Blowing In The Wind (Live On TV, March 1963)

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What Awaits Chelsea Manning as She Begins Her Sentence as the Military’s First Openly Trans Woman?

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18486-what-awaits-chelsea-manning-as-she-begins-her-sentence-as-the-militarys-first-openly-trans-woman

By Victoria Law
Friday, 30 August 2013

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.” These were the words of Chelsea Manning, the day after she was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified military documents. (Manning had been arrested, tried and sentenced in a military court as Bradley Manning.)

The military responded to Manning’s statement with its own: “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.”

Manning likely will serve her sentence at Fort Leavenworth, the only military prison for those sentenced to ten or more years, a military spokesperson told The Associated Press. Fort Leavenworth is a men’s military prison in Kansas. As reported in Truthout, chances seem slim that Manning will be able to begin hormone therapy anytime soon. But what else awaits Chelsea Manning as she begins her 35-year sentence as the first openly trans woman at the US Detention Barracks (USDB) at Fort Leavenworth?

Access to Hormones in State and Federal Prisons and the Eighth Amendment

Manning attorney David E. Coombs has publicly stated that he hopes the military “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy for Manning. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”

Coombs may be able to draw on legal precedents that have forced the federal and state prison systems to change policies about hormone treatment. After Wisconsin passed a 2005 law barring trans prisoners from receiving hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery, advocacy groups sued the state on behalf of trans prisoners, some of whom had received hormones for years prior. In 2010, a federal court ruled that denying trans prisoners to hormones and other medical treatment violated the Eighth Amendment. The US Supreme Court affirmed that decision in 2011.

That same year, a settlement agreement forced the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which oversees the federal prison system, to change its policy to allow an individualized assessment, evaluation and treatment of prisoners for “gender identity disorder.” Before that, only people who had been diagnosed with “gender identity disorder” previously and were receiving documented hormone treatment were eligible for in-prison hormone therapy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18486-what-awaits-chelsea-manning-as-she-begins-her-sentence-as-the-militarys-first-openly-trans-woman

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While Cameron Defers to Parliament, Obama Locks into Warfare State of Mind

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/30

by Norman Solomon

The British Parliament’s rejection of an attack on Syria is a direct contrast—and implicit challenge—to the political war system of the United States.

“It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly,” Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday night. At least for now, Uncle Sam’s poodle is off the leash.

Now all eyes turn to Congress, where the bar has suddenly been raised. Can the House of Representatives measure up to the House of Commons?

It’s a crucial question—but President Obama intends to render it moot with unwavering contempt for the war authority of Congress. Like his predecessors.

Even with war votes on Capitol Hill, the charade quotient has been high. The Gulf War began in early 1991 after the Senate vote for war was close: 52 to 47. But, as the PBS “Frontline” program reported years later, President George H.W. Bush had a plan in place: if Congress voted against going to war, he’d ignore Congress.

“The president privately, with the most inner circle, made absolutely clear he was going to go forward with this action even if he were impeached,” said Robert Gates, who was deputy national security advisor. “The truth of the matter is that while public opinion and the voice of Congress was important to Bush, I believe it had no impact on his decision about what he would do. He was going to throw that son of a bitch [Saddam Hussein] out of Kuwait, regardless of whether the Congress or the public supported him.”

By the Pentagon’s estimate, the six weeks of the Gulf War took the lives of 100,000 Iraqi people. “It’s really not a number I’m terribly interested in,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Colin Powell, said at the time.

Eight years later, the War Powers Act’s 60-day deadline for congressional approval of U.S. warfare expired on May 25, 1999—but large-scale U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia continued. Bill Clinton was unable to get authorization from Congress but, like other wartime presidents before and since, he ignored the law that was passed in 1973 to constrain autocratic war-making. Republican Rep. Tom Campbell said: “The president is in violation of the law. That is clear.” Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich said: “The war continues unauthorized, without the consent of the governed.” And President Clinton said, in effect, I don’t care.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/30

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UK Asked New York Times To Destroy Edward Snowden Documents

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/30/uk-new-york-times-destroy-snowden_n_3844706.html

Reuters
Posted: 08/30/2013

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – The British government has asked the New York Times to destroy copies of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden related to the operations of the U.S. spy agency and its British partner, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), people familiar with the matter said.

The British request, made to Times executive editor Jill Abramson by a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington D.C., was greeted by Abramson with silence, according to the sources. British officials indicated they intended to follow up on their request later with the Times, but never did, one of the sources said.

On Friday, in a public statement, Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, said his newspaper, which had faced threats of possible legal action from British authorities, on July 20 had destroyed copies of leaked documents which it had received from Snowden.

Rusbridger said that two days later, on July 22, the Guardian informed British authorities that materials related to GCHQ had made their way to the New York Times and the independent investigative journalism group ProPublica.

Rusbridger said in his statement that it then took British authorities “more than three weeks before anyone from the British government contacted the New York Times.

“We understand the British Embassy in Washington met with the New York Times in mid-August – over three weeks after the Guardian’s material was destroyed in London. To date, no-one has contacted ProPublica, and there has been two weeks of further silence towards the New York Times from the government,” Rusbridger said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/30/uk-new-york-times-destroy-snowden_n_3844706.html

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Randy Newman – Mr Sheep

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Are Evangelicals Who Commit Adultery Restored to the Pulpit Because They are Religious Money Machines?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/belief/are-evangelicals-who-commit-adultery-restored-pulpit-because-they-are-religious-money

Sam Hinn is just one in a long line of preachers and pastors in need of rehabilitation and who desired restoration after sexual and financial shenanigans.

By Bill Berkowitz
August 29, 2013

When it comes to being restored, re-ordained and returned to the pulpit after confessing to a four-year extramarital affair with a member of his congregation, Sam Hinn, the younger brother of well-known televangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn, may have set a new speed record for fallen evangelical leaders.

Older brother Benny is a big-time brand, squirrelling the spotlight for a good chunk of his professional life, and his ministry reels in extraordinary amounts of money. He’s traveled the globe, bought mansions, and has lived the good life. He’s also experienced a fair amount of controversy along the way; his prophesies have been way off the mark, including one made in 1989 that Fidel Castro wouldn’t outlast the 1990s; he was one of a group of televangelists whose financial shenanigans inspired an investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa); and, two years ago, he was accused of being involved in a messy extramarital affair with Paula White—another well-known televangelist—an accusation that threatened his worldwide ministry. Hinn self-recovered and is back televangelizing.

Now, younger brother Sam, who compared to Benny is a minor figure in the world of evangelicals, is grabbing some kinky headlines of his own.

An affair made in heaven

“Chantel Wonder said [Sam] Hinn… initiated the affair with her mother by telling her they were ‘soul mates’ and that God approved of the relationship,” the Orlando Sentinel reported in January. It should be noted that one of Sam Hinn’s claims to fame is that he has a personal relationship with God, ergo Sam’s assurances to her that God had pre-approved the affair.

“He put her in a position that this is OK because it’s what God wants. He was using God to justify it.” Her mother is a hairstylist who eventually styled hair for Hinn’s wife and children.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Wonder said her father became aware of the affair in December 2008 after he found text and voice messages from Hinn on his wife’s phone. At the time, his wife denied the affair. The couple, who were married June 20, 1980, divorced on Feb. 14, 2012.

“Wonder said Hinn, who is married and has four children, continued the affair after her parents divorced. She said church officials confronted Hinn with evidence of the affair in December 2012, but he refused to admit he was involved with the woman.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/belief/are-evangelicals-who-commit-adultery-restored-pulpit-because-they-are-religious-money

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‘Sex is Not About Fun’ Says Tea Party Speaker Jerome Corsi

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Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brain As Constantly Pulling All Nighters

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/08/30/2555601/living-poverty-effect-brain-constantly-pulling-nighters/

By Bryce Covert
on August 30, 2013

The mental strain of living in poverty and thinking constantly about tight finances can drop a person’s IQ by as much as 13 percent, or about the equivalent of losing a night of sleep, according to a new study. It consumes so much mental energy that there is often little room to think about anything else, which leaves low-income people more susceptible to bad decisions.

One of the study’s authors, Harvard economist Sandhil Mullainathan, told the Washington Post, “Poverty is the equivalent of pulling an all-nighter. Picture yourself after an all-nighter. Being poor is like that every day.”

The researchers came to this conclusion after conducting two separate experiments. The first gave low- and moderate-income shoppers at a mall in New Jersey a number of tests that measure IQ and impulse control, but half of the participants were first given a question about finances: what they would do if they needed to make $1,500 worth of repairs on their car, putting financial concerns at the forefront of their minds. They found that it reduced cognitive performance among the poor participants but not those who are well-off.

The second experiment looked at the cognitive functions of farmers in India before the harvest, when they are poor, and after the harvest, when they have much more money. The same farmer performs lower on cognitive ability before than he does after — which researchers say “cannot be explained by differences in time available, nutrition, or work effort” nor by stress. Instead, it appears to be poverty reducing their mental capacity.

A past study came to a similar conclusion: It found that scarcity can sap mental capacity and lead to short-term decision-making over long-term considerations.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/08/30/2555601/living-poverty-effect-brain-constantly-pulling-nighters/

Putting Labor Back in Labor Day

From The New York Times:  http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/fast-food-workers-on-strike/?_r=3

By TERESA TRITCH
August 29, 2013

The fast food strikes that began last November in New York City with walkouts by 200 workers expanded and spread to other cities in the spring and summer. On Thursday, thousands of workers in 60 cities went on a one-day strike. The demands were the same, only amplified — higher pay, to $15 an hour, and the right to organize without retaliation.

There are many reasons to support the strikers. There’s the still resonant goal — expressed by those who marched on Washington 50 years ago — of ensuring that work leads to a decent standard of living. That’s not achievable at today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or at the typical  wage for fast food workers, about $9.00  an hour. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation over the past 50 years, it would be about $10 an hour today. If it had kept pace with the growth in average labor productivity, it would be about $17 an hour. Split the difference and you are not far from what the strikers are calling for.

Another reason to support the strikers is economic self-interest. The low wages of fast food workers — and of workers in retail, home care and other low-wage industries — force many of them onto food stamps and other public assistance to get by. Taxpayers step up with aid because employers don’t pay enough.

There’s also the fact that fast food corporations — McDonald’s, Yum Brands (which includes Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC), Wendy’s — can afford to pay more. The chief executives of McDonald’s and Yum are among the nation’s highest paid bosses. Wendy’s profits have been soaring lately. The corporations invariably say that individual franchisees set wages and franchisees say they can’t afford to pay more without raising prices, which they say would drive away customers and lead to job loss. But wages aren’t the franchisees’ only cost. They also pay rent and royalties to their corporate bosses. How about lowering those costs to create room for raises?

Of course such changes would lead to lower profits and that would translate into lower executive pay and lower shareholder returns. But we’re talking about big,profitable companies, which are big and profitable in part because they rely on underpaid labor.

Continue reading at:   http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/fast-food-workers-on-strike/?_r=3

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Just say no to nuclear power – from Fukushima to Vermont

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/29/nuclear-power-dangers-fukushima-vermont

Fukushima showed us the intolerable costs of nuclear power. The citizens of Vermont show us the benefits of shutting it down


theguardian.com, Thursday 29 August 2013

Welcome to the nuclear renaissance.

Entergy Corp, one of the largest nuclear-power producers in the US, issued a surprise press release Tuesday, saying it plans “to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vermont. The station is expected to cease power production after its current fuel cycle and move to safe shutdown in the fourth quarter of 2014.” Although the press release came from the corporation, it was years of people’s protests and state legislative action that forced its closure. At the same time that activists celebrate this key defeat of nuclear power, officials in Japan admitted that radioactive leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe are far worse than previously acknowledged.

“It took three years, but it was citizen pressure that got the state Senate to such a position”, nuclear-energy consultant Arnie Gundersen told me of Entergy’s announcement. He has coordinated projects at 70 nuclear plants around the country and now provides independent testimony on nuclear and radiation issues. He explained how the state of Vermont, in the first such action in the country, had banned the plant from operating beyond its original 40-year permit. Entergy was seeking a 20-year extension.

The legislature, in that 26-to-4 vote, said: ‘No, we’re not going to allow you to reapply. It’s over. You know, a deal’s a deal. We had a 40-year deal.’ Well, Entergy went to first the federal court here in Vermont and won, and then went to an appeals court in New York City and won again on the issue, as they framed it, that states have no authority to regulate safety.

Despite prevailing in the courts, Entergy bowed to public pressure.

Back in 2011, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who called Entergy “a company that we found we can’t trust”, said on “Democracy Now!“:

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/29/nuclear-power-dangers-fukushima-vermont

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Labor Songs for Labor Day Weekend

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WTF? “Transgender Service Must be a Priority” Really? Why?

Once again the Drums of War are sounding.

Once again the War Lovers are pleading with us trying to con us into yet another war.

We must enjoin this noble cause against Assad in Syria because he is gassing members of the Islamic Brotherhood.

Pardon my confusion but isn’t the Islamic Brotherhood a bunch of women oppressing LGBT killing fundamentalists?

Who is going to pay for this grand adventure?

Is it really a noble cause to kill people with bombs and drones to teach them that killing is wrong?

I’m friend with a number of trans-vets including Brynn Tannehill, who wrote the Huffington Post piece that stirred my cynicism.  Not that it needed much stirring.  I generally view all militarism with skepticism and I am definitely cynical when it comes to any President calling upon us to engage in any noble cause that includes bombing or invading another country.

Why should working to get TS/TG folks the ability to serve openly in the military be our first priority?

I’ve been told by numerous trans-activists that it was a mistake to focus on marriage equality and that we should be focusing on passing a trans-inclusive ENDA instead.

TS/TG folks, mainly women on the low end of the economic scale, who are often doing sex work are still being murdered at an alarming rate, but now we are supposed to make TS/TG folk’s ability to serve in the military our highest priority.

Here’s a thought.

There are a lot more TS/TG folks than previously thought.

We have all sorts of different priorities.

Just look at the divergence of views regarding Chelsea Manning.  I view her as a hero.  Many in the TS/TG’s in the military movement regard her as a traitor.

TS/TG people in the military?  Go for it, but I’ve been an anti-war activist since 1962.  Don’t expect me to join your cause.  it isn’t my cause nor do I consider it at or even near the top priority for the various TS/TG communities.

We need jobs, housing, security, medical care along with the right to marry and have a social support system.

Many of us are anti-war.  Many of us are left wing and are anti-militarism.

The priorities of TS/TG people in the military are not our priorities.  Some of us want to end the senseless wars and slice the military budget to fund social programs.

 

 

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Transgender Service Must be a Priority

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/transgender-military-service_b_3830730.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

08/30/2013

There is an exceptionally long tradition in western culture of service being a requirement for full participation in public life. In ancient Athens, only citizens with the right to vote were allowed to serve as hoplites. In Sparta only free men could serve. During the Roman Empire, having the same legal rights as other native Romans required providing military service. This cultural narrative of “service guarantees citizenship,” is still evident in modern times: in literature, film, and in civil rights movements.

Executive Order 9981, which began the process of desegregating the military, was signed by President Truman in 1947. This became one of the starting points for the civil rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1976, the service academies admitted the first female cadets and midshipmen. Over time this integration led to greater and greater roles for women in the military. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth represents the impact of these shifts in how we see women in the military. The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) was a significant factor in recent gains for lesbian and gay Americans. The argument that lesbian and gay families in the military were being adversely affected by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) appears to have significantly swayed Justice Kennedy, the key swing vote on the Supreme Court.

It isn’t difficult to see why military service has an effect on how we think about groups of people. Being a military officer is seen as one of the most ethical and respected professions in America.

For transgender Americans, though, full participation in public life still eludes us. Even our legal ability to safely perform necessary bodily functions is considered debatable. By every statistical measure, every survey, every poll, we are the untouchables of this society. Even people who despise us acknowledge that being transgender is a massive life penalty. In general, attempts to enact specific protections for transgender people either fail, or are met with an extreme backlash. Transgender people in the media are usually at best treated as a punch line; at worst regarded as a danger to women and children.

The level of dehumanization is such that when transgender people are attacked in hate crimes, the perpetrators are much more likely to follow all the way through to murder. However, most of the ways that lesbians and gays gained acceptance are not available to us. We don’t have lovable celebrities like Ellen and George. We have very few (positive) transgender characters in the media. We are rare and often closeted, and as such very few people actually say they know a transgender person.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/transgender-military-service_b_3830730.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Same-Sex Married Couples To Get Federal Tax Recognition Regardless Of State

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/same-sex-couples-federal-taxes_n_3837444.html

08/29/2013

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Thursday that when it comes to taxes, it will recognize same-sex couples’ marriages even if they live in a state that does not.

The decision, which was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, marks the latest political progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Prior to this spring, the Internal Revenue Service did not recognize same-sex married couples pursuant to section 3 of DOMA. Once DOMA was overturned in June, the question became: What about same-sex married couples who moved to a state that didn’t recognize their marriage (a couple married in Massachusetts who moved to Arkansas, for example)?

Thursday’s ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew provides a uniform policy for the IRS; the state of celebration — where the wedding took place — now trumps the state of residency when it comes to federal tax status for same-sex married couples.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

The new policy, which was first shared by Lew in a conference call that included LGBT advocates, holds a bit of political significance. It was the burden of federal tax law on same-sex couples, after all, that prompted the legal challenge to DOMA in the first place.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/same-sex-couples-federal-taxes_n_3837444.html

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Gay Spouses Have Equal Access To Nursing Facilities Through Medicare, HHS Memo States

From On Top:  http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=16260&MediaType=1&Category=26

Carlos Santoscoy
Published: August 29, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday issued a memo clarifying that gay spouses have equal access to skilled nursing facilities through Medicare Advantage.

The policy change comes two months after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

As of Thursday, private companies that contract with Medicare to cover services offered in a skilled nursing facility must provide equally coverage to all legally married couples, regardless of whether the state that they live in allows gay couples to marry.

“Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose.”

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Is the NSA surveillance program really about spying on environmentalists?

Or is it more like Cointelpro:  Disrupt, demoralize and destroy.

Like the newly minted Eco-Feminist/Radical Feminists and their attacks on TS/TG people within the environmental movement.

From Grist:  http://grist.org/news/is-the-nsa-surveillance-program-really-about-spying-on-environmentalists/

By 26 Aug 2013

At the Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, has an idea about what might be driving the massive expansion of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that we’ve learned so much about lately. It’s not concerns about religious fundamentalists who hate America. Instead, he suggests, the government is worried about environmental activism:

But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis — or all three.

Who would have thunk? It turns out the U.S. government is worried about climate change, after all. At least if being worried about climate change lets them use all their cool spy gear.

Across the government, security professionals are fretting about natural disasters and global oil shortfalls, Ahmed explains. The Department of Defense has written that “climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.” They’re nervous about what this means: What are people going to do when they realized they’re, to use the technical term, totally screwed? The Army’s Strategic Studies Institute has suggested that, in the case of a total freak-out, it might be necessary to “use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States.”

Who are those hostiles? Why, they might just be environmentalists.

The government tends to see environmentalists in one of two ways. They’re either harmless hippie treehuggers who can easily be ignored or dangerous eco-terrorists who need to be watched. The defense and intelligence people incline toward the latter view.

Continue reading at:  http://grist.org/news/is-the-nsa-surveillance-program-really-about-spying-on-environmentalists/

Could this explain the Radical Feminist trans-hatred cropping up at Deep Green Resistance?

See Deep Green Resistance: Kim D.: The Violence of GenderFAQ: Radical Feminism

The NYPD Division of Un-American Activities

From New York Magazine:  http://nymag.com/news/features/nypd-demographics-unit-2013-9/

After 9/11, the NYPD built in effect its own CIA—and its Demographics Unit delved deeper into the lives of citizens than did the NSA.

 

By Matt Apuzzo & Adam Goldman
Published Aug 25, 2013

On the morning of September 11, the detectives of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division traveled in force toward the burning towers of the World Trade Center, the biggest crime scene in American history, to find absolutely nothing for themselves to do. The city had been quickly cordoned off. Some made it as far as Chambers Street. Others were stopped at Canal Street. “Stand by,” they were told. They milled about for hours, waiting for orders that never came. Finally, a contingent of officers was dispatched toward ground zero with garbage cans to collect guns and equipment left by fallen first responders.

Later in the day, a group of them gathered at the Police Academy, where Deputy Chief John Cutter told them to start contacting their informants. At that moment, it may have been the only possible command—which didn’t mean it was a useful one. Despite the name, the Intelligence Division was mostly concentrated on gangs and drug dealers, as well as providing a glorified chauffeur service for visiting dignitaries. International terrorism had never been part of their purview.

But they had to start somewhere, and the detectives did what they were told, reaching out to their network of informants—dope dealers and gang members—to ask what they knew about the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

For the next few months, the Intel cops worked alongside the FBI out of makeshift command centers aboard the decommissioned USS Intrepid and in an FBI parking garage, where detectives sat on the concrete floor, responding to a flood of tips pouring in from a public consumed with the possibility of another attack, questioning Muslims whose neighbors suddenly deemed them suspicious.

When Ray Kelly was sworn in as police commissioner in January 2002, one of his first goals was to eliminate that kind of aimless fumbling. The first man to rise from cadet to police commissioner and the first person to hold the top job twice, Kelly was police commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins, when terrorists detonated a truck bomb in the garage below the World Trade Center’s North Tower in 1993.

Continue reading at:  http://nymag.com/news/features/nypd-demographics-unit-2013-9/

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Obama Pushes for Attack on Syria, But US Media ‘Beats the Drums of War’

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/27-2

The whispers and public statements might be coming from the White House and Pentagon, but it seems US media outlets are the real amplifiers of the call to bomb Syria

Jon Queally

What the US media still doesn’t know about the use of chemical weapons in Syria last week has done little to keep it from accepting statements from the US government with barely a whiff of the skepticism one would expect after the colossal—and well-documented—media failure that preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

And if there were voices cautioning against a volly of U.S./NATO airstrikes (note: there are), most media consumers scanning the front pages of top news websites wouldn’t know it.

Instead what they’d see if they looked at CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the Huffington Post on Tuesday morning was not so much a US government on tapping the “drums of war” but a corporate media system banging on them.

Similarly, as FireDogLake’s Kevin Gosztola cataloged, the editorial boards from some of the largest US newspapers penned editorials that somewhat unanimously supported direct military action by the US. Despite the continued lack of concrete evidence about the details of the chemical attack, Gosztola continued his critique of mainstream outlets by noting how the troubling trend was

further proven by the round of reports in US media [Sunday], which granted an Obama administration official anonymity to say there was “very little doubt” that chemical weapons had been used by the Syrian regime against civilians. Such a statement could easily help increase public and political support for military action yet the media did not force the person to go on the record and give his or her name if the administration wanted such a statement to be published.

And it’s not just the neo-conservatives pushing for their latest war of choice. As Greg Mitchell, who literally wrote the book on the media failure surrounding the Iraq War, observed in his blog at The Nation late Monday:

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/27-2

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Masters of War

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Mindless and Extravagant “Support Our Troops” Display Doesn’t Help Soldiers, But Does a Lot for Those Who Profit From War

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/culture/mindless-and-extravagant-support-our-troops-display-doesnt-help-soldiers-does-lot-those-who

It’s time to examine the “support our troops” rhetoric and understand it does little for those whose lives are at risk.

By Steven Salaita
August 27, 2013

My 16-month-old son was having a bad day. When he doesn’t sleep in the car, he usually points and babbles his approval of all the wonderful things babies notice that completely escape adult attention. On this afternoon, though, he was teething and hungry, a lethal scenario for an energetic youngster strapped into a high-tech seating apparatus (approved and installed, of course, by the state).

When it became clear he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, sleep it out, my wife and I stopped at a nondescript exit, the kind one finds every six miles in the South, with two gas stations and three abandoned buildings (if you’re lucky, you also get a Hampton Inn and Cracker Barrel). While she tended to the baby, I entered a convenience store — one of those squat, glass and plastic rectangles that looks like a Sears & Roebuck erector set — praying it would have something other than beer, cigarettes and beef jerky.

I settled on two Kraft mozzarella sticks, resisting the urge to purchase for myself a shiny red can of Four Loko.

“That’ll be $1.82,” the lady at the counter cheerily informed me. After I handed her two ones, she asked, “Would you like to donate your change to the troops?” I noticed a jar with “support our troops” taped to it in handwritten ink.

“No, thank you,” I answered firmly.

“Well … OK, then, sir,” she responded in subtle reproach, her smile not quite so ascendant anymore. “You have a good day now.”

She had good reason to be disappointed. The vast majority of customers, I imagine, spare a few dimes and pennies for so important a cause. Her response evinced more shock than anger. She wasn’t expecting a refusal of 18 cents, even from a guy who looks very much like those responsible for the danger to our troops.

Besides, nobody likes to have their altruism invalidated by a recalcitrant or ungrateful audience.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/culture/mindless-and-extravagant-support-our-troops-display-doesnt-help-soldiers-does-lot-those-who

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