Where Have All the Butches Gone?

What ever happened to Norah Vincent?

Maybe you remember her. She was a rather right wing anti-transsexual butch lesbian back around the turn of the millennium.  She was the darling of the David Horowitz crowd back then.  She wrote a book, Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man.

Times change and she more or less fell out of the spot light.

We are never supposed to ask if butch lesbians have gender issues.  Or if they are one of the trans-communities like gender queers, two-spirit, cross-dressers etc.  In some ways their being butches, formerly known as bull dykes puts them in the same sort of semi-outlaw status shared by many other transgender people.

I used to kid about how there were two types of lesbians, bisexuals and men.

I know that is bitchy and not really true.  Except it is.  Many more lesbians than gay men have been in heterosexual relationships, married etc.  That really makes them lesbian identified bisexuals like myself.

In reality the vast majority of lesbians are neither butch nor femme.  We may not all wear flannel shirts, Birkenstocks and the like but we are often less likely to buy into the corporate pushed femininity.

We are all familiar by now with how TS/TG women are not all heterosexual after transition, how many are lesbian or bisexual.

The same is true of TS/TG men.  Many of them are gay or bisexual men.

I think the same sex attraction of many TS/TG people post-transition might well be an extension of homosociality.

As the years go on and as it becomes more acceptable to come out as transsexual/transgender I think we might see  ‘drag queens” and “bull dykes” fade into history.  Settling into images found on the lurid covers of 1950s and early 1960s pulp paperback novels.

Trans could easily become the identity of those who would have settled into the role of butch or queen in a previous generation.

From She Wired:  http://www.shewired.com/lifestyle/2013/09/05/op-ed-where-have-all-butches-gone

By: Roey Thorpe
Thu, 2013-09-05

In the company of lesbians of my generation and older, I frequently hear conversation about how much things have changed since we were young. And invariably, someone asks: Where have all the butches gone?

The question is driven in part by nostalgia, and in part by discomfort with what seems to have been a shift in the way young lesbians think about gender.

And the first question often leads to others: Why are all the butches becoming men? Why can’t they understand that gender is a social construct, and that women don’t have to conform to a feminine ideal? Isn’t that what we were fighting for — a world in which women could wear tool belts and neckties and do anything we damn well please, without the constraints of gender?

At its very core, this was the vision of the feminist movement, and lesbians more than anyone understood how transformative this could be.

Years ago, I asked the same questions, but today, this conversation makes me uncomfortable. Because I am of this older generation, I have seen things change — and not change — for a long time.

I have, in my life, loved many butches. My relationships and affairs have almost always been with masculine women and, more recently, with trans men as well.

In my experience, for as long as I have found myself in intimate circumstances with butches/studs/masculine-identified women — from way back when I was too young to be in the bars where I was meeting and going home with them — a curious thing happens. Once there is enough trust established, I become witness to a moment of confession. The confession goes something like this: “I don’t know how to explain this, but I don’t exactly feel like a woman. I mean, I’m butch, and that’s close, but honestly, I’m not sure what I am.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many proud butch women who are exactly that: women. In today’s terminology, their gender expression is masculine, and their gender identity is female. They wear their tool belts proudly, and I am happy to admire the show. For them, a butch identity resolves the issue — if people have a problem with it, it’s their sexism or homophobia rearing its head.

But that experience is not everyone’s, and it never has been. Butches may look a lot alike on the outside, but they aren’t the same on the inside.

In the mid 1990s, as a grad student, I wrote about the lesbian history of Detroit. I interviewed 48 women who had lived as lesbians between 1930 and 1970. When I met them, these women were mostly in their sixties and seventies. Of the 48, four —  almost 10% — said that if they were young today, they would transition their gender and become men.

Continue reading at:  http://www.shewired.com/lifestyle/2013/09/05/op-ed-where-have-all-butches-gone

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Where Have All the Butches Gone?

Chelsea Manning’s Identity Crisis Is One Jews Should Relate To

From The Jewish Daily Forward:  http://forward.com/articles/183262/chelsea-mannings-identity-crisis-is-one-jews-shoul/

Why We Should Care About WikiLeaks Figure’s Gender Change

By Jay Michaelson
September 06, 2013

‘Yes, but is it good for the Jews?”

We Jews know this question well. Henry Kissinger: good for the Jews? Brandeis? Koufax? Seinfeld? As an American minority, Jews are naturally sensitive to the way we are perceived, and to the messengers who — without our endorsement or permission — represent us to the world.

Likewise in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Some of our public faces are heroes (Harvey Milk), some are martyrs (Matthew Shepard) and some are flawed and imperfect, just like all of us.

So is Chelsea, née Bradley, Manning “good for the gays”?

In some quarters she is regarded as a hero, in others as a traitor. But as the gradual revelations about Manning’s sexual and gender identities have grown, it’s become clear that, like it or not, she is now part of something larger than her own story. She is a face of the LGBT community, and arguably the most famous — or infamous — transgender person in the world. We’re stuck with her.

Throughout the Manning ordeal, I’ve been struck by certain similarities between the LGBT and Jewish experiences — specifically, the interlocking questions of gender, identity and autonomy.

Transgender people remain the most invisible, the least understood and the most stigmatized element of the LGBT community. They are often targets of violence: On a single day in late August, two transgender women were murdered in hate crimes in New York (Islan Nettles) and Los Angeles (Domonique Newburn).

Such violence is a symptom of ignorance, fear and marginalization. Let me be the first to admit that when I initially encountered trans folk, I was confused, and thus dismissive of transgender reality. But the more I learned, the more I was able to understand, empathize and respect.

First, what the rest of us need to understand about transgender people is that gender is between your ears, not between your legs — and that, like sexual orientation, it may be experienced as entirely unchosen, or chosen, or some combination of the two. Most of us have no idea what it’s like to have one’s sense of gender not align with one’s biological, anatomical sex — what doctors call gender dysphoria. Just try to imagine what that might be like.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Chelsea Manning’s Identity Crisis Is One Jews Should Relate To

Manning’s Difficult Choices Have Paved the Way For a Harrowing Future

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/mannings-difficult-choices-have-paved-way-harrowing-future

Whatever her future, one thing is clear: Chelsea Manning has made a great sacrifice by informing the world of this country’s hypocrisy and hidden crimes.

By Ruth Rosen
August 29, 2013

Bradley Manning certainly picked a difficult time to tell the world that he has always wanted to live as a woman.  Convicted of leaking 700,000 documents to Wikileaks, Manning– who went by the name Bradley– was sentenced to serve 35 years at Fort Leavenworth Prison, a military prison in Kansas.  A spokeswoman for the facility told the “Today Show” that “the Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.”  She now faces at least seven years in federal prison before she is eligible for parole.

One day after the judge pronounced her sentence, Bradley shocked the world by disclosing that she had been living in the wrong body. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” the private wrote in a  statement. “Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.” In her statement to the “Today Show” Chelsea Manning thanked her supporters and said:

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning….I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you.

Aside from shock, the first response has been predictable. First, the media questioned when or if they should use the pronoun “she” to describe Private Manning’s sentence and request for hormone therapy. Double XX, a feminist section of Slate Magazine, immediately said that all media should use female pronouns.  The New York Times managed to write an entire story without using a single pronoun.

Next, attorneys debated whether she has a constitutional right to hormone therapy and reassignment therapy as a prisoner.  During her trial for leaking government documents—the greatest number in American history— Manning was described as suffering from gender identity disorder. One psychologist testified that she had a “difficult time adjusting to the ‘hypermasculine environment of a combat zone.” Manning’s attorney believes -–or says he believes– that President Obama will pardon Manning.  He will also appeal Manning’s request for hormone therapy, arguing that there are precedents for other prisoners receiving such medical care.  The American Civil Liberties Union similarly states that it is her constitutional right to seek corrective medical care, but that is not the position of prison officials right now.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/mannings-difficult-choices-have-paved-way-harrowing-future

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Manning’s Difficult Choices Have Paved the Way For a Harrowing Future

Are Queer Women Leaving Trans Women Behind?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-berg/are-queer-women-leaving-trans-women-behind_b_3750108.html


I don’t count any transgender women among my close LGBTQ and feminist friends. I’m not proud of that. I’m also not alone.

As a bisexual woman, I frequent LGBTQ parties and events, hang out at lesbian and gay bars, and even produce LGBTQ news coverage for my job. Yet, while I have friends who identify under every term in the LGBTQ spectrum, virtually none are trans women. And few of my LGBTQ friends count trans women among their own close friends. I get that we all gravitate toward those in our social circles for any number of subjective reasons, but could the absence of trans women in our circles reflect a larger problem among feminists and queer women?

I think it does. Feminist and queer spaces have long excluded certain queer people, however intentionally or unintentionally. When those spaces are inclusive, they often privilege some gender presentations over others. Discrimination within the LGBTQ community is subtle, but it’s insidious.

“When I go to a [queer] party, I’m often the only person assigned male at birth,” Red Durkin, a trans activist and comedian, told me. “I think the philosophy of queer spaces as being more all-inclusive is something that the practice of it hasn’t lived up to.”

We may not purposefully exclude anyone, but there is no doubt that we privilege certain identities (my cis, feminine, white one included).

“A lot of lesbian and dyke spaces and a lot of feminist spaces are masculine-centric, [which] plays a big role about which trans people are welcome in the space and which are not,” Julia Serano, a trans writer and activist, told me. “I’ve found that trans men and trans masculine people are way more welcome in queer spaces than trans women…. [A] large portion of the anti-trans sentiments are anti-feminine.”

Then, of course, some feminists actively work to exclude transgender women altogether. Case and point: the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The festival, which wrapped in early August, enforces a “womyn-born womyn” policy, barring anyone who doesn’t fit that definition from attending. MichFest invoked this policy in 1991, when trans attendee Nancy Burkholder was kicked out after she was outed. It has taken activism over the past two decades, including Camp Trans, to counteract the festival’s discriminatory policy. Durkin, for her part, initiated a Change.org petition calling on artists to boycott the festival, which garnered nearly 3,000 signatures.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-berg/are-queer-women-leaving-trans-women-behind_b_3750108.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Are Queer Women Leaving Trans Women Behind?

Minnesota Democrat running to become state’s first trans woman in Congress

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/31/minnesota-democrat-running-to-become-states-first-trans-woman-in-congress/

By Arturo Garcia
Saturday, August 31, 2013

A 59-year-old Democratic congressional candidate is pushing to become the first trans woman from Minnesota to serve as a federal lawmaker.

According to Roll Call, Paula Overby has filed the required paperwork to enter the Democratic primary field in hopes of unseating Rep. John Kline (R-MN). Kline was elected to his sixth term in 2012 by 8 percentage points in a district evenly split between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Overby will challenge former state Rep. Mike Obermueller (D), who narrowly lost to Kline, and upstart candidate Thomas Craft. She told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press in an interview published August 11 that, while her gender identity might be controversial for some voters, it might get others out to the polls.

“There is a significant level of prejudice that exists against transgendered people,” Overby said to the Pioneer-Press. “Some people will see this as a mark of enormous courage. There are other people who won’t vote for me because of it.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/31/minnesota-democrat-running-to-become-states-first-trans-woman-in-congress/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Minnesota Democrat running to become state’s first trans woman in Congress

Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/05/mission-congo-pat-robertson-aid-rwanda

The televangelist claimed Operation Blessing was giving vital aid in response to the 1994 Rwandan crisis. A documentary opening at the Toronto film festival paints a less flattering picture

theguardian.com, Thursday 5 September 2013

One of the stranger sights of the refugee crisis that followed the 1994 Rwandan genocide was of stretcher-bearers rushing the dying to medical tents, with men running alongside reciting Bible verses to the withering patients.

The bulk of the thousands of doctors and nurses struggling to save lives – as about 40,000 people died of cholera – were volunteers for the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The Bible readers were hired by the American televangelist and former religious right presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, and his aid organisation, Operation Blessing International.

But on Robertson’s US television station, the Christian Broadcasting Network, that reality was reversed, as he raised millions of dollars from loyal followers by claiming Operation Blessing was at the forefront of the international response to the biggest refugee crisis of the decade. It’s a claim he continues to make, even though an official investigation into Robertson’s operation in Virginia accused him of “fraudulent and deceptive” claims when he was running an almost non-existent aid operation.

“We brought the largest contingent of medicine into Goma in Zaire, at least the first and the largest,” Robertson said as recently as last year on his TV station.

Now a new documentary lays bare the extent of the misrepresentations of Operation Blessing’s activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, that it says continue to this day.

Mission Congo, by David Turner and Lara Zizic, opens at the Toronto film festival on Friday. It describes how claims about the scale of aid to Rwandan refugees were among a number of exaggerated or false assertions about the activities of Operation Blessing which pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in donations, much of it through Robertson’s televangelism. They include characterising a failed large-scale farming project as a huge success, and claims about providing schools and other infrastructure.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/05/mission-congo-pat-robertson-aid-rwanda

See also:  Right Wing Watch: Pat Robertson Threatens Legal Action Against Filmmakers For Exposing Charity Scam

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project

Pope Francis quietly removes Vatican envoy to the Dominican Republic after accusation of child prostitution surface

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/05/pope-francis-quietly-removes-vatican-envoy-to-the-dominican-republic-after-accusation-of-child-prostitutio-surface/

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pope Francis came under fire from victims groups on Thursday following news that he had quietly sacked the Vatican’s envoy to the Dominican Republic over allegations of paedophilia.

“Like all of his predecessors, Pope Francis is acting belatedly, secretively and recklessly,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“Catholic officials act only when forced to do so by media pressure,” she said in a statement received by AFP.

“When they do act, they act secretively — in this case, by not disclosing the allegations, the suspension or the reason for the suspension.”

On August 21 Monsignor Josef Wesolowski, the papal nuncio in Santo Domingo, was sacked without the Vatican sharing the news with the public.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/05/pope-francis-quietly-removes-vatican-envoy-to-the-dominican-republic-after-accusation-of-child-prostitutio-surface/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Pope Francis quietly removes Vatican envoy to the Dominican Republic after accusation of child prostitution surface

15 things to NEVER say to an atheist

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on 15 things to NEVER say to an atheist

Oh Magog! Why End-Times Buffs Are Freaking Out About Syria

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/09/syria-joel-rosenberg-damascus-countdown-magog

Novelist Joel Rosenberg has the ear of Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and the Heritage Foundation. He thinks conflict in Syria was foretold by the Old Testament.

In early 2012, best-selling novelist Joel Rosenberg came to Capitol Hill for a meeting with an unidentified member of Congress to discuss the end of the world. “I thought the topic was going to be the possible coming war between Israel and Iran,” Rosenberg explained on his website. “Instead, the official asked, ‘What are your thoughts on Isaiah 17?'”

For the better part of an hour, Rosenberg says, the writer and the congressman went back forth on something called the “burden of Damascus,” an Old Testament prophecy that posits that a war in the Middle East will leave Syria’s capital city in ruins—and bring the world one step closer to Armageddon. As Rosenberg put it, “The innocent blood shed by the Assad regime is reprehensible and heart-breaking and is setting the stage for a terrible judgment.”

But Rosenberg and his anonymous congressman aren’t alone in viewing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s actions through a biblical lens. With Congress set to vote next week on the authorization to use military force in Syria, the Damascus prophecy has taken on a new significance among the nation’s End Times industry—writers and pastors who believe the world is hurtling toward the return of Christ as forecasted in the Book of Revelation—and its adherents in the pews and in public life. On Saturday, Rosenberg will travel to Topeka, Kansas, at the invitation of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

The idea behind the prophecy is a fairly straightforward one. In Isaiah 17, the prophet explains that, in the run-up to Armageddon, “Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, and will become a fallen ruin.” The implication is that it will be leveled by God on behalf of Israel as part of the last great struggle for mankind.

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/09/syria-joel-rosenberg-damascus-countdown-magog

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Oh Magog! Why End-Times Buffs Are Freaking Out About Syria

Henry A. Giroux: Hope in a Time of Permanent War

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18578-hope-in-a-time-of-permanent-war

By Henry A Giroux
Wednesday, 04 September 2013

Revolution is not ‘showing’ life to people, but making them live. A revolutionary organization must always remember that its objective is not getting its adherents to listen to convincing talks by expert leaders, but getting them to speak for themselves, in order to achieve, or at least strive toward, an equal degree of participation. – Guy Debord 

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. –
Martin Luther King, Jr. 


The war drums are beating loudly, and America is once more mobilizing its global war machine. How might it be possible to imagine hope for justice and a better world for humanity in a country that has sanctioned state torture, is about to bomb Syria and kill untold number of civilians, spies on its own citizens, extends the reach of the punishing state into all aspects of society, and inflicts violence on black and brown youths through racial profiling and the machinery of the mass incarceration state? How does one retrieve hope from the dark and dismal killing, cruelty, human rights violations and abuse that has been produced as a result of the needless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the role played by a conformist media that supported such practices? Is hope on terminal life support when the police are allowed to handcuff a kindergarten student for doodling on her desk or arrest a student for a dress code violation? What does hope mean in a country in which there is no tolerance for young protesters and infinite tolerance for the crimes of bankers, hedge fund managers and corporate polluters? How can hope make a difference in a country in which economics drives politics and harsh competition replaces any notion of compassion and respect for the public good?


What does hope mean when the United States, as the most powerful nation in the world, is virtually unmatched around the world for incarcerating thousands of young people of color and destroying millions of families and the social bonds that give them meaning? What does hope teach us at a time in which government lies and deception are exposed on a daily basis in the media and yet appear to have little effect on challenging the deeply authoritarian attacks on civil liberties initiated by President Obama? What happens to the promise of hope as a foundation for social struggle when all of social life is subordinated to the violence of a deregulated market and the privatization of public resources, including health care, education and transportation? What resources and visions does hope offer in a society in which greed is considered venerable and profit is the most important measure of personal achievement? What is the relevance of hope at a time when most attempts to interrupt the operations of an incipient fascism appear to fuel a growing cynicism rather than promote widespread individual and collective acts of resistance? Where does hope live in a country in which moral courage is valued less than a brutalizing hyper-masculinity and a cult of toughness? In spite of this brutalizing script, hope not only matters, it is alive and well all over the globe, especially in those places where young people refuse the dictates of authoritarians and the savagery of casino capitalism and its politics of austerity.


More corrosive than authoritarianism is a loss of faith in the possibilities and promise of collective struggle for an open society, the promise of a radical democracy, and a society that is never just enough. In this regard, Robert Reich’s comments on an exchange with his mentor are instructive for how to understand the power of militant hope. He writes: “You’ve been fighting for social justice for over half a century. Are you discouraged?” “Not at all!” he said. “Don’t confuse the urgency of attaining a goal with the urgency of fighting for it.” [i]

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18578-hope-in-a-time-of-permanent-war

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Henry A. Giroux: Hope in a Time of Permanent War

Syria War Propagandists Debunked | Weapons of Mass Distraction

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Syria War Propagandists Debunked | Weapons of Mass Distraction

NBC News: Fracking Conclusively to Blame for Ohio Earthquakes

From Daily Kos:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/04/1236367/-NBC-News-Fracking-Conclusively-to-Blame-for-Ohio-Earthquakes

Wed Sep 04, 2013

From NBC News:

Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, which is located on the Marcellus Shale, had never experienced an earthquake, at least not since researchers began observations in 1776. However, in December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. The well was shut down after the quake….

The new investigation of the Youngstown earthquakes, detailed in the July issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that their onset, end and even temporary dips in activity were apparently all tied to activity at the Northstar 1 well.

For instance, the first earthquake recorded in Youngstown occurred 13 days after pumping began, and the tremors ceased shortly after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down the well in December 2011. In addition, dips in earthquake activity lined up with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and other times when injection at the well was temporarily stopped.

“Earthquakes were triggered by fluid injection shortly after the injection initiated — less than two weeks,” researcher Won-Young Kim, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., told LiveScience…


It’s interesting to note that definitive proof of a correlation between the fracking and the quakes took two and a half years to uncover. In this instance, earthquakes began soon after the well went online. But in other suspected cases of frack-induced quakes, the tremors didn’t occur until as much as a decade after pumping started. If we allow fracking to continue unabated in this country, who knows what sorts of disasters await us in the years to come.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on NBC News: Fracking Conclusively to Blame for Ohio Earthquakes

Canadian PM to Obama: Let’s make a deal on Keystone!

From Grist: http://grist.org/news/canadian-pm-to-obama-lets-make-a-deal-on-keystone/

Looks like Canada is getting desperate.

The country’s leaders and its oil industry really, really want the Keystone XL pipeline built so they can ship tar-sands oil from Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. But the Obama administration keeps postponing its decision on the pipeline.

In his big climate speech in June, President Obama said he would approve Keystone only “if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” And in an interview with The New York Times in July, Obama said, “there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.”

So now Canada is trying a new approach, offering to make a deal with Obama on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. CBC broke the story:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama formally proposing “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector,” if that is what’s needed to gain approval of the Keystone XL pipeline through America’s heartland, CBC News has learned.

Sources told CBC News the prime minister is willing to accept targets proposed by the United States for reducing the climate-changing emissions and is prepared to work in concert with Obama to provide whatever political cover he needs to approve the project.

The letter, sent in late August, is a clear signal Canada is prepared to make concessions to get the presidential permit for TransCanada Corp.’s controversial $7-billion pipeline …

Continue reading at:  http://grist.org/news/canadian-pm-to-obama-lets-make-a-deal-on-keystone/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Canadian PM to Obama: Let’s make a deal on Keystone!

Naomi Klein: Green groups may be more damaging than climate change deniers

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/09/05/naomi_klein_big_green_groups_are_crippling_the_environmental_movement_partner/

The “No Logo” author explains how environmentalists may be more damaging to their cause than climate change deniers

Thursday, Sep 5, 2013

This originally appeared on Earth Island Journal.

Canadian author Naomi Klein is so well known for her blade-sharp commentary that it’s easy to forget that she is, above all, a first-rate reporter. I got a glimpse into her priorities as I was working on this interview. Klein told me she was worried that some of the things she had said would make it hard for her to land an interview with a president of the one of the Big Green groups (read below and you’ll see why). She was more interested in nabbing the story than being the story; her reporting trumped any opinion-making.

Such focus is a hallmark of Klein’s career. She doesn’t do much of the chattering class’s news cycle blathering. She works steadily, carefully, quietly. It can be surprising to remember that Klein’s immense global influence rests on a relatively small body of work; she has published three books, one of which is an anthology of magazine pieces.

Klein’s first book, No Logo, investigated how brand names manipulate public desires while exploiting the people who make their products. The book came out just weeks after the WTO protests in Seattle and became an international bestseller. Her next major book, The Shock Doctrine, argued that free-marketeers often use crises – natural or manufactured – to ram through deregulatory policies. With her newest, yet-to-be named book, Klein turns her attention to climate change. Scheduled for release in 2014, the book will also be made into a film by her husband and creative partner, Avi Lewis.

Klein’s books and articles have sought to articulate a counternarrative to the march of corporate globalization and government austerity. She believes climate change provides a new chance for creating such a counternarrative. “The book I am writing is arguing that our responses to climate change can rebuild the public sphere, can strengthen our communities, can have work with dignity.”

First, though, she has to finish the reporting. As she told me, speaking about the grass-roots response to climate chaos: “Right now it’s under the radar, but I’m following it quite closely.”

During your career you’ve written about the power of brand names, populist movements around the world, and free market fundamentalism. Why now a book and film on climate change?

You know, The Shock Doctrine, my last book, ends with climate change. It ends with a vision of a dystopic future where you have weak infrastructure colliding with heavy weather, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina. And rather than working to prevent future disasters by having lower emissions, you have all these attempts to take advantage of that crisis. At the time, it seemed to me that climate change was potentially going to be the biggest disaster-capitalism free-for-all that we’ve seen yet. So it was quite a logical progression for me to go from writing about disaster-capitalism in The Shock Doctrine to writing about climate change. As I was writing The Shock Doctrine, I was covering the Iraq War and profiteering from the war, and I started to see these patterns repeat in the aftermath of natural disasters, like the Asian tsunami and then Hurricane Katrina. There are chapters in that book on both of those events. Then I came to the idea that climate change could be a kind of a “people’s shock,” an answer to the shock doctrine – not just another opportunity by the disaster capitalists to feed off of misery, but an opportunity for progressive forces to deepen democracy and really improve livelihoods around the world. Then I came across the idea of “climate debt” when I was doing a piece on reparations for Harper’s magazine. I had a meeting with Bolivia’s climate negotiator in Geneva – her name is Angélica Navarro – and she put the case to me that climate change could be an opportunity for a global Green Marshall Plan with the North paying climate debts in the form of huge green development project.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/09/05/naomi_klein_big_green_groups_are_crippling_the_environmental_movement_partner/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Naomi Klein: Green groups may be more damaging than climate change deniers