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.
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.
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.
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/same-sex-couples-federal-taxes_n_3837444.html
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.
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.”
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.
By Sarah Laskow
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.
Could this explain the Radical Feminist trans-hatred cropping up at Deep Green Resistance?
From New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/news/features/nypd-demographics-unit-2013-9/
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/
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/27-2
Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 by Common Dreams
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
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.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/us/politics/obama-syria.html?hp&_r=0
WASHINGTON — President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress.
The negative vote in Britain’s Parliament was a heavy blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who had pledged his support to Mr. Obama and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s involvement in a brief operation to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad for apparently launching a deadly chemical weapons attack last week that killed hundreds.
The vote was also a setback for Mr. Obama, who, having given up hope of getting United Nations Security Council authorization for the strike, is struggling to assemble a coalition of allies against Syria.
But administration officials made clear that the eroding support would not deter Mr. Obama in deciding to go ahead with a strike. Pentagon officials said that the Navy had now moved a fifth destroyer into the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Each ship carries dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles that would probably be the centerpiece of any attack on Syria.
Even before the parliamentary vote, White House officials said, Mr. Obama decided there was no way he could overcome objections by Russia, Syria’s longtime backer, to any resolution in the Security Council.
Although administration officials cautioned that Mr. Obama had not made a final decision, all indications suggest that a strike could occur soon after United Nations investigators charged with scrutinizing the Aug. 21 attack leave the country. They are scheduled to depart Damascus on Saturday.
The White House presented its case for military action to Congressional leaders on Thursday evening, trying to head off growing pressure from Democrats and Republicans to provide more information about the administration’s military planning and seek Congressional approval for any action.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/us/politics/obama-syria.html?hp&_r=0
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/british-parliament-syria-vote_n_3839067.html
By RAPHAEL SATTER and GREGORY KATZ
LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes Thursday, a stunning defeat that will almost guarantee that Britain plays no direct role in any U.S. attack on Bashar Assad’s government.
A grim-faced Cameron conceded after the vote that “the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.”
The prime minister said that while he still believed in a “tough response” to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime, he would respect the will of Parliament.
Responding to the vote, the White House said that a decision on a possible military strike against Syria will be guided by America’s best interests, suggesting the U.S. may act alone if other nations won’t help.
The defeat was as dramatic as it was unexpected. At the start of the week, Cameron had seemed poised to join Washington in possible military action against Assad. The suspected chemical weapons attacks took place Aug. 21 in suburbs east and west of Damascus. The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders has said the strikes killed 355 people.
Gruesome images of sickened men, women and children writhing on the floor drew outrage from across the world, and Cameron recalled Parliament from its summer break for an emergency vote, which was widely seen as a prelude to international action.
“The video footage illustrates some of the most sickening human suffering imaginable,” Cameron told lawmakers before the vote, arguing that the most dangerous thing to do was to “stand back and do nothing.”
WASHINGTON — Citing his responsibility to represent the views of his constituents, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Thursday that he can’t support an attack on Syria that his voters strongly oppose.
“One thing that is perfectly clear to me in my district, and I think is true in many other districts from speaking to other members, is that there is no desire, no desire on the part of people to be the world’s policeman,” Grayson said on SiriusXM’s “The Agenda with Ari Rabin-Havt,” which aired Thursday morning. “For us to pick up this gauntlet even on the basis of unequivocal evidence of chemical warfare by the Syrian army, deliberately against its own people — even if there were unequivocal evidence of that — that’s just not what people in my district want.”
That doesn’t mean that opposition is universal, Grayson allowed. “I did notice, for what it’s worth, that the manufacturer of the missiles that would be used has had an incredible run in their stock value in the last 60 days. Raytheon stock is up 20 percent in the past 60 days as the likelihood of the use of their missiles against Syria becomes more likely. So I understand that there is a certain element of our society that does benefit from this, but they’re not the people who vote for me, or by the way the people who contribute to my campaign,” he said. “Nobody wants this except the military-industrial complex.”
Raytheon stock has in fact surged over the past two months, though it’s been slightly shy of 20 percent.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/29-8
This is how it works.
The US has been providing Egypt with nearly $2 billion a year in “aid” since 1979. Most of this is military aid. That “aid” is then used to buy weapons from American corporations. So in reality most of US foreign aid becomes more welfare programs for the military industrial complex.
Because of current civil war conditions in Egypt the Obama team is having to hold off on providing more aid to that embattled nation. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 51% of respondents said it’s better to cut off military assistance to Egypt, while 26% backed continued aid.
The “aid” now on temporary hold would include: F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin; M1A1 tanks from General Dynamics; and Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing Co.
CBS News reported on August 20: “The billion dollars in aid Congress approved for Egypt does not go directly to Cairo, it goes to places such as Archbald, Pennsylvania. The General Dynamics factory there makes parts for the M1A1 tank. General Dynamics is filling an order for 125 tank kits for the Egyptian Army. One-hundred-thirty people work at the Archbald facility.”
You can imagine the workers at the Archbald facility want this “aid” to continue. Archbald Mayor Ed Fairbrother says the jobs are “extremely important” to the community. “They are some of the best jobs we have in the community,” he says. “Those are the kinds of jobs that sustain communities and families.”
There are 44 companies in Pennsylvania involved in production of the M1A1. The interesting thing is that Egypt does not need the tanks and many of the “kits” are still in crates after being delivered to their military.
American communities have become addicted to war spending and military production. As most traditional manufacturing industry has moved overseas seeking cheaper labor the best jobs in most parts of the nation are building weapons. It’s thus no coincidence that the #1 industrial export product of our nation is weapons. And what is our global marketing strategy for that product line? Hello Syria!
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/29-8
By April M. Short
August 29, 2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made a historic move today when he informed the governors of Colorado and Washington that the federal government would not interfere with their states’ laws allowing for the legal use of marijuana.
For years federal agents have stormed and raided marijuana dispensaries in states like California where medical use has been legal for decades, but this unprecedented decision steers federal priority away from the longstanding, reactionary U.S. war on drugs.
In last November’s election Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana use for adults in their states. The legalization of pot blatantly contradicts the federal government’s classification of marijuana as an illegal Schedule I substance “considered the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”
In response to the states’ ballot results, President Obama told ABC News’s Barbara Walters in December that his administration had “bigger fish to fry” and would not prioritize recreational pot smokers in states where it is legal. The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy ” had remained silent” about the Colorado and Washington marijuana initiatives until today “despite repeated requests for guidance from state officials.”
Holder’s announcement means the Department of Justice will not sue the states over their regulation and implementation of their marijuana ballot initiatives. In addition to Holder’s news, Deputy Attorney General James C ole released a memo addressed to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states. The memo reads:
“The Department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests. A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice.”
As the Huffington Post reported, Cole’s memo also outlines “eight priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. According to the guidance, DOJ will still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent: