Via Windy City Times: 

According to a fact sheet put out by veteran activist Rick Garcia and Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), the ordinance will mandate a policy for interacting with transgender detainees and set up a mayoral-appointed commission to oversee the treatment of transgender arrestees.

“It’s a human rights issue,” said Moreno, who added that the ordinance is intended to address a “hole in the policy of the police of Chicago.”

The policy comes after years of complaints from transgender people who have reported being harassed or misgendered by police officers.

Moreno said he hopes the ordinance will tackle distrust widely felt among transgender communities of police.

“We can’t expect our police department to deal with a segment of the population if they’re not trained in how that segment wants to be addressed,” he said.

Keep reading …

The Remotely Piloted American Way of Life: In the American mind, if Apple made weapons, they would undoubtedly be drones, those remotely piloted planes getting such great press here. They have generally been greetedas if they were the sleekest of iPhones armed with missiles.
And can you blame Americans for their love affair with the drone? Who wouldn’t be wowed by the most technologically advanced, futuristic, no-pain-all-gain weapon around?
Here’s the thing, though: put drones in a more familiar  context, skip the awestruck commentary, and they should have been eerily  familiar. If, for instance, they were car factories, they would seem so  much less exotic to us.
Keep reading …

The Remotely Piloted American Way of Life: In the American mind, if Apple made weapons, they would undoubtedly be drones, those remotely piloted planes getting such great press here. They have generally been greetedas if they were the sleekest of iPhones armed with missiles.

And can you blame Americans for their love affair with the drone? Who wouldn’t be wowed by the most technologically advanced, futuristic, no-pain-all-gain weapon around?

Here’s the thing, though: put drones in a more familiar context, skip the awestruck commentary, and they should have been eerily familiar. If, for instance, they were car factories, they would seem so much less exotic to us.

Keep reading …

When you fall in love, it’s all about what you have in common, and  you can hardly imagine that there are differences, let alone that you  will quarrel over them, or weep about them, or be torn apart by them—or  if all goes well, struggle, learn, and bond more strongly because of,  rather than despite, them. The Occupy movement had its glorious  honeymoon when old and young, liberal and radical, comfortable and  desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common  was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter.
Until they did.
Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers  and anything is possible, and then, if you’re lucky, the romance of  that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an  abusive marriage, or a murder-suicide. Occupy had its golden age, when  those who never before imagined living side-by-side with homeless people  found themselves in adjoining tents in public squares.
All sorts of other equalizing forces were present, not least the police brutality that battered the privileged the way that inner-city kids are used to  being battered all the time. Part of what we had in common was what we  were against: the current economy and the principle of insatiable greed  that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic privatization  that accompanied it.
This is a system that damages people, and its devastation was  on display as never before in the early months of Occupy and related  phenomena like the “We are the 99%” website.  When it was people facing foreclosure, or who’d lost their jobs, or  were thrashing around under avalanches of college or medical debt, they  weren’t hard to accept as us, and not them.
And then came the people who’d been damaged far more, the  psychologically fragile, the marginal, and the homeless—some of them  endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. People who had  come to fight the power found themselves staying on to figure out available mental-health resources, while others who had  wanted to experience a democratic society on a grand scale found  themselves trying to solve sanitation problems.
And then there was the violence.
Keep reading Rebecca Solnit’s essay, “Mad, Passionate Love—and Violence” …

When you fall in love, it’s all about what you have in common, and you can hardly imagine that there are differences, let alone that you will quarrel over them, or weep about them, or be torn apart by them—or if all goes well, struggle, learn, and bond more strongly because of, rather than despite, them. The Occupy movement had its glorious honeymoon when old and young, liberal and radical, comfortable and desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter.

Until they did.

Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers and anything is possible, and then, if you’re lucky, the romance of that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an abusive marriage, or a murder-suicide. Occupy had its golden age, when those who never before imagined living side-by-side with homeless people found themselves in adjoining tents in public squares.

All sorts of other equalizing forces were present, not least the police brutality that battered the privileged the way that inner-city kids are used to being battered all the time. Part of what we had in common was what we were against: the current economy and the principle of insatiable greed that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic privatization that accompanied it.

This is a system that damages people, and its devastation was on display as never before in the early months of Occupy and related phenomena like the “We are the 99%” website. When it was people facing foreclosure, or who’d lost their jobs, or were thrashing around under avalanches of college or medical debt, they weren’t hard to accept as us, and not them.

And then came the people who’d been damaged far more, the psychologically fragile, the marginal, and the homeless—some of them endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. People who had come to fight the power found themselves staying on to figure out available mental-health resources, while others who had wanted to experience a democratic society on a grand scale found themselves trying to solve sanitation problems.

And then there was the violence.

Keep reading Rebecca Solnit’s essay, “Mad, Passionate Love—and Violence” …

With U.S. troops marching out of Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s head on a  pike, it will be difficult for Barack Obama’s detractors to characterize  the president’s first-term performance on the international stage as  indecisive, inexperienced, or weak-kneed.
Electoral ramifications notwithstanding, what worries Mark Lagon, who  holds the International Relations and Security Chair at Georgetown  University’s  foreign service master’s degree program, is that Obama’s  seeming strength betrays a lack of inventiveness and depth—especially  when it comes to projecting soft power, that combination of diplomacy  and nonmilitary coercion essential to enduring influence and stability.
Keep reading …

With U.S. troops marching out of Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s head on a pike, it will be difficult for Barack Obama’s detractors to characterize the president’s first-term performance on the international stage as indecisive, inexperienced, or weak-kneed.

Electoral ramifications notwithstanding, what worries Mark Lagon, who holds the International Relations and Security Chair at Georgetown University’s  foreign service master’s degree program, is that Obama’s seeming strength betrays a lack of inventiveness and depth—especially when it comes to projecting soft power, that combination of diplomacy and nonmilitary coercion essential to enduring influence and stability.

Keep reading …

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal  shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored  gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence.  The American military in  Afghanistan doesn’t want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a  new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East.
Next year, that empty lot will be a two-story concrete  intelligence facility for America’s drone war, brightly lit and filled  with powerful computers kept in climate-controlled comfort in a country  where most of the population has no access to electricity.   It will boast almost 7,000 square feet of offices, briefing and  conference rooms, and a large “processing, exploitation, and  dissemination” operations center—and, of course, it will be built with  American tax dollars.
Keep reading …

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence.  The American military in Afghanistan doesn’t want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East.

Next year, that empty lot will be a two-story concrete intelligence facility for America’s drone war, brightly lit and filled with powerful computers kept in climate-controlled comfort in a country where most of the population has no access to electricity.  It will boast almost 7,000 square feet of offices, briefing and conference rooms, and a large “processing, exploitation, and dissemination” operations center—and, of course, it will be built with American tax dollars.

Keep reading …

Try to imagineIranian aircraft carriers anchoring in the Gulf of Mexico. Preposterous, right? So why does our military get a free pass to camp out in the Persian Gulf? Keep reading …

Try to imagineIranian aircraft carriers anchoring in the Gulf of Mexico. Preposterous, right? So why does our military get a free pass to camp out in the Persian Gulf? Keep reading …

First Environmentalism—Then Socialism!
To the power brokers of America’s right, climate change poses a dire  threat to business as usual. Environmentalism, in fact, is seen by many  of them as a stalking horse for an even more sinister force: socialism.  Progressive thinker Naomi Klein expertly dissects this dynamic in her Nation article “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” explaining why the average modern conservative is terrified silly by the prospect of confronting human-caused climate change:

Responding to climate change requires that we break every  rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency.  We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations,  relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring  back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe  even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our  debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of  happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to  radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political  process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and  stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In  short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually  every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent  agenda based on a clear scientific imperative. …


Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which  contemporary conservatism rests. There is simply no way to square a  belief system that vilifies collective action and venerates total market  freedom with a problem that demands collective action on an  unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that  created and are deepening the crisis.

Keep reading …

First Environmentalism—Then Socialism!

To the power brokers of America’s right, climate change poses a dire threat to business as usual. Environmentalism, in fact, is seen by many of them as a stalking horse for an even more sinister force: socialism. Progressive thinker Naomi Klein expertly dissects this dynamic in her Nation article “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” explaining why the average modern conservative is terrified silly by the prospect of confronting human-caused climate change:

Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda based on a clear scientific imperative. …

Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. There is simply no way to square a belief system that vilifies collective action and venerates total market freedom with a problem that demands collective action on an unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that created and are deepening the crisis.

Keep reading …

Jihad Against Islam: America’s right wing is on a witch hunt, and they’re tying Muslims to the stake. Keep reading …

Jihad Against Islam: America’s right wing is on a witch hunt, and they’re tying Muslims to the stake. Keep reading …

"Why aren’t citizens allowed to sell their votes to the highest bidder?"

— … asks John Holbo of Crooked Timber, a provocative, academic-leaning political blog. This at-first-blush gee-whiz inquiry leads Holbo down an interesting discussion of the place and potential of money in politics. Keep reading …

We ought to put aside our extremism and come together to find common  solutions, goes the conventional wisdom—and you can see where that kind  of thinking has gotten us.
Well, it’s time to reject this middling middle-of-the-roadism and take a stand, writes Paul Starr in The American Prospect. For the “fanatics of the center”  are just as dangerous as the fanatics of the margins. They “believe so  deeply in the spirit of compromise that their commitment to it is  uncompromising,” he explains. “Every time Republicans move to the right,  Democrats are supposed to be willing to find common ground by moving  further to the right, too. Civic virtue positively requires it.”
Keep reading …

We ought to put aside our extremism and come together to find common solutions, goes the conventional wisdom—and you can see where that kind of thinking has gotten us.

Well, it’s time to reject this middling middle-of-the-roadism and take a stand, writes Paul Starr in The American Prospect. For the “fanatics of the center” are just as dangerous as the fanatics of the margins. They “believe so deeply in the spirit of compromise that their commitment to it is uncompromising,” he explains. “Every time Republicans move to the right, Democrats are supposed to be willing to find common ground by moving further to the right, too. Civic virtue positively requires it.”

Keep reading …