Friday Night Fun and Culture: Melody Gardot

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Trans mixed martial arts fighter to make television debut since being forced to come out

From Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/04/17/trans-mixed-martial-arts-fighter-to-make-television-debut-since-being-forced-to-come-out/

by
17 April 2013

A mixed martial arts fighter, who was forced out as transgender last month, is to make her television debut in what will be her third fight since she came out.

Fallon Fox, last month was forced to come out as transgender, following the discovery of her 2006 gender reassignment surgery by reporters.

37 year old Fox will face Allanna Jones in the semi finals of the 145 pound women’s championship tournament at the BankUnited Center. The Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) event, will air on 24 May on AXS TV.

She is so far undefeated in her professional career, having taken part in two fights.

Ronda Rousey, the woman’s champion at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), claimed in a recent interview with the New York Post that Fox had an unfair advantage because of her bone structure. Rousey did, however, say that she would fight Fox, if given the match.

The CEO of CFA Jorge de la Nova, came to the defence of Fox in a recent interview with ESPN, after criticism from some.

“As a promoter, obviously everyone who comes into my office, what I see is a fighter. I don’t ask anyone what their sexual preference is. What they do with their personal life is not my business. She’s a sweet girl. … And where we stand as a company is that she’s a female. She has her [boxing] license in Illinois. She has an Illinois driver’s license. She’s a female and she’s definitely a fighter. I just don’t see how anybody can revoke her license.”

Fox reportedly chose not to disclose that she is transgender on her licensing application, leading to an investigation by the Florida Boxing Commission. However, regulators have said she is allowed to continue fighting.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/04/17/trans-mixed-martial-arts-fighter-to-make-television-debut-since-being-forced-to-come-out/

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Sport is slowly catching up with transgender realities

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/sport-catching-up-transgender-realities

As a martial arts fighter is suspended for transphobic comments, it’s clear that space is gradually being made for trans people


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 April 2013

“The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione,” stated the mixed martial arts governing body, which recently suspended Mitrione after he called male-to-female transsexual fighter Fallon Fox “a lying, sick, sociopathic disgusting freak” in an online broadcast.

Fox had sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in 2006, before beginning her professional MMA career in 2012. She won her second women’s featherweight fight last month and subsequently came out as transsexual. In historical context, the ensuing furore was utterly predictable, even though the decision to allow Fox to compete was based upon the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines for transsexual athletes, ratified in 2004 and revised after the gender test row around Caster Semanya.

Back in Victorian Britain the sporting spheres for men and women became distinct. When women’s football became popular just after the first world war, the FA declared that its sport was “quite unsuitable for women” and banned them from forming teams, a rule that remained in place for 50 years. At the 1900 Olympics, women were allowed to compete in lawn tennis and golf, with only a few entering the co-ed sailing and croquet.

The fear that men would try to join female-only competitions grew with the introduction of women’s track and field events in 1928 – just as the first sex reassignment operations were pioneered in Germany – and rested upon the assumption that men were inherently physically superior. The first transsexual person to play in competitive sport after transitioning was Renée Richards. Richards was barred from the 1976 US Open by the United States Tennis Association, which cited an unprecedented women-born-women policy. She challenged the ban in the New York supreme court a year later and won, entering the 1977 Open – before losing in straight sets in the first round, suggesting that worries that transsexual women would always hold an unassailable advantage over their competitors were misplaced.

It was not until May 2004, however, that the IOC introduced a policy for transsexual and transgender athletes, stating that they must have legal recognition in their country, hormone therapy to “minimise gender-related advantages” and proof of at least two years of living in their “newly assigned gender” after SRS. The IOC policies were adopted in many other sports, allowing golfer Mianne Bagger to compete in tournaments worldwide, and Martine Delaney to play in Soccer Tasmania women’s division.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/sport-catching-up-transgender-realities

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A Day in a Queer Life in the U.S.: A Trans Man on Love and Marriage

For what it is worth there is no such thing as gay marriage or straight marriage.  With marriage equality there is just marriage or not marrying. That’s why same sex marriage is a misnomer.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-kellaway/a-day-in-a-queer-life-in-the-us_b_3105107.html


04/18/2013

“Would you rather get a same-sex marriage or a straight one? Or what about a ceremony with no legal strings attached?” My partner Jocelyn and I silently pondered my question as we strolled hand-in-hand down the street. Despite our penchant for a good game of 20 Questions, my stumper wasn’t just a way to pass the time. This was a moment of foreshadowing for our not-too-distant future.

Today, I am a queer transgender man planning my wedding to a queer cisgender woman.

Back on that spring afternoon, we were merely discussing a happy hypothetical. We were still months away from surprising each other with rings, having both secretly planned proposals in the same special spot.

To be frank, I wasn’t sure my question even had a legal leg to stand on. I still don’t know if a transgender person with, say, an “F” on their birth certificate and an “M” on their driver’s license can choose which one defines their marriage. Nevertheless, with weddings looming so large in cultural conversations about queerness, it at least seemed pertinent to wonder. In fact, I quite liked the thought that I could make a political statement if I took the road less travelled.

To take a step back, two years earlier we had just met. I was immediately drawn to Jocelyn by her style, her humor and her cute nose — and by a shared belief that the medical-legal complex should have no part in defining our private identities. We flirted by trading impassioned speeches against the system. We texted daily, excited to learn about each other’s mundane happenings as only a new couple can be. Along the way we fell in love.

It is no coincidence that two people assigned “female” at birth share such a deep understanding of each other’s hearts. At the same time, we delight in how far our gendered destinations have diverged. Nowadays, I cheer her ongoing reclamation of all things fabulous and femme. In turn, we celebrate my waxing and waning masculinities.

Jocelyn and I have become used to new beginnings. While gender change is among them, it hardly overshadows other early-adult milestones. I changed jobs. She graduated from college. I began writing. We picked a grownup apartment together. We put time into family get-togethers and weekend trips.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-kellaway/a-day-in-a-queer-life-in-the-us_b_3105107.html

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Five Attributes of Trans Allies

From Tranifesto:   http://tranifesto.com/2013/04/15/five-attributes-of-trans-allies/

by Matt Kailey
April 15, 2013

Last week in my Transgender Studies class, and also at a Diversity Day presentation that I made on the Auraria Campus, we talked about allies.

In my opinion, allies are an important component of any group. They add numbers, they add voices, and in some cases, they bring a certain amount of power that is lacking because of the way that a particular group is seen in the “mainstream,” where the group is trying to gain at least equality, if not acceptance.

That last contribution is unfortunate, but true. Without allies, many groups would not be able to move forward as rapidly and as successfully as they do with outside support. Allies are an important component of any movement. I have written about allies before, but I think it’s always a good time to revisit the topic, so I would like to outline what I consider to be five important attributes of trans allies:

1. A trans ally acknowledges his/her/hir own power and privilege and is aware of it, but also acknowledges ours. In other words, a trans ally understands that we are not victims and don’t need rescuing, but also understands that the support of allies is beneficial to our community.

Trans allies prefer to help us develop and utilize our personal power in situations where they have it and we don’t, rather than take over and wield their own power while we are silenced. I have done many co-presentations with non-trans allies (who are all fantastic, by the way), and a couple of time, I have felt almost used as a poster child to make a point about the injustices to which trans people are subjected.

While I appreciate the recognition of those injustices, and while I appreciate that non-trans people just learning about the topic might be more open to receiving this information from another non-trans person, I also feel that this drains my own personal power and removes my voice – and I do have one – from the conversation.

Of course, not all trans people have the same level of personal power, and for each of us, the amount of power we have depends on the situation at hand. But when we do have it, we need to be able to use it.

Continue reading at:  http://tranifesto.com/2013/04/15/five-attributes-of-trans-allies/

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Vietnam: Health Ministry recommends legalisation of same-sex marriage

From Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/04/18/vietnam-health-ministry-recommends-legalisation-of-same-sex-marriage/

by
18 April 2013

Vietnam’s Health Ministry has recommended that same-sex marriage should be legalised, citing research which shows the stigmatisation faced by LGBT people can have serious health repercussions

The Vietnamese government began considering recognition for same-sex couples in July last year, and on 16 April held a review on the Law on Marriage and Family, which currently prohibits marriage between same-sex couples.

TuoiTre and VietnamNet report that the Health Ministry submitted recommendations that same-sex marriage be legalised to promote the health and wellbeing of LGBT people, and to respect their human rights.

The Deputy Health Minister, Nguyen Viet Tien, told the government that everyone has the right to “live with what one actually has” – which includes accepting the identities of the country’s LGBT population.

“In the angle of human rights, homosexuals also have right to live, eat, wear, love and be loved and pursue happiness. In the angle of citizenship, they have the right to work, study, have medial examination and treatment, register birth, death, marry…. and have rights and perform the obligations with the State and society,” he said.

He spoke of the need to promote acceptance of gay couples, citing research carried out by Vietnam’s Institute of Social, Economic and Environment Research (ISEE).

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/04/18/vietnam-health-ministry-recommends-legalisation-of-same-sex-marriage/

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French PM urges calm as gay marriage heads to final vote

From France 24:  http://www.france24.com/en/20130418-french-pm-urges-calm-gay-marriage-heads-final-vote

18 April 2013

AFP – French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called for calm as the National Assembly prepared to give its final approval to a bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption.

The lower house National Assembly began its second reading of the bill late Wednesday and was to give its final approval on April 23, under a fast-track measure that limited debate to 25 hours.

Opposition to the bill has failed to die down, despite it being approved by the Senate last week, with critics vowing mass protests to derail the proposition.

Several thousand opponents to the bill crammed the streets of Paris on Wednesday, waving banners that read “A father, a mother, it’s basic” or criticised French President Francois Hollande.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned acts of violence during the protests “in spite of promises made by the organisers”.

Several people were detained for questioning after cars and public property were damaged and police officers and journalists attacked, said Valls.

Continue reading at:  http://www.france24.com/en/20130418-french-pm-urges-calm-gay-marriage-heads-final-vote

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WikiLeaks cables confirm collusion between Vatican and dictators

From World Socialist Web Site:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/15/vati-a15.html

By Marc Wells
15 April 2013

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks released a new archive of 1.3 million diplomatic cables and intelligence records last Monday encompassing the years 1973 through 1976, dubbed “The Kissinger Cables.”

The database includes documents revealing the ruthless operations led by the US worldwide, at a time when the international working class was on the offensive and the bourgeoisie was waging a ruthless counterattack.

Among the cables, a series of diplomatic communications exposes the relationships between the Vatican and a number of dictatorial regimes, from Chile’s Augusto Pinochet to Argentina’s Jorge Rafael Videla to Spain’s Francisco Franco.

On September 11, 1973, a CIA-backed coup led by general Pinochet overthrew the elected government of Socialist Party President Salvador Allende. In Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship, thousands of left-wing activists, students, trade unionists and anyone suspected of opposing Chilean and international capital were killed or disappeared by the regime. Hundreds of thousands were jailed and tortured, or sent into exile.

The names of these criminal state operations, such as “Operation Condor” or “The Caravan of Death” are forever embedded in the consciousness of Chilean workers. Pinochet’s “struggle against Marxism” remains one of the most violent developments in the history of the 20th century.

The main goal of such struggle was to destroy the working class and its organizations, both physically and through the imposition of aggressive economic policies of privatization and deregulation. These created a model of enrichment by a small oligarchy for the following decades.

Many governments joined this “struggle,” with the US leading the pack. President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger allocated $8 million for the campaign to destabilize Allende. While maintaining an appearance of liberal reforms and a more relaxed policy toward the USSR initiated by John XXIII, the Vatican, led by Pope Paul VI, lent support to the Chilean dictator.

In a cable dated October 18, 1973, Archbishop Giovanni Benelli, Vatican Deputy Secretary of State, denied the crimes committed by Pinochet’s junta, expressing “his and Pope’s grave concern over successful international leftist campaign to misconstrue completely realities of Chilean situation.”

More precisely, the cable documents Benelli’s view on the “exaggerated coverage of events as possibly greatest success of communist propaganda, and highlighted fact that even moderate and conservative circles seem quite disposed to believe grossest lies about Chilean junta’s excesses.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/15/vati-a15.html

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High Schooler Protests ‘Slut-Shaming’ Abstinence Assembly Despite Alleged Threats From Her Principal

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/17/1883121/west-virginia-abstinence-assembly/?mobile=nc

By Tara Culp-Ressler
on Apr 17, 2013

A West Virginia high school student is filing an injunction against her principal, who she claims is threatening to punish her for speaking out against a factually inaccurate abstinence assembly at her school. Katelyn Campbell, who is the student body vice president at George Washington High School, alleges her principal threatened to call the college where she’s been accepted to report that she has “bad character.”

George Washington High School recently hosted a conservative speaker, Pam Stenzel, who travels around the country to advocate an abstinence-only approach to teen sexuality. Stenzel has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric to convince young people that they will face dire consequences for becoming sexually active. At GW’s assembly, Stenzel allegedly told students that “if you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” She also asserted that condoms aren’t safe, and every instance of sexual contact will lead to a sexually transmitted infection.

Campbell refused to attend the assembly, which was funded by a conservative religious organization called “Believe in West Virginia” and advertised with fliers that proclaimed “God’s plan for sexual purity.” Instead, she filed a complaint with the ACLU and began to speak out about her objections to this type of school-sponsored event. Campbell called Stenzel’s presentation “slut shaming” and said that it made many students uncomfortable.

GW Principal George Aulenbacher, on the other hand, didn’t see anything wrong with hosting Stenzel. “The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence. Sometimes, that can be a touchy topic, but I was not offended by her,” he told the West Virginia Gazette last week.

But it didn’t end with a simple difference of opinion among Campbell and her principal. The high school senior alleges that Aulenbacher threatened to call Wellesley College, where Campbell has been accepted to study in the fall, after she spoke to the press about her objections to the assembly. According to Campbell, her principal said, “How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?” Campbell alleges that Aulenbacher continued to berate her in his office, eventually driving her to tears. “He threatened me and my future in order to put forth his own personal agenda and make teachers and students feel they cant speak up because of fear of retaliation,” she said of the incident.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/17/1883121/west-virginia-abstinence-assembly/?mobile=nc

See Also:

Wonkette: Nice Time: Wellesley All ‘Hell Yeah’ To Insolent West Virginia Anti-Abstinence Teen

RH Reality Check: Abstinence-Only Speaker Makes Kids Cry—Then Fight Back

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Study: Belief in an angry God associated with variety of mental illnesses

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/17/study-belief-in-an-angry-god-associated-with-variety-of-mental-illnesses/

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

People who believe in an angry, punishing God are much more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, a scientific study published in the April edition of Journal of Religion & Health finds.

The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton, used data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults to examine the links between beliefs and anxiety disorders like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion.

To do this, Silton viewed the data through the lens of what’s called Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, which posits that parts of the brain specifically evolved to detect threats, and suggests that many anxiety disorders may be a result of dysfunction in the brain’s perception of those threats.

In keeping with prior studies on this very subject, she queried the data on three types of believers: those who see God as angry, those who see God as neutral and those who see God as loving. Controlling specifically to weed out the non-believers, Silton found that a belief in a forgiving, loving God is associated with positive psychological traits, “almost protecting against psychopathology,” she told Raw Story.

But for those who think God is angry and preparing punishments for sinners, “that belief seems to be very much related to these negative symptoms,” Silton said.

“If you look at the previous research, they’ve connected it to depression and all sorts of other psychiatric disorders,” she said. “We were looking at social phobia, obsession, compulsion, paranoia and a lot of features of anxiety disorders.”

One thing Silton stressed is that her study should not be construed to have found a cause for such symptoms. “We are not looking at casual findings here,” she said. “We are looking at correlational findings. That means we’re not saying belief caused psychiatric symptoms, but we see relationships between beliefs and these psychiatric symptoms.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/17/study-belief-in-an-angry-god-associated-with-variety-of-mental-illnesses/

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The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/17

by Norman Solomon

After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”

In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”

Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.

One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market. “The bombs struck next to the hospital complex and near the market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia’s third-largest city with shrapnel,” a dispatch in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 8, 1999.

And: “In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots.”

Pointing out that cluster bombs “explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius,” BBC correspondent John Simpson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare.”

Savage did not preclude usage. As a matter of fact, to Commander in Chief Bill Clinton and the prevailing military minds in Washington, savage was bound up in the positive attributes of cluster bombs. Each one could send up to 60,000 pieces of jagged steel shrapnel into what the weapon’s maker described as “soft targets.”

An unusually diligent reporter, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Timesreported from Pristina, Yugoslavia: “During five weeks of airstrikes, witnesses here say, NATO warplanes have dropped cluster bombs that scatter smaller munitions over wide areas. In military jargon, the smaller munitions are bomblets. Dr. Rade Grbic, a surgeon and director of Pristina’s main hospital, sees proof every day that the almost benign term bomblet masks a tragic impact. Grbic, who saved the lives of two ethnic Albanian boys wounded while other boys played with a cluster bomb found Saturday, said he had never done so many amputations.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/17

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It’s time to bury not just Thatcher – but Thatcherism

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/bury-not-just-thatcher-but-thatcherism

She didn’t save Britain or turn the economy round. We need to break with her failed model to escape its baleful consequences


The Guardian, Tuesday 16 April 2013

They have only themselves to blame. Protests were always likely at any official sendoff for the most socially destructive prime minister in modern British history. But by turning Margaret Thatcher’s funeral into a state-funded Tory jamboree, puffed up with pomp and bombast, David Cameron and his acolytes have made them a certainty – and fuelled a political backlash into the bargain.

As the bishop of Grantham, Thatcher’s home town, put it, spending £10m of public money to “glorify” her legacy in the month benefits are slashed and tax cuts handed to the rich is “asking for trouble”. What’s planned today isn’t a national commemoration, but a military-backed party spectacle.

It’s a state funeral in all but name, laid on for none of the last seven prime ministers. Nothing of the kind has been seen since the death of Winston Churchill, who really did unite the country for a time against the mortal threat from Nazi Germany. Thatcher did the opposite, of course, though every effort will be made today to milk her short but bloody colonial conflict in the south Atlantic for all its jingoistic worth.

It’s hardly a surprise that 60% of the population oppose the public subsidy, or that Buckingham Palace is alarmed at the funeral’s regal dimensions. Now the decision to silence Big Ben has tipped the whole saga into the realm of offensive absurdity.

There’s been much talk about a need for dignity and respect. But the prospect of the leader of a class war government being treated like a respected head of state is itself an insult to the half of Britain that recoils from her memory and the millions of people whose communities were devastated by her policies.

From the moment the former prime minister died there has been a determined drive by the Tories and their media allies to rewrite history and rehabilitate a deeply damaged brand. For a few days of fawning wall-to-wall coverage it seemed like that might be working, as happened in the US after Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/bury-not-just-thatcher-but-thatcherism

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America Keeps Honoring One of Its Worst Mass Murderers: Henry Kissinger

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/america-keeps-honoring-one-worst-mass-murderers-all-time-henry-kissinger

He ruined the lives of millions of Indochinese innocents and overthrew democratically elected governments, yet he keeps being rewarded and lauded.

By Fred Branfman
April 16, 2013

Henry Kissinger’s quote recently  released by Wikileaks,” the illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer“, likely brought a smile to his legions of elite media, government, corporate and high society admirers. Oh that Henry! That rapier wit! That trademark insouciance! That naughtiness! It is unlikely, however, that the descendants of his more than 6 million victims in Indochina, and Americans of conscience appalled by his murder of non-Americans, will share in the amusement. For his illegal and unconstitutional actions had real-world consequences: the ruined lives of millions of Indochinese innocents in a new form of secret, automated, amoral U.S. Executive warfare which haunts the world until today.

And his conduct raises even more fundamental questions: to what extent can leaders who act secretly ,illegally and unconstitutionally, lying to their citizenry and legislature as a matter of course, legitimately claim to represent their people? How much allegiance do citizens owe such leaders? And what does it say about America’s elites that they have honored a man with so much innocent blood on his hands for the past 40 years?

Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs** between January 1969 and January 1973 – nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam – Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital – which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings**, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.

There is a word for the aerial mass murder that Henry Kissinger committed  in Indochina, and that word is “evil”. The figure most identified with this word today is Adolph Hitler, and his evil was so unspeakable that the term is by now identified with him. But that is precisely why it is important to understand the new face of evil and moral depravity that Henry Kissinger represents. For evil not only comes in the form of madmen dreaming of 1000 year Reichs. In fact, in our day, it is more likely to be committed by sane, genial and ordinary careerists waging invisible automated war in far-off lands against people whose screams we never hear, whose faces we never see, and whose deaths go unrecorded and unnoticed. It is critical to understand this new face of evil, for it threatens not only countless foreigners but Americans in coming years. And no one has embodied it more than Henry Kissinger.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/america-keeps-honoring-one-worst-mass-murderers-all-time-henry-kissinger

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Inclusive Prosperity Act – Robinhood vs. Banksters

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Keystone Pipeline Will Create Only 35 Permanent Jobs, Emit 51 Coal Plants’ Worth Of Carbon

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/17/1885621/keystone-pipeline-will-create-only-35-permanent-jobs-emit-51-coal-plants-worth-of-carbon/

By Ryan Koronowski
on Apr 17, 2013

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he wasn’t touching the Keystone pipeline decision with a ten-foot pole:

“I am staying as far away from that as I can now so that when the appropriate time comes to me, I am not getting information from any place I shouldn’t be, and I am not getting engaged in the debate at a time that I shouldn’t be,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Right now, Kerry has the State Department’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, but if that is all he information he relies on, he won’t get the full picture. While he will see that the project will only bring 35 permanent jobs, which is true, he would also see almost no discussion of the pipeline’s impact on the climate. (Oddly, he will be able to read an extended discussion of climate change’s projected impacts on the construction and maintenance of the proposed pipeline.)

So where is a Secretary of State sincerely concerned about climate change to go to find the climate consequences of approving the Keystone XL pipeline? He could peruse a new report out yesterday from Oil Change International called: “Cooking the Books: How The State Department Analysis Ignores The True Climate Impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

The report’s recommendation:

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/17/1885621/keystone-pipeline-will-create-only-35-permanent-jobs-emit-51-coal-plants-worth-of-carbon/

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The Lost Woods Of Rachel Carson

From Red Wedge Magazine:  http://www.redwedgemagazine.com/4/post/2013/04/the-lost-woods-of-rachel-carson.html

Bob Simpson
04/15/2013

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel CarsonRachel Carson had a life-long love affair with nature that was accompanied by a deep and terrible sense of loss because of the human destruction wreaked upon the biosphere. Although Carson’s literary fame is based on only 5 books, she also wrote numerous short pieces during her employment at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as newspaper stories, magazine articles, speeches and personal letters. She was among the finest writers of 20th century USA.

Her biographer Linda Lear has done a great service by sharing a sample of these  virtually unknown Carson writings in her collection Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson. These give us a glimpse of the living breathing woman behind the environmental icon.

A woman destined to be a writerCarson’s first nature writing was published at the age of 15 in St Nicholas Magazine, a children’s literary magazine that helped launch the careers of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, e.e. cummings, Edna St.Vincent Millay and E.B White.

A selection, from her story “My Favorite Recreation,” follows:

The call of the trail on that dewy May morning was too strong to withstand. The sun was barely an hour high when Pal and I set off for a day of our favorite sport with a lunchbox, a canteen, a notebook, and a camera…

…Soon our trail turned aside into deeper woodland. It wound up a gently sloping hill, carpeted with fragrant pine needles. It was our own discovery, Pal’s and mine, and the fact gave us a thrill of exultation. It was a sort of place that awes you by its majestic silence, interrupted only by the rustling breeze and the distant tinkle of water.

As a lyrical prose stylist with a love of poetry, she paid meticulous attention to the craft of writing as well as to the exacting details of science. Having grown up as a voracious reader and knowing that she wanted to be a writer from a young age, she had an abiding faith in the power of the printed word.

Continue reading at:  http://www.redwedgemagazine.com/4/post/2013/04/the-lost-woods-of-rachel-carson.html

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Sandra Steingraber, Others Get 15 Days in Jail for Civil Disobedience Against Gas Co.

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/18-7

‘My Small, Non-Violent Act vs. Larger, More Violent, Toxic Trespass’ of Inergy Corporation

Jon Queally, staff writer

Three upstate New York community members-cum-activists, charged with criminal trespass for blockading a gas company installation last month, were sentenced to 15 days in jail on Wednesday by a local judge in an upstate courthouse.

Among those sentenced was university biology professor and author Sandra Steingraber, who delivered an impassioned statement ahead of the sentencing explaining why she was compelled to civil disobedience and why she would refuse to pay the fine levied by the judge.

“My small, non-violent act of trespass,” said Steingraber to the crowd, “is set against a larger, more violent one: the trespass of hazardous chemicals into water and air and thereby into our bodies. This is a form of toxic trespass.”

Speaking with journalist Bill Moyers just one day prior to the sentencing, Steingraber explained why she and other community members felt in necessary to protest “plans to store millions of barrels of highly-pressurized liquid propane and butane — gases produced in the controversial process of fracking — in [local] salt caverns.”

Also sentenced on Wednesday were massage therapist Melissa Chapman and local farm owner Michael Dineen.

The courtroom at sentencing, according to reports, was brimming over with more than 150 supporters and onlookers.

The gas compression site they were blockading, owned by Missouri-based Inergy corporation, is part of an underground ‘gas storage operation’ near the region’s Seneca Lake, which provides drinking water for more than 100,000 area residents.

Opponents of the project, including those sentenced, say the project is a danger to families, farms and the health of the local ecosystem. In addition, they contend, Inergy has continually undermined safety regulations and blocked calls attempts to compell disclosure of vital information about the nature of the project.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/18-7

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Why can’t we quit fossil fuels?

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/17/why-cant-we-give-up-fossil-fuels

Despite the clean technology of the past decade, we continue to extract and burn fossil fuels more than ever before


The Guardian, Wednesday 17 April 2013

We have far more oil, coal and gas than we can safely burn. For all the millions of words written about climate change, the challenge really comes down to this: fuel is enormously useful, massively valuable and hugely important geopolitically, but tackling global warming means leaving most of it in the ground – by choice. Although we often hear more about green technology, consumption levels or population growth, leaving fuel in the ground is the crux of the issue. After all, the climate doesn’t know or care how much renewable or nuclear energy we’ve got, how efficient our cars and homes are, how many people there are, or even how we run the economy. It only cares how much globe-warming pollution we emit – and that may be curiously immune to the measures we usually assume will help.

There are three facts that tell you all you really need to know about climate science and politics. One: for all the uncertainty about the detail, every science academy in the world accepts the mainstream view of man-made global warming. Two: virtually every government, recognising the profound danger of tampering with the climate that allowed human society to thrive, has agreed the world must limit the global temperature increase to 2C – a level which isn’t by any means “safe” but may be enough to avoid the worst impacts. Three: the amount of warming we will experience goes up roughly in proportion to the total amount of carbon that global society emits – cumulatively.

Here is the rub. Even if we gave up on all the obscure and unconventional fossil fuel resources that companies are spending billions trying to access and just burned the “proven” oil, coal and gas reserves – the ones that are already economically viable – we would emit almost 3tn tonnes of carbon dioxide. No one can say exactly how much warming that would cause, but it is overwhelmingly likely that we would shoot well past 2C and towards 3C or even 4C of warming.

Four degrees might not sound much but at the planetary level it is. It is about the same as the temperature increase observed since the ice age’s “last glacial maximum”, when much of the northern hemisphere was trapped under ice as thick as the world’s five tallest skyscrapers stacked on top of each other. It is impossible to say what changes another three or four degrees would bring, but the impacts could very plausibly include a collapse in global food production, catastrophic droughts and floods, heatwaves and the beginning of ice-sheet melt that could eventually raise the sea level enough to wipe out many of the world’s great cities.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/17/why-cant-we-give-up-fossil-fuels

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