Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/quebec-truncheon-law-rebounds-student-strike

A draconian law to quell demonstrations has only galvanised public support for young Quebecois protesting tuition fee hikes


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 May 2012

At a tiny church tucked away in a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal’s east end, Quebec’s new outlaws gathered on Sunday for a day of deliberations. Aged mostly between 18 and 22, their membership in a progressive student union has made them a target of government scorn and scrutiny. And they have been branded a menace to society because of their weapons: ideas of social justice and equal opportunity in education, alongside the ability to persuade hundreds of thousands to join them in the streets.

Under a draconian law passed by the Quebec government on Friday, their very meeting could be considered a criminal act. Law 78 – unprecedented in recent Canadian history – is the latest, most desperate manoeuvre of a provincial government that is afraid it has lost control over a conflict that began as a student strike against tuition hikes but has since spread into a protest movement with wide-ranging social and environmental demands.

Labelled a “truncheon law” by its critics, it imposes severe restrictions on the right to protest. Any group of 50 or more protesters must submit plans to police eight hours ahead of time; they can be denied the right to proceed. Picket lines at universities and colleges are forbidden, and illegal protests are punishable by fines from $5,000 to $125,000 for individuals and unions – as well as by the seizure of union dues and the dissolution of their associations.

In other words, the government has decided to smash the student movement by force.

The government quickly launched a public relations offensive to defend itself. Full-page ads in local newspapers ran with the headline: “For the sake of democracy and citizenship.” Quebec’s minister of public security, Robert Dutil, prattled about the many countries that have passed similar laws:

“Other societies with rights and freedoms to protect have found it reasonable to impose certain constraints – first of all to protect protesters, and also to protect the public.”

Such language is designed to make violence sound benevolent and infamy honourable. But it did nothing to mask reality for those who have flooded the streets since the weekend and encountered police emboldened by the new legislation. Riot squads beat and tear-gassed people indiscriminately, targeted journalists, pepper-sprayed bystanders in restaurants, and mass-arrested hundreds, including more than 500 Wednesday night – bringing the tally from the last three months of protest to a record Canadian high of more than 2,500. The endless night-time drone of helicopters has become the serenade song of a police state.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/quebec-truncheon-law-rebounds-student-strike

Posted in Activism, Anti-Globalization, Civil Rights, Class War, Education, Globalization, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

by Carl Gibson
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

Remember when police beat Tea Party activists with batons, raided homes without warrants, unjustly arrested and strip-searched Tea Party protesters, or attacked and intimidated journalists covering Tea Party rallies?

Me neither. But then again, the Tea Party took to the streets in favor of higher profits and less regulations for the richest 1 percent, whose ranks they hope to but will never join. The media is more than happy to inflate their crowd estimates, and police are more than happy to let pro-status quo protests take to the streets undisturbed. The Tea Party has since phased out street protests to take over a major political party and make it bend to their every radical whim.

While it hasn’t yet taken over a major party, the Occupy movement has successfully exposed the oppressive fascist police state that has reared its ugly head in the past year. If you want to see what tyranny looks like, consider what happened to the estimated 75,000 protesters who took on the military-industrial complex at last weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, after the mayor revoked protesters’ attempts to lawfully assemble.

-A night before protests even begun, the Chicago Police Department raided an activist’s home and arrested several on unproven allegations of terrorist activity, all without a valid warrant.

-At the front of a police line surrounding a NATO gathering, police suddenly start beating unarmed protesters with batons in an eerie video resembling police at Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

-While covering the protests, credentialed journalists are attacked by police who use bicycles as weapons.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Globalization, Hard Times, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

From Business Insider:  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-is-running-a-massive-spying-campaign-on-the-occupy-movement-2012-5

May 24, 2012

Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.

While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.

If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April.  But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.

The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Economic Issues, Fascism, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

Illinois: Antibullying Bill Rejected From Fears of Being Too Pro-Gay

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

BY Michelle Garcia
May 23 2012

Illinois legislators rejected an antibullying bill after conservatives expressed fears that the proposed law was too “pro-homosexual.”

The initiative, which would have held school administrators more accountable for handling bullying incidents and preventing harassment, fell one vote short of passing in the state Senate on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“There are some programs that are just against bullying in general,” Sen. Kyle McCarter said in the article. “Some of them tend to have an agenda of being pro-homosexual.”

Complete article at:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

by Chi Mgbako
May 22, 2012

Before a hushed audience of over 2000 women’s rights advocates from 140 countries stood Kthi Win, a sex worker and leader of a national organization of female, male, and transgender sex workers in Burma.  With quiet confidence she bravely stated:

“The key demand of the sex workers’ movement in Burma, in Asia and all around the world is simple.  We demand that sex work is recognized as work. But we have one other key demand, specific to certain parts of the women’s movement. We demand that we are not treated as victims.”

This defiant rejection of victimhood by a sex worker, speaking on behalf of the global sex workers’ rights movement, took place at the recent AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, one of the largest gatherings of women’s rights activists in the world.  It was an extraordinary moment because there’s a tendency by some in the women’s movement to reject sex workers like Kthi because they dispute the monolithic narrative that all people in prostitution seek rescue.

The characterization of sex workers fighting for their human rights as “prostituted women” engaged in futile attempts to “organize the enslaved” is perplexing.  For five years my students and I have worked with and been inspired by sex workers successfully organizing from the margins of society.  Sex workers in India who fight against police abuse, work as safe sex peer educators, and run afterschool programs for their children.  Sex workers in South Africa who are leading a national campaign to decriminalize sex work.  Sex workers in Malawi who had the courage to sue the government and challenge the constitutionality of forced HIV testing of sex workers without informed consent.  And there are countless more examples of sex workers organizing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.  To label and disregard these advocates as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Sex Work, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

Top Right-Wing Group: Minority Births Are ‘Not A Good Thing’ Because They ‘Don’t Share American Values’

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/18/486574/top-conservative-group-minority-births-are-not-a-good-thing-because-immigrants-dont-share-american-values/

By Adam Peck
May 18, 2012

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on new census data which showed, for the first time, that non-white births made up over 50 percent of all births in the United States last year.

It marked an important milestone, indicative of a changing United States that has long been considered the world’s melting pot. Or, if you’re the conservative, Phyllis Schlafly-backed Eagle Forum, it’s a clarion call that America is in grave danger of being overrun by uneducated, un-American brown people:

It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
[…]
Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

Setting aside for a minute the offensive way in which the Eagle Forum dismisses all of “the immigrants” as thoughtless criminals, it’s telling that The Eagle Forum views this as simply a political problem. The Eagle Forum’s political allies have long insisted on treating immigrants as second-class citizens, and rather than pivot their policy proposals to better accommodate the nation’s shifting demographics, the group seems instead to want to curb minorities’ procreation.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/18/486574/top-conservative-group-minority-births-are-not-a-good-thing-because-immigrants-dont-share-american-values/

Posted in Civil Rights, Fascism, Hate Speech, Nazism, Racism, Right Wing Bigotry, Right Wing Bug F*** Insanity. Tags: . Comments Off on Top Right-Wing Group: Minority Births Are ‘Not A Good Thing’ Because They ‘Don’t Share American Values’

UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

From Gaia Health:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/

by Heidi Stevenson
May 21, 2012

The next time you’re in a hospital, how would you like to have your food brought to you by a slave laborer? If you’re in the UK, you may find out, because slave labor has already been trialed in one hospital, and is about to become standard practice there.

The Guardian reports that the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBHT), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) piloted the program with six unemployed people in consultation with the union. The trust stated that the type of work included:

… general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients.

… and justifies it with the statement:

We are situated in a deprived area with high unemployment and we think it is important to help get people back into work. The project gave participants the opportunity to gain confidence, training and experience, under supervision.

So why don’t they simply hire them? You know, the old-fashioned way of getting employees.

Continue reading at:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/


Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Employment, Fascism, Police State, Social Justice. Comments Off on UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

LAPD plans separate jail for transgender suspects

A bit more details than the previous announcement.

I think this is a good thing neither transgender nor pre-op transsexuals deserve to be thrown in with the men to be rape just because they have been arrested and charged with a crime.

From The LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-transgender-lockup-20120415,0,6584779.story

Police will open a 24-bed facility in response to the risk of violence among the general inmate population. Chief Charlie Beck instructs officers to treat transgender people with respect.

By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles TimesApril 15, 2012

Responding to incidents of violence against transgender arrestees, the Los Angeles Police Department plans to open a segregated lockup for biologically male and female suspects who identify themselves as members of the opposite sex, officials said.

By early May, a 24-bed transgender module will open at the LAPD women’s jail downtown, the first such police lockup in the nation, according to Capt. Dave Lindsay, the jail division commander.

“This is a major change,” Lindsay said. It will allow for “an environment that’s safe and secure, as there’s been a history of violence against transgender people.”

City jails are for holding people only until they are arraigned in court on the charges on which they were arrested, typically a maximum of three days; then they are transferred to the Los Angeles County Jail, run by the Sheriff’s Department. The county jail will not be affected by the changes.

Up until now, transgender men and women arrested by Los Angeles police have been housed in the station closest to where they were detained — most often the jail at the Hollywood Community Police Station on Wilcox Avenue. Transgender women — men who dress and identify as women — were housed with the male population. Transgender advocates have long argued that such practices put transgender inmates at risk of being sexually assaulted or beaten.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-transgender-lockup-20120415,0,6584779.story

Posted in Civil Rights, Police Abuse, Rape, Transgender, Uncategorized. Comments Off on LAPD plans separate jail for transgender suspects

Trans Canadians fight for recognition on legal documents

Lately they’ve started requiring a passport to cross the boarder between the US and Canada. An extra expense for working people who live along the border.

But for pre-op TS folks or TG folks this becomes an oppressive burden due to their being denied passports that reflect the gender they live full time. I know this tread the line between sex/gender but when people commit to living full time as a member of a particular sex even if they don’t actually have SRS to become a member of that sex it seems a matter of human rights to permit them necessary identification documents that do not place an extra burden upon them by automatically revealing their being TS/TG to petty bureaucratic border enforcement officers.

I’m tired of the government spending so much energy on snooping in the lives of individual citizens while they totally ignore the crimes of the corporations and rich.

From Xtra Canada: http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Trans_Canadians_fight_for_recognition_on_legal_documents-11256.aspx

Andrea Houston
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Talia Johnson is nervous to travel. One look at her passport tells a border guard everything they need to know about her gender status.

Johnson, who has had her name legally changed, now wants to change the sex designation on her passport – a simple correction from “m” to “f” – to ensure all her documents accurately reflect her gender.

The federal government says trans people must undergo sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), or provide a letter guaranteeing the procedure will take place within a year.

The Ottawa resident has not yet had SRS, mainly due to the financial cost of the surgery. She would also have to take time off work and travel to Toronto. “The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto is the only organization in Ontario that offers SRS. There is a long wait and it’s not easy to get.

“The status now is I don’t have a passport. Without the sex designation change, trans people are put in constant danger while traveling under the assumed sex. At this point in my life, I will have trouble if I travel.”

Susan Gapka, chair of the Trans Health Lobby Group, has been working on this issue for years. Her group is pushing to make transitioning easier by opening up access to SRS and removing the red tape around changing legal documents.

“If your legal documents don’t match at the border there could be problems,” Gapka says. “I have had bad experiences at the airport. You can be singled out for looking different. A police officer could ask questions. It opens the door to harassment and discrimination.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Trans_Canadians_fight_for_recognition_on_legal_documents-11256.aspx

Posted in Civil Rights, Equal Treatment, Human Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off on Trans Canadians fight for recognition on legal documents

Oral Arguments Heard in Golinski DOMA Case

From Frontiers LA: http://www.frontiersla.com/Blog/FrontierBlog/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10327929

By Karen Ocamb
December 16, 2011

The Obama administration appears to be keeping its word regarding the Defense of Marriage.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Dept. of Homeland Security agreed to join in a motion with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)—according to Immigration Equality—to stop the removal of Michael Thomas, whose legal marriage to Massachusetts resident John Brandoli did not prevent the threat deportation because of the Defense of Marriage Act. The government has also closed cases for other binational couples—though others still have not yet been so lucky, according to Stop the Deportations.

While Michael and John celebrated on the East Coast, Friday on the West Coast, in San Francisco, federal employee Karen Golinski—who has been fighting for years to secure health insurance for her wife Amy Cunninghis—found that the DOJ sent one of its top senior lawyers to help argue in U.S. District Court that DOMA is unconstitutional.

Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner has been following the story. Here’s an excerpt from his excellent report:

Golinski’s case, which began as an ordinary request to include her wife, Amy Cunninghis, on her federal employee health insurance plan, became, initially, a dispute between the branches of government about how court employees are managed—and who can do so. Since then, however, it has evolved into its current status as a challenge to DOMA.

Continue reading at:  http://www.frontiersla.com/Blog/FrontierBlog/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10327929

Posted in Civil Rights, Equal Treatment, Human Rights. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Oral Arguments Heard in Golinski DOMA Case

Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

From Feministe: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/12/16/die-in-tonight-tomorrow-is-international-day-to-end-violence-against-sex-workers/

by Clarisse Thorn
on 12.16.2011

Reposted with Permission

Tomorrow is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. For some 2011 event locations, click here.

Sex Worker Activists, Allies and You has a bunch of great links and 101 materials about sex workers’ rights.

Here in Chicago, the Sex Workers Outreach Project is holding a Die-In tonight and another event tomorrow at the best feminist site ever, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:

“STOP SHAMING US TO DEATH”
Die-in Action for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Hosted by: Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago
When: Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Where: 18th and State Street, in front of the Chicago Police Department in the South Loop
Who: Current & former sex workers, allies, friends, families, and communities.

Join SWOP-Chicago in a die-in action to protest violence committed against sex workers

Chicago — On December 16th, sex workers and their allies in the Chicago area will gather at the Chicago Police Department for a “die-in” action. Participants will fall to the ground “dead” holding signs bearing our messages. Through this action, we hope to raise awareness of the violence committed against sex workers and other marginalized groups. Law enforcement, those whose job it is to “serve and protect,” often either ignores violence committed against these groups, or is a direct perpetrator. IT IS TIME FOR THIS VIOLENCE TO STOP.

This event is part of the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. On the following day, Saturday, December 17th, sex workers and their allies will gather at vigils around the world to commemorate the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who have died at the hands of violent crimes, and declaring an end to all violence against sex workers.

PLEASE JOIN US AT THIS IMPORTANT EVENT! And don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather conditions!

And here’s the info about the Saturday December 17 event.

Feel free to link to your own posts about sex work, the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, and relevant events in the comments.

Posted in Civil Rights, Economic Issues, Feminist, Human Rights, Murders, Police Abuse, Rape, Sex Workers, Sexual Assault, Social Justice, Violence. Comments Off on Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

by Ralph Nader
Published on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Capitol Hill. A majority of Congress is just about to put the finishing touches on an amendment to the military budget authorization legislation that will finish off some critical American rights under our Constitution.

Here is how two retired 4 star marine generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, described in the New York Times the stripmining of your freedom to resist tyranny in urging a veto by President Obama:

“One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past….

“A second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities it hasn’t sought”…. “for domestic law enforcement….”

“A third provision would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantanamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future.”

All of Obama’s leading military and security officials oppose this codification of the ultimate Big Brother power. Imagine allowing the government to deny people accused of involvement with terrorism (undefined), including U.S. citizens arrested within the United States, the right to a trial by jury. Imagine allowing indefinite imprisonment for those accused without even proffering charges against them. Goodbye 5th and 6th Amendments.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Human Rights. Comments Off on Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

There Goes the Republic

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Dec 15, 2011

Once again the gods of war have united our Congress like nothing else. Unable to agree on the minimal spending necessary to save our economy, schools, medical system or infrastructure, the cowards who mislead us have retreated to the irrationalities of what George Washington in his farewell address condemned as “pretended patriotism.”

The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.” On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law. The point is not to hock our civil liberty to the discretion of the president, but rather to guarantee our freedoms even if a Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich should attain the highest office.

Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

That onerous provision of the defense budget bill, much discussed on the Internet but far less so in the mass media, assumes a permanent war against terrorism that extends the battlefield to our homeland. It reeks of a militarized state that threatens the foundations of our republican form of government.

Continue reading at:   http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

When we deprive women of access to abortion, shun them, and even throw them in jail, we as a society become weaker.

By Amanda Marcotte 
December 14, 2011

Jennie McCormack, a resident of Idaho and a mother of three, has spent the past few months of her life in a legal and social situation that calls to mind the trials of Hester Pyrnne, the heroine of The Scarlet LetterAs reported by Nancy Hass of Newsweek, McCormack’s ordeal started when she learned she was pregnant by a man who was doing time for robbery.

Realizing that she couldn’t afford another baby, nor the $500 fee and two trips to get an abortion (because Idaho requires women to wait 24 hours after their first visit to the doctor to “think it over”), McCormack resorted to buying RU-486 from a vendor online. The police eventually arrested McCormack and charged her with an illegal abortion, claiming that she was over Idaho’s legal limit of 20 weeks for an abortion. Since the exact gestational age can’t be determined, charges have been dropped for now, but prosecutors are retaining the right to re-charge McCormack. In the meantime, she’s become a pariah in her community, been fired from her job, and even had to face social workers who are basically denying her aid to care for her children.

Even in super-liberal New York City, a woman is being prosecuted (albeit in a less drastic way) for a self-abortion after the legal limit. The desperate woman, accused of aborting after six months, threw the fetus in a trash can, presumably because she was not aware of her other options for disposing of it.

In the United States, abortion is technically a legal right, but as these cases show, it’s not functionally a right. If abortion were actually a right, women wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting a legal abortion that they resort to drastic measures that land them in jail. These cases demonstrate why abortion needs to be more than a right for those who have the means to jump through all the hoops put in place to keep them from obtaining legal abortions. Making sure women who want abortions can get them in a timely and safe fashion helps more than the women in question. We all do better if women can get the abortions that are supposedly their right.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

Posted in Abortion, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Health Care, Human Rights, Legal Issues, Misogyny, Reproductive Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off on Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

It is a shame that the first thing one thinks when someone proclaims themselves to be a “Christian” is, “There stands a delusional person who is a bigot and a compulsive liar.”

Particularly when they describe themselves as born again, or “religious”.  Get ready for the bigoted lies and bullshit to start flowing.

I’m tired of Christo-Fascist bullying of business that try to be fair and respect the rights and dignity of minorities.

See first the original story:  Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/12/mat-staver-liberty-counsel-doubles-down.html

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy’s

By Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reposted with permission

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy’s employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson’s actions violated Macy’s policy and that concerns about “religious liberty” and “men in women’s changing rooms” were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was “conjuring up” a story of an “anonymous” Macy’s employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women’s fitting room.

However, that’s not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from “asking men to leave women’s fitting rooms” to “having persistent problems keeping men out of women’s fitting rooms,” but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  “persistent problems” with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy’s policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

“Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy’s,” explains Staver. “They’re tearing up their Macy’s credit cards, they’re sending back their Macy’s gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy’s — and this is a consistent response that we’re seeing from the public around the country.”

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are “literally outraged and shocked” at Macy’s policy.

Staver conveniently doesn’t provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy’s employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy’s and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy’s to not back down. 

Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

From The New Civil rights Movement:    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

by David Badash
December 14, 2011

While I didn’t have a glorious and candy-​coated childhood, I did have it pretty good. And I’ll confess to being pretty lucky — lucky enough to have two parents who never beat me. Beating your child is morally wrong, but sadly, corporal punishment — “the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable” — is apparently legal in America, at least when done by a parent in their home.

(Note: We’re not legal experts, and are not delivering legal advice. All the more reason to never beat your children. If it’s not illegal, it should be.)

Despite that, a 2006 American Psylogical Association study found “adolescents who were more likely to engage in fighting, bullying, and victimization of others reported that their parents engaged in corporal punishment as a disciplining method.”

In other words, parents who are beating their children are raising children who are more likely to be violent. Good job, parents!

And let’s be honest, spanking is beating. And it’s unacceptable.

That said, regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement remember all too well Evangelical Christian pastor Michael Pearl and his wife Debi.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/apparently-beating-your-child-now-is-all-the-rage/discrimination/2011/12/14/31826

Posted in Abuse, Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Human Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on Apparently, Beating Your Child Now Is All The Rage

Illinois Debtors Thrown In Jail: Lisa Madigan Working To Stop Debt Collector Arrest Warrants

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/illinois-debtors-thrown-i_n_1144093.html

First Posted: 12/12/11

Some Illinois residents struggling to pay off their debt have yet another thing to worry about: getting thrown in jail.

As WBEZ reports, creditors in the state have figured out ways around laws that prevent them from putting debtors in jail, and the number of people being issued arrest warrants linked to unpaid bills is growing. Collection agencies can reportedly file a lawsuit requiring a court appearance, and if the defendant doesn’t show up for their hearing, an arrest warrant can be issued.

The practice has been happening more often in a stagnant economy, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to do something about it.

“We can no longer allow debt collectors to pervert the courts,” Madigan told the Wall Street Journal, adding that some victims of this practice were thrown in jail without knowing that they were being sued due to misleading or sloppy paperwork submitted to the court by debt collectors.

NPR spoke to one Illinois woman who was shocked to learn that a warrant was out for her arrest:

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/illinois-debtors-thrown-i_n_1144093.html

Posted in Austerity, Civil Rights, Class War, Constitutional Rights, Corporate Abuse, Economic Issues, Fascism, Hard Times. Comments Off on Illinois Debtors Thrown In Jail: Lisa Madigan Working To Stop Debt Collector Arrest Warrants

Minnesota school board labels conversations about LGBT students ‘controversial’

From LGBTQ Nation:    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/12/minnesota-school-board-labels-conversations-about-lgbt-students-controversial/


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — During its meeting before a packed room with a standing room only crowd Monday, the Anoka-Hennepin Minnesota School District’s board proposed a new “Controversial Topics Curriculum Policy” to replace the current “neutral policy” that prohibits the district’s teachers from talking about homosexuality in the classroom.

Advocates and allies of LGBTQ students objected saying that the policy does not specify what those “controversial topics” are.

Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin was one of nearly a dozen Anoka-Hennepin students who committed suicide after anti-gay bullying since the 2009 school year, wasn’t happy about calling the policy “controversial.”

In a statement she read before the board, Aaberg told officials, “I read the policy and my heart started breaking all over again. Because now we’re going from neutral on sexual orientation to labeling LBGT kids as controversial.”

Others seemed confused about what can or cannot be discussed in the classroom, which is why they urged the board to clarify the proposed policy before voting on it next month.

Opponents of any changes to the current policy also voiced their concerns, one woman telling the board, “We were a model for the nation at protecting kids from homosexual propaganda. The sexual orientation curriculum policy is an excellent policy.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/12/minnesota-school-board-labels-conversations-about-lgbt-students-controversial/

Posted in Christo-Fascism, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Kids, LGBT/T. Tags: . Comments Off on Minnesota school board labels conversations about LGBT students ‘controversial’

Report: Child Homelessness Up 33% in 3 Years

From Reader Supported News:  http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/320-80/8889-report-child-homelessness-up-33-in-3-years

By Marisol Bello, USA Today
13 December 11

One in 45 children in the USA – 1.6 million children – were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

The numbers represent a 33% increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, according to a report the center is releasing Tuesday.

“This is an absurdly high number,” says Ellen Bassuk, president of the center. “What we have new in 2010 is the effects of a man-made disaster caused by the economic recession. … We are seeing extreme budget cuts, foreclosures and a lack of affordable housing.”

The report paints a bleaker picture than one by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which nonetheless reported a 28% increase in homeless families, from 131,000 in 2007 to 168,000 in 2010.

Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor of social policy, says HUD’s numbers are much smaller because they count only families living on the street or in emergency shelters.

Continue reading at:   http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/320-80/8889-report-child-homelessness-up-33-in-3-years

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Classism, Economic Issues, Homelessness, Poverty, Social Justice, Workers. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Report: Child Homelessness Up 33% in 3 Years

Bullies and the Bullied

Bullies are bullies because they reflect the patriarchal paradigm.

Bullies are considered tough.  Because being tough means being able to dish out pain, hurt and humiliation without feeling guilt.

Being able to take pain, hurt and humiliation without being destroyed by it is called celebrating one’s victimization. Even though surviving such abuse without committing suicide or killing one’s tormentor takes great strength.

Destroying the lives of others is rewarded while having one’s life destroyed by bullying is punished further by people who treat the victims of bullying as weak and cowardly, unworthy of decent opportunities in life.

Damages are rarely awarded to people whose childhoods were destroyed by bullies.  Or to children who were deprived of their right to an education and the right to experience school as a safe place in which to grow and learn.

Bullies bully because bullying is the path to success.  It is the path to alpha status whether in a wolf pack or in the corporate structure.

Refusal to join the bullies places one with the victims.  Joining the bullies gains multiple rewards.  That is the mentality of Tea Baggers and lynch mobs alike.

When I was 13, I played goalie on a junior hockey team (my father required me to play sports).  They gave me the position because I wasn’t a good skater or an aggressive player.  But I turned out to be a really good goalie, years of learning blocking of punches and flinching had paid off.

Because I was good at playing goalie the bullies gave me the opportunity to join them.  All I had to do was beat up a kid who was a sissy like me.  Physically it would have been easy, I was strong and toughened by the summers spent working on the farm.  But I couldn’t do it.  I hit this kid once and stopped.

The next day I went to the school’s office and told the Principal what had happened.  I was put on a different bus because I would have been severely beaten by the bullies.

I made what I saw as a moral choice.  My family raised me well.  You do not join the thugs and beat up the oppressed just as you do not cross union picket lines.

I think a lot of people like Eddie Long and all the queer haters who look and sound so queer themselves also faced that ethical dilemma at some point or other in their lives and decided that it was more rewarding to be part of the bullies than the bullied.

I was already branded a teen age drag queen by my parents when I made my choice as to which side I was on.  I went on to grow into a left wing radical who believes in human rights.  Even when I tried to join the mob and the bullies about 10 years ago it never felt right.

As adults bullies have many glorified titles.  CEO, CFO, General, Admiral…  They are the ones who feel no guilt about the inflicting of pain upon others.  Psychiatrists call that sociopathic  behavior.  Those who take pleasure in the inflicting of pain upon others are psychopaths.

But the reality is society rewards bullies.  Society celebrates the conquering hero no matter how egregious and monstrous the actions.

Just as society blames the rape victim, the beaten wife, the murdered transsexual or transgender woman.

The victim is always seen as making the bully act in a monstrous manner.  Society always offers up mitigating circumstances that the bully may have never thought of on his own.

The victim of bullying is told to suck it up, get over it.

I was a tough little transkid.  I retaliated.  Because bullies rarely act on their own and usually act as part of a mob, I would wait till one was alone and unaware and I would attack him without warning using what ever means were necessary to hurt him.

Oddly all those authority figures who never found a reason to punish the bullies always found a reason to punish me.  But if I had to suck it up and take being punished it was better to take it for fighting back than for being abused.  In the process bullies decided it was better to pick someone else to bully.

I never made the connection as a child but as I became a teenager, who listened to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, I realized that if the bullied and intimidated got together, why there were more of us than there were of the bullies.

I also realized bullies do not stop being bullies when they grow up.  They just become sadistic sociopathic adults.  The sort who rape as an exercise of power.  The sort who join the military not to defend the country but so they can murder people who do not have the same military might.

Bullies grow up to abuse their wives and children.  Bullies don the robes of the KKK and the Republican Party.  Bullies seek out positions that reward their sick desires to abuse.  They join the police departments so that when the victimized, the raped and abused go to the police they are going to people more likely to side with the abuser than with the victim.

Suck it up.  It is your own fault.  If you would just not exist then the bullies wouldn’t be forced to treat you like the scum you are.

Look at what those who are bullied are called.

Sissy, nerd, freak, faggot, dyke, queer, whore, trannie, geek.  Words that hurt. Words that scar.

Words that say we should just kill ourselves because we are such misfits.

A year and a half ago when I started this blog I laid down the law to the “HBS/Classic Transsexual” that their name calling wouldn’t be permitted on this blog.  I had come to the conclusion that they were people who desperately wanted to join the non-trans bullies who abuse transsexual and transgender people, something I wanted no part of and that I would not permit in a space I controlled.  Now this set of people seem to devote an inordinate amount of energy to denouncing me.

I don’t care.

I know which side I am on and that is the side of the oppressed.

While bullies have whole armies of friends, lynch mobs who laugh and cheer them on as they bully and abuse too often the bullied and abused are forced to suffer alone.

I remember what it was like to feel I was the only one in the world.  I remember what it was like to feel that I was despised not only by the bullies but by institutions that either refused to intercede or who blamed me for provoking the abuse simply by being.

I knew I was different.  The nugget of truth that kept me going was thinking, “Yeah, I’m different. So What!”

But I was near suicide on more than one occasion as a child.  I thought how easy it would be to kill myself.  I dwelt upon the ways I could kill myself.  Sometimes the only thing that kept me alive was the will to deny the bullies the pleasure they would feel if I did kill myself.

I deliberately failed out of college after winning a New York State Regents Scholarship.  The reasons were complex and included desire to just not be there when the 1960s were happening and there were others like myself out there making a life.  But there was also a darker truth…  The 12 years of being bullied had so damaged my education and my ability to focus that I needed time to regain my sense of self worth.

In the last couple of years of high school I actually had a few friends.  We were hipper than the rest of the kids in school, listened to folk music and studied together.  I was no longer a complete misfit.

In college I became a radical and part of the SDS/ hippie crowd.

When I left school I was sustained by the radical left and hippie movements.

When I met other transsexual and transgender people I realized we had all been abused.  Drug and alcohol abuse was endemic to our crowd.  So was sex work.  Our lives had been shredded by that abuse.

It is okay for Dan Savage to say, “It gets better.”

It does but we need to tell the truth.  Admit that we were bullied and abused.  Admit that it destroyed our childhoods.  Demand redress from the educational system that failed us while it rewarded the bullies who often captained sports teams and won awards.

We need to create space for bullied kids to get together and expand that space to the kids who avoid supporting bullied kids out of fear that the bullies will turn on them.

We Need To Make It Better For Bullied People who are Adults

The pain of having been bullied does not stop once one becomes an adult.

As a feminist I listened to women tell of the pain of having been sexually abused and I was silent about my own pain.  I went home and poured a glass of wine and then another.  Other friends took pills or shot heroin.

We trivialized our scars because having been the victim of bullying was even more shameful than having been victimized by incest or childhood sexual abuse.

We have a hard time talking about it.  We go to AA or NA and keep silent about why we substance abuse.  We wind up in abusive relationships and wonder why.

We are haunted by depression and take Prozac or other drugs and still do not name the reason.

It took me all week to write this, a dozen attempts.  I asked myself if I should admit to having been one of the bullied.

The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us.  We will remember, as well we should those transsexual and transgender people who were murdered but we should also remember those who died of over doses and organ failure from years of substance abuse for they too are victims of a violent crime.  Bullies with their torture and abuse are the ones who started so many on the path that finally takes their lives.

This year I celebrate my tenth year of sobriety.  I have someone I love who loves me and I have learned to speak out.  I tell her right away if I think her yelling at me is starting to be abusive.  I’m touchy and trigger easily but I am in recovery not only from drinking but from my childhood of being abused.

To make life better we have to have the space to name the secret scars that cause the pain we drink or drug to numb away.

I know I have focused this mainly on TS/TG folks but I include gays and lesbians as well as straight folks.  It just seems as though institutionalized misogyny means that assigned male at birth TS/TG kids get the worst along with feminine gay kids.

The freedom from bullies should be a basic human right and a matter of social justice.

Bullying is a part of misogyny, racism and classism.  It says that one group of people are superior to another group and that one group should be permitted to abuse another group.  That makes all bullying a form of hate crime.