Leslie Feinberg is convicted but walks free

From Worker’s World:  http://www.workers.org/2013/02/04/feinberg-is-convicted-but-walks-free/

on February 4, 2013

Minneapolis — Transgender activist and author Leslie Feinberg declared in court here on Feb. 4 that she/ze was “not guilty” on a charge of third-degree gross misdemeanor (property damage) for spray-painting “Free CeCe Now” on the walls and pillars of the courthouse/jail in Minneapolis.

She/ze did it in solidarity with CeCe McDonald, an African-American transwoman who survived a violent racist, transphobic attack on the streets of South Minneapolis in June 2011, only to be jailed for manslaughter because she and her friends fought back.

For having spray-painted the message, which Feinberg did not dispute, the judge found hir “guilty,” and asked if she/ze had anything to say before sentencing.

“I am a revolutionary journalist and member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981,” said Feinberg. “I am not guilty of any wrongdoing. I delivered the people’s verdict on the jailhouse walls. The real crimes are going on behind the walls where CeCe McDonald is imprisoned.

“By sentencing CeCe McDonald to prison, Minneapolis sent a green light to neo-fascists at a time of growing racist lynching and massacres in the U.S. CeCe was attacked, and survived, at a time when an increasing number of transwomen of color are being assaulted and murdered.

“Racist mass incarceration is the crime, as even a former Hennepin County prosecutor admitted in an article — that Minnesota has the greatest racist disparity in sentencing of any state in the U.S.

“The world is watching CeCe McDonald’s struggle. I’m proud to add my voice to the tens of thousands of people who demand: ‘Free CeCe!’”

The judge admitted that Feinberg’s deed was an act of “civil disobedience.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.workers.org/2013/02/04/feinberg-is-convicted-but-walks-free/

Where to File an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

Jillian Weiss has a must read over on Bilerico…

From Bilerico:  http://www.bilerico.com/2013/02/filing_an_employment_discrimination_lawsuit.php

By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
February 04, 2013

When you experience discrimination at work, first stop should be HR, though you have to be careful about how you approach it. But what happens if HR doesn’t solve the problem after a reasonable period of time? Your next stop is an employment discrimination lawsuit. My best advice for that is to find a lawyer who has experience in the area, and is going to charge you a fee you can afford, or, better yet, will take the case on a contingency, meaning no legal fee unless an award is given.

You should keep in mind that a contingency fee is a business arrangement. That means that the lawyer who accepts a case under such an arrangement is betting that there will be an award, and that it will be enough to cover the time and office expenses spent on the case. This lawyer is generally not on a crusade for justice, except to the extent that it means getting you some compensation.

It is a good idea to contact legal organizations, like Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the Transgender Law Center, or the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, to see if they are interested in the case. Their resources are limited, however, so they only take on cases that have a good chance of success and fit within certain legal priorities that the organization considers most important for the community. They can take on only a fraction of the cases flooding into their offices. Even they, however, won’t necessarily want to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some cases are just better off being settled, because litigation is always a roll of the dice.

What happens if you cannot get a lawyer to file for you? Then you have to decide whether you want to file on your own. Keep in mind that this will require a lot of time and effort to do well, so make sure you’re serious about this. There’s a long road after filing your complaint, and no employer is just going to roll over and play dead after you file.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bilerico.com/2013/02/filing_an_employment_discrimination_lawsuit.php

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Will the Violence Against Women Act Close a Tribal Justice “Loophole”?

From PBS Front Line:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/kind-hearted-woman/will-the-violence-against-women-act-close-a-tribal-justice-loophole/

February 4, 2013

A Senate proposal to allow tribal courts to try non-Native abusers on reservations is one of three controversial changes that for more than a year have stalled the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a popular bipartisan bill since its first passage in 1994.

Additional proposals would have ban discrimination against LGBT people by domestic violence programs that receive federal dollars, and issue a backlog of unused visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence.

Last year, House Republicans objected to the additions and killed the Senate bill. Now it’s back on the agenda. Gay rights and immigration have sparked controversy in Congress before. But how did violence against Native American women suddenly become a third rail?

Nearly one in three Native American women have been raped in their lifetime, a much higher rate than the national average, which is about one in five, according to a 2010 study (pdf) by the Centers for Disease Control.

About 46 percent of Native American women have suffered rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner, a much higher percentage than women of other races, according to the study.

The House Republicans’ main objection to that provision wasn’t about the victims, but over a question about how tribal courts might treat the alleged abusers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/kind-hearted-woman/will-the-violence-against-women-act-close-a-tribal-justice-loophole/

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Beautiful Justice: No Leaders, No Rules, No Movements

From Deep Green Resistance:  http://dgrnewsservice.org/2013/02/01/beautiful-justice-no-leaders-no-rules-no-movements-x/

By Ben Barker
February 1, 2013

There’s no such thing as a functioning group of human beings existing without leadership or structure. That sentiment, while exalted by many on the radical Left, is a fallacy. Whether or not we want it to be true, human beings are by nature social creatures and we learn by the example of others, which is to say we learn from those we look up to and from the customs of the culture we live in. Leadership and structure are inevitable. The only questions are by who? and how?

Sure, radicals can reject this notion and operate as if it didn’t exist—it’s what many are already doing. But, all the while, our groups still move in particular directions, and it’s the members that take them there. Those who wish to prohibit leadership and formal structure are really just spawning informal versions of both, with themselves at the helm of control.

There’s a long history of this. From the anti-war movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the anarchists and Occupy movement of today, “leaderlessness” is almost taken as a given; it’s praised as an obvious first step in challenging power inside and out. Again and again, however, we see this paradox’s predictable outcome: when structure is not explicit, it takes its own form—one usually shaped by those most willing to dominate the group.

This was the lesson of the classic Leftist essay, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness,” in which author Jo Freeman argues that, as movements “move from criticizing society to changing society,” they need to honestly and openly address how they will organize themselves. “[T]he idea of ‘structurelessness,’” she writes, “does not prevent the formation of informal structures, but only formal ones.” So in all the backlash against formality, activists are only serving to undermine their own supposed ethics by contributing to unspoken rules and hierarchy.

Intentional organization may or may not lead to the egalitarian, functioning movements we desire—there are clear cases of both the success and failure of formally structured groups. Done well, however, structure can provide a means of accountability between members that their structureless counterparts inherently lack. In the best case scenario, the group’s expectations and rules (I hear the shrieking of purists already) are explicit and accessible to everyone, allowing leaders and followers alike to keep each other in check.

Continue reading at:  http://dgrnewsservice.org/2013/02/01/beautiful-justice-no-leaders-no-rules-no-movements-x/

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Corpocrisy: The Systematic Betrayal of American Workers

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/02/04-7

by Paul Buchheit
Published on Monday, February 4, 2013 by Common Dreams

Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that’s supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.

It’s a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise:

1. Let the public pay for the research.

Since World War 2 our federal government has played the dominant role in the research of new technologies, with an emphasis on the long-term basic research that painstakingly perfects design while not yet producing revenue. Corporate R&D, on the other hand, is heavy on the profit-making late stages of development.

Government has contributed significantly to the development of today’s most modern technologies. Business has taken full advantage. Even during the frenetic growth of the 1990s, industry funding for computer research declined dramatically while government research funding continued to climb. As of 2009 universities were still receiving ten times more science & engineering funding from government than from industry.

2. Use the publicly-funded technologies to double profits in 8 years.

From 2003 to 2011 total corporate profits more than doubled from $900 billion to almost $2 trillion.

A big part of that is the financial industry, which has adapted the (nationally built) Internet to fashion trillion-dollar trading schemes. Up until 1985 financial firms never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. Their share recently reached 41 percent.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/02/04-7

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No Austerity Has Helped Any Economy

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/14311-no-austerity-has-helped-the-economy

By Gaius Publius
Sunday, 03 February 2013

Paul Krugman’s recent column looks at the romance between the “austerians” — the promoters of austerity for economically troubled nations — and the need to inflict pain to get economic gain. His bottom line — no country that has tried austerity has seen a major economic benefit.

My bottom line — add “to its people” to the end of Krugman’s bottom line and you’ve got it exactly. There is an obvious economic benefit, but only for a few.

Let’s start with Krugman. He begins (my emphasis):

Looking for Mister Goodpain

Three years ago, a terrible thing happened to economic policy, both here and in Europe. Although the worst of the financial crisis was over, economies on both sides of the Atlantic remained deeply depressed, with very high unemployment. Yet the Western world’s policy elite somehow decided en masse that unemployment was no longer a crucial concern, and that reducing budget deficits should be the overriding priority.

That’s a familiar story, one we’ve detailed before. The answer to economic crisis is always budget cuts and austerity. Then he pivots to austerian attempts to find an example.

In recent columns, I’ve argued that worries about the deficit are, in fact, greatly exaggerated — and have documented the increasingly desperate efforts of the deficit scolds to keep fear alive. Today, however, I’d like to talk about a different but related kind of desperation: the frantic effort to find some example, somewhere, of austerity policies that succeeded. For the advocates of fiscal austerity — the austerians — made promises as well as threats: austerity, they claimed, would both avert crisis and lead to prosperity.

The column is interesting because it lays out that history. First the example was Ireland, which the head of the European Central Bank said in 2010 was “the role model for all of Europe’s debtor nations.” But events proved them wrong; Ireland is worse off today than it was back then. So then the U.K. became the touted model, until it wasn’t. Then little Latvia, which has recovered some, was pushed forward; but Latvia still has 14% unemployment. Hmm.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/14311-no-austerity-has-helped-the-economy

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You Can Move Washington, D.C. Forward on Climate Change

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-redford/climate-change-rally_b_2612571.html


On February 17, tens of thousands are coming together in Washington, D.C. to ask the president to stand up for climate. The Forward on Climate Rally is expected to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history.

How fitting that this will happen on President’s Day weekend after the inspiring inaugural address from President Obama about the moral necessity to tackle climate change for ourselves and for our children.

This is the beginning. The beginning of a real battle, for America’s future.

Real economic security is found in clean energy. That’s our future, not dirty energy that threatens us with ever worsening harm from climate change.

From rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to limiting carbon pollution from our nation’s dirty power plants, President Barack Obama’s legacy will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in solving the climate crisis.

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would carry the dirtiest oil on the planet from Canada to America’s Gulf Coast’s refineries and ports, and then most of it likely exported overseas. It would promote one of the most damaging industrial practices ever devised, to coax low-grade crude oil from tar sands. We don’t need another pipeline for Canadian tar sands. It’s not in our national interest but is a profit scheme for big oil that needs to be rejected.

And in addition to the ability to say no to this dirty fuels project, the president has both the authority and the responsibility to limit the amount of industrial carbon pollution emitted from power plants. Taking this action will set the right course for reducing carbon pollution domestically and send the right signals that the U.S. is ready to lead globally. The Natural Resources Defense Council has laid out a common-sense plan that will cut carbon pollution; provide jobs to thousands of Americans; and save families real money in electricity bills.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-redford/climate-change-rally_b_2612571.html

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