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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in On the Issues' LiveJournal:

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
5:51 am
[gwyd]
Mark Pritchard Attacks NHS Funding for Transgendered Patients
"Tory MP Mark Pritchard has called in Parliament for NHS spending on sex change operations to be switched to other patient care.The Wrekin MP told the Commons yesterday that he was not against sex changes, but they were “a matter of choice”.

http://www.shropshirestar.com/2008/06/20/mps-money-fears-on-sex-change-ops/

It's not a choice so much as a necessity for a lot of Transgendered folk. For many it's a choice between treatment or suicide or a lifetime of depression and dysfunction. Would NHS deny someone who was born without a leg a prosthesis? Would they deny a cancer patient an operation to remove the tumor. Yes, people with milder dysphoria can choose less extreme coping methods, but for some people this is life of death.

I am told there's already a 6 year wait just to start therapy for GID diagnosis in Sheffield. That's not even getting into the wait for medication or surgery if necessary.

Please, those of you in the UK, write in to complain. Let your voices be heard for reasonable treatment for transfolk.
Sunday, May 11th, 2008
6:31 pm
[gwyd]
Petition against going back to the bad old days of "Reparative Therapy"
For those of you who may not have been watching, they appointed people like Zucker to the DSM-V Committee Members on Gender Identity Disorders." Zucker is in favour of reparative therapy. This means punishing and generally making life miserable for transfolk, often children who refuse to renounce there identity. There is talk they may put something in similar for GLB folks as well.

I signed and wrote the following:
Appointing people who believe in reparative therapy for gay and transfolk goes against all modern studies and represents a serious step backwards in psychiatric care. Autogynephilia is most likely a myth. Why are these people being allowed to write the new entries when their theories are discredited? You risk the futures and mental health of a generation of LBGTfolk.

Yes, I know this is a US issue, but it's bad for all of us if the APA rolls things back to the 1960's when it comes to LGBTQ people. If you want to sign, the petition is here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/412001300
Thursday, May 8th, 2008
8:52 pm
[gwyd]
If We Really supported the Troops...
The Republicans are trying to ban all skin mags on military bases. Let me repeat that, they are willing to let people bleed and die for Haliburton, but it's not okay for some guy in Fort Bragg to whack off to Playboy. Because that's really what's destroying America. WTF!!!

Meanwhile, poor bastards in Iraq are begging for things like socks, toothbrushes, and sunscreen. They are begging for bras, tampons, foot powder and lip balm.

Seriously. We are willing to pay big bucks to contractors to defend themselves from sexual assault charges, but we aren't willing to give our soldiers basic toiletries, pens, and stationary.

Not cool. In fact, I'm furious.

So here's what you and I can do on a basic level to make things a little more bareable for men and women in the feild.

Go to http://anysoldier.com/WhereToSend/ and then click on a soldier-contact's name, read the blurb he or she has posted about what his or her unit wants, and then click again to request a form (asking for your own addy and name) to get the appropriate address for that unit. You must not send porn, and you must not send packages that contain both food and soap/sunscreen/etc in the same box. No pork products. No anti-islamic tracts in bulk. No political content. No flea collars. No depictions of naked or partly naked people. No explosives, firearms, other shit that is illegal to mail anyway. Don't send chocolate, it melts. You must request the address to send your package to on the same day you mail it, so it's hard to really meet the requests. I am thinking of assembling a bunch of common cheap items, and boxing them up at the last minute. even someone as poor as me can spring for toothbrushes and lip balm, for crying out loud.

Things particularly in need:
* Personal letters from you.
* Army surplus boot socks.
* Toothbrushes
* Razors
* Gel body-washes
* School supplies and toys. Beanie Babies are extra good being small and hard to break
* paper, pens, pencils for the actual soldiers, tampons
*Varios kinds of underwear by unit.
* The special tee shirts that go well under body armour.
* Sunscreen
* Lip balm
* foot powder anti-fungal foot-spray
* insta soups
* Snack foods like doritos.
* Paper back books
* Microwave noodles.
* 220 volt adapters, and batteries.
* Prepaid telephone calling cards.
* hot sauce
* baby wipes
* canned tuna and cat food
* dental floss
* Powdered drink-mixes, especially 'propel' and 'gatoraide' for mixing with bottled water.
* Shaving cream
* toothpaste.
* Dvds
* PC games for lap tops
* nuts, seeds, granola bars, and dried fruits
* Unscented body-lotion that both men and women can use
* Sports bras
* Tampons and maxipads

Special thanks to il_volpe for helping me put this together.

I hate this war. I hate that my money is going towards it. I feel terrible that people being sent to fight it can't be supplied with the very basic necessities, but there's plenty of money disappearing into pockets of the rich.

These people need our help. They are living in a Hell made by our hands. Seriously. We sent them to the desert without sunscreen.
Monday, March 3rd, 2008
10:19 pm
[mintogrubb]
Losing hearts and minds in Afghanistan
It was revealed recently that Prince Harry was serving in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban and earning the nations praise for roughing it alongside ordinary chaps just like a real soldier.

I do not doubt Prince Harry's courage or genuine concern for his mates in the regiment - but the whole question of what Britain is doing in Afghanistan is causing me concern.

Apparently, we are there to stop the Taliban taking hold. We also want to stop the locals growing the opium poppies that will be harvested and turned into the heroin that will flood onto the streets of Great Britain.

And as the article in the Independent has shown, we are failing to do that.
the problem is that we need to use the stick and carrot approach, but instead it's all stick and no carrot.

The farmers get money off the Taliban for growing poppies, and the Brits burn their fields and bomb the villages where the Taliban hide out. the Brits are not providing an alternative to growing poppies, just saying 'don't do it', and backing up the message with well aimed air strikes.

Now, this is making the Afghans rise up against 'the foreign oppressor and invader' - us. It is giving the Taliban a source of new recruits locally, and around the world, militant islamics are also rallying to the call. When Harry comes home, the problem will still be there and still be growing.

The tragedy is that many ordinary young men will not be coming back at all, simply because the people running this war have not got the imagination to go for something a bit more imaginative than air strikes.

Afghanistan needs investment, it's people need to grow something to survive. Unless we become their best customers, the Taliban will always be there, dealing in death, one way or another.
Saturday, February 16th, 2008
7:33 pm
[mintogrubb]
Reading Time Magazine over lunch at work today, I came across this item.

The United Arab Emirates is a major oil producer, but right now is investing heavily in alternative energy sources.

The fact that they are mega rich - having vast oil wealth and a small population - means they have literally billions to invest.
instead of wasting it on gold plated mansions, the people in charge are wisely getting ready for when the oil runs out.

As one commentator puts it
"The UAE is becoming a world leader in investment- so where is the USA, Europe and the UK?"
a good question , but thankfully, somebody is taking it seriously.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1712863_1712864,00.html
Friday, February 15th, 2008
8:59 pm
[mintogrubb]
Typical!
When Stephen Spielberg said that he was pulling out of helping China to stage the Olympics, the next thing was that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and several other Nobel Laureates who have won the Nobel Peace Prize signed a declaration condemning China's lack of action to aid Dafur and also attack their record on human rights.

Today, Coca Cola, Volkswagen and many commercial sponsors have voiced their own concerns on the situation . These range from ' no comment' to 'it's not our place to get involved in politics'.
President Bush has said that *he* is going to the Olympics, and the British govt is not doing anything to upset the Chinese, either, it has said.

Full story here.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/the-great-wall-of-indifference-782537.html
Thursday, February 14th, 2008
11:07 am
[caliantrias]
On democracy and unity
DISCLAIMER: This might not qualify as an "issue." It's probably best described as a meta-issue. In America, however, we seem to be placing on improper emphasis on meta-issues and allowing meta-issues to govern our choices. So, with that in mind, I offer this to you anyway.

If it's not an 'issue', then I have no objection to its removal and would suggest that those interested in such meta-issues can pick up the thread at oldageandguile.
=======================

Since at least 1992 we have been hearing a familiar refrain from the democrats, "we must unify in order to win."

The implicit promise in this statement is "from unity comes democracy." I would suggest that that statement is backward, it should be "from democracy comes unity." How does that work?

Democracy is built upon a free exchange of ideas and, it seems, a whole lot of shouting. What matters in the end, though, is that everyone gets a chance to be heard and IF everyone feels that they have been heard and their concerns given serious thought, then they are usually willing to compromise and unite with the majority for the common good. So, if democracy is truly practiced, then unity will likely be the outcome.

This is part of why Bush has been so divisive. Half the country believes that he is an usurper. That could have been fixed by a good, transparent investigation by congress or a more careful examination by our legal process but we didn't get that. We allowed fear to make us rush to judgment, crown a winner and then sweep it all under the carpet.

Now we are hearing that unity refrain again but I have noticed that I don't hear it from the Obama camp. Over and over again I hear that refrain from Clinton supporters. I just read a post in another forum complaining about how ungrateful some of us are for not recognizing all the Clintons have done for us and for not rallying behind Hillary. The writer went on to warn us all against the danger of another '72 convention and complained about how democrats 'eat each other.'

Personally, I long for a contentious convention. If it happens, I might actually become a Democrat again. If the convention is contentious but allowed to work properly, I might have reason to believe their is room for democrats in the Democratic Party.

Yet, I can't unite behind Hillary. I can't unite because I have heard that backward and anti-democratic refrain of "unity first" from that camp for far too long, for at least 16 years. If it were 'just' Hillary vs Barak, I might be able to. But it's not. It's Hillary and Bill and the Democratic Leadership Council * and all the anti-democratic policies and maneuvering caused by the New Democratic Movement.

If the Clinton supporters really believed their 'unity first' mantra, they would now be shifting their support to Obama who is the frontrunner. They won't do this, of course. When I start seeing people refer 'the Clintons' and 'all they have done for us' I see the birth of monarchism in America and that makes this tired, cynical patriot's blood boil.

* I have not had time to research all the claims of this article. If there are refutable facts, I'm sure you will let me know.
Monday, February 11th, 2008
11:12 am
[mintogrubb]
You tell me...
Ok, I'm a limey from across the pond, but I am curious.

let's suppose the Dems pull it off and either Clinton or Obama gets the nomination for the Presidency this time.

Is their any chance that the one will make the other Vice President, or would they go for one of their own supporters as their number two?

Assuming they can and do nominate each other, would a Clinton / Obama ticket be a good thing for the Dems, for America? Would one be better than the other, or does McCain look set to trounce both of them?
Sunday, February 10th, 2008
11:46 pm
[mintogrubb]
News from the UK.
The URC, or United Reformed Church, to which I belong, featured an article in it's monthly magazine 'Reform', which I would like to share.

There was a recent protest at the Ministry of Defence in London, protesting against the British Government's plan to renew Britain's Trident nuclear missile system.

It is argued that Britain needs an independent nuclear deterrent - on that does not come under American control. however, critics point out that although Britain may *possess* the new missiles, they will still require American back up in terms of software and maintenance, making Britain's 'independence' from the USA a hollow sham.

Critics also point out that when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, the fact teat we were a nuclear power and they were not had no deterrent effect whatever. it was conventional forces that liberated the Falklands, "So, why do we need nuclear weapons anyway?" they ask.

With the USA , the UK, France, Russia and China already possessing nuclear weapons 'for security', the please to other countries like Iran not to acquire them 'in the interests of world peace' simply expose the hypocrisy of the non proliferation policies that we try to impose on others.

Peace protesters want to see the British government take a morally consistent stand on the issue and not renew it's nuclear arsenal.
x posted in progressives
Thursday, February 7th, 2008
9:30 am
[mintogrubb]
Make Poverty History
Now that Super Tuesday is over, did you know that 1.3 billion people on Earth have to live on less than one US dollar a day? And that around 70 percent of these people are women and girls? With poverty comes malnutrition, poor housing and disease.

That 100 million children - again , mostly female - will miss out on going to school?

With education comes self confidence, and also opportunities and choice.

Yes, I have talked about this before, but I sense that there may be people here who joined since then and didn't hear the message last time, so for them , I repeat it. Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
10:28 am
[mintogrubb]
Another fine mess we got ourselves into!
Anyone see the front page of the UK Independent yesterday? Have a look if you haven't.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-worlds-rubbish-dump-a-garbage-tip-that-stretches-from-hawaii-to-japan-778016.html

This plastic soup is invisible from satellites, but anyone sailing in the area will notice it.
a layer of plastic junk, just below the surface of the water. in the past, anything thrown overboard from a ship, or that washed down river into the sea would have gradually rotted away.
but the plastic effluent of modern society does not. This non biodegradable junk now sits in a pool the size of the continental USA, and the monster is growing.

Another similar size pool of plastic effluent lies further out towards the Indian Ocean. it will take action by all the world's nations acting together to sort this out- but such action is only likely to come if there is tremendous pressure on national governments at grass roots level.

So please, use the power of the internet to inform and mobilise fellow activist. copy and paste the story to your LJ, tell your friends at work or college. Contact your elected representatives wherever you live and ask what they intend to do about a problem that affects everyone on the planet.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
8:19 am
[mintogrubb]
Fair Trade or Free Trade?
Yes, I know it's Super Tuesday today and that a lot of Americans will be focussed on the Elections over there. However, I want to turn your attention to something bigger.

Although there are many poor people in America whose needs should be met, there are also many people in other lands who have to get by on the equivalent of a US Dollar a day. Endemic poverty is a global problem , and it's impact can be felt even in the prosperous West.

This is not a plea for more economic aid, however. people will point out that a lot of foreign aid gets wasted and siphoned of by corrupt third world governments, and I make them right on that.
What I am advocating is Trade, not Aid.

"But, don't we trade with the developing nations already?" some will ask. Well, let me show you what's wrong with that assumption. Read more...Collapse )
Monday, February 4th, 2008
9:01 pm
[mintogrubb]
drifters or doers?
It's a funny thing, but a while back I stood as a Green Party candidate in a local election. Now, a lot of people reckon that recycling and climate change are important issues, but consensus is that 'A Green Vote is a wasted vote'.

"The Greens won't ever get elected"
Why not ?
"Because no one will vote for them"
But why won't anyone vote for them ?
"Because they won't ever get elected..."

Oh, boy. but it isn't just the big stuff that brings out the pessimism in people. a lot of people were moaning over on the Anti feminist community - too much snark, no serious comment. Well, how about we form a new one - with proper active mods and some decent rules?
Read more...Collapse )
5:43 am
[mintogrubb]
The return of 'stop and search'?
A few years back, a black BMW was flagged down in London by two uniformed policemen. " Alright, Sambo, get out of the car" said one of the white policemen to the black man behind the wheel.

Perhaps I should explain that in the UK, "Sambo" is up there with 'nigger' when it comes to racial insults. Perhaps I don't really have to. A BMW is seen more as an expensive executive saloon than a cheap family car, and one of the policeman remarked - "nice car you have got there. is it yours?"

When the driver answered "yes", one cop said to him "So what sort of job do you do that pays for a nice car like this?"
" I'm a police officer", he replied, producing his warrant card.

Now, as it happens, criminal gangs in provincial cities like Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool often team up with London criminals to commit crimes. In the course of his investigations, the driver of this BMW had come down to London, and been stopped by two officers from London's Metropolitan Police. As he was a Detective Inspector, he was in plain clothes, and outranked these two in uniform by a long, long way. And he wasn't impressed by the way he had been dealt with!

In the wake of the Stephen Lawrence killing, when a black teenager was murdered by a gang of white youths, an independent inquiry criticised the way that the Met handled the case and branded the force as 'officially racist' - meaning that racism views were impacting the police force and it's operational policy. One of the things that was particularly criticised was the policy of 'stop and search' - where a disproportionate number of young black people were getting stopped by the police.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2008/01/30/stopandsearch_feature.shtml
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4135675.stm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Trident
Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
3:53 pm
[mintogrubb]
Hello and welcome.
I am hoping to start a snark - free discussion group here.

If anyone would like to help mod, please say so.
Also, suitable userpics would be welcome.

First off though, a recent book "How to be Right" makes the claim that an oil spillage in America was treated with chemical solvents recently, but a part of the beach was left untreated to see what would happen.

And lo and behold, this bit returned to normal faster than the treated zone. bearing in mind thatthat the writer is a prominent right winger, this *does* fit in well with his political agenda. however, where are his primary sources?

Well, he doesn't cite any - there's a surprise!
I ran this one past the 'environment' community, of which I'm a member, and someone there said that there are different types of oil, and some are worse than others. Also, there are several sorts of shoreline - rocky, sandy, vegetated, and so forth. Even weather conditions and climate will have a bearing on how long an oil slick lasts before it disappears.

And just because it sinks into the sand and gets buried by other layers of sediment, or sinks to the sea bed, that does not mean that things are ok - a shoreline is a delicately balanced ecosystem, and oil slicks will damage the plankton, microbes and other microscopic organisms upon which the ecology depends.

The bottom line, it seems is - check for primary sources, whoever is telling the story.
The London Times ran a story recently where it was shown that UN peace keepers were actually damaging prehistoric rock paintings in the Sahara. The Independent, a left wing newspaper never even mentioned it.

One reason I like to read both points of view. it isn't my experience that the Left, or the Right has got all the answers.
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