Trans woman murdered in Baltimore

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/03/22/trans-woman-murdered-baltimore/

by Steve Charing
March 22, 2017

According to Baltimore Police, upon arrival, officers located a 38-year-old transgender female who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach. The victim was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Homicide detectives were notified and are investigating the shooting.

Witnesses reported hearing someone yelling for help and then hearing gunshots. Immediately after hearing the shots, witnesses reported seeing two unknown black males running and getting into a dark colored vehicle that drove away at a high rate of speed.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call 410-396-2100, text a tip to 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.

Detectives will meet in the area of the 2400 block of Guilford Ave. today at 12 p.m. to canvass the area. Next of kin has not been notified; therefore the victim’s name will not be released at this time.

The Truth Of Trump’s “I Alone Can Fix It” Canard | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

Anti-fascist radicals: Liberals don’t realize the serious danger of the alt-right

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/10/anti-fascist-radicals-liberals-dont-realize-the-serious-danger-of-the-alt-right/

To the “antifa” movement, cowardly liberals are nearly as bad as Donald Trump and the white nationalist right


Friday, Mar 10, 2017

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, liberals and leftists have been discussing how to best respond to American conservatism’s transformation from a shopworn, Cold War, anti-government philosophy into something else.

To the anarchists and socialists who consider themselves part of the global “antifa” movement (an abbreviation for “anti-fascist”), the transition currently taking place on the right is all too familiar. The rise of the alt-right and white nationalism within the U.S. is something the mainstream left doesn’t take seriously enough, they say, even as many Democrats compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

If it is true that the civic nationalism of Trump and his top strategist Steve Bannon are helping to lay the groundwork for a more radical right — intentionally or otherwise — then their self-described opponents on the left need to do more than wear safety pins and post Facebook denunciations of the president they didn’t vote for say the antifa advocates.

As Natasha Lennard, a former staff writer for Salon, wrote earlier this year for the Nation that coming to such a realization is difficult for many people on the left. Despite their posture of desiring radical change, most leftists are actually conservative in a certain sense:

Liberals cling to institutions: They begged to no avail for faithless electors, they see “evisceration” in a friendly late-night talk-show debate, they put faith in investigations and justice with regards to Russian interference and business conflicts of interest. They grasp at hypotheticals about who could have won, were things not as they in fact are. For political subjects so tied to the mythos of Reason, it is liberals who now seem deranged.

Instead of merely talking among themselves about opposing racism, say the anti-fascists, leftists need to take direct action to make being a white nationalist as difficult as possible. That’s why many antifa proponents have concentrated their efforts on tactics such as targeting the financial means of support for websites they see as enabling or promoting fascist views; they have even engaged in acts of physical assault against members of the far right.

“Only by fighting and destroying fascism can we actually defeat it,” an anonymous member of the website It’s Going Down told Salon via email.

The antifas’ anonymity is one of several superficial characteristics they share with their bitter rivals on the alt-right. Another is that they take politics much more soberly than their less extreme counterparts do. For the antifas, understanding that white nationalists are deadly serious about instigating a “racial holy war” is the key to countering them.

“During the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, while anarchists and communists were literally fighting the fascists in the streets, the liberals and social democrats attempted to debate the Nazis point for point in the halls of power,” the anonymous activist continued. “This did nothing, and also normalized the positions of the Nazis and also made them into legitimate positions.”

The center-left’s desire for an open society is its critical weakness, members of a Nebraska-based antifa collective told Salon via email because viewpoints that want to deny all free speech cannot be allow to speak freely.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/10/anti-fascist-radicals-liberals-dont-realize-the-serious-danger-of-the-alt-right/

Why the Left-wing Needs a Gun Culture

From Diversity of Tactics:  https://diversityoftactics.org/2017/01/21/why-the-left-wing-needs-a-gun-culture/

by Lorenzo Raymond
January 21, 2017

“We become depressed when we look around and see 1100 white supremacist militia groups, and some of our names at the top [of their kill lists]! You say ‘Oh my god, they got 1100 right-wing militia groups—how many left-wing ones we got?’  ‘Well, we’re working on our journal…’  I got nothing against journals, but it’s lopsided!’”

Cornell West, Left Forum 2014 keynote address

“When you are attacked by a rabid dog you don’t run or throw away the walking stick you have in your hand.” 

– Gloria Richardson, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizer, Cambridge, Maryland, July, 1964 ¹

We live in a historical moment where everything seems upside down. A proto-fascist seemingly despised by the political establishment has ridden into the White House. That same establishment is now squirmingly trying to accommodate itself to that which it formerly despised. Social media—once thought of as the domain of lefty social justice warriors—turned out to be the far-right’s pathway to power. And while the reactionary candidate praised “the common man,” the liberal candidate gave secret speeches to Wall Street.

Now is the time to reconsider long-held preconceptions, as they embody precisely the thinking which led us to this point—this point where hate crimes against minorities are growing, and economic and ecological hopes are rapidly shrinking. At a juncture where liberals’ wholesale denunciation of “violence” and “gun culture” are revealed to have done nothing to reduce either one, the Left needs to disentangle the issue of oppressive force from that of necessary self-defense against oppressive force.

Brutality against minorities is escalating in the aftermath of the election, and we can only imagine what level it will reach as the Trump administration entrenches itself. Reports of attacks are too numerous to recount here, but the recent murders of a famous Black athlete (Joe McKnight) a young Black musician (Will Sims) and a 15-year old Black boy (James Means) are the most notable manifestations of the racist terror which is growing across the country. As the federal exoneration of George Zimmerman demonstrates, a state crackdown on such murders has never been in the cards, and will be even more remote under the Trump regime.

Reports from the BBC and other major news outlets show that gun ownership in the Black community has begun to grow in recent years. A Pew survey shows at least 54 percent of African-Americans have a favorable view of firearms, up from just 29 percent in 2012. The last poll was taken in 2014—in the years since then, a Southern Christian Leadership Council official has publicly called for armed self-defense, and Black Twitter, in the face of the Charleston massacre, has trended the hashtag #WeWillShootBack—so today the figures are likely higher.

Is the growing black gun movement succumbing to blind emotion and sowing the seeds of destruction? A look at progressive African-American history would suggest not. Although many sectors of the Left prefer to ignore it, there is now a small bookcase of academic studies with names like This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. The importance of these studies is far from academic, however. They redefine our understanding of the most important American social movement of the past fifty years.

One of the first arenas of that struggle was the campaign to expose lynching in Mississippi, specifically the 1954 murder of Emmett Till. The key organizer of that campaign, TRM Howard, not only carried guns for his own protection, but made sure that there were armed guards at all times around campaign spokespeople like Mamie Till. After the rise of Martin Luther King, nonviolence became the image of civil rights, but this nominally pacifist movement never renounced its right to bear arms. When the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to the Deep South to organize, they encountered a vigorous Black gun culture among those who were prepared to campaign for equality. Fannie Lou Hamer, legendary founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), told one interviewer that, “I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom and the first cracker even look like he wants to throw some dynamite on my porch won’t write his mama again.” Prior to the MFDP’s work, voter suppression of African-Americans was the rule in Mississippi, but after its ascendance in the late 1960s, Blacks had full ballot access and the Klan was in retreat. The Mississippi movement represents the most effective organizing of the post-war Left; Their policy on armed self-defense can teach us a great deal, particularly as the whole country begins to feel more and more like the Jim Crow South.

But aren’t guns inherently oppressive, reactionary and patriarchal? This idea has found currency in the years since the end of the civil rights movement, but the years since the civil rights movement haven’t been especially good for the Left. From Jimmy Carter to Obama—not to mention from Reagan to Trump—the US has steadily slid to the Right in all but the most superficial ways. In place of working-class activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, we’re now led by pseudo-working-class celebrities like Michael Moore, who cemented the gun control consensus with his sensationalized documentary Bowling for Columbine. Just as Moore denounces the Democratic Party in three year cycles but always comes back to them at election time, his film admitted that there are more important factors contributing to violence than guns, but finally dumped the whole problem at the feet of the NRA. It is revealing that the very same Hollywood establishment that gave Moore an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine proceeded to boo him at the ceremony for opposing the Iraq War. For them, gun control has nothing to do with genuine peace, but everything to do with an orderly and centralized capitalist empire.

It’s inevitable that liberals’ perception of guns is formed hegemonically through the mainstream news media, despite the Left’s claim to be skeptical of it. While such outlets often tell us that guns kill 33,000 people per year in the US, we’re seldom reminded that alcohol kills over 80,000, and prescription drugs kill a devastating 120,000 each year. This may have something to do with the fact that pharmaceutical companies give corporate media over $5 billion per year in advertising, alcohol companies spend $2 billion on the same, and gun manufacturers comparatively nothing. The conventional liberal wisdom is that gun advocates make up for this in lobbying dollars, but shockingly, prescription opioid manufacturers alone spend eight times more courting politicians than the NRA does. Perhaps the gun lobby would like to spend more, but as The New York Times once acknowledged, “guns are a relatively small business in the United States.”

Continue reading at:   https://diversityoftactics.org/2017/01/21/why-the-left-wing-needs-a-gun-culture/

Frightbart

From Bill Moyers:  http://billmoyers.com/story/frightbart/

The view from Steve Bannon’s propaganda site will scare the bejeezus out of you, which is its point.

By Todd Gitlin
March 11, 2017

The home page of Breitbart.com, the quasi-official voice of Steve Bannon’s White House, is a virtual stew of menace, a pit of monsters, an unending onslaught of apocalyptic horsemen rearing up at full gallop, coming straight at you, drawing closer…. But what the Breitbart reader is not being warned against is poisoned water, eviction, a melting glacier, a rising sea, a pauper’s grave, a burning cross, a bank swindle or a loss of medical care. Those are the kind of fears that afflict liberal wimps brainwashed by “the enemy of the people.”

A Breitbart reader quivers, all right, hunkered down in the safe spaces of Fortress America while enemies gather outside the gates. But what he or she needs protection from is, to take a recent dozen, (1) a “mass-murdering bureaucrat”; (2) an armed home invader in Louisiana who demanded money and wouldn’t accept food stamps; (3) naked, mushroom-crazed brothers running amok through an apartment complex in Indianapolis; (4) machete and axe attacks in Germany; (5) a woman in Belgium suspected of plotting a terror attack; (6) man-hating Swedish feminists; and, speaking of Sweden, (7) a growing number of fatal shootings there, and also there, (8) a suspected car bomb; and back at home, (9) a Trump-defying Paul Ryan who “targets his own Republicans, not Democrats, on Health Care”; (10) Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) warning that the CIA is spearheading “authoritarian government”; (11) to our north, “Women Kicked Out of Women’s Shelter to Make Room for a ‘Transgender’ Man,” and, if you like your fright more graphic, (12) “Mexican Cartel Spreads ISIS-Like Beheading Video to Gain Border Turf near Texas.”

And the next thing you know, when you’ve barely recovered from reading about the machete mayhem in Germany, here comes a report of tear gas released into the Hamburg metro. How dangerous is that? It depends where you look. If you read all the way to the bottom of the post, you earn this correction: “Due to a translation error, the original version of this article said 50 people were injured. In fact 50 people on the train were affected and at least six people are known to have been injured so far.”

In tune with Steve Bannon’s watered-down remake of Apocalypse Now, the world is going to hell. There are vultures, vultures everywhere. There is not only “American carnage” but European carnage, carnage just over the border, the French covering up for the sinister Mexicans, carnage sloshing throughout the entire Judeo-Christian world — though the agitated reader will occasionally find consolation in the bull market and in the knowledge that US Marines are “inching closer” to the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa.

This reader will not learn from Breitbart that those Marines constitute a single artillery unit that, according to Reuters, has not yet opened fire. Odds are that this reader takes Breitbart’s word about Scandinavian carnage — a theme that’s now been beaten to death by the man in the White House — and will fail to dive deeper into the official Swedish murder statistics, so as to discover, for example, that between 2001-05 and 2011-15, deadly violence declined, although guns were more frequently used during the latter period, a fact officially attributed to the growth of gangs. By the way, in 1997, the rate of murder and manslaughter, with and without guns, was 1.77 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with almost four times that rate, 6.80, for the United States — assuming that one feels like cherry-picking dates to prove points.

You, unsuspecting reader, you taxpaying innocent, you American babe in the woods, you, peacefully going on about your business in your apartment complex, you, pathetically offering up your unacceptable food stamps — They have it in for you. They are everywhere. As the man in the White House said about Obama body language he didn’t approve of: “There’s something going on.”

Continue reading at:  http://billmoyers.com/story/frightbart/

My Health Care Is Not Cosmetic

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/3/21/my-health-care-not-cosmetic

Even with Obamacare hanging on, trans folks are still pushing back against a tidal wave of ignorance in the insurance industry.

By Cole Hayes
March 21 2017

In June of 2014 Washington State insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler announced that insurers selling policies in the state cannot discriminate against transgender residents. This was exciting news, because up until that point trans people would have to jump through burning hoops to get the care they needed. While this announcement offered hope for the future, it seems many of us are still struggling to see the change.

When I started my transition, one of the first things I wanted was a hysterectomy, not necessarily because of my transition but because my reproductive organs had plagued me from the onset of puberty. It was a nightmare and, unfortunately, still is. While I no longer get visits from Aunt Flo, I still feel her pain every month.

My doctor at the time told me outright that insurance companies would not approve of this surgery for someone who was still considered female in the eyes of the law. I hadn’t even started hormones yet. She explained that insurance companies wanted women to go through a series of steps just to be sure nothing else could be done before permanently removing the uterus.

I could understand to a certain extent why that was, but for a trans man, aching to feel better for the first time in his life, it was disheartening news, especially because I had no plans to bear children. My doctor did say that it would be wise to refrain from changing my information if I ever did want my surgery covered, because once I was no longer technically female, the situation would get even stickier.

A year passed and, contrary to my doctor’s advice, I changed my information. I was and am legally male. My doctor signed the papers and I stood before a judge after my state approved my request for a name and gender change. I decided to make this change because I wasn’t willing to start birth control, which is counterproductive to my medical transition and one of many things I’d have to try before the prospect of a hysterectomy would be considered. By that time, I had heard about the change in trans coverage in Washington State and I felt hopeful that I would finally be allowed to have the most vital surgery of my life — something more important to me than top surgery.

Before my transition, my doctors just said I had dysmenorrhea, which means, “painful periods with cramps.” I had a sonogram, and nothing showed what was causing the pain. Truthfully, no one really knows why trans men continue to feel pain after our periods stop. Doctors say it’s the uterus’s way of dying dramatically. How’s that for implicit bias?

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/3/21/my-health-care-not-cosmetic

Bill Clinton: Resurgent nationalism ‘taking us to the edge of our destruction’

From Politico:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/bill-clinton-nationalism-235894?cmpid=sf

By
03/09/17

Don’t buy what purports to be nationalism that’s engulfed politics in America and all over the world, former President Bill Clinton said Thursday; what’s actually at play, he argued, is more insidious and interconnected than that.

“People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world,” Clinton said. “It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once — and it is an inevitable consequence of the economic and social changes that have occurred at an increasingly rapid pace.”

Making his first major public appearance since his wife lost last year’s presidential election, Clinton did not discuss President Donald Trump specifically, but warned repeatedly against “us versus them” thinking that he said has become such an active part of politics in America, in the Brexit vote, in the Philippines and throughout Europe.

The speech was the keynote at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

“The whole history of humankind is basically the definition of who is us and who is them, and the question of whether we should all live under the same set of rules,” Clinton said. He added that often, people “have found more political success and met the deep psychic needs people have had to feel that their identity requires them to be juxtaposed against someone else.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/bill-clinton-nationalism-235894?cmpid=sf