Monday, October 29, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just So We're Clear

"Fascism Anyone?", by Dr. Laurence Britt compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes.

So you don't have to look at the link, here's the couple snips I personally find most relevant today. (Don't get me wrong, they're all relevant. Let's just have a snip here though.)

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Have I whetted your appetite for the rest of the points? LIke I said they're all totally relevant. So watch:

All that being said, there's a cure and hope. They both live within us. Whatever cures you, helps cure this mess in the country. Whatever hope you have, it's the same hope the country has. Because really it's one and the same; your, my, the countries destinies depend completely on what we DO and right now.

Take the actions you can before the primaries. Vote your principle in the primaries. Do not be persuaded by arguments of practicality and pragmatism. Be persuaded only by your heart and your gut. Aside from that do what you love and as much as you can. Because that's what's going to cure this mess. Tons of self actualized people on the right damn track.

If you want to stay comfortably practical, only on the side of "Well that other thing?[fill in the blank, Impeachment, Kucinich, de-Funding the Illegal Occupation] Ain't gonna happen."

Then Welcome To The Machine.

**Extra points for Pink Floyd University Curriculum are accrued by your comments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today Was World Food Day

Yep - I am posting way late on this, but today was World Food Day

I have said this before and I'll say it some more:

... Since 1985, the real price of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased nearly 40 percent, while the real price of sweets, fats and oils, and soft drinks has dropped. With these price signals, is it any wonder people are not eating enough produce and too many calorie-dense foods? We have made consuming junk food an economically smart choice, particularly for people with limited income.

Having said that, why the HELL is Yum! Brands pretending like it is NOT a huge part of this problem, and in an unbelievable bit of two-facedness sponsoring a "Feed The World" for Hunger Awareness Week in-store promo? Because it's a Fortune 500 Corporation who is lobbying in a goose step fashion with ADM and Cargill:

US Agribusiness: Swallowing Up Lands and Livelihoods

Visit the websites of corporations like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, who together control 65 percent of the global grain trade, and you will read that their mission is to “feed a growing world.” The reality is starkly different. Big Farming is part of a larger corporate economic model that prioritizes profit-making over all else, even the basic right to food. Around the world, agribusiness bankrupts and displaces small farmers, and directs farmers to grow export crops instead of staple foods.

Well, I believe ADM and Cargill as much as I believe Chevron or any oil company's website. Thank god we don't use Google AdSense on this blog.

We just use our common sense.

Tonight, I guess I am just saying, let's be glad we have some dinner. And BOYCOTT YUM! BRANDS MCDONALDS AND THE REST of those Fast/Bad Food Fascists!

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let's un-fiasco ENDA

Un-Fiascoing the Transgendered Issue: Questioning Conventional and Practical Wisdom


Something has been bugging me. Why did Congress dump gender identity from ENDA this year if they knew they didn't have the votes to pass veto muster? I mean, they must have known that it was never going to become law come hell or high water.

And if you were planning on eventually dropping transgendered people from the bill from the git-go, then why add them in the first place, when you know darn well that there's going to be no insider hell to pay when you drop them? The entire thing doesn't make sense.

Or does it?

I have a theory about all of this. It's a theory about revolutions.

When revolutions are built on principle, the revolution lasts, endures, overcomes, and becomes part of the normal way of things. When revolutions are built upon expediency, like a land grab for oil, or territory, they’re very short-lived, relatively. You might end up with Colonies for a couple generations, but you never end up with great nations. Those rebounding from the expedience of other Dominators find themselves at a disadvantage, both in Time and in Rights. For instance out of many situations today, just ask; Africa? Darfur anyone?

Anyway, that brings us back to transgender rights, since being people, rights are inextricably bound with individual humanity.


Once upon a time we were called "the gay community." Then there’s a lot of palaver. Actually there was a lot of palaver BEFORE that. Label after Label was applied to ALL kinds of people for SO LONG. The labels began to appear to fall off.

Truth is the labls were yanked off. People HATED that. Their precious labels, ripped and torn, where it was possible to neatly sort out anything that was a problem for anyone. That period was called the 1960’s. Strangely, 40 years later, there are new label machines, very busy, wanting to apply labels. THIS IS WHERE ANY RIGHTS GO: DO NOT APPLY THIS STICKER ANYWHERE ELSE.

The moral of the story: Anyone who says that transgendered people have always accepted the gay community is totally right. After all, we’re all in it together, since it is All of Us Who Are So Different From Them.

I would argue that the gay community never collectively and overwhelmingly decided to exclude the T in LGB (or GLB). It happened because a few groups and blogs like HRC and A-Blog decided that they and a handful of vocal activists and pragmatic leaders pretty much shamed everyone else into doing it. Now, according to HRC it looks like that the T can be added. I'm just saying that I think the T was deleted because there was a groundswell of demand in the beltway community that we delete T from LGB. I think it happened through pressure, organizational fiat, shame, and osmosis.

And that is how we got into the mess we're in today.


I think that the transgender community was deleted from ENDA the same way the “Bridge To Nowhere” got added to law. By force, and attrition, rather than by popular demand.

I remember being at the bar with a bunch of gay friends about 6 or 7 days ago. There was discussion on the table amongst us 40+ year old mens and it was about violence we had encountered and the same for those we all knew of the transgender community. The details of the discussion now elude me, but I remember there being a lively debate about just how and when transexuals became separate from our common struggle, and vice versa - the consensus was that nobody knew how it happened, and nobody was quite sure that they agreed with their exclusion. Now zoom forward to today. We've seen the resignation of the only transgendered board member of HRC, that gender identity is being dropped from ENDA in order to save the bill. We've also heard from a number of vocal activists. But when I speak to friends and colleagues privately, just plain old gay friends around the country, the message I hear is far different from what I'm hearing from the groups. I'm clearly hearing three things.

1. I feel empathy for transgendered people, and support their struggle for civil rights.
2. I want ENDA to pass this year even if included transgendered people polarize the community
3. I don't understand when transgendered people were not part of the gay community?

And then, well I guess there's always #4: Please don't tell anyone I told you this.

What I'm hearing is a message far different from what you hear from Solomonese at the HRC (at least a little bit before I posted this...) and a loud blog claiming to speak for the enlightened masses. I think that a lot of gay people never truly accepted the transgender ditch-em that was thrust upon them. They simply sat back and shut up about their questions and concerns and doubts out of a sense of shame that it was somehow impolite to even question what the Dems and Barney Frank were doing, and fear that if they did ask questions they'd be marked as stupid. And now, that paper-thin political revolution is coming home to roost.

I have no insider information leading me to this conclusion, but, I think that gender identity was finally excluded from ENDA out of shame and fear. Neither the Congress nor the lead gay groups or loud blog wanted to be seen as anti-progressive, even though some of them clearly knew that deleting trans was a death-blow to their credibility. But they did it anyway. Their calculus wasn't about including a vital, core member of the gay community (otherwise trans would never get dropped). And their calculus was that we could win even with trans excluded (because in today's America, that's apparently true, and they embrace expediency). The calculus was one of fear and shame: I.e., If we don't delete trans from the bill, we're going to get beaten up and labeled stupid vs. principled.


People are simply not afraid to ask any questions about this issue, and those conflicts are coming home to roost. I know I was not afraid to write about this issue, and still am not. I did not have to think long and hard about even weighing in on this issue. Did I really want to have to deal with people screaming? I've got friends gone public themselves. I stand proudly with them.

There is a climate of fear and confusion and doubt about the transgender issue in the D.C/Beltway community. They don’t want to talk about it. And when those in the center of power, or claiming to be, don't talk about your small concerns, when they're afraid, reluctant or downright hostile to talk about them; when it's not considered practical for you to vote your conscience; one day those small concerns turn into big problems and the revolution comes tumbling down; if you let such people speak for you.

Meanwhile, ENDA or not, I WILL SURVIVE!