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Monday, May 23, 2016

Dave Lindorff: AN AMERICAN ABROAD: EUROPE, THE US AND THE POLITICS OF PISSING AND BEING PISSED @ This Can't Be Happening!

 Vienna -- As an American visiting Krakow, Poland, where I was last week, it felt weird to read about the inane latest chapter of the culture wars being fought back home over whether states and localities should have the right to bar transgender people from using a public lavatory appropriate to their psychological identity, forcing them instead to use the one that accords with how many X chromosomes they have by birth in their cell nuclei.

            After all, in Poland, except for the finer tourist restaurants and hotels catering to American tourists, bathrooms tend to be unisex: men and women enter such a toaleta through a single door into an anteroom, where they find a number of stalls each containing a single commode. In some such facilities, there are also urinals along a wall in the anteroom, allowing men to relieve their bladders while not unnecessarily denying one of the limited number of stalls to any woman in urgent need of relief. Meanwhile, women and men, without a blush, wash their hands side by side in the available sinks in the common anteroom.

            Somehow this system works in Poland and without any reported incidents of indecency or sexual abuse as is apparently so feared by some of America’s squeamishly fundamentalist Christian folk. And remember, Poland is itself a very conservative Catholic country, quite fundamentalist in its own way!

            Now I’m not trying to suggest that Poles are necessarily better or saner than Americans. They do, after all, have a not terribly remote history of having largely supported the slaughter, by occupying Nazis, of the Jews who had lived in their midst for centuries. Indeed Krakow itself was the scene of one such particularly brutal and bloody extermination campaign (it was where the German conman Oskar Schindler set up his slave-labor factory, which allowed him to gain fame for eventually coming around to saving many Jews from a mass grave). And anti-semitism (along with other forms of xenophobia) is still alive and well in the country. But at least the Poles aren’t freaking out about transgendered people sneaking into the wrong loo.

            While sanity regarding public restroom facility use in Europe comes as a welcome relief (the French too have a casual attitude towards sexual privacy in their public facilities, with women frequently stationed in near the men’s pissoire where they collect tips for their janitorial services while men pee against a wall right beside them), other political storms in Europe can display a certain familiarity to a visiting American...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3169

We're engaged in a major fund-raising campaign through Indiegogo. Please, even if you've donated to TCBH! before, go to our Indiegogo site at  https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/investigative-reporting-online-news-site/x/4613685 and at least kick in a couple of bucks to help get the ball rolling! And even more importantly, please send the link out on any social media you use, an also send emails to family and friends who may not know about ThisCantBeHappening.net  and about the work we do. 
Thanks!
The TCBH! Collective

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eric Levitz: THE KOCHS ARE SOURING ON NATIONAL POLITICS @ New York Magazine

John Grant: URINALS AND STALLS, A NEW BATTLEGROUND: GENDER LINES, PROBLEM OF THE 21ST CENTURY? @ This Can't Be Happening!


"The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line."
   - W.E.B. DuBois

While I see his position as one of defending bigotry, I sympathize a bit with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory when he tells NPR, "Most people had never heard of this issue five months ago.”

I was one of those people. Until quite recently -- certainly before Caitlin Jenner and going back to the early 1950s when ex-GI Christine Jorgensen had sex re-assignment surgery -- the term transgender meant a person had submitted to hormone treatment and surgery that involved, for a male, cutting off the penis and surgically creating some approximation of a vagina. A male or female who chose to wear clothing of the opposite gender was known as a transvestite. That semantic understanding seems to have gone the way of negro and colored people. It's now a matter of how one feels inside one's body. Somewhere in time a semantic shift occurred in the minds of enough people that it has now reached the level of law where we see a classic battle between a reform-minded, liberal federal government and that old standby of conservatives and bigots, states' rights.

In North Carolina, a law known as HB2 was passed that limits protections for LGBT people and requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the gender noted by a physician on their birth certificate. That sounds nice and neat -- certainly to the conservative and bigoted mind. But what if one was born with real, physical ambiguity down in the pudendum area? Or what if a cocktail of chemical hormones and life experience led someone to see and feel him- or herself differently than the working stiff did who noted an infant's gender on a birth certificate -- or for that matter, feeling different about oneself than the socially- and politically-correct views of certain southern, God-fearing conservatives? What if Norman Mailer, who is dead, was wrong when he wrote that little anti-feminist gem I read titled Prisoner Of Sex? Of course, many of us loved the strutting pugilistic Uncle Norman, especially when he protested the Vietnam War; but, then, Norman was famous for being a magnificent, often drunken, asshole.

The Fort Worth school system recently established the right of transgender students to identify their gender as they wished and to use the bathroom of their choosing. Since transgender people tend to want to be private and discrete, this sounds reasonable and compassionate. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, then, publicly damned the system’s superintendent and framed the issue as one of security for young girls vulnerable to lurking predatory males using the ruling to gain access to rape young girls.

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3157

We're engaged in a major fund-raising campaign through Indiegogo. Please, even if you've donated to TCBH! before, go to our Indiegogo site at https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/investigative-reporting-online-news-site/x/4613685 and at least kick in a couple of bucks to help get the ball rolling! And even more importantly, please send the link out on any social media you use, an also send emails to family and friends who may not know about ThisCantBeHappening.net and about the work we do.

Thanks!

The TCBH! Collective

Monday, May 02, 2016

May First / Peoples Link, Press Release, May 1st, 2016

Between now and the Left Forum (May 20 - 22 -- leftforum.org), we'll be
reminding you about our panels. Here's one you don't want to miss. It's
the first time this subject has been discussed at a conference of this
type and we know you're agree that it is timely and important. Time and
date not set yet but we'll let you know as soon as we know.

Attacking the Digital Plantation: Racism on the Internet and the
Struggle Against It

In the wealthier countries, particularly the United States, the Internet
is controlled by white men. All you have to do is look at the roster of
speakers at a technology conference -- they are mostly men and almost
all white. The implications of white control of the Internet are huge.
Among so many other problems, it divorces the movements of resistance
(which are led by people of color) from the Internet while limiting
young people of color to social media. Leaders from movements of color
will discuss racism and racist attack on the Internet, how to break
through the "color wall" and what role the Internet plays in the
struggles of people of color.

Jerome Scott – Chair – League of Revolutionaries for a New America
Mo Willis – Allied Media Projects
Ejim Dike – U.S. Human Rights Network
Jacqui Patterson – NAACP, Institute for the Black World
Michelle Metts – Agaric Design
Sphinx Eben – Indy-Media Center

And don't forget our other panels at the Left Forum!

Privacy, Surveillance and Secure Internet Access: Planning the Fight

The Internet: Stopping the War on Women

Attacking the Digital Plantation: Racism on the Internet and the
Struggle Against It

Protect Yourself: Using Secure Software on the Internet

From Mexico: The TPP and Its Impact on Internet Freedom and Free Software

The Young Turks, May 2, 2016

Editorial Board: VOTING GETS HARDER IN KANSAS @ New York Times