Forty Years Ago Today There Was Another 9/11

Forty years ago today Pinochet over threw the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and instituted a fascist military dictatorship in Chile.

He did so with the backing of accused war criminal Henry Kissinger, the CIA and major American Corporations.

After the coup Pinochet’s US backed dictatorship launched a bloodbath murdering intellectuals, journalist and any who opposed him.

All with the blessing of Nixon, Kissinger and the CIA.

 

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Mainstream Media Fails on Coverage of Chelsea Manning’s Transition

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18613-mainstream-media-fails-on-coverage-of-chelsea-mannings-transition

By Candice Bernd
Sunday, 08 September 2013

Chelsea Manning announced her gender transition a day after she was sentenced to serve 35 years at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Some mainstream publishing outlets tried their best to respect her gender identity by switching to her preferred name and pronoun, but many others continued to use her former name as well as masculine pronouns to identify her.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. 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,” she said Thursday.

The AP, The New York Times, NPR, the Chicago Tribune and TIME have switched to Manning’s preferred name and pronoun, albeit not without delays and some internal debate within their organizations. But almost all major television networks, including some sources interviewed on MSNBC, and the Washington Times, Politico and USA Today, among others, can’t seem to respect Manning’s fairly simple and clearly stated desire to be referred to in the feminine, consistent with her gender identity. The Washington Post claims to be reviewing its style guidelines, but the organization continues to refer to Manning using masculine pronouns.

Mara Keisling is the executive director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. The center works to educate members of the news media on how to cover issues related to transgender subjects and sources, among other issues. “We haven’t heard anybody talk about Edward Snowden’s gender identity or Edward Snowden’s sexual orientation because they’re not relevant, and we want the media to understand that it’s not relevant with Chelsea Manning either, except as a stand-alone story about somebody transitioning,” she told Truthout.

Some publishers and media outlets, including CNN, and initially NPR before reversing its decision, have stated that they wouldn’t respect Manning’s preferred name and pronoun until she begins hormone replacement therapy or undergoes gender confirmation surgery – a vital treatment she may never receive as the military prison at Fort Leavenworth has denied her request officially, a move the American Civil Liberties Union has said could violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

The most current version of the AP stylebook informs journalists they should “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.” [Emphasis added.]

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18613-mainstream-media-fails-on-coverage-of-chelsea-mannings-transition

Meet The Trans Scholar Fighting Against The Campaign For Out Trans Military Service

From Buzzfeed:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/meet-the-trans-scholar-fighting-against-the-campaign-for-out

“Trans people, trans organizations, the trans movement did not choose this battle,” Dean Spade says.
The law professor says rich donors chose the issue, and maintains the focus will hurt other trans rights issues.

Chris Geidner
September 9, 2013

WASHINGTON — In recent months, one of the key issues relating to transgender rights that has come up in public debate is that of out transgender military service. A leading trans legal scholar, however, tells BuzzFeed the focus is “likely to harm” other progress sought by the transgender community and is coming at “the whims of a few wealthy donors.”

From the decision by former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, to come out as trans to the announcement by Chelsea Manning that she also is trans, trans military issues have received more attention than ever before. Also affecting the dynamic is the decision by Jennifer Natalya Pritzker, a former colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard who has since come out as trans, to back a $1.35 million donation to the Palm Center to study transgender military service.

For Dean Spade, who is trans and a leading left legal scholar on transgender and other inequality issues, the attention being paid to the military issues is part of a disturbing trend.

“Here’s the problem: Trans people, trans organizations, the trans movement did not choose this battle,” Spade noted. “[O]ne very wealthy individual has picked this issue and is funding advocacy about it.”

Spade founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to provide legal help to trans, intersex and/or gender nonconforming people, regardless of income or race and has been an outspoken opponent of the military and criminal justice systems in the country — a position Spade links to his work to advance social, gender and racial justice. He also is an associate professor at the Seattle University School of Law who is currently a fellow in the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School and previously worked as a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School.

In an email discussion with BuzzFeed, Spade sought to push back against the recent focus on trans military service:

So, what’s going on here?

Dean Spade: The U.S. military has recently lifted the ban on women in combat and begun to let lesbians and gay men serve openly. Some see these changes as advances for equality, and some have identified the remaining exclusion of trans people from military service as a next target to change. Many universities are letting the military recruit on campus again now that it no longer officially discriminates against gay and lesbian employees, but on some campuses controversy is erupting because the ban on trans service has not yet been resolved. As the nation and world ponder U.S. military intervention in Syria, the LGBT movement in the U.S. is divided about its views about military service and U.S. militarism.

Why, in your view, is this issue reaching the headlines?

DS: This issue will continue filling headlines. But not because military service is the most pressing concern facing trans populations or the thing trans people want most. It is because one very wealthy individual has picked this issue and is funding advocacy about it — putting more money toward trans military inclusion than is currently devoted to any other trans issue.

That individual is Col. Jennifer Natalya Pritzker, billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune. In August, Col. Pritzker came out as trans publicly. The Pritzker family, which includes Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, are true 1-percenters. Colonel Pritzker, along with 10 other members of her family, are listed in the Forbes list of the “400 Richest Americans.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/meet-the-trans-scholar-fighting-against-the-campaign-for-out

Let the Witch Hunt Begin

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-fierstein/let-the-witch-hunt-begin_b_3896112.html

09/10/2013

As feared, Putin’s puppets have extrapolated their law banning pro-gay propaganda from influencing children into a law that bans children from being raised in a non-homophobic home. The government has brought a law to the table that would give itself power to remove children from their biological or adoptive parents if they are gay or even suspected of being gay.

This law is horrifying enough on face value, but imagine a circumstance where a mother has been granted custody of her children after a messy divorce. The father could now gain custody of the children simply by accusing his ex-wife of being a lesbian. She would then have to prove, in an already unfriendly court, that she is not a lesbian, and that she is virulently anti-lesbian and promises to raise her children to be homophobes. If not she may never see her children again. It doesn’t stop there. This law is an open invitation for witch hunts of every kind. It was designed to be abused not only by citizens, but by politicians looking to rid themselves of opposition.

What makes Putin’s war on homosexuals so frightening is that the methodology is perfectly simple. His recipe is time-tested and depends, almost entirely, on the most dependable truth of all — human nature. All that Putin needed to begin was the spark of a widely held, if only whispered prejudice such as homosexuals being pederasts and sex offenders. Feed the glowing embers with government concern for the innocent people whose good will has been abused by the gays as they spread their message that their life-style is somehow acceptable. Low-level laws controlling the spread of these messages can now be enacted. Police are now empowered to search homes, seize computers, arrest and fine anyone they feel might be breaking the newly enacted laws. Emboldened by these bans, vigilantes have implied instruction to protect their communities from the rampant evil. Intolerant speech in the streets as well as the media, street violence and gang organizing are all normalized. And now the government comes in with “concern” for the gay community’s safety. They are rounded up for their own protection and isolated for the sake of the children at risk of infection. Welcome to the return of concentration camps.

What, you may ask, is Putin looking to gain? Mine is only a guess, but I would say that a man who releases photos of himself bare-breasted on horseback is one whose ego does not tolerate criticism of any kind. Whether he aims to distract attention from monetary misdeeds or he’s snatching powers not granted by Russia’s constitution, he seeks blind loyalty. Nothing binds a people to their leader like a common enemy. Voters don’t change governments during war. By attacking us he not only brings his right-wing staunchly into line behind him, but simultaneously invalidates the liberal and intellectual communities who would stand up against his policies.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-fierstein/let-the-witch-hunt-begin_b_3896112.html

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12 year old transgender fights drug ban to halt female puberty

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US: Study reveals transgender workers are at greater risk for unemployment and poverty

From Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/09/10/us-study-reveals-transgender-workers-are-at-greater-risk-for-unemployment-and-poverty/

by
10 September 2013

A new report has revealed that transgender workers in the US experience unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole, and are four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 (£6,400).

The report released this week, entitled ‘A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers,’ is a companion to the recently released report, ‘A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits, and More Taxes for LGBT Workers.’

It is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in partnership with Freedom to Work, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, and SEIU.

The report shows that transgender workers report unemployment at 14% – which is double the rate of the population as a whole at 7%.

44% of transgender people who are currently working are also underemployed.

Transgender workers are also at 15% for having household incomes under $10,000 – which is four times the rate of the population as a whole at 4%

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE, said: “This new report underscores the harsh reality of what it means to live and work as a transgender person in this country. Like other workers, transgender Americans deserve to be judged by our work and contributions and not by one aspect of who we are.”

Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP, also explained how these figures have come to light.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/09/10/us-study-reveals-transgender-workers-are-at-greater-risk-for-unemployment-and-poverty/

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AFL-CIO Adds Transgender Protections To Its Constitution

From Buzzfeed:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/afl-cio-adds-transgender-protections-to-its-constitution

“Labor has really been stepping up, and the AFL-CIO has been stepping up,” transgender advocate Mara Keisling says.

Chris Geidner
September 9, 2013

WASHINGTON — The AFL-CIO, the country’s largest labor federation, amended its constitution Monday to add a provision banning discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

The decision to ban transgender discrimination at its 2013 convention followed the decision of several unions within the federation already to have made the addition of similar nondiscrimination policies into their own policies. The federation is made up of 57 national and international unions representing more than 12 million workers.

“Very exciting,” National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling said. “Labor has really been stepping up, and the AFL-CIO has been stepping up.”

Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said, “The labor movement has long been a leader on full inclusion in the workplace. This important addition to the governing document of the largest federation of labor unions is a historic and important step forward to ensuring that every American has an equal shot at employment and equal benefits.”

HRC and NCTE are part of a national coalition seeking to press Congress to pass federal legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that would ban sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in the workplace, protecting LGBT workers from job bias. The coalition, Americans for Workplace Opportunity, is seeking a Senate vote on the legislation in coming months.

Pride at Work, the LGBT organization within the AFL-CIO, celebrated the federation’s decision Monday on Facebook, calling it “a great day in our movement.”

Saying he was “thrilled” to hear the news, Tico Almeida, the president of Freedom to Work, said in a statement, “The AFL-CIO and its millions of members work hard to improve wages and working conditions for all Americans, and they are squarely on our side as transgender and gay workers fighting for a fair shot at the American Dream. We are particularly grateful for the leadership of [Communications Workers of America] President Larry Cohen, who introduced the proposal, and our LGBT brothers and sisters at Pride at Work.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/afl-cio-adds-transgender-protections-to-its-constitution

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The President and the Pipeline

From The New Yorker:  http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/09/16/130916fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all

The campaign to make the Keystone XL the test of Obama’s resolve on climate change.

by
September 16, 2013

On the day of his second Inauguration, in January, Barack Obama delivered an address of unabashed liberal ambition and promise. As recently as early April, before the realities of the world and the House of Representatives made themselves painfully evident, the President retained the confidence of a leader on the brink of enormous achievements. It seemed possible, even probable, that he would win modest gun-control legislation, an immigration-reform law, and the elusive grand bargain with Republicans to resolve the serial crises over the federal budget. And he seemed determined to take on even the most complicated and ominous problem of all: climate change. The President, who had a mixed environmental record after his first term, vowed that he would commit his Administration to combatting global warming, saying that “failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

The President flew to San Francisco on April 3rd for a series of fund-raisers. He stopped in first at a cocktail reception hosted by Tom Steyer, a fifty-six-year-old billionaire, former hedge-fund manager, and major donor to the Democratic Party. Steyer lives in the city’s Sea Cliff neighborhood, in a house overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. As the President’s motorcade headed to the party, several hundred activists were assembling along the route to his second event—a dinner hosted by Ann and Gordon Getty, in Pacific Heights, on a street known as Billionaires’ Row. The protesters held banners that represented various causes, but most of them held professionally printed two-toned blue signs that said, “STOP THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE.” The “o” in “Keystone” replicated the Obama campaign logo.

The environmental movement was testing Obama. Would he stand by his own Inaugural Address? During the past two years, environmentalists have coalesced around opposition to the seventeen-hundred-mile Keystone pipeline, which would carry oil from northern Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Because the project crosses an international border, it requires the approval of the State Department and the President; a decision is expected in the coming months. Supporters of Keystone consider it essential to reducing the United States’ reliance on oil from the Middle East and unstable countries like Venezuela; its critics view it as Obama’s best chance to make a clear stand against one of the dirtiest fossil fuels contributing to climate change. “What do we want from our Pre-si-dent?” the protesters yelled. “No pipeline for the one per cent!” One marcher led the crowd in a call and response: “When I say ‘pipeline,’ you say ‘kill’! Pipeline! Kill!”

Continue reading at:  http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/09/16/130916fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all

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Syria: the great distraction

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/10/obama-syria-what-about-sequester

Obama is focused on a conflict abroad, but the fight he should be gearing up for is with Congress on America’s economic security


theguardian.com, Tuesday 10 September 2013

Before President Obama speaks to the nation about Syria tonight, take a look at what this fall will look like inside America.

There are 49 million people in the country who suffered inadequate access to food in 2012, leaving the percentage of “food-insecure” Americans at about one-sixth of the US population. At the same time, Congress refused to pass food-stamp legislation this summer, pushing it off again and threatening draconian cuts.

The country will crash into the debt ceiling in mid-October, which would be an economic disaster, especially with a government shutdown looming at the same time. These are deadlines that Congress already learned two years ago not to toy with, but memories appear to be preciously short.

The Federal Reserve needs a new chief in three months, someone who will help the country confront its raging unemployment crisis that has left 12 million people without jobs. The president has promised to choose a warm body within the next three weeks, despite the fact that his top pick, Larry Summers, would likely spark an ugly confirmation battle – the “fight of the century,” according to some – with a Congress already unwilling to do the President’s bidding.

Congress was supposed to pass a farm bill this summer, but declined to do so even though the task is already two years late. As a result, the country has no farm bill, leaving agricultural subsidies up in the air, farmers uncertain about what their financial picture looks like, and a potential food crisis on the horizon.

The two main housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been in limbo for four years and are desperately in need of reform that should start this fall, but there is scant attention to the problem.

These are the problems going unattended by the Obama administration while his aides and cabinet members have been wasting the nation’s time making the rounds on television and Capitol Hill stumping for a profoundly unpopular war. The fact that all this chest-beating was for naught, and an easy solution seems on the horizon, belies the single-minded intensity that the Obama White House brought to its insistence on bombing Syria.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/10/obama-syria-what-about-sequester

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Good riddance, plutocrats! Demolishing the 1 percent’s class war

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/09/10/good_riddance_plutocrats_demolishing_the_1_percents_class_war/

Michael Bloomberg’s exit and Mitt Romney’s defeat offer a fresh new chance for the rest of us to take over America

By

A few days before today’s Democratic primary in New York City, Michael Bloomberg apparently deigned to leave his palatial estate in Bermuda and his $20 million home in London and fly back to the Big Apple. During that most recent trip to the city he rules in partial absentia, the billionaire CEO mayor granted an interview in which he offered up a farewell summary of his economic agenda. In the process, he provided a reminder that for all the political obituaries written about Mitt Romney, the plutocratic politics of berating the so-called 47 percent still persists.

In his now-famous interview with New York magazine, Bloomberg’s whiney ode to Romney’s “47 percent” line came when he dissed Democrat Bill de Blasio’s crusade against economic inequality. Bloomberg said (emphasis added):

(De Blasio’s) whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this “two cities” thing doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He’s a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.

Just as Romney’s “47 percent” comment expressed a “makers versus takers” hostility toward the plight of those in need, Bloomberg seems angry at the poor for being poor and resentful that the rich pay more into public coffers. Likewise, just as Romney’s “47 percent” comment evinced an ignorance of the problem of inequality, so does Bloomberg seem unaware of his city’s economics.

Meanwhile, in continuing the tradition of depicting the filthy rich as persecuted saviors, both of them seem unable to comprehend the basic connection between inequality and taxes. More specifically, they seem unable to understand that while many middle-class Americans pay a higher tax rate than the rich, the total amount of tax revenue from the poor is less than from the rich because in this new Gilded Age, the rich possess a disproportionate share of the economy’s total cash. Indeed, to the extent that Bloomberg is mathematically correct in suggesting the wealthy contribute more to New York City’s tax coffers than the non-wealthy, that reality is not because the city’s poor are tax scofflaws. It is because a comparatively small group of rich New Yorkers possess the lion’s share of the city’s total cash supply that could be devoted to the public coffers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/09/10/good_riddance_plutocrats_demolishing_the_1_percents_class_war/

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AFL-CIO 2013 Convention: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Addresses the Delegates

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Richest 1 per cent of Americans collected a record share of household income in 2012

From Maclean’s Ca: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/10/richest-1-per-cent-of-americans-collected-a-record-share-of-household-income-in-2012/

by The Associated Press
on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WASHINGTON – The income gap between the richest 1 per cent and the rest of America widened to a record last year.

The top 1 per cent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 per cent of household income in 2012, their largest share in Internal Revenue Service figures going back a century.

U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. But until last year, the top 1 per cent’s share of pre-tax income had not yet surpassed the 18.7 per cent it reached in 1927, according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

One of them, Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, said the incomes of the richest Americans might have surged last year in part because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes that took effect in January.

Last year, the incomes of the top 1 per cent rose 19.6 per cent compared with a 1 per cent increase for the remaining 99 per cent.

The richest Americans were hit hard by the financial crisis. Their incomes fell more than 36 per cent in the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 as stock prices plummeted. Incomes for the bottom 99 per cent fell just 11.6 per cent, according to the analysis.

But since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the top 1 per cent have enjoyed the benefits of rising corporate profits and stock prices: 95 per cent of the income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 per cent.

That compares with a 45 per cent share for the top 1 per cent in the economic expansion of the 1990s and a 65 per cent share from the expansion that followed the 2001 recession.

Continue reading at:  http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/10/richest-1-per-cent-of-americans-collected-a-record-share-of-household-income-in-2012/

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Lisa Simeone: “War with Syria Won’t Help Anybody!”

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The First Word I Ever Googled: Why Online Privacy Is an LGBT Issue

I had been out for 27 years when I first got on-line, post-op for nearly 25.  I’ll bet that the first word I searched on using either Yahoo or Alta Vista was the same or a very closely related word.

I be willing to bet that most of my sisters and brothers of trans-prefixed word had a similar experience.

Including those who were deeply closeted or in situations where their safety depended on their being able to maintain a degree of privacy.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allyson-d-robinson/the-first-word-i-ever-goo_b_3895964.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&ir=Technology

09/10/2013

The first word I ever Googled was “transgender.”

This was in 1995, so I didn’t actually Google it per se. Larry Page and Sergey Brin hadn’t even developed the first Google algorithm at that point, so if you wanted to find something on the Internet, you went to Yahoo! and looked it up in their directory. And if you were lucky, you discovered that some generous soul had taken the time to put up the content you were looking for and had listed it there.

I was on a Department of Defense computer at the time, in my wife’s office in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where we were both assigned as U.S. Army lieutenants. She was finishing a late-evening meeting with her soldiers; I’d sent mine home an hour earlier and was waiting for her to wrap things up so that we could head back to our own quarters. It seemed safe enough. I’d already had a lifetime to learn to look over my shoulder, and I knew I’d have plenty of time to close the browser window before anyone came into the room, so I felt safe clicking on the first site I found. I read; I learned. Eventually I clicked the “back” button to find another site.

That’s when I noticed that the first link I’d clicked had gone from blue to a deep purple. My blood ran cold: The computer was keeping a record of the sites I’d viewed.

I panicked.

It took me five long minutes to figure out how to clear the history, five minutes of terror, five minutes spent imagining what it would cost me if I couldn’t cover my electronic tracks: my marriage, my career, everything that mattered to me. I poured through menus, clicked through settings, found what I was looking for, and was just closing down Internet Explorer as I heard her footsteps coming down the hall.

I didn’t know that night that I was taking the first steps on a journey to health and wholeness — and I didn’t know where the pitfalls and land mines lay along that path. That first experience gave me pause, but what I’d learned instilled in me such a hope that soon I was installing America Online on our home computer, discovering more, finding other people like me. Over time I learned better ways of protecting myself as I searched for the information that, a decade later, would lead me to a therapist’s office and, eventually, to come out to my wife and to the world. Online privacy was something that was important to soldiers like me long before it was a household word.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allyson-d-robinson/the-first-word-i-ever-goo_b_3895964.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&ir=Technology

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The Border Is a Back Door for U.S. Device Searches

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/business/the-border-is-a-back-door-for-us-device-searches.html?_r=0

By SUSAN STELLIN
Published: September 9, 2013

Newly released documents reveal how the government uses border crossings to seize and examine travelers’ electronic devices instead of obtaining a search warrant to gain access to the data.

The documents detail what until now has been a largely secretive process that enables the government to create a travel alert for a person, who may not be a suspect in an investigation, then detain that individual at a border crossing and confiscate or copy any electronic devices that person is carrying.

To critics, the documents show how the government can subvert Americans’ constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, but the confiscations have largely been allowed by courts as a tool to battle illegal activities like drug smuggling, child pornography and terrorism.

The documents were turned over to David House, a fund-raiser for the legal defense of Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, as part of a legal settlement with the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. House had sued the agency after his laptop, camera, thumb drive and cellphone were seized when he returned from a trip to Mexico in November 2010. The data from the devices was then examined over seven months.

Although government investigators had questioned Mr. House about his association with Private Manning in the months before his trip to Mexico, he said no one asked to search his computer or mentioned seeking a warrant to do so. After seizing his devices, immigration authorities sent a copy of Mr. House’s data to the Army Criminal Investigation Command, which conducted the detailed search of his files. No evidence of any crime was found, the documents say.

“Americans crossing the border are being searched and their digital media is being seized in the hopes that the government will find something to have them convicted,” Mr. House said. “I think it’s important for business travelers and people who consider themselves politically inclined to know what dangers they now face in a country where they have no real guarantee of privacy at the border.”

A spokeswoman from Customs and Border Protection said the agency declined to comment about the settlement with Mr. House, or answer questions about travelers’ rights when their devices are seized or inspected during a border crossing.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/business/the-border-is-a-back-door-for-us-device-searches.html?_r=0

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Medea Benjamin on C-SPAN

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Our Fossil-Fueled Future

From Tom Dispatch:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175745/tomgram%3A_michael_t._klare%2C_2040_or_bust/

World Energy in 2040

By Michael T. Klare
September 10, 2013

What sort of fabulous new energy systems will the world possess in 2040?  Which fuels will supply the bulk of our energy needs?  And how will that change the global energy equation, international politics, and the planet’s health?  If the experts at the U.S. Department of Energy are right, the startling “new” fuels of 2040 will be oil, coal, and natural gas — and we will find ourselves on a baking, painfully uncomfortable planet.

It’s true, of course, that any predictions about the fuel situation almost three decades from now aren’t likely to be reliable.  All sorts of unexpected upheavals and disasters in the years ahead make long-range predictions inherently difficult.  This has not, however, deterred the Department of Energy from producing a comprehensive portrait of the world’s future energy system.  Known as the International Energy Outlook (IEO), the assessment incorporates detailed projections of future energy production and consumption.  Although dense with statistical data and filled with technical jargon, the 2013 report provides a unique and disturbing picture of our planetary future.

Many of us would like to believe that, by 2040, the world will be far along the path toward a green industrial future with wind, solar, and renewable fuels providing the bulk of our energy supplies.  The IEO assumes otherwise.  It anticipates a world in which coal — the most carbon-intense of all major fuels — still supplies more of our energy than renewables, nuclear, and hydropower combined.

The world it foresees is also one in which oil remains a preeminent source of energy, while hydro-fracking and other drilling techniques for extracting unconventional fossil fuels are far more widely employed than today.  Wind and solar energy will also play a bigger role in 2040, but — as the IEO sees it — will still represent only a small fraction of the global energy mix.

Admittedly, International Energy Outlook is a government product of this moment with all the limitations that implies.  It envisions the future by extrapolating from current developments.  It is not visionary.  Its authors can’t imagine energy breakthroughs that have yet to happen, or changes in world attitudes that may affect how energy is dealt with, or events like wars, environmental disasters, and global economic recessions or depressions that could alter the world’s energy situation.  Nonetheless, because it assesses current endeavors that are sure to have long-lasting repercussions, like the present massive worldwide investments in shale oil and shale gas extraction, it provides an extraordinary resource for imagining the energy crisis in our future.

Continue reading at:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175745/tomgram%3A_michael_t._klare%2C_2040_or_bust/

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Half of China’s Antibiotics Now Go to Livestock

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/09/chinas-antibiotic-meat-livestock

By Tue Sep. 10, 2013

Newsflash, from a recent Public Radio International report: China’s teeming factory meat farms have a drug problem. To make animals grow quickly under cramped, feces-ridden conditions, animals there get fed small, doses of antibiotics—creating ideal breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens that threaten people.

A research team led by scientists from China and Michigan State University recently found “diverse and abundant antibiotic resistance genes in Chinese swine farms,” as the title of the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, put it. According to a recent analysis by a Beijing-based agribusiness consulting firm, more than half of total Chinese antibiotic consumption goes to livestock.

The trouble, of course, is that by scaling up and concentrating meat production and fueling the process with antibiotics, China’s emerging meat industrialists are merely following the US model. It is shocking that half of China’s antibiotic use takes places on farms—but here in the United States, livestock operations suck in a staggering 77 percent of total antibiotic use. It’s worth reprinting this Pew Charitable Trust chart I dropped into a post on this topic in February:

Now, it’s hard to compare the US and China numbers precisely. The ratio of farm-to-human use of antibiotics obviously tell us as much about trends in human antibiotic use as they do about farm use. As the chart above shows, US antibiotic consumption for medicinal purposes has held steady for a decade. Meanwhile, Time reported last year, per capita human antibiotic use is 10 times higher in China than in the United States, and “70 percent of inpatients at Chinese hospitals received antibiotics; the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 30 percent.” So one reason a lower percentage of antibiotics go to farms in China is because so damned much is being used for human medicine there.

But there’s no doubt that both nations are shoveling massive amounts of antibiotics into livestock farms—a trend that coincides with the industrialization and scaling up of those farms.

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/09/chinas-antibiotic-meat-livestock

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