Cis-Gender Privileged Abuse of TS/TG People, Mainly TS/TG Women But Also TS/TG Men

Kaethe Voherden Comment on:  Can We Finally Bury the Transphobic Slur that Labels Male to Female TS/TG folks as Having Male Privilege?

To some extent I agree with your post. The issue I see with male privilege is that even if kicking and screaming someone grows up with both the curse and the privilege of being seen as male, losing those behavioral patterns is not about simply saying I was not privileged because I was trans whatever, but rather stripping them out of your behavior.

A bit of checking has led me to assume that the person who posted this comment is a cis-gender privileged TERF.

Kaethe has made a number of posts/comments around the blogosphere that sound as though they came directly from the GenderTrender/Focus on the Family/ Pacific Justice Institute axis of hate groups.

Therefore she has zero credence here on my blog.  Observations based on bigotry no matter if that bigotry is based on race, sexism, homophobia or transphobia negates the argument presented by the bigot.

It just so happens I was one of those obvious transkids.  I had my education destroyed by cis-gender bullies, including AFAB cis-gender bullies.

I’m an old woman now and actually enjoy some hard won rights that are the result of L/G as well as trans-activism that has included the educating of the general public regarding the lives lived by TS/TG folks.

I was an activist before I came out and transitioned.

I was too young for much of the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s.  I was in time for the anti-war movement, feminism and the LGBT movements.

When I first went out in public as Suzan it was still illegal in most states for people to wear the clothes of the “opposite sex” in public. One night in the Haight I was arrested for that offense.  I wasn’t wearing “women’s clothes”, I was wearing “men’s clothing” but I was walking by a lesbian bar (Maud’s) and was assumed to be a baby butch dyke.

By that point I had already been hounded from college and told by my father to get out and never come back.

At this point some of the TERFs would throw me a bone and pat me on the head, accept me as a good little token they might us if I were willing to be a useful idiot and help them in their campaign of bigotry.

I don’t fucking think so.

I’ve been post-op over forty years, long enough to feel post-transsexual.

That’s a lot of years of openly living the reality of a life impacted by transsexualism.  I’ve out lived most of the people I knew back then because being TS/TG means the odds of having a very hard life, a life filled with pain, loss and bitterness are very high.  All that pain, loss, abuse and level of inequality takes its toll.

I first started hearing the TERF crap in the 1970s.

Like other women I was struggling with social changes, trying to make my way as a photographer, a skill I learned after transition.

I internalized all the bullshit about TS/TG women having male privilege and never applied for grants or scholarships that might have let me fulfill my dream of being seen as a serious photographer. I watched as the TERFs beat up on Beth Elliott and Sandy Stone, who were acquaintances.

We used to internalize a lot of abuse in those days, we were so fucking isolated and couldn’t easily compare notes.

Our sense of self, our self esteem was so shot to shit we just internalized the abuse.

We ate bitter, sucked it up and went on.

Now we are organized.  We are no longer terrified into accepting abuse and now we are calling bullshit when people try to abuse us with the TERF crap Kaethe brought here.

Fuck you and your overly privileged cis-gender bullshit.

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Religious right counting on transgender horror stories to stop ENDA

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

By Alvin McEwen
Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reposted with permission

Just as I predicted.

As the United States Senate gets closer to a vote on ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), religious right groups are pulling out the “do you want your children taught by crossdressers, drag queens, and transgenders” card.

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition (who always seems to be strangely silent except when folks start talking about ENDA) had this to say:

Andrea Lafferty tells OneNewsNow that the first impact might see transgendered people teaching in public schools. “We believe that children need a psychologically stable and emotionally secure environment to learn,” says Lafferty. “And that is not the case when you put individuals who struggle with gender identity [into classrooms].” She argues that transgender people are “psychologically unhealthy individuals” who shouldn’t be “forced on children and parents” in schools around the country.

And of course the Family Research Council gets into the act via an email alert which spun other tales of lies:

ENDA would force religious business owners and workplaces such as Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, pre-schools and religious television and radio stations to accept as normal any employee who has had a sex-change surgery, any employee who has changed or is “transitioning” their public “gender identity” (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens or drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).

Making matters worse, “perceived gender identity” status does not require sex-change surgery, so ENDA would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to enter and even appear nude before females in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Situations like this have already been reported in several states with ENDA like laws such as Maine, Colorado and California.

We had better get ready to hear more of this junk. It’s all a matter of fear tactics.

Regarding “religious business owners,” that’s too broad of a field for my taste. Anyone employed in or owning a secular business should not get religious exemptions, no matter what their personal beliefs may be.  Tax dollars are being used to protect these businesses, i.e. the police department and the fire department, etc. And the last time I checked, LGBTs pay taxes.

Regarding bathrooms, locker room, and showers, let me ask you one question. We hear horror stories of what could happen, but have we ever heard any actual stories of things like this happening. Notice how FRC is deliberately vague about that. I can honestly tell you that here in Columbia, SC where there is a trans-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, we have never had these problems. Transgender men and women aren’t predators. They aren’t trying to “sneak a peak.”  They go about their business not trying to draw attention to themselves . . . just like everyone else.

Now about the biggie, i.e. schools employing transgender teachers. Let’s ask ourselves an honest question about that? Just what harm would it do to children? Is there any case of children being harmed by being taught by a transgender teacher. Goodness knows, there are more than enough cases of parents freaking out over the possibility. But has the possibility ever become the actuality?

In 2010 Lafferty actually tried to dig up cases of children being harmed by transgender teachers. She cited three. However, as with the case of so many religious right spokesperson, she gave the cases inaccurate spins. I took it upon myself to dig deep and found that none of the cases involved children being harmed. In fact, what actually happened was that many of the children and their parents supported the teachers and a lot of the controversy and angry noise came from folks who didn’t even have children attending the schools.

But who cares about truth, huh? It’s a sad day when those who call themselves Christians and children of God appeal to fears and distortions rather than truth and love, especially to deny their fellow men and women their God-given right to equality.

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The monstrous harassment hoax of a transgender youth

From The San Diego LGBT Weekly:

by Autumn Sandeen

Reposted with permission

“We treat our transgender students – our boys, our transgender boys and girls – simply like any other boys and girls with the same rights and responsibilities, rules and obligations,” stated Judy Chiasson, Ph.D. and program coordinator for Human Relations, Diversity and Equity, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) at the June 12 California State Senate Education Committee hearing on the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266). “In the eight years that we’ve had our policy we’ve not had any problems. On the contrary, it has solved many problems. It’s a nonissue on our campuses.”

She added “Our transgender students use the bathrooms for the same reasons as everybody else. They do their business, fix their hair and make-up and gossip with friends.”

The sponsor of AB 1266 spoke at that same Senate Education Committee hearing.

“Although current California law already protects students from discrimination in education based on sex and gender identity, many school districts are not in compliance with these requirements,” stated Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). “AB 1266 clarifies existing law by requiring all students in K-12 be permitted to participate in school programs, activities and use facilities in accordance with that student’s gender identity – to ensure compliance with current law and guarantee transgender students have the same opportunities to participate and succeed as others.”

“No harm has ever been documented when schools permit transgender students common sense, equal access on the same basis as all other students, treating transgender girls like all other girls and transgender boys like all other boys,” continued Ammiano.

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), has joined with ActRight (headed by Brian S. Brown of the National Organization for Marriage) and other organizations to form a coalition called “Privacy For All Students.” The coalition’s effort, according to their Aug. 26 press release, is to “collect approximately 505,000 voter signatures by Nov. 12 to qualify the referendum to the November 2014 ballot.”

In an Oct. 10 press release by PJI entitled Nightmare: Teen Boy Harasses Girls in Their Bathroom, Colo. School Tells Girls They Have No Rights, they put forward the story that “a teenage boy was entering girls’ bathrooms and, according to some students, even making sexually harassing comments toward girls he was encountering” at Colorado’s Florence High School (FHS). The last paragraph of the press release stated “Earlier this year, PJI led the opposition in California to AB 1266, the most sweeping legislation yet to assert transgender rights in schools. That law, which is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2014, is currently being targeted by a citizen referendum drive.” PJI has apparently embraced the tactic of demonizing a trans youth in Colorado to push their goal of repealing AB 1266.

Horribly, the PJI demonizing of the trans FHS student appears to be fabricated.

“We do have a transgender student at the high school, and she has been using the women’s restrooms,” School Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti told The Transadvocate’s editor Cristan Williams. “There has not been a situation. All the students of these parents who say they feel uncomfortable just about the fact that the student is allowed to go into the restrooms at the high school, into the stalls – they don’t believe that that’s appropriate, so that’s where it stems from. There has not been an incident of harassment, or anything that would cause any additional concern.”

Williams is angered by PJI’s behavior. “The trauma these adults have put this child through can never be undone,” said Williams in a comment to San Diego LGBT Weekly. “I’m repulsed that adults would behave like this. I support the family in taking advantage of every avenue available to them in making these bullies stop and then holding them to account for the trauma they’ve inflicted upon this kid.”

Williams added “A trans child’s life isn’t something you can just use and throw away. There’s consequences [for that], and I think PJI is about to figure that out.”

It’s not the trans FHS student who’s the monster of this story, but the monsters instead are the attorneys at the Pacific Justice Institute – those who spread a false tale about a trans youth so they could gather more signatures toward repeal of AB 1266.

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Why Are Americans Terrified of Transgender 6-Year-Olds?

From The Advocate:

Transgender first-graders aren’t the problem. Uninformed adults are.

BY Leela Ginelle
October 29 2013

There are new bogeymen (and women) in our land these days, forcing us to look at questions we’ve long ignored or scoffed at.

They’re especially confounding to some of us, because they’re young and innocent, and have no idea why what they’re saying should be a problem.

Our culture doesn’t wait for newborns to tell us what gender they are — we decide for them and then put it in writing. As soon as transgender children can speak, however, they correct us, and, increasingly, their parents listen to and affirm them. As we’ve seen recently, this can lead to confusion and even conflict among less-informed adults.

When Colorado 6-year-old Coy Mathis tried to use the girls’ restroom at her school, the district attempted to block her, leading to a case that drew national attention. The district thought a transgender girl wanting to use the girls’ bathroom was a little weird or that other people might or that someday it might be.

Transgender people have long been stigmatized as mentally disordered. But an outside observer of this case, in which a public school legally fought to prevent a grade schooler from using a bathroom, might draw different conclusions as to who needs help.

And they might have a point.

TransActive Education and Advocacy is a first-of-its-kind nonprofit that offers counseling and services to transgender children and their families, and trainings to schools, corporations, and other groups.

When families contact us, their children are often displaying depression, and that’s common. Eighty-three percent of trans children and youth report ideating taking their own life, and 32 percent report at least one suicide attempt. Suicide is the number 1 cause of death among transgender youth. While every case is different, the cause of these children’s distress is not their transgender identity. Commonly, rejection by their families and the wider community is at the root of their issues. This rejection, a product of blind antitrans prejudice, founded on generations of unquestioned beliefs regarding gender roles, deviance, and “normalcy” and bolstered by a relentlessly negative media, is as pervasive as it is baseless.

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New momentum for ENDA as Senate vote nears

From The Washington Blade:

on October 30, 2013

In the days after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Monday a floor vote would take place on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before Thanksgiving, the Democratic caucus has become united on the bill, but some Republican senators are still undecided.

Following Reid’s announcement, the three Democratic holdouts — Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — signaled they’d support the legislation as Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reportedly said he’s “inclined to support” the measure.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) expressed opposition to ENDA in its current form and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) may be wavering following his support for the bill in committee.

Reid said during his routine weekly news conference on Tuesday that he feels “pretty good” about ENDA, but wasn’t more specific about the timing of the vote.

“I don’t know if we’ll do it next week but we’re going to do it this work period,” Reid said. “The lead Democrat on that has been [Sen.] Jeff Merkley of Oregon and he said earlier today he has 59 supporters. So, that’s pretty good. That’s counting a new senator on Thursday.”

The bill, which has languished in Congress in various versions since the 1970s, would prohibit businesses from discriminating against or firing workers for being LGBT.

Merkley, ENDA’s chief sponsor, was optimistic when speaking with the Washington Blade on Capitol Hill about whether he thinks the bill will pass the Senate.

“I think it will,” Merkley said. “There’s just a tremendous sense that this is an issue of fairness, an issue of equality under our Constitution, an issue of opportunity. If you don’t have a chance to have fairness in getting a job, you really don’t have a fair chance to live the American dream.”

Merkley wouldn’t predict the number of votes that ENDA will receive on the Senate floor and deferred details about the timing of the vote to Democratic leadership, but said “momentum continues to build.”

Following Nelson’s signal earlier Tuesday that he would become the 54th sponsor of ENDA, Pryor, in a development first reported by Arkansas Times, announced he’d vote for the legislation on the floor. Michael Teague, a Pryor spokesperson, confirmed to the Blade that Pryor “will vote ‘yes’ on ENDA.”

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Same-Sex Couples Sue to Strike Down Texas Marriage Ban

From The Advocate:

Two same-sex couples in Texas take aim at the laws that keep the state from recognizing their marriages.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
October 29 2013

Two same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit Monday aiming to strike down Texas’s constitutional prohibition on marriage equality, seeking an injunction to stop state officials from enforcing the ban, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

While the suit seeks to establish the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in Texas, it specifically names Marc Pharris and Vic Holmes and and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman as the plaintiffs challenging the law. De Leon and Dimetman married in Massachusetts in 2009, but the state of Texas does not recognize their marriage, even though the federal government does after this summer’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a key section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

“In Texas, Plaintiffs cannot legally marry their partner before family, friends, and society — a right enjoyed by citizens who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex,” reads the suit, filed in San Antonio by attorney Barry Chasnoff of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, according to the Express-News. “And should they become married in a state that has established marriage equality, Texas explicitly voids their marriage. There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society.”

Texas voters approved a state constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, with more than 76 percent in support, in 2005. Texas statute also prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the state, essentially invalidating the legal relationship of any married gay and lesbian couple as soon as they enter the state.

A spokeswoman for Texas governor Rick Perry, who supported the 2005 constitutional amendment, told the Express-News that “the governor agrees with the majority of Texans, who voted to define marriage in the Texas Constitution as between one man and one woman.”

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Kids React to Gay Marriage

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Russell Brand on revolution: “We no longer have the luxury of tradition”

From The New Statesman

But before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.

By Russell Brand
24 October 2013

When I was asked to edit an issue of the New Statesman I said yes because it was a beautiful woman asking me. I chose the subject of revolution because the New Statesman is a political magazine and imagining the overthrow of the current political system is the only way I can be enthused about politics.

When people talk about politics within the existing Westminster framework I feel a dull thud in my stomach and my eyes involuntarily glaze. Like when I’m conversing and the subject changes from me and moves on to another topic. I try to remain engaged but behind my eyes I am adrift in immediate nostalgia; “How happy I was earlier in this chat,” I instantly think.

I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,” and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.”

I don’t vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance; I know, I know my grandparents fought in two world wars (and one World Cup) so that I’d have the right to vote. Well, they were conned. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing to vote for. I feel it is a far more potent political act to completely renounce the current paradigm than to participate in even the most trivial and tokenistic manner, by obediently X-ing a little box.

Total revolution of consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system is what interests me, but that’s not on the ballot. Is utopian revolution possible? The freethinking social architect Buckminster Fuller said humanity now faces a choice: oblivion or utopia. We’re inertly ambling towards oblivion, is utopia really an option?

I heard recently Oliver Cromwell’s address to the rump parliament in 1653 (online, I’m not a Time Lord) where he bawls out the whole of the House of Commons as “whores, virtueless horses and money-grabbing dicklickers”. I added the last one but, honestly, that is the vibe. I was getting close to admiring old Oliver for his “calls it as he sees it, balls-out” rhetoric till I read about him on Wikipedia and learned that beyond this brilliant 8 Mile-style takedown of corrupt politicians he was a right arsehole; starving and murdering the Irish and generally (and surprisingly for a Roundhead) being a total square. The fact remains that if you were to recite his speech in parliament today you’d be hard pushed to find someone who could be legitimately offended.

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The Revolt of the Lower Middle Class and the Stupidity of the Elites

From Truth Out:

By Mike Lofgren
Monday, 28 October 2013

We read in the aftermath of the government shutdown and near default on the country’s sovereign debt that the US Chamber of Commerce is clutching its pearls. “We are going to get engaged,” said a mouthpiece for the chamber. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.” The chamber is the top lobbying organization in America, and it gave 93 percent of its political contributions to Republican candidates in the 2010 election that birthed the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Apparently it is now having buyer’s remorse. Politico, the newsletter of the Beltway illuminati, reports similar tidings: Rich Republican mega-donors like hedge fund vulture Paul Singer are expressing frustration with Republican office holders, even though Singer has been a major financial backer of the Tea Party-oriented Club for Growth, which egged on the politicians who forced the shutdown. Even the Koch brothers have been distancing themselves from the shutdown.


Most Democrats, needless to say, are rubbing their hands with glee, and predictions of doom for the GOP are too numerous to count. The Tea Party, according to this narrative, has taken over the Republican Party and will lead it to inevitable electoral oblivion: The sheer irrationality of their demands constitutes electoral suicide. Others are not so sure. Michael Lind has advanced the theory that the Tea Party is an aggregation of “local notables,” i.e., “provincial elites [disproportionately Southern] whose power and privileges are threatened from above by a stronger central government they do not control and from below by the local poor and the local working class.” He links it to a neo-Confederate ideology that is “perfectly rational” in terms of its economic objectives – a stark contrast to the prevailing description of the Tea Party as irrational. Lind further contends that progressives have misread the Tea Party, downplaying the element of elite control and obsessing over the anger and craziness of its followers.


There is some truth in this. The Tea Party definitely is disproportionately Southern, as Lind stipulates, and any movement that seeks to hobble the functioning of the federal government naturally will advance themes and tactics that sound a lot like the template of the Confederacy: states’ rights, disenfranchisement of voters, use of the filibuster and so forth. Some Tea Party candidates look an awful lot like neo-Confederate sympathizers. But Lind misconstrues some of the data. If, as he says, 47 percent of white Southerners express support for the Tea Party, how does that square with his “local notables” theme: That the “backbone” of the movement is “millionaires [rather than] billionaires?” It is doubtful that 47 percent of the white population in the poorest region of the country consists even of local notables, much less millionaires.

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The Texas abortion law is a trial run for the right wing’s strategy across America

From The Guardian UK:

Common sense prevailed in a court ruling striking down one provision of the Texas law. But three other provisions remain, Tuesday 29 October 2013

Mention Texas and most people immediately think of right-wing politicians in cowboy boots and hats. But there’s a new image coming from Texas in recent weeks: women standing up against oppressive conservative policies. Despite the best efforts of pro-choicers (remember Wendy Davis) to filibuster and kill a bill designed to shut down most abortion clinics in the state, dogged anti-choice Republicans passed it anyway in a second special legislative session designed solely to pass the law. Most conservatives thought the story would end there, but it didn’t.

Women and pro-choicers got a measure of hope on Monday when a federal court judge in Texas shot down one of the most onerous provisions of the law that would require doctors at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. As the judge rightly said, this provision constitutes “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion”. Common sense is finally prevailing in Texas. If this ruling hadn’t happened, 13 clinics would have to shut down immediately.

But there’s more to this law and ruling than many realize. Texas is a test case for what conservatives are trying to do across the country to restrict abortions. The right wing is pushing multiple initiatives, and in the Texas law alone, there are three more provisions that haven’t been struck down. The judge upheld the regulation that makes it more onerous for patients to take an abortion drug, adding expense and time for patients. The regulation requiring abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical standards and the ban on abortions after 20 weeks have yet to be challenged in court, partly because the former won’t go into effect for another year.

Texas is a big state with a huge chunk of the country’s population of reproductive age women, but this ruling affects more than the state itself. This “ugly foursome” of regulations are part of a general package of regulations designed to whittle legal abortion access out of existence, a package that is being pushed by anti-choice organizations in various states. This court ruling suggests some of the limits to that anti-abortion strategy, but also, unfortunately, some of the ways that the anti-choice movement can make abortion more painful, more expensive, and more difficult to get for the women they wish to punish for wanting abortion in the first place.

The strategy that the anti-choice movement is focusing on now is to pass laws that are purportedly to protect women’s health, but in actuality are there for the purpose of shutting down abortion clinics and driving abortion back onto the black market. The reason to frame anti-abortion legislation as being for “women’s health” is an obvious one: the misogyny of the anti-choice movement is bad for its reputation, and they’d very much like the public to believe the hatred of women isn’t driving this. However, as this case shows, the sticking point is that proposed “health” regulations actually make women less healthy by removing access to safe abortion. It’s hard to argue for health regulations that make people less healthy.

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Is Professional Activism Getting in the Way of Real Change?

From Alternet:

With budgets and voices so loud, professionals’ messages overshadow the call for uprisings coming from the trenches.

Instead, within the existing mainstream culture, while organizing has shifted to career-based models, anti-oppression work has become fashionable, and even worse, fundable. Through trainings, some may have learned the politically correct language to use, but much of the “anti-oppression” process has remained superficial, void of a real consideration for intersections of race, class and gender. This has resulted in a few token organizers of color hired into the ranks of respectable positions in big non-governmental organizations, with an unspoken expectation that they will be speaking for other brothers and sisters of color. Meanwhile, for those coming from low-income households or without a college education, the doors of opportunity within the environmental and climate movement are almost always out of reach. 

By Henia Belalia
October 29, 2013

It’s disconcerting to find so few faces in the prominent ranks of the environmental movement that reflect the realities and experiences of those bearing the brunt of climate collapse. Estimates show that since 1990 more than 90% of natural disasters have occurred in poor countries and that, globally, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by air, soil and water pollution. Numbers also demonstrate that low-income households are hit the hardest by disasters, due to factors such as poor infrastructure and economic instability.

Yet those making strategic decisions are sitting in air-conditioned board rooms, hoping their conversations will pave the way for profound systemic change. Those most impacted by socioeconomic ills and environmental degradation are rarely present at those tables. This disconnect is quite alarming. Those of us frustrated with this scenario have turned to a deeper analysis and framework over the last decade— that of climate justice. Defining climage justice is a work in progress; honoring and integrating it are lifelong struggles.

To tackle the root (read: radical) causes of the climate crisis, we must first acknowledge that environmental degradation exacerbates existing economic, racial and social injustices—an interconnectedness that should define our analysis and actions. To truly win, land and justice defenders must recognize overlapping systems of oppression within this capitalist structure, and take strategic cues from the communities most impacted by colonization, militarism and poverty. That means building movements across issues and beyond divides based on race, class and gender, while elevating the voices that have been historically marginalized: indigenous peoples, communities of color, women, LGBTQ people, and the low-income population. To do so will take a profound decolonization of minds and professional institutions.

For many in this country, resistance isn’t a choice—it’s not fashionable—it’s plain survival.

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Geeky Science: 12% of our spices are dangerous!

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Critics Blast Climate Scientists Going To Bat for Nuclear Power

From Common Dreams:

If these people think nuclear energy is part of a viable solution, they ‘should go to Fukushima’

Jon Queally

Amidst the ongoing Fukushima disaster in Japan and the broader failure of nuclear power, a call by some scientists and others for environmentalists and green groups to embrace the energy source in the name of fighting climate change is being met with a firm rebuke.

  Ahead of CNN’s airing this week of what critics have described as a misleading and propaganda-laced pro-nuclear film called “Pandora’s Promise,” four climate scientists on Sunday released a letter of their own calling on “those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power” to change their position.


Though unaffiliated with the controversial film, the pro-nuke letter was signed by James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia. In the letter, the scientists ask individuals and groups concerned about global warming and climate change to demonstrate their commitment to the threat “by calling for the development and deployment of advanced nuclear energy.”


Unconvinced, however, many environmentalists voiced deep concerns about the pro-nuclear pitch and responded with derision, if not disgust.


“These guys need to go to Fukushima,” said long-time anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman in an email to Common Dreams on Sunday. “It’s astonishing anyone could advocate MORE nukes while there are 1331 hot fuel rods 100 feet in the air over Unit Four, three melted cores at points unknown, millions of gallons of contaminated water pouring into the oceans, and so much more.”


Wasserman, editor of and author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, has recently been sounding the alarm over the perilous situation that remains ongoing at the crippled Fukushima plant in Japan and argues that nuclear should not be part of any future energy equation. Invoking the dangers of carbon-driven global warming does nothing to change the inherent dangers of nuclear power, he indicated.


“Atomic energy is the most expensive and lethal technological failure in human history. It makes global warming worse with CO2 emissions in the mining, milling and disposal process,” Wasserman said. “And the billions it costs us in construction, decommissioning and disaster recovery slow the conversion to a renewable-based economy, which is the only way to combat climate change.”

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DNA tests reveal many herbal supplements are fake

From Salon:

A third of the pills tested didn’t contain the advertised herbs — and some had been replaced by toxic ingredients

Monday, Nov 4, 2013

Because they’re not considered to be food or drugs, and are not regulated as such by the FDA, marketers of herbal supplements, like echinacea and St. John’s wort, are able to make all sorts of claims about the pills’ effects that wouldn’t fly for pharmaceuticals. Consumers who choose to spend their money on such things are expected to know that they’re investing in a unproven treatment. Some may even call it a placebo. What they’re not expecting to pay for is a capsule stuffed with rice and weeds — yet according to a new study, that’s what many so-called herbal supplements turn out to be.

The New York Times reports on DNA tests carried out by Canadian researchers on 44 types of popular supplements marketed by 12 different brands. They found that many of the herbs identified on the pills’ labels were diluted with unlisted ingredients. A full third contained no trace of the advertised herb, which had been replaced entirely by cheap fillers. In some cases, the replacements are even tied to adverse health effects:

Among their findings were bottles of echinacea supplements, used by millions of Americans to prevent and treat colds, that contained ground up bitter weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, an invasive plant found in India and Australia that has been linked to rashes, nausea and flatulence.

Two bottles labeled as St. John’s wort, which studies have shown may treat mild depression, contained none of the medicinal herb. Instead, the pills in one bottle were made of nothing but rice, and another bottle contained only Alexandrian senna, an Egyptian yellow shrub that is a powerful laxative. Gingko biloba supplements, promoted as memory enhancers, were mixed with fillers and black walnut, a potentially deadly hazard for people with nut allergies.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as it looks according to this study,” Stefan Gafner, the chief science officer at the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit group that promotes the use of herbal supplements, told the Times. But although the study has several potential flaws, most people interviewed by the Times admitted that the lack of regulation is far from good — and that it’s another reason to be skeptical about the lofty claims made by the $5 billion per year industry.

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