminism implies that all women already have the full spectrum of choices available to them in the first place. Choose-your-choice feminism is for people who don’t play the long game, or who are so blinded by their own privilege that they no longer see the need to. Choose-your-choice feminism is for people who think the fight is over.

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Study shows wealth gap between whites and African-Americans tripled in 25 years

From Raw Story:

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The wealth gap between white and African-American households almost tripled within the past 25 years according to a study released on Wednesday by Brandeis University.

The study, (PDF) conducted by the university’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy, tracked 1,700 working-age households between 1984 and 2009 and concluded that the disparity between white and black families went from $85,000 to $236,500 during that period.

According to the study, there was “little evidence” that commonly-held perceptions about personal choices and behaviors held true when it came to measuring the ability to accumulate wealth.

“In my estimation, policies and institutional practices are the main story,” said the institute’s director, Tom Shapiro, who was the principal author of the report, during an online seminar on Wednesday.

Instead, the study pointed to what researchers described as “the configuration of both opportunities and barriers in workplaces, schools, and communities that reinforce deeply entrenched racial dynamics in how wealth is accumulated and that continue to permeate the most important spheres of everyday life.”

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