Christo-Fascist Bigot Tony Perkins Wages War On ENDA: Gay People ‘Want To Put Their Bedroom In The Workplace

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/tony-perkins-wages-war-on-enda-gay-people-want-to-put-their-bedroom-in-the-workplace/politics/2013/06/17/68887

by David Badash
on June 17, 2013

Tony Perkins is waging war on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will co-sponsor. ENDA, ore similar legislation, has been introduced in every Congress except one in some form or another since 1974 — that’s almost four decades. It would finally make firing someone for being LGBT against the law. And Perkins, head of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, just cannot stand the thought that gay people couldn’t be fired for being gay. While it’s illegal to fire, say, Tony Perkins for being a Christian or a person over 40, and it’s illegal to fire anyone for the color of their skin or their heritage, sadly, today, in the vast majority of states across our nation, LGBT people can be fired merely for being LGBT.

Calling ENDA “a sweeping proposal that could destroy personal freedom in the American workplace,” Perkins tells his followers “the bill itself discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality on the job.”

While not explaining exactly what “cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality” are, Perkins wrongly states “ENDA creates special employment protections solely on the basis of a person’s sexual preferences.”

Those “special protections” Perkins is claiming?

In reality, being LGBT is a fact of birth — people are born LGBT — while being a Christian, or Catholic, or Muslim, or any faith at all is a choice. The First Amendment provides “special protections” for the choice people make to believe a certain way, so why shouldn’t we have a law to protect people from discrimination based on a fact of birth, as we do for most minority statuses?

Perkins quotes his own Peter Sprigg — the man who single-handedly contributed most to the Family Research Council landing on the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s anti-gay hate list — who claims that “the most fundamental standard of all” in the workplace is “that people be dressed in a way appropriate for their biological sex!”

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/tony-perkins-wages-war-on-enda-gay-people-want-to-put-their-bedroom-in-the-workplace/politics/2013/06/17/68887

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NOW Deplores Passage by U.S. House of Nationwide 20 Week Abortion Ban UPDATE: Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

NOW Press Release:  http://now.org/press/06-13/06-18.html

June 18, 2013

After voting to move forward on the vote, the House of Representatives has approved — in a nearly party-line vote of 228-196 — Rep. Trent Franks’ appalling nationwide 20-week abortion ban. This bill represents the most restrictive abortion legislation to come to a vote in either chamber over the past decade and is a clear violation of Roe v. Wade. Anyone who thinks the Republican leadership’s war on women is moderating, let alone over, is mistaken.

This bill places the health and well-being of women in the hands of ideologues more interested in politics than women’s lives. By banning abortion after 20 weeks and cutting funding to necessary social safety nets, among other policy decisions, the Republican members of the House continue to show their true colors.

No amount of softening rhetoric or moderate posturing will change the harsh reality that today’s GOP is out of step and out of touch when it comes to women. We at NOW are not fooled, and neither are women voters.

NOW will continue to fight for a comprehensive approach to achieving reproductive justice for all women – from expanding reproductive health services in every community to ending the discrimination and inequality that keep women from controlling their own reproductive lives.

 

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A socialist take on gun violence, state violence, and workers’ right to self-defense

From Freedom Socialist:  http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/2195

Monica Hill
June 2013

Reposted with Permission

 

The mad killing of 20 first-graders and six of their teachers in Newtown, Conn., followed by the mayhem of the Boston Marathon bombs, has ignited passionate discussion about gun violence in the U.S.

Misery and death inflicted on the innocent, and especially children, are devastating. But the furor over these mass assaults by individuals — terrible, but rare — obscures the routine violence of a country spreading poverty at home and war abroad. And the mainstream debate doesn’t even touch upon the need and right of working and oppressed people to effectively defend themselves against an inhumane social order that is utterly dependent on armed force to survive.

For anyone concerned about reducing violence, these are very real issues.

Poverty kills. Of all the U.S. deaths in 2000, 36 percent were caused by social diseases such as racist segregation, income inequality, inadequate social services, minimal education, and poverty. So concluded an impressive Columbia University study reported in the American Journal of Public Health in 2011.

By comparison, just over 1 percent of U.S. deaths in 2010 were gun deaths. And three out of five of these were suicides, not homicides.

It’s clear that, first, these statistics hardly support tightening gun laws and, second, poverty and inequality are far more fatal than guns.

Joblessness, dangerous jobs, stingy or nonexistent healthcare, environmental ills, and systemic sexism and racism are taking a profound toll. Their cause is the capitalist economy, owned and run by a very few individuals of obscene wealth and power.

Integral to this economy is the weapons industry, with its arms lobbyists including the NRA. Now this industry’s profits are bolstered by the permanent “war on terror,” which has intensified the U.S. culture of militarism and provides justification for foreign wars and for repression, spying, and torture abroad and at home. They call it “national security,” but the intent is to keep rebellion at bay.

When armed self-defense is needed. The Freedom Socialist Party, like socialists historically, supports the right of the oppressed class to physical self-defense.

In the U.S., armed self-defense has been essential for colonial, working-class and civil rights fighters — from the U.S. revolution against King George’s military in the 18th century to the anti-slavery revolution of the Civil War 80 years later.

In his book Negroes with Guns, Robert Williams describes how Blacks in North Carolina who were organizing to integrate public swimming pools in the early 1960s had to fortify their homes with sandbags and train with rifles to stop night raids by the Ku Klux Klan. During the civil rights movement, guards for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were armed as well as Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee members and Black Panthers. Being prepared for self-defense prevented blood from being shed.

In a long, hard 1973 strike in Harlan County, Ky., coal miners and their wives refused to back down from gun-toting company goons and took up weapons. That same year, American Indian Movement warriors held off FBI and tribal cops at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. Native Americans continue to take seriously their sovereign right to bear arms.

U.S. gun control has generally had as its targets the poor and oppressed, as with the disarming of former slaves in the South after the Civil War. Today, Florida is a case study in the double standard, with a “stand your ground” law protecting paranoid racists, but Black mother Marissa Alexander sentenced to 20 years for firing into the ceiling to stop her abusive husband.

Collective resistance is still necessary to protect against government and right-wing violence. For instance, Radical Women has called for armed self-defense training to protect volunteer guards against harassers of abortion clinics, who have a record of bombings and murders.

Striking workers who face armed cops and company mercenaries also deserve protection. So do activists who stand up to neo-Nazis or campaign against police brutality. So do those who are often prey to street violence: women, targets of racist and anti-gay thugs, people with mental and physical disabilities, the homeless. So do immigrants at the mercy of Border Patrol agents and vigilantes.

Communities could organize gun training with union members and neighborhood associations to defend all these groups, and many military vets would be willing to help.

The right to overthrow the system. Though guns are a small contributor to death and injury statistically, it’s still true that many communities live under a shadow of gun violence from within.

More gun control laws are not the answer. What would help, and help in a big way, is legalizing drugs, funding effective drug rehab programs, and involving gang members and trusted community leaders in supporting gang truces.

But what will make the most difference in people’s lives is attacking the violence of the system — which is at the root of most individual acts of harm to start with. Putting armed guards in schools has turned out to increase student expulsions, especially of kids of color. Instead, let’s fight for reopening and fully funding closed public schools while reducing class sizes, preserving and expanding ethnic studies, bringing back art and music, and hiring more teachers, counselors, and librarians — and paying them better. Let’s fight for generous funding to create productive jobs, restore social services, and provide quality physical and mental healthcare, including suicide prevention programs.

And let’s fight for the money to pay for all of this by shutting down the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon. That would take care of oceans of gun violence!

Capitalism is proving in its time of trouble that it is willing to let people starve in isolation rather than pay for collective human welfare. And that it will protect itself “by any means necessary,” in Malcolm X’s famous phrase. The U.S. ruling class will bomb foreign countries, strip away civil liberties at home, throw the poor to the wolves, and put more people behind bars than anywhere else in the world.

For socialists, the popular right to self-defense is not a legalistic thing, it’s a right of the working-class majority. It extends all the way from Mace in a woman’s purse or pocket right on up to revolution to overthrow tyranny.

And isn’t that exactly what we’re facing?

Kathleen Merrigan contributed research for this story. Send feedback to Monica Hill at fsnews@mindspring.com.

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Russell Brand on MSNBC Mocking Media

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Financial Totalitarianism: The Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Rule of Speculative Capital

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/16911-financial-totalitarianism-the-economic-political-social-and-cultural-rule-of-speculative-capital

By Max Haiven
Wednesday, 12 June 2013

At the end of May, it was revealed that a new bill for the regulation of the banking and financial sector was, for all intents and purposes, drafted by Citigroup. This is only the latest in a long list of what can only be called legalized corruption at the highest levels of American power, which has ultimately led to no meaningful policy or legal change in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Avid readers of intrepid Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi and others cannot help but be sickened and struck by the impunity and hubris of America’s financial elites, even as astute students of history will point out the previous moments when the power and influence of financiers has overshadowed economics and politics.

Totalitarianism is not an inappropriate term, not simply because the financial realm holds such a great deal of wealth and power. The term was coined by the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to praise the system he created where the ruling ideology dominated every aspect of citizens’ lives. Not only did the fascist state ruthlessly and autocratically dominate the economy and politics, it also sought to transform social life and the culture of the nation to become a total way of life. While there is no pompous fascist figurehead, we can see the tremendous power of the financial sector as a form of disorganized or ad-hoc totalitarianism where financial power and modes of thinking increasingly stain the social fabric. And like the totalitarianisms of old, the “financialization” of life is ultimately directed by and benefits a tiny minority, at the expense of everyone else.
Financialization” generally refers to two overlapping economic processes. First, it speaks to the way an increasing portion of a nation’s wealth is bound up with or represented by the financial sector (generally referred to as the FIRE sector for Finance, Insurance and Real Estate), and, consequently, the tremendous influence of the financial sector over corporations, governments and individuals. American financial earnings represent around 8.4% of the national income, rendering the financial sector one of America’s largest “industries.” The wealthiest 10% of the population owns 88% of financial assets, which has helped contribute to the present situation where roughly 40% of the nation’s wealth is controlled by the top 1%, and where the average net worth of the poorest 40% of Americans is almost negative $10,000 (roughly negative $15,000 if home equity is factored out). Financialization means the increased power of banks, hedge funds, private equity firms and other financial actors, and the increasing wealth and power of the top percentile of Americans.
But financialization also refers to the way financial goals, ideas and practices start to shape and influence economic actors outside and beyond the financial sector. So, for instance, increasingly corporations don’t see themselves as producers of goods and services (let alone as employers or community members) but rather as vehicles for financial speculation. Thanks to the so-called “revolution in shareholder value” that saw “activist” financiers take control of corporate governance in the ’90s and early 2000s, most publicly traded companies have oriented their operations not toward steady and reliable profit but toward quarter-to-quarter improvements in stock prices. This has basically meant that non-financial corporations (from major food producers to technology firms) have become obsessed with “performing” innovation and efficiency by firing workers, off-shoring and contracting-out aspects of their businesses, and engaging in risky accounting and financial practices. As corporate America becomes increasingly financialized, it becomes more and more obsessed with squeezing as much money as possible out of consumers and workers, and increasingly callous about things like ecological destruction, the consequences for community, and even the long-term welfare of the corporation itself.
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America’s private prison system is a national disgrace

From The Guardian UK:    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/13/aclu-lawsuit-east-mississippi-correctional-facility

An ACLU lawsuit against a prison in Mississippi is the latest to detail flagrant abuses at a private correctional facility


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 13 June 2013

The privatization of traditional government functions – and big government payments to private contractors – isn’t limited to international intelligence operations like the National Security Agency. It’s happening with little oversight in dozens of areas once the province of government, from schools to airports to the military. The shifting of government responsibilities to private actors isn’t without consequence, as privatization often comes with a lack of oversight and a series of abuses. One particularly stunning example is the American prison system, the realities of which should be a national disgrace.

Some of those realities are highlighted in a recent lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF). EMCF houses severely mentally ill prisoners, with the supposed intent of providing both incarceration and treatment. Instead, the ACLU contends, the facility, which is operated by private contractors, is rife with horrific abuses. As the ACLU states, it is

“an extremely dangerous facility operating in a perpetual state of crisis, where prisoners live in barbaric and horrific conditions and their basic human rights are violated daily.”

The complaint lists a litany of such horrors, but here are a few highlights: rampant rapes. Placing prisoners in solitary confinement for weeks, months or even years at a time, where the only way to get a guard’s attention in an emergency is to set a fire. Rat infestations so bad that vermin crawl over prisoners; sometimes, the rats are captured, put on leashes and sold as pets to the most severely mentally ill inmates. Many suicide attempts, some successful. The untreated mentally ill throw feces, scream, start fires, electrocute themselves and self-mutilate. Denying or delaying treatment for infections and even cancer. Stabbings, beatings and other acts of violence. Juveniles being housed with adults, including one 16-year-old who was sexually assaulted by his adult cell mate. Malnourishment and chronic hunger. Officers who deal with prisoners by using physical violence.

One prisoner allegedly attempted to hang himself. He was cut down by guards, given oxygen and put on supervision, but wasn’t taken to an emergency room, let alone given psychiatric care during the suicide watch. Without seeing a psychiatrist, his medication dosage was increased.

A severely ill 16-year-old with “a long history of being physically and sexually abused in addition to suffering from a traumatic brain injury, limited intellectual functioning, self-harm, and psychosis” was moved to EMCF from a juvenile detention center. His cell allegedly had a broken lock, and so other prisoners were able to enter. Five or six of them beat him. He was moved to a solitary confinement unit and, when he voiced his suicidal ideations and asked to see a psychiatrist, was deemed “manipulating to be moved”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/13/aclu-lawsuit-east-mississippi-correctional-facility

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Everything Americans Think They Know About Drugs Is Wrong: A Scientist Explodes the Myths

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/drugs-addiction

Columbia University scientist Carl Hart combines research and anecdotes from his life to explain how false assumptions have created a disastrous drug policy.

By Kristen GwynneJune 13, 2013

What many Americans, including many scientists, think they know about drugs is turning out to be totally wrong. For decades, drug war propaganda has brainwashed Americans into blaming drugs for problems ranging from crime to economic deprivation. In his new book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, Carl Hart blows apart the most common myths about drugs and their impact on society, drawing in part on his personal experience growing up in an impoverished Miami neighborhood. Hart has used marijuana and cocaine, carried guns, sold drugs, and participated in other petty crime, like shoplifting. A combination of what he calls choice and chance brought him to the Air Force and college, and finally made him the first black, tenured professor of sciences at Columbia University.

Intertwined with his story about the struggles of families and communities stressed by lack of capital and power over their surroundings is striking new research on substance use. Hart uses his life and work to reveal that drugs are not nearly as harmful as many think. For example, most people who use the most “addicting” drugs do not develop a problem. Rather, Hart says, drugs are scapegoated for problems related to poverty. The policies that result from this misconception are catastrophically misguided. AlterNet spoke with Hart about his life and research.

Kristen Gynne: What are some of the false conclusions about drugs you are challenging?

Carl Hart: There are multiple false conclusions. There is a belief, for example, that crack cocaine is so addictive it only took one hit to get hooked, and that it is impossible to use heroin without becoming addicted. There was another belief that methamphetamine users are cognitively impaired. All of these are myths that have have been perpetuated primarily by law enforcement, and law enforcement deals with a limited, select group of people—people who are, in many cases, behaving badly. But to generalize that to all drug users is not only shortsighted and naive, it’s also irresponsible. The impact of that irresponsible behavior has been borne primarily by black communities. Nobody really cares about black communities, and that’s why this irresponsible behavior has been allowed to continue.

It’s also true that we’ve missed critical opportunities to challenge our basic assumptions about drugs. If drugs really were as damaging as we are led to believe, a respectable society should do something to address that problem. But the thing is, the very assumptions driving our drug policy are wrong, and must be questioned.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/drugs-addiction

See Also:

Raw Story: Scientists decry ‘the worst case of scientific censorship since the church banned Copernicus’

Raw Story: Why the ‘War on Drugs’ has been made redundant

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