I for one welcome our new Lesbian Overlords

Did you know that there is a “Lesbian Apocalypse” coming? No? I didn’t either, but apparently there is one. From Wipedia:

Catherine “Cathy” Brennan is an attorney in the state of Maryland and a prominent supporter of “trans-critical” radical feminism. Her main accomplishment in this regard is coauthoring a letter to the United Nations, insisting that trans people’s gender identity should not be legally recognized and protected. She is also a frequent columnist for Baltimore OUTloud’s LGBTQ blog section, which she uses to warn of the coming “lesbian annihilation” at the hands of “the queers” and trans people and stridently argue against legislation protecting gender identity.

I received a note from Secular Women linking to a petition to the Southern Poverty Law Center asking for the SPLC to treat Brennan’s organization as a hate group. Having never heard of trans-critical radical feminism, I worried at first that this was one of those awful breakdowns among allies (in this case, feminists) over how some issue or another is being handled, which had escalated to the extreme outcome of labeling a group with different views but within the same movement as a hate group. This didn’t seem like something Secular Women would do. So, I followed the links and read up on it a bit, and apparently this is a thing. Here’s the letter I got from Secular Women:

Southern Poverty Law Center:
Monitor “Gender Identity Watch”
as a Hate Group

As a feminist organization, Secular Woman promotes gender equality. We stand against and combat sexism, hate, intolerance, and misogyny.

Transgender women are women.

Cisgender women are women.

We do not, in any way, view the existence of transgender women, genderqueer individuals or transgender men as a threat to the safety of women, female identity, or the goals of feminism.

As intersectional feminists we acknowledge the privilege that cisgender people experience. We aim to dismantle the axis of oppression that this represents.
Unfortunately, not all who claim the label “feminist” agree with us. They do not represent us and we reject their actions and views as unethical and devoid of reason.
We stand in opposition.

Members of our community have been targeted by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). Personal information such as former names, current legal names, and photographs have been compiled and displayed on the website “Name the Problem”. Several of the entries are self-attributed to “Pegasus” (“PegasusBug” is a pseudonym of Cathy Brennan, the head of Gender Identity Watch). This information was presented alongside reports describing rapists and batterers of women.

Countless others, including members of transgender advocacy groups have reported similar treatment, as well as other alarming behavior, such as Cathy Brennan contacting employers, schools and medical doctors of transgender women, girls and young men.

This is unacceptable.

It is anathema to our vision of a future in which women have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently in every aspect of society.
Cathy Brennan’s tactics, as described, are reprehensible, reckless, and irresponsible as they have the potential to embolden violence and harassment of those she targets and to result in job loss and other discrimination informed by the open knowledge of the target’s transgender status.

Refusal to afford transgender women inclusion, safety, and civil rights is a form of misogyny that is antithetical to feminism.

We invite fellow feminists and secularists, as well as others concerned, to proactively affirm the inclusion of all women as women. Condemn the toxic ideologies used to rationalize hate, fear, and discrimination based on gender.

Stand with us in petitioning the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to track the activities of Cathy Brennan’s Gender Identity Watch as a hate group in accordance with SPLC’s stated mission.

Signed in Solidarity,

Secular Woman
Stop Abuse Online
Skepchick

Trinity Aodh, Melody Hensley, M. A. Melby, Veronica K. Berglyd Olsen, Kim Rippere, Mary Ellen Sikes, Dana Lane Taylor

Please sign the petition here!

Click through to follow the documenting links. Sign the petition.

Free Alber Saber!

Alber Saber is an Egyptian pro-democracy blogger who ran a Facebook page for atheists. When a neighbor discovered Saber’s connection to the page, word spread and on 13 September 2012, an angry mob formed at Saber’s house. The police arrived, and instead of dispersing the mob and arresting those threatening to burn the house down, they arrested Saber and accused him of the crime of insulting Islam.

There are already reports that Saber was attacked with a razor blade while in jail, after guards told his fellow Muslim inmates why he was imprisoned. His family fears for his life.

Across Egypt, radical Muslims are reacting with violence to anti-Islamic and pro-secular ideas. Now more than ever, it is crucial for the government of Egypt to make it clear that they support the free, peaceful expression of all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). By continuing to detain, abuse, and potentially prosecute Alber Saber, Egypt sends a message to the rest of the world: debate and discussion are dead, and ignorance and intolerance reign.

President Mohamed Morsi promised to be the president of all Egyptians. We want him to prove it. As concerned citizens who value free and open expression, we demand that Egyptian authorities release Alber Saber at once and provide fully for his safety and the safety of all Egyptians who are currently targeted by religious extremists.

Hug an atheist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My name is Sylvia, I’m a Belgian filmmaker living in England and I’m an atheist. I’m often gobsmacked at how atheism is generally perceived in the US. When I read stories like Jessica Ahlquist’s or Damon Fowler’s I just sit here in disbelief and find myself outraged.

Unlike my US friends, I can openly talk about it without the fear of persecution or the fear of losing my job, my friends or my family. It’s a cause I find myself passionate about so I’ve been wondering for a while what can I do. I’m a filmmaker. With that in mind, I would dearly love to make a film about atheism in the USA…

Thank you, Sylvia. Everyone, click here and learn all about this project and help make it happen!

Here’s a widget:


Pussy Riot Is On Trial

The Russian Feminist Punk Rock group Pussy Riot, or at least part of it, is on trial and faces several years in prison for acting up. Debbie Goddard has the story in detail.

You may be asking yourself why I’m writing about this. As an activist and organizer, I try to pay attention to other groups’ campaigns and activism efforts, whether populist or fringe, especially when led by young people. I’ll share a few of the reasons this situation is particularly interesting to me….

Read The Rest

Want to tell London and the US that we are not Romney?

Americans who are embarrassed about Mitt Romney’s ham-handed, ignorant, and jingoistic babbling about the London Olympics have a chance to tell the UK that it is not the case that we all feel that way. Daily Kos Campaigns has a letter you can sign.

An open letter to the people of the United Kingdom:

We are writing to express our concern over Mitt Romney’s recent comments, and to let you know that he does not represent how most Americans view your great country.

First, we do not believe, as Mitt Romney implied in 2007, that you have become a second-tier nation. Rather, we are impressed at how the United Kingdom has consistently been able to punch above its weight on the world stage.

Additionally, we do not share the opinion which Romney expressed in his 2010 book, No Apologies, that “England [sic] is just a small island,” and that “with few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.” Please continue sending us your many wonderful products, especially the upcoming third season of Downton Abbey.

We look forward not only to the London Olympics, but also to many years of continuing the special relationship between our two nations. Rest assured we will do our level best to prevent Mitt Romney from becoming our next president.

Cheers!

Click Here to sign.

Boycott Reddit? (Again)

A while ago I asked Should we just stop using reddit? (For those of you following the Freethought Bullies discussion, I’ll note that one of my frustrations with Freethoughtblogs, which I overall think is a great blog network, is that so many bloggers there uncritically involve themselves in Reddit to the point that they are by default defending the widespread and offensive misogyny there.)

Lots of people showed up on that post to hate me for hating the hate at Reddit. Whatever.

More recently, Jim Hines, the author, has written this post: Why I Cancelled my Reddit Q&A [trigger warning].

What Hines notes in his post is even worse than what I had encountered. It is a very good argument for leaving Reddit off your social networking list of things to do.

Unless, of course, Reddit does the right thing.

Minnesota: Show Support for the US Bank Protesters

From the Court Support facebook page:

Four of the seven people arrested in front of US Bank plaza last fall are going to court next week, for challenging the banks practices of foreclosing on people and forcing them into homelessness. We recently learned that the prosecutor has added three new charges to each of us! We need people to pack the court room and show their support, and to say that standing up to the banks isn’t criminal, taking people’s homes IS!

A small % of people believe in bigfoot and UFO’s. Michele Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann

[I] don’t know what causes people to either create beliefs about something that is not true, or to accept incredible beliefs of this sort. I do know that I’ve had such beliefs. When I was 12. At the time that I was 12 and a couple of years before that, I believed that theories like “Worlds in Collision” were interesting and possibly valid. I had mixed feelings about Ancient Astronauts. For at time I felt that Edgar Cayce explained everything. But then, I turned 13 and literally grew out of it. Well, there were other influences. And for some of those beliefs it took another year to completely go away. I’m pretty sure my old-world style Catholic upbringing prepared me to believe things that I now see as incredibly unlikely. If one grows up knowing that demonic possession, poltergeists, assumption, and coming back from the dead are well known phenomena, then an as yet undiscovered hominid living in the forest, or alternative theories of how the solar system evolved are not so hard to accept. But one grows out of these things. (more…)

More Greek Nazi Related Action

My Greek-linked contacts tell me that he Golden Dawn (read: Nazi) WordPress website has been taken down, WordPress having been informed by the broader international community (THIS MEANS YOU!!!) about the violation of terms of service. Good for WordPress!

Now, according to the same sources, Golden Dawn has a new blog hosted by Google on Blogger. Time for a new petition!

It is here.

We call on Google to follow the example of WordPress and stop providing a free platform for Golden Dawn’s hate speech and intimidation of journalists by suspending the official Golden Dawn blogs hosted on their platform.

Click through and read the details, and you’ll see that it makes sense and you’ll want to sign it, I’m sure.

Take Action against the Greek Nazi Party

You may have heard that in these troubled times in Greece, the Greek Nazi “Golden Dawn” party made an alarming gain in the Parliament, taking about 7% of the seats. Here they are being all Nazi-ish:

Nazis.  I hate these guys.

The leader of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, and his Nazi supporters, grabbing a bottle of water.


It isn’t just that they won a few seats in Parliament. This is part of a larger shift towards extremism on the right side of the spectrum, happening in Greece and other countries as well, and it is accompanied by some extreme rhetoric that reminds us of the 1930s.

“The time for fear has come for those who betrayed this homeland ... We are coming ... Veni, Vidi, Vici ... Greece is only the beginning ... "


In case you were wondering if these guys are “real” Nazis, don’t worry, they really do seem to be, even with respect to some of the finer details of Nazism, such as intolerance of Jews.

This photograph is alleged to be Golden Dawn members attacking Jews in 2002, but it may be Golden Dawn and anarchists fighting. In any event, Gold Dawn members are believe to have carried out acts of violence against immigrants.

Here is what you can do. Some time in the next month or two, there will be new elections in Greece. The elections that happened a few days ago produced a result (no strong majority or obvious coalition) that likely will result in this happening. Golden Dawn, the Nazis, have a web site they use as a critical component of their campaign. It is hosted on WordPress.

Shall we sign a petition?

Change.org has one for you:

The Official blog of the Greek Nazi ‘Golden Dawn’ political party which recently won an unprecedented 7% in the parliamentary elections is hosted on the WordPress.com platform at http://xryshaygh.wordpress.com/.

In addition to espousing hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric, denial of the Holocaust, and Nazi salutes, Golden Dawn has a history of direct involvement in organized crime and intimidation with many of their.top ranking members having been indicted and convicted of violent crimes against immigrants and political opponents.

On April 17 behind the cover of anonymity which they always use on their official blog on WordPress.com, they published an article that made thinly veiled threats of violence against Greek reporter Xenia Kounalaki, the editor of the foreign news desk of Kathimerini, Greece’s leading broadsheet.

Source: http://www.euractiv.com/elections/neo-nazi-greek-party-threatens-journalist-news-512538

The WordPress.com Terms of Service state that all content submitted ‘does not contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities’.

Source: http://en.wordpress.com/tos/

We call on Automattic Inc. to stop providing a free platform for Golden Dawn to anonymously threaten and intimidate reporters, immigrants, and political opponents by shutting down their WordPress.com account.

Click here to visit and sign the petition.

Your Support of Bill C-279 is Urgently Needed Now

“We don’t have a ‘Bill of Rights’ in Canada. We don’t need one.”

A colleague from Canada told me that once. I was pretty sure she was more or less wrong, but I was working in a lab of mainly Canadians at the time and I know that as an Ugly American I had no chance if I disagreed, so I kept my mouth shut. It turns out that only months before that declaration, Canada had passed the Constitution Act, and before that they had the “Canadian Bill of Rights” and subsequently some other stuff has happened along these lines, but just as in the United States, unless you are really quite specific, these sorts of protections don’t extend to everyone, and especially to people who are in certain groups or categories that many seem comfortable viewing as unworthy for some reason or another.

Well, at the moment, transgender Canadians are not protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the prevailing constitutional law. However …

Next month, in April, an extremely pivotal bill is going to be up for debate in the Canadian parliament. It’s Bill C-279, which will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of statuses protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.

Currently, transgender Canadians have no such protections, and may be discriminated against on the basis of their gender by employers, businesses, shelters, institutions (public or private) and individuals without any legal consequence. … This is not okay.

Natalie Reed has all the details here. It appears that Bill C-279 has not received much media attention, and the current political climate in Canada is such that it is at risk of not passing.

So read Natalie’s post and get on this, please. If you know of a petition or something, tell us in the comments!

Please Join One Million Strong for Women

Click here to put your name on the line to support Dems in the Senate in their efforts to battle the right wing fundie yahoos:

Time and again, our opponents have come after women — women’s rights, women’s health, women’s economic security.

They tried to defund Planned Parenthood through the budget process. They tried to restrict women’s health care through Medicare and Medicaid. This time, they tried to get Komen to cut off support for Planned Parenthood.

Enough is enough. We may have won this latest round, but our opponents aren’t going away. They’re launching endless attacks against women every single day, and we need to rise to the challenge.

We’ve got to build a grassroots force that’s ready to take them on whenever and wherever they attack women’s rights and women’s health.

And we’ll do it by coming together. Join us.

One million strong for women — add your name, your voice, and your support now.

Click –> HERE

Poor Women Have Breasts Too, You Know!

Thank you very much. About 6,000 people, many readers of this blog, donated $400,000 over 24 hours to Planned Parenthood to make up for the loss of funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer foundation. That is roughly in the range of the annual donations Komen was making to Planned Parenthood before they pulled out their support under false pretenses.

Now, here’s what has to happen.

1) If you were planning to run in a Komen race or otherwise engage in activities pursuant to their fundraising, ask yourelf this question: “Do I hate women, and/or do I think poor women don’t mind dying of cancer?” If the answer is yes, put on your pink ribbon and knock yourself out. If the answer is no, then cancel your engagement with Komen and do something else.

2) If you’ve recently given money to Komen, send them a note and ask for it back. It was obtained under false pretenses. If you are a a group of people and one or more of you is a lawyer, get out that legal stationary and make threatening motions with it.

3) If there is a Komen Race in your neighborhood any time soon, considering organizing a protest. Line part of the race route with poor women with breasts, carrying signs that say “we have breasts too!” or words to that effect.

4) If you are involved in any sort of #occupy activity, remind your fellow #occupiers that this is a 1% vs. 99% issue.

5) Consider making a regular donation to planned parenthood, just a few bucks a month, or once a year on your birthday, or once a year on the day you had your last Chemo, or whatever works for you.

6) Stop wearing pink to signify solidarity with cancer victims. Maybe pick a color off of the Planned Parenthood site and wear that. I don’t think Komen “owns” pink but they do use a lot of it.

7) If you have Komen merchandise such as a teddy bear, earrings, clothing, etc. take it to someplace appropriate and throw it over the wall. Like the vets threw their service medals over the wall at the Pentagon and the White House. Or just mail it back to them. Or, better yet, mail it to Planned Parenthood with a check.

Personally, I will not be satisfied with a detente, or a compromise, or a retraction, or a continuation of funding by Komen of Planned Parenthood. Komen has done something very very bad and they need to go away. It should be the case from now on that anyone who does not hate women should never give Komen a penny, ever, from now on. Komen is not necessary. There are other charities. There are other things for you to do with your energies, money, and time that will help women beat breast cancer.

Stop Giving Money to Susah G. Komen for the Cure, and tell everyone else you know to do the same.

Komen collects donations and uses the money to help with cancer. In the past, huge chunks of money were donated to Planned Parenthood to help pay for breast exams and other breast cancer related services at Planned Parenthood facilities.

Then, Republican Cliff Stearns, a Congressional representative from Florida, launched an inquirey against Planned Parenthood. This investigation is widely regarded as a senseless political move, a mean spirited attack on women and women’s health, and a bunch of crap.

Apparently, and the details are largely secret at this time, various Right Wing Christian forces went to work to pressure Koman into dropping its funding for Planned Parenthood, and Komen dutifully caved. They either made up or pulled out of their non-profit asses a rule that said that they can’t fund agencies that are under investigation by local, state, or federal agencies. Then, they interpreted this sham inquirey in Congress as an “investigation by a federal agency” which it is not.

And, thus, under the guise of following their sanctimonious rule, Komen stopped funding help for cancer screening and other breast cancer related services to countless poor and underprivileged women.

What can you do?

Then, after you’ve made yourself feel all good and like you’ve done something, actually DO SOMETHING:

  • Go here and make an emergency donation to Planned Parenthood to make up the shortfall.
  • Use the share buttons down below or any other means you’d like to let everyone you know that Komen has jumped the shark and will no longer be regarded as a valid charity by anyone who does not hate women.

What are you sitting there staring at this blog post for? GET MOVING ON THIS! NAO!!!11!!

Many of the details known so far are reported here.

Join CFI in Urging Obama to Keep Religion Out of Reproductive Health Care Rules

From the CFI in Washington DC:

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidelines that require health insurance providers and organizations providing health care plans to cover preventive health services, such as contraception, without charging a co-payment. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) considers this an important step forward for reproductive rights and health care.

However, these new guidelines have faced fierce public opposition from organized religion. Most notably, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is lobbying the HHS to either eliminate the new guidelines or widely expand the current exemption clause – which now covers employers whose main purpose is to promote religious doctrine – to also include religious hospitals, charities, and universities.

This means that hundreds of thousands of women would be left without preventative health coverage simply because of their employer’s religiously motivated objections.

In response, CFI and several organizations have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, pushing her to maintain her ground on the new guidelines. Yet recent news reports suggest that President Barack Obama is now considering religious arguments to expand the exemption clause.

This is where you come in. Join CFI in telling the Obama administration to stand for science and reason, and keep religious belief out of our health care laws.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

Lind Media Billboard Company: If you are not religious, you are “obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large”

Short version of the story: Some Ohio Atheists had arranged to have a couple of “god is not real” billboards put up, raised the money, got the artwork and mockups done, the whole nine yards. Then, at the last second Lind Media company decided that Atheistic Billboards would be wrong, so they pulled out.

Documentation, including an admission from Maura Siegenthaler, Vice President of Lind Media Company, which is on North Main Street in Mansfield, Ohio, that they felt “… the inflammatory nature of the proposed displays would no doubt be considered offensive to much of the community and would be harmful to Lind’s community reputation and goodwill” is HERE on the Mid Ohio Atheists site.

If you are a company that uses billboards, consider the possibility that using Lind Media is not a good idea. I for one, if I see a Lind Media tag on a billboard, will instantly launch a personal boycott of that product no matter what it is. If you own or work in a decision making capacity for a company that uses billboards, and you are a free thinker or simply believe in free speech and open dialog rather than crushing opinions you don’t agree with and silencing those that think differently than you do, then you might consider avoiding Lind Media Company entirely.

If you live in the region where Lind Media Company works, and you know of any of their billboards, have a look and let us know what companies are advertising on them! We can write some letters, raise a little dust.

Take Action in Minneapolis!!!!

Occupy Protesters Pepper Sprayed

Occupy The Police State

All around the US Occupy Protesters are being tossed out of the parks and public squares they have occupied. The New York Times is actually asking “Now that the protests are over, what will happen next?” But the 1% has forgotten something. They’ve forgotten that you don’t just tell the protesters that it is time to stop, that it is time to go home, that it is time to shut up. It has never worked that way and it is not going to start working that way now.

Thursday is the second month anniversary of the start of the Occupy Protests. The 1%, formerly known as The Man, is closing down the ongoing protests and clearing out the encampments because they want it all to end before the anniversary. Word is that they heard the protests might swell on that day, that there might be more visible action, that the Occupy movement might gain additional momentum, and thus, additional significance. So they sent everyone home, in order that Thursday would be a quite, normal, run of the mill day of the week like it usually is.

That, my friends, was almost certainly a miscalculation.

SIGN…

up to take action. Click here and if you can, volunteer.

MEET…

on the West Bank at the UMN Law School on Thursday at 4:00 PM

RALLY…

show that you are part of the 99%

MARCH…

to the 10th Avenue Bridge

Take Action on Occupy Raid

I just got this from BoldProgressives.org and I’m passing it on to you:

Occupy Wall Street is being raided by NYC police, and the 99% movement is asking for everyone’s help. From Occupy Wall Street on Twitter:

1:10am: Raid happening NOW at #libertysq MOBILIZE!

1:43am: Call #nypd at: 646-610-5000 and respectfully demand 1st amendment rights!!

1:47am: The whole world is watching! Watch here: livestream.com/occupynyc

I just called the number above, and it’s pretty busy. Good! it’s really important that people keep calling. Here are some other numbers.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: 212-639-9675
NY Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390
NYPD 1st Precinct: 212-334-0611
NYPD 5th Precinct: 212-334-0711
NYPD 6th Precinct: 212-741-4811
NYPD 7th Precinct: 212-477-7311
NYPD 9th Precinct: 212-477-7811

You can also sign our petition to Mayor Bloomberg here — and tell your friends.

If you personally know any New York political leaders, please call them and ask them to take a stand against this outrage.

The people united will never be defeated.

In solidarity,

– Adam Green & the PCCC team

American Academy of Pediatrics Condemns Delta Airline Video

Apparently Delta Airlines plans to continue showing this video.

Here is a letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the President of Delta Airlines:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) objects to the paid advertisement/public service message from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) being shown throughout the month of November on Delta’s in-flight programming. The ad urges viewers to become informed about influenza and how to stay well during the flu season without resorting to the influenza vaccine.

While hand washing and covering sneezes are parts of a larger strategy to prevent the spread of influenza, influenza vaccine continues to be the best way to protect against the disease. It is especially important in enclosed settings where disease droplets can easily spread to passengers sitting in close quarters, especially infants and children and those with special health care needs.

The AAP and many other child health organizations have worked hard to protect children and their families from unfounded and unscientific misinformation regarding vaccine safety. The influenza vaccine is safe and effective.

By providing advertising space to an organization like the NVIC, which opposes the nation’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether, you are putting the lives of children at risk, leaving them unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Diseases like influenza can have serious consequences. From September 2010 to August 2011, 115 children died from influenza disease, most of whom were unvaccinated.

The AAP’s 60,000 member pediatricians urge you to remove these harmful messages, which fail to inform the public about the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccine. Please do your part to help reassure parents that vaccinating their children is the best way to protect them from influenza disease, particularly during this busy travel season.

Please sign this petition.

End the Military’s Discrimination against Non-Religious Service Members

A White House Petition:

The US military fails to provide Equal Opportunity for non-religious service members.

We are forced to participate in religious rituals during official ceremonies. This is not free exercise, this is forced exercise. Worship belongs in voluntary services, not in mandatory formations. This is unconstitutional establishment of an official preference for religion over non-religion.

We are forced to take an unconstitutional religious test for “Spiritual Fitness”. Those who fail the test are forced to take remedial training instructing them to go to church and pray. This proselytization by the US military is forced onto us against our will.

These policies create a hostile environment, division, and resentment within the military, destroying morale and threatening national security.

Sign Here