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Could the Problem of the 21st Century Be the Gender Line?

An Essay on Urinals and Stalls as the New Battleground

 
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.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory and US Attorney General Loretta LynchTexas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch
 

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.

Hysteria Over Zika Spreads Faster than Zika Itself

Zika virus blinding us to public health issues that really matter

 
Zika has been described as extraordinary in so many ways. But the only thing that’s really extraordinary about the whole thing is how incredibly dispassionate I am about it.

At this point, even extraterrestrials have probably heard that the World Health Organization declared the recent spread of the Zika virus an international public health emergency. That sounds pretty scary. It’s only the fourth time that the WHO has ever declared a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) so it seems like it ought to be a big deal.

However, it’s important to keep things in perspective. As of May 4, there were 1,278 confirmed cases of microcephaly, the birth defect linked to Zika virus infection that causes an abnormally small head and brain. There are approximately 250 suspected neonatal and fetal deaths. In comparison, the last PHEIC was the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014. The current total number of reported cases of Ebola is 28,616 causing 11,310 deaths. Finally, the WHO estimates that the annual run-of-the-mill flu season – not famous epidemics like the Swine Flucauses 250,000 to 500,000 deaths every year around the world.
  
Illuminating GraphIlluminating Graph
I understand how Zika tugs on our heartstrings. Babies are precious, innocent, and full of potential. But I would like to point out that children are also precious and worth protecting and I have yet to see a media blitz or public outcry as passionate for the over 300,000 children who suffer from physical abuse every year in the United States alone.

Please contribute to Our Indiegogo Campaign to Raise Funds to Support Investigative Reporting on the TCBH! Site

We need this fund-raiser to go viral, so send out the word!

 

We know from site-monitoring stats that ThisCantBeHappening.net has developed a devoted regular following of several tens of thousands of daily readers who visit our site regularly to get news and opinions they can't find elsewhere. On that basis, we a few months ago kicked of a fund-raiser on Indiegogo aimed at raising $50,000 to support our work -- specifically to fund the hard-hitting reporting we do here to get out the truth that the rest of the media ignore, cover-up, or misreport.

So far, the result has been dismal -- just a few hundred dollars! Not only are people not ponying up and giving what they can (even $5 would be great if it came in from many readers).

Even more disappointingly, our readers aren't even making the effort to help the fundraiser go viral by going to the Indiegogo site and using the links there to help make it go viral on Facebook and Twitter.

That's a disaster, and we need to urge you, our readers, to do better. If you can spare even a few bucks, please make a contribution to the fundraiser. If you can't, then at least promote it on the Indiegogo site so someone else will contribute!

Look, we shouldn't have to explain this, but here's how it works: We in the TCBH! collective don't get paid for our work. We do this out of a sense of journalistic and political commitment, but because we all have families and have to make a living, we do it in our spare time, which limits what we can accomplish. If you value our work and value this site, we need you to make some kind of cash contribution, and we need you to promote our fund-raiser to everyone you know. If that happens, we should be able to raise enough money that we will be able to devote real time to the project, and not just spare moments.

So please. help this fund-raiser to take off!

Thank you from all of us here at TCBH!:

Linn Washington, John Grant, Dave Lindorff, Gary Lindorff, Jess Guh, Alfredo Lopez, Lori Spencer and the late Charles M. YoungThe TCBH! Collective: Linn Washington, John Grant, Dave Lindorff, Gary Lindorff, Jess Guh, Alfredo Lopez, Lori Spencer and the late but ever-present Charles M. Young

Free College for All Worked in the US for 100 Years Until Elite Took It Away

Bernie's right on free tuition -- we had it once

 

Editors' Note: In the increasingly tight and bitter contest for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, candidate Bernie Sanders has gained critical and enthusiastic support from young people in part because of his stirring call for free public college education -- no surprise given that student college debt has passed the $1.3-trillion mark. Critics, including Sanders’ opponent Hillary Clinton, say he is proposing an unaffordable fantasy, though his plan sensibly calls for funding the idea with a tax on speculative stock and bond trading. In reality though, Sanders’ idea of free college (which is offered in most of Europe) is hardly a new idea in the US. Indeed, it’s the way things used to be here as recently as the 1960s -- a point voters in upcoming primaries like the ones to be held in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware next Tuesday should bear in mind. Robert M. Nelson (CCNY ’66), a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, recalls in the following article, free college was actually taken away by the country’s ruling elite not that long ago. As Nelson writes:
 

In 1837, a remarkable politician, Horace Mann, became Massachusetts’ Secretary of Education. He argued successfully that universal, public, nonsectarian education in culturally diverse common schools was imperative for our new nation. Mann’s idea spread like wildfire. The free common school concept was adopted in every state in the union.

After the Civil War, the free tuition principle was expanded to include higher education. It worked brilliantly for a century for millions of Americans, including me. 

A Pathway for Immigrant and Working Class Children

In 1966 I finished college. I joined my sister as the first generation of our family to cross the divide. My father was an immigrant; my mother was the daughter of immigrants. The family had little wealth to show despite their life of hard work.  

How could low-paid immigrant families and ordinary dirt-poor working-class families send their kids to college? It was simple. I graduated from the City College of New York. My sister graduated from Brooklyn College. Both schools were tuition-free. It's easy to forget in today's America where the "free market" is the national religion that it's the way things still were a just half a century ago. 

CCNY was founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847. Its mission was to provide the sons of immigrants and the poor with access to college education. In 1870, Hunter College was founded for New York’s young women. In 1930, Brooklyn College became New York’s third tuition-free college.

CCNY students at a 1968 protest against tuition charges at New York's oldest public, and once free, universityCCNY students at a 1968 protest against tuition charges at New York's oldest public, and once free, university
 

For more than a century the taxpayers of New York provided free higher education to all who qualified. Graduates of that system include a child of immigrants from Jamaica, Secretary of State Colin Powell (CCNY ’58), the daughter of an immigrant from Austria, Sen. Barbara Boxer (Brooklyn College ’62), and former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, (CCNY ’62).

Dr. Jess Guh on Hep-C Epidemic in Nation's Prisons and Pennsylvania's Refusal to Treat Mumia Abu-Jamal

Federal Judge could rule not treating Hep C in prisoners violates 8th Amendment

Dave Lindorff and his guest on PRN.fm's 'This Can't Be Happening!" program, Dr. Jess Guh, talk about Mumia Abu-Jamal’s court battle in federal court in Scranton to force the state’s prison system to provide him with treatment for his active, if left untreated, potentially fatal case of Hepatitis-C. Dr. Guh, a primary car physician from Seattle who has been investigating the shoddy standard of health care in the nation’s prisons, and who has reviewed some 100 pages of Mumia’s medical record, says that what Pennsylvania and many other states are doing to prisoners in their control is nothing short of malpractice and neglegence on a massive scale.

Dave Lindorff, PRN.fm host of 'This Can't Be Happening!', talks with Dr. Jess Guh about Abu-Jamal's fight  for Hep-C treatmentDave Lindorff, PRN.fm host of 'This Can't Be Happening!', talks with Dr. Jess Guh about Abu-Jamal's fight for Hep-C treatment (Click here or on image to go to the podcast)

Mumia faces possible second death sentence

Abu-Jamal’s case illustrates widespread neglect of prisoners’ health nationwide

 
The third in a three-part series on Mumia Abu-Jamal's fight to force the Pennsylvania prison system to treat his active Hep-C infection, and that of thousands of other infected state inmates, and on the raging Hepatitis-C epidemic in the nation's prisons. (Click here for Part I or here for Part II)
  
Seattle, WA – Physicians are held to professional expectations dictating that the failure to provide standard healthcare is malpractice. There is no difference between failing to provide a service and performing a liable medical mistake.

A recent study revealed that out of the top three reasons why OBGYN physicians are sued for malpractice, two of them are related to inaction: 1) delays in intervention when there are signs of fetal distress and 2) the improper management of pregnancy including failing to test for fetal abnormalities when indicated, failure to address complications of pregnancy, and the failure to address abnormal findings. As a family medicine physician, I have been warned countless of times that one of the most common lawsuits relates to not identifying cases of skin cancer. In each of the instances, an inaction that results in a patient not receiving standard care is considered malpractice.

Given that not providing standard of care is malpractice, Mumia has been a victim of malpractice at the hands of the prison health system in two major areas:
• Even though Hepatitis C treatment is not always required, the failure to provide it for Mr. Abu-Jamal would be medical negligence. By even the most conservative standards, he meets criteria for treatment.
• Failing to treat his elevated blood sugars until he was unconscious is clear malpractice and gross negligence.

Unfortunately, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case is not an isolated incident. Across the country inmates are not only being denied necessary Hepatitis C treatment, but they are also being denied other basic healthcare needs.  

Goodnight Gun

New poem:

My special gun cannot sleep.
My gun is black steel and cold as a stone.
My gun talks to itself in the wee hours.
It has a soul.
It is lonely.
It dreams about hitting the bull’s eye,
Never missing.
Bam-bam-bam-bam, rapid fire.
The smell of gunpowder
Lingers over the dusty street
After a Western shootout.
One bullet through the heart of a terrorist.
Mother approves.
My special gun is Mama’s hero every time.
The third eye of the moon
Opens in my gun’s hypnagogic vision.
The moon is smiling down on the planet.
Smiling tenderly into a little pond.
A wave silently crossing the pond
Lifts the face of the moon.
Something sliding under the surface
Is pushing the water up.
Turbulence followed by stillness.
My gun sleeps.
Goodnight my special gun.

--Gary Lindorff

Mumia Abu-Jamal Battles For His Life...Again

More Pennsylvania Court Scandal

Philly City Hall ProtestPhilly City Hall Protest
 

The first in a three-part series on Mumia Abu-Jamal's fight to force the Pennsylvania prison system to treat his active Hep-C infection, and that of thousands of other infected state inmates, and on the raging Hepatitis C epidemic in the nation's prisons. (Click here for Part II)
 

The big courthouse news in Pennsylvania this week does not involve yet another sordid revelation in the sleazy racist-pornographic email scandal now soiling top justice system officials in the Keystone State that include a state supreme court justice and ranking prosecutors.

This big news is rare courtroom testimony from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the renowned jailhouse journalist considered by many around the world as an authentic political prisoner in America.

On December 18th Abu-Jamal is scheduled to testify during a federal court hearing on his lawsuit attacking medical mistreatment from Pennsylvania prison authorities, and demanding –- negligent treatment that almost ended his life earlier this year. The lawsuit also seeks a court order mandating that he and other Pennsylvania inmates diagnosed with Hep C, a potentially deadly diseased, get treated with medications that, while costly, have a proven cure rate that is quite impressive

Abu-Jamal has rarely testified in court during the thirty-plus-years he’s waged legal battles in criminal and civil courtrooms at state and federal levels. Abu-Jamal spent nearly thirty-years on death row improperly due to calculated error by the judge at his 1982 trial for killing a Philadelphia policeman. Pennsylvania appellate courts cavalierly upheld that trial judge’s error but that error was eventually overturned in federal court leading to Abu-Jamal’s current life-without-parole sentence. Pennsylvania is the state with America’s second largest number of inmates with life-without-parole sentences

This federal court hearing arises from a lawsuit filed over failures of Pennsylvania prison personnel to properly treat medical problems that produced painful rashes and open sores all over Abu-Jamal’s body. Medication given to Abu-Jamal during the mistreatment of those rashes produced dangerous side effects including diabetes, a serious condition that went untreated by the prison medical personnel that also refused to inform Abu-Jamal about the diabetes. Earlier this year that untreated diabetes caused Abu-Jamal to blackout. Prison officials reluctantly rushed him to a hospital emergency room in diabetic shock close to death.

The Zuckerberg Donation and a Legacy of Control

Where will that money go?

When I was very young, my parents used to tell me why having "lots of toys" wasn't a good idea. "The more you have, the more you want," they would say. I didn't have many toys -- we were poor -- so the idea of possessions feeding greed didn't make much sense to me then.

But I've learned the truth of that statement from observation over the years and lately I've been observing Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is a 31-year-old computer programmer who did two things that made him famous: he founded Facebook, the social networking super service, and, as a result, he amassed a fortune worth about $46 billion. His bank account is as large as the capitalization of many countries.

The Zuckerberg FamilyThe Zuckerberg Family

How he got to these lofty heights of wealth and cultural impact is a matter of often fierce debate -- he's been sued by former "partners" several times. But what's more important than how he got control of Facebook is what he's constructed with it: a ubiquitous presence in the lives of a billion people with the potential to frame and manipulate their communications, their relationships and, to a frighteningly large extent, their lives.

So last month, when Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced in a letter to their new baby -- a rather novel way to package a press release -- that, over the course of their lives, they will give almost all their Facebook shares to a project called the Chan Zuckerberg Iniative, the world took note.

The Initiative, they explained, would "advance human potential and promote equality" in health, education, scientific research, and energy. In short, change the world: on its face, a worthy cause. But, like many of Zuckerberg's plans and projects, this one has another side that is darker, more cynical and, even if only partially successful, a potential nightmare for the human race.

Can Capitalism and Mankind Both Survive?

US Journalists Duck the Big Climate Question

 

Scientists have for decades recognized climate change as an existential crisis facing mankind, but the US media, hamstrung by a self-inflicted obsession with presenting “both sides” of every story even when there is only one, have only begun recognizing its gravity. And a huge barrier still prevents climate change from being honestly reported.

That barrier is a mainstream journalistic inability to address the central role global capitalism plays in propelling climate change, and to expose the determined, collaborative and usually carefully hidden, role it plays in stymying the profound government actions needed to prevent or at least fend off catastrophe.

We see plenty of heartening news reports in the mass media about companies becoming “greener,” investing in “sustainable” production technologies like solar panels on rooftops or geothermal heating systems, for example. We learn that some tycoons like Bill Gates plan to pour billions of dollars into research on carbon-free energy alternatives. But wholly missing are stories about how economic growth and marketing-driven consumer demand guarantee increased carbon emissions and enhanced global warming that will swamp any such baby steps.

Consider Newsweek’s annual list of America’s Greenest Companies. It includes many financial corporations which produce nothing but paper, and whose greenhouse gas contribution is limited to their office buildings. Look closer, though, and it’s clear that sustainable or not, such companies don’t belong on any “green” list. Case in point: Topping the list’s financial companies are two insurance firms -- Metlife and Aflac Inc. -- followed by that arch-villian of the 2008 Fiscal Crisis, Goldman Sachs. All three financial giants, while perhaps running green offices, invest heavily in industries that contribute massively to climate change. Metlife, for example, is one of the country’s largest institutional investors, with almost half a trillion dollars invested worldwide. The company touts its goal of becoming carbon neutral in its global operations, but says nothing about running a carbon-neutral investment portfolio, and that’s because it does not run one. The same is true of Aflac.

Investment policies aren’t even considered by the compilers of the Newsweek list.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, was the 11th-largest global coal-fired power plant investor in 2011, according to a Banktrack report. This top-ranked Newsweek “green” bank isn’t alone; all the biggest US banks are big on coal. A few have started to back away in the past year, but that’s mainly because coal company stocks are falling, largely due to the temporarily increased availability of relatively cheap natural gas and oil, not because of any climate change concerns.

Companies can say they run green offices so they're "green," even as they spew ever more carbon into the admosphere making their profitsCompanies can say they run green offices so they're "green," even as they spew ever more carbon into the atmosphere making their profits and products
 

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Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut