Anti-Transgender Discrimination Hurts Families

Hidden in plain view: A trans activist reflects on performing at MichFest

This is super cool.  Maybe it is time for those of us who were involved in the feminist and lesbian feminist movement while stealth to come out and claim our places in history thereby giving lie to the idea we didn’t exist back then or weren’t involved.

From PQ Monthly:

By Erin Rook
July 18, 2013

It’s been more than two decades since musician and trans activist Jenn Burleton performed on stage at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, but the annual event still maintains its controversial ban on women like her.

Though the executive director of TransActive Education & Advocacy is publicly out about her trans identity today, she wasn’t when she played guitar for the thousands of women gathered on “the land” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

The musicians she played with have continued to perform the fest, as recently as 2013, though at least one has announced they won’t return next year. A number of performers have either pulled out of the 2013 lineup or declined to return in response to a petition created by trans activist Red Durkin opposing the trans-exclusive admission policy.

Burleton shared her unique perspective with PQ Monthly as a trans woman who experienced MichFest both under the radar and in the spotlight.

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Glenn Greenwald: Growing Backlash Against NSA Spying Shows Why U.S. Wants to Silence Edward Snowden

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Judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Bradley Manning trial

From The Guardian UK:

Defence witness ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ after Col Denise Lind declines to throw out charges against WikiLeaks source

in New York
The Guardian, Thursday 18 July 2013

The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against him – that he knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet.

The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole. The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has led to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.

Colonel Morris Davis, one of the key witnesses called by Manning’s defence team in an attempt to have the “aiding the enemy” charge dropped, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the ruling. Davis was director of the US air force’s judicial system from 2007 to 2008 and said he was normally a defender of military justice.

But he said the fact that military prosecutors were pursuing Manning with such a heavy hand had forced him to think again. He pointed to the contrast between the full-blooded prosecution of the US soldier and the outcome of the court martial that flowed from the 2005 Haditha killings in Iraq.

In that incident, 24 unarmed Iraqis including women and children were killed by US marines. In the ensuing prosecutions, six of the marines involved had their cases dropped, a seventh was found not guilty and the only one to be convicted of a single count avoided any time in jail.

“When you think about these different responses, it suggests to me that the military justice system is not working,” Davis said.

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Jimmy Carter: US “has no functioning democracy”

From Salon:

The former president weighs in on NSA and the future of Internet platforms like Google and Facebook

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013

This article originally appeared on International Business Times.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of American democracy.

“America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy,” he said at an event in Atlanta on Tuesday sponsored by the Atlantik Bruecke, a private nonprofit association working to further the German-U.S. relationship. The association’s name is German for “Atlantic bridge.”

Carter’s remarks didn’t appear in the American mainstream press but were reported from Atlanta by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, whose Washington correspondent Gregor Peter Schmitz said on Twitter he was present at the event. The story doesn’t appear in the English-language section of the Spiegel website and is only available in German.

The 39th U.S. president also said he was pessimistic about the current state of global affairs, wrote Der Spiegel, because there was “no reason for him to be optimistic at this time.” Among the developments that make him uneasy, Carter cited the “falling of Egypt under a military dictatorship.” As president, Carter managed to get then-Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin to sign the Camp David peace agreements in 1979.

Carter said a bright spot was “the triumph of modern technology,” which enabled the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring; however, the NSA spying scandal, Carter said, according to Der Spiegel, endangers precisely those developments, “as major U.S. Internet platforms such as Google or Facebook lose credibility worldwide.”

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University President in Indiana Tried to Censor Howard Zinn’s ‘People’s History of the United States’

From Alternet:

The AP revealed emails showing Daniels’ vendetta against Zinn, whom he called “anti-American academic.”

By April M. Short
July 18, 2013

In his groundbreaking work A People’s History of the United States, a nti-war activist and historian Howard Zinn’s reframed the glorified slant on U.S. history provided by most textbooks and accounts. His works sparked a generation of historical reflection and brought to light the untold, often unflattering truths about our national past. When Zinn passed away in 2010, his New York Times obituary quoted a book review by historian Eric Foner: “Historians may well view [ A People’s History of the United States] as a step toward a coherent new version of American history.”

But not everyone is a fan of Zinn’s work. Indiana’s former governor Mitch Daniels currently the president of  Purdue University attempted to censor Zinn’s legacy while in office, according an  article published by the  Associated Press last week. Via a Freedom of Information Act request, AP obtained emails in which Daniels asked classrooms in the state to ban Zinn’s works and “clean up” its college curriculum.

In the e-mail records AP released, Daniels requested that public schools refrain from using Zinn’s work in their curriculum. He also tried to initiate a statewide investigation aimed at identifying similar works and disqualifying them from being considered “credit-worthy.”

In one email with the subject line “Howard Zinn,” the republican governor wrote: “This terrible anti-American academic finally passed away.”

He continued on to say that A People’s History of the United States is, “a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page.”

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McDonald’s workers lays out a real McJob budget!

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In ‘Chilling’ Ruling, Chevron Granted Access to Activists’ Private Internet Data

From Common Dreams:

“Sweeping” subpoena violates rights of those who spoke out against oil giant’s devastating actions in Ecuador

Lauren McCauley

The US government is not the only entity who, with judicial approval, is amassing massive amounts of personal information against their so-called enemies.

A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest.

The “sweeping” subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

“Environmental advocates have the right to speak anonymously and travel without their every move and association being exposed to Chevron,” said Marcia Hofmann, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who—along with environmental rights group EarthRights International (ERI)—had filed a motion last fall to “quash” the subpoenas.

“These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against the oil giant’s activities in Ecuador,” she added at the time.

According to ERI, the subpoena demands the personal information about each account holder as well as the IP addresses associated with every login to each account over a nine-year period. “This could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email,” they write, “so as to ‘infer the movements of the users over the relevant period and might permit Chevron to makes inferences about some of the user’s professional and personal relationships.'”

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You Are a Terrorist If You Film Animal Abuse or Unsanitary Conditions

From Real Farmacy:

July 18, 2013

In five states of the U.S.—Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Utah, and South Carolina—you are a criminal for exposing public health dangers and animal rights abuses. If a person takes pictures or films at animal facilities, that person can be prosecuted under laws modeled after a document called “Animal and Ecological Terrorism in America.”

How did such an obscene thing come to be? As we have documented at REALfarmacy, there is a little-known but powerful group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that introduces model bills across the country on behalf of its corporate members.

ALEC drafted the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism in America” model bill just two years after 9/11, capitalizing on the fear of terrorism being stoked by government and media. The model bill goes so far as to compare “extreme animal rights activists and environmental militants” to the terrorist group al-Qaida. It would put people on an actual Terrorist Registry for taking undercover pictures and films that “defame the facility or its owner.” Pennsylvania’s proposed law even criminalizes those who download such material over the internet.

Several agribusiness corporations and organizations have been funding members of ALEC such as Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and the National Pork Producers Council. As it does for other powerful industry groups like oil and gas or Big Pharma, ALEC seeks to dismantle consumer rights using the power of state government.

Most ordinary people would dismiss the ludicrous notion that health and animal rights activists with cameras are the same as those who blow up innocent people for political reasons.

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Would Keystone pipeline increase gas prices? Experts disagree

The Greed Pigs will have lots more oil to sell to the highest bidder.  Here’s a real clue.  The highest bidder won’t be Americans.

From One News Now:

Chris Woodward  (
Thursday, July 18, 2013

A new report claims the Keystone XL pipeline will raise gas prices and hurt the economy, while an energy expert disputes that claim.

The report from public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog says drivers, especially in the Midwest, would pay 20 to 40 cents more at the pump if the pipeline were built, as the current discount of up to $30 a barrel for Canadian oil disappears.

Meanwhile, the report says the true goal of multinational oil companies and Canadian politicians backing the pipeline is to reach export outlets outside the U.S. for tar sands oil and refined fuels, which would drive up the oil’s price.

Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research disputes such claims.

“This allegation is nothing new, that somehow bringing more oil into the United States from Canada is going to drive up the cost of oil,” he tells OneNewsNow.

“I don’t know about you but there are a few things I remember from economics, and that is as you increase supply, price goes down.”

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Rail, pipeline and climate disasters are symptoms of oily addiction

From Rabble.Ca:

By David Suzuki
July 17, 2013

Like smokers who put off quitting until their health starts to suffer, we’re learning what happens when bad habits catch up with us. We’re witnessing the terrible effects of fossil fuel addiction every day: frequent, intense storms and floods, extended droughts, rapidly melting Arctic ice, disappearing glaciers, deadly smog and pollution, contaminated waterways and destroyed habitats. Transport accidents are also increasing as governments and industry scramble to get fuels out of the ground and to market as quickly as possible.

Throughout it all, we’re asking the wrong questions. Take the recent horrific disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. A train carrying fracked crude oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, derailed, caught fire and caused explosions that destroyed much of the town and killed dozens of people, sending millions of litres of oil into the ground, air, sewers and Chaudière River. It’s a senseless tragedy that has everyone in Canada and beyond grieving for the community’s citizens and their families.

Governments and the railway company must answer numerous questions about safety regulations and practices, to prevent a similar catastrophe from ever occurring. The larger questions, though, are about the dramatic increases in fossil fuel use and transport. Sadly, industry proponents quickly exploited the situation to argue for expanding pipelines.

As growing human populations and increasing industrialization drive up the worldwide demand for fossil fuels, and as oil, gas and coal companies rush to extract, sell and burn as much as possible while markets remain strong, we’re seeing ever-increasing exploitation from difficult sources – fracking, oil sands, deepsea drilling and more.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects oil production in Western Canada to double from three-million barrels a day to more than six-million by 2030. This means a huge increase in the amount of fuels transported around the country and the world in pipelines, rail cars, trucks and ocean tankers. According to the Railway Association of Canada, rail shipment of oil has already increased dramatically in Canada, from 500 carloads in 2009 to 140,000 this year.

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House cuts clean energy funding, dragging down entire community of American innovators

From The Environmental Defense Fund:

Robert Fares
Published July 17, 2013

In my last post, I discussed a House subcommittee’s shortsighted vote to slash funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) innovative Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). I’m sorry to report that the rest of the House has now followed suit, passing a $30 billion energy spending bill that cuts a huge chunk out of clean energy programs.


Not only does the bill contain the subcommittee’s 81 percent cut to ARPA-E, it also guts energy efficiency programs and even rolls back progress in energy efficient lighting. The House’s embargo on funding for clean energy doesn’t just hurt our footing in the international race towards a new energy economy, it also drags down an entire community of American innovators working to achieve a sustainable future.


We deserve more than political posturing and moves as antiquated as the incandescent bulb. Right now, a convergence of environmental, economic and technological forces is transforming the global energy landscape. Just last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projected that renewable energy sources would eclipse nuclear and gas generation by 2016, and provide a quarter of the world’s energy supply by 2018. Renewable energy is unequivocally a major component of the energy landscape.


With the global rise of renewables, clean energy has become an inextricable component of energy science and engineering. Programs in sustainability, renewable energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency have emerged at major universities all over the United States. These programs popped up as fields like mechanical and electrical engineering identified climate change as a key challenge facing humanity. Engineers have always sought to apply scientific knowledge to overcome technical challenges and ensure human safety and progress. Now, more than ever, academic researchers are passionately seeking solutions to address global warming.


As top engineers and scientists have acknowledged the need to address the threat of climate change, so too have aspiring young scientists and engineers. Sustainability has become part of innovative educational programs across the country. Today, it is rare to see a science classroom without a miniature solar panel or wind turbine on its shelves. Why? Because students of all ages are compelled by the chance to design the next device or system that will help us overcome the challenges resulting from climate change. Students’ passion for clean energy helps them endure difficult subjects like math and science, making the U.S. more competitive internationally.

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UK Government Unveils World’s ‘Most Generous’ Tax Breaks for Fracking

From Common Dreams:

Environmental groups slam “tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment”

Andrea Germanos

The British government unveiled the world’s “most generous” tax breaks for fracking on Friday, hoping it can “be a leader of the shale gas revolution.”

“Shale gas is a resource with huge potential to broaden the UK’s energy mix,” stated Chancellor George Osborne, head of the treasury.  “We want to create the right conditions for industry to explore and unlock that potential in a way that allows communities to share in the benefits. This new tax regime, which I want to make the most generous for shale in the world, will contribute to that.”

“I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution – because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people,” continued Osborne.

Fracked gas has yet to be produced in the UK, though exploratory drills are underway.

The new tax rate would chop the current rate in half, as “shale gas producers will pay just 30 per cent tax on their profits, compared to the 62 per cent that the oil and gas industry has traditionally paid,” the Independent reports.

The UK’s Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said in a statement that

Promising tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment, when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts, is a disgrace.

Ministers should be encouraging investors to develop the nation’s huge renewable energy potential. This would create tens of thousands of jobs and wean the nation off its increasingly expensive fossil fuel dependency.

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