Thursday, March 31, 2011

Americans for Prosperity: The Koch Brothers come to Washington

Who are Americans for Prosperity?

Americans for Prosperity - Wikipedia entry

Grass Roots Lobbying:  You can call yourself anything you want to, for the right price.
Americans for Prosperity - L-6 Forms for the reporting of "Grass Roots" Lobbying
You can find these forms on the Public Disclosure Commission website.  These pages include the names and addresses of wealthy local right wingers.

Complaints filed with the PDC for campaign violations (lack of reporting, transparency):

Other Players:  Who's Who in Right Wing Turds
Kirby Wilbur, another fat Republican who doesn't seem to have ever had a real job, but feels confident enough to tell unions they're greedy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Corporate Media Coverups of Police Murder Look Like

What the medial tells you shapes how you see things.

Each time the cops murder someone, count the minutes before the corporate media rushes to give a microphone to the police spokesperson.  Count the minutes it takes to come up with a story that paints the cop in an angelic light.  Count how long it takes the media to slander the victim.  Locate, in each and every story about the murder, the place where the corporate media repeats these initial lies or fails to notice a change in the story.  Locate, in vain, the contradictions with non-cop testimony, evidence, findings, other events.  See if you can find any mention of other cop murders, no matter how many there are.  Notice the similarities to the proposed solutions:  commissions with no power to commit, the bad apple myth, apologies from those we vote to change these things, but who never do.  Anyone who thinks cop murder is wrong and has the courage to say so out loud is labeled a radical, by definition evil and wierd.  Anyone who thinks singing Kumbaya and sitting in chairs listening to "leaders" tell you how they're going to solve the problem doesn't prevent cops from killing people is labeled dangerous.  The corporate media always sides with the cops defending windows, but never with human beings who are murdered, attacked, beaten, raped, or tortured by the cops. 

Now, on to a story about a funny dog in Lynnwood.

From an observer of the recent inquest into the killing of David Young
by Federal Way police:

The inquest jury returned their findings on Thursday, March 17, 2011.
Their answers to the "interrogatories" (questions) are below.  The
questions themselves show the almost complete uselessness, from a legal
perspective, of inquests as they are currently constituted.  None of the
questions covered the issues raised by the sworn inquest testimony of
the man against whose fence the truck David Young was driving came to
rest.  He testified Wednesday afternoon that, as he was pulling into his
driveway after work, he heard the shots that (he later learned) struck
David Young.  He hurried to his deck to watch, and video, what happened
next.  He heard police issue commands over a loudspeaker to David Young,
who was still in the truck, of "driver, you are under arrest, come out
with your hands up or you will be shot" two or three times, with no
response from David.  Then "come out with your hands up or we will
release the dogs" twice, with again no response from David.  Finally,
"if you cannot comply, raise your right hand" twice about 30 seconds
apart, and both times David raised his right forearm well above his
shoulder.  This shows that David was still alive after having been shot,
possibly with a Gabrielle Giffords-type wound.  The man also testified
that about 40 minutes elapsed from then until when David was removed
from the truck and given aid.  But note that none of the questions the
inquest jury were asked considered that testimony, such as "Did Federal
Way police allow David Young to unnecessarily bleed to death?"

Also, the corporate media again showed their bias.  One article in the
Seattle Times (see link below) did mention that Marie Young, David's
mom, "said that her son had bled in the truck for 45 minutes before he
received medical aid", without noting that it was actually sworn inquest
testimony that "said that her son had bled in the truck for 45 minutes
before he received medical aid".  Even that much was only reported due
to the October 22nd Coalition Seattle affiliate members who organized a
poorly-attended press conference later on Thursday that featured David's
mother and father and their lawyer.  Little trust should be placed in
these corporate "news" sources.

David Young was just one of what we estimate are about 1,000 killings by
police in the U.S. every year, or about 3 per day.  He was killed on
August 31, 2010, the day after John T. Williams was killed by Seattle
police.  But few people know that it's this bad, and "mainstream" media
twists the truth to make what most people would consider unjustifiable
killings by police appear to be justifiable.  We need more people to
step forward to help expose the facts about police murder.


Interrogatory No. 1: On August 31, 2010, did Officer Leitgeb respond to the Wal-mart
Supercenter located at 34520 16th Avenue South in the city of Federal Way to investigate a
possible stolen vehicle?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 2: Did Officer Tseng also respond to the Wal-mart Supercenter located
at 34520 16th Avenue South in the city of Federal Way to assist with an investigation into a
possible stolen vehicle?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 3: Did one or both officers observe David C. Young get into the
suspected stolen truck?
YES _3_  NO _5_  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 4: While driving out of the Wal-mart parking lot, did David C. Young
refuse to stop for officers after they pulled in behind him and activated their emergency
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 5: Did David C. Young run a stop sign as he left the Wal-mart
Supercenter parking lot?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 6: Did Officer Tseng inform dispatch that the vehicle was not yielding
to police vehicles?
YES _4_  NO ___  UNDECIDED _4_

Interrogatory No. 7: Was Officer Leitgeb initially the secondary officer in the pursuit of
David C. Young?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 8: Would it have been obvious to David C. Young that the police
officers, through their use of the lights and sirens on their vehicles and by virtue of the way
they were driving, were commanding him to immediately stop the vehicle he was driving?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 9: Did Officer Leitgeb and Officer Tseng believe that David C. Young
was aware of their presence and was willfully failing or refusing to immediately bring the
truck he was driving to a stop?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 10: Did Officer Tseng attempt to use a P.I.T. maneuver to stop the truck
that David C. Young was driving?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 11: Did Officer Leitgeb eventually move into position to become the
primary officer in the pursuit?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 12: Did Officer Leitgeb use a P.I.T. maneuver on the truck that David
C. Young was driving?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 13: Did Officer Leitgeb use a P.I.T. maneuver on the truck that David
C. Young was driving on more than one occasion?
YES _4_  NO _2_  UNDECIDED _2_

Interrogatory No. 14: Was a P.I.T. maneuver by Officer Leitgeb successfully used to stop
the truck that David C. Young was driving?
YES _6_  NO ___  UNDECIDED _2_

Interrogatory No. 15: Did Officer Leitgeb's vehicle collide with the truck David C. Young
was driving as a result of the P.I.T. maneuver?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 16: Did Officer Leitgeb exit his patrol vehicle and draw his department
issued Glock .40 caliber firearm?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 17: When Officer Leitgeb exited his patrol vehicle was he in between
his Federal Way Police Department Charger and the truck driven by David C. Young?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 18: Was David C. Young given commands to put his hands up by
Officer Leitgeb?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 19: Did David C. Young comply with these verbal commands?
YES ___  NO _8_  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 20: Was David C. Young still in his truck revving its engine after being
given verbal commands by Officer Leitgeb?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 21: Did Officer Leitgeb observe David C. Young's right hand on the
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 22: Were the wheels of the truck that David C. Young was in turned to
the right?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 23: Did the truck move back in the direction of Officer Leitgeb?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 24: Did Officer Leitgeb believe that David C. Young posed a threat of
serious bodily harm to himself or others at the time he fired his gun the first time?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 25: Was Officer Leitgeb's fear of being injured or killed reasonable?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 26: Following the first series of shots fired by Officer Leitgeb, did the
truck that David C. Young was driving move forward in the general direction of where
Officer Tseng was?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 27: Did Officer Leitgeb fire a second series of shots from his
department issued Glock .40 caliber firearm?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 28: Did Officer Leitgeb believe that David C. Young posed a threat of
serious bodily harm to himself of another person at the time he fired a second series of
YES _6_  NO ___  UNDECIDED _2_

Interrogatory No. 29: Under the circumstances was Officer Leitgeb's belief reasonable?
YES _5_  NO _2_  UNDECIDED _1_

Interrogatory No. 30: Did Officer Leitgeb fire nine shots?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 31: Was David C. Young hit by one of the nine shots fired by Officer
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 32: Did the vehicle that David C. Young was in travel across the
roadway following the shooting and crash into a fence?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 33: Did David C. Young die on August 31, 2010, in King County,
Washington from a gunshot wound resulting from a shot fired by Officer Matthew Leitgeb?
YES _8_  NO ___  UNDECIDED ___

Interrogatory No. 34: Did Officer Leitgeb and Officer Tseng approach the truck after it
collided with the fence and come close enough to observe that David C. Young had been
YES ___  NO _7_  UNDECIDED _1_

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We are all born superstars

We are all born superstars

Let me tell you what “Born This Way” means from a queer Marxist perspective, that is, from the perspective of a Voodoo Queen of the San Joaquin and formerly Strawberry-currently Seattle Socialite (suki suki, muthafucka).  This song is not a biological explanation of human sexuality, a superstructural expression of the hegemonic liberal ideology on the origins, functions, and integration of sexuality into capitalism.  It’s a pop song.  It’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it. 

I love Madonna.  But Madonna never had a song that you could sing while engaged in a political protest.  (the soundtrack of Evita doesn’t count)  Everything about Lady Gaga screams fake, artificial, put on, for show and this will inspire a whole new generation of young drag queens who have neither the time nor the interest in queer liberation through appointment making.   Essentialism versus constructionism?  Please, that's so 1990s.  The most overtly artificial, the most “in face” performer today, famous for her music as well as her Madonna-like self-recreations, just gave us a song called “Born This Way”. 

What’s that noise?  It’s the sound of the bells tolling for the old camp.  

It died somewhere on the road between Priscilla and Milk, near Barstow.

Is this a new camp?  Is this queer protest music? 

This is the kind of song that needs to be marched to down the middle of a downtown metropolis like Cairo, Tripoli, Tunis, Madison or Seattle.  March like you’re on stage cuz you are.

Imagine yourself performing this number on stage at your corner dive bar.  What kind of attitude would you need to pull this off?  Wake up.  Take the makeup off.  Keep the attitude.  Take it to your State Capitol.

What’s that sound?  It’s the sound of divas past checking the new girl out.

Yesterday we lobbied for our rights.  Today we put on face and gear up for battle.

What's that sound?  It's the sound of tomorrow's revolutionaries being born this way.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The differences between “gay rights” groups and “gay liberation” groups

The differences between “gay rights” groups and “gay liberation” groups
from Homosexual Oppression & Liberation by Dennis Altman, 1971, pp. 131-137

To illustrate the difference between the perspective of those whose model is essentially the liberal pressure group and those who adopt a more revolutionary attitude, one might contrast the two major radical gay groups in New York, the civil libertarian Gay Activists Alliance and the revolutionary Gay Liberation Front. The following description, though accurate as of early 1971, has changed considerably since then, but I am concerned to illustrate certain broad points rather than describe or analyse any particular organizations.

                The Gay Activists Alliance is a hip, with-it, political pressure group, highly structured organizationally, and proclaiming itself "a militant (though nonviolent) homosexual civil rights movement," and as such it is a logical extension of the Mattachine Society.  It has a strong sense of political realities, as befits an organization whose members enjoy politicking. Watching a GAA meeting in progress one feels that the leadership would, in other circumstances, have all been presidents of their student councils. Like the old-line groups, particularly the Washington and New York Mattachine Societies and the Society for Individual Rights, GAA is concerned with questions of tax laws, of fair employment, and elections.  GAA, as one might expect from a civil rights organization, has directed considerable energy to getting homosexuals to register to vote and to publicizing candidates' views on the homosexual issue.  During the 1970 senatorial campaign, the three major candidates were invited to address GAA. Two of them sent representatives; the third, James Buckley, the Conservative party candidate and ultimate victor, conscious no doubt of all those antifaggot hard hats, refused the invitation.
In its political concerns, GAA is close to the old-line groups: the concept of organizing a homosexual voting bloc is an old one.  ([Norman] Mailer claims that when he was approached in the early fifties to write for One, they offered him the possibility of running for Congress with homosexual support.) The same conference meeting of homosexual organizations in 1968 that proclaimed "Gay is Good" also asked that all Congressional candidates should take a stand on homosexual rights. San Francisco's Society for Individual Rights has for several years mobilized homosexual voters, and in 1968 may - for, despite the pretensions of political scientists, one can never prove such things - have aided Alan Cranston to defeat Max Rafferty for the Senate. (Rafferty, then state superintendent of Public Instruction, had proclaimed that he would "oppose any change in the present laws against homosexuality except to make them more severe," and later followed this up with the statement: "I favor letting homosexuals serve in any branch of the government, after they have received proper medical and psychiatric treatment to remedy their sad affliction, and have been pronounced cured by competent medical authorities." These statements were widely publicized by the Society throughout the California gayworld.) The Society for several years has also invited candidates for local offices to attend meetings and in 1970 even gave a testimonial dinner for Willie Brown, a black state assemblyman who has sought to end California's antisodomy laws.
The logical extension of pressure through the ballot box was the 1970 candidature of Dr. Kameny for election to Congress from the District of Columbia. As he received only 2,000 votes, one may say fairly safely that a majority of Washington's homosexuals did not vote gay. However at the I972 Democratic Convention a number of openly gay delegates attended, and pushed – unsuccessfully – for a pro-gay platform. In both Canada and Australia overt homosexuals have also run for political office.

Where the Gay Activists Alliance differs from groups like Mattachine and SIR is in its far greater willingness to engage in direct action, such as the direct confrontation of Lindsay, and an earlier sit-in at Republican Party state headquarters that led to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of a group known as the Rockefeller Five.  The organization straddles a wide range of life-styles: a meeting will include both an elegant, fortyish man, hair carefully groomed and a voice modulated in the best tradition of Broadway, reporting on a successful raffle, and a twenty-year-old boy, in denim jeans and jacket announcing plans to confront television figure Dick Cavett or Mayor Lindsay.
Such diversity makes for a large membership, and so do the GAA dances which offer an alternative to the bars and bathhouses and draw very large numbers. (Since late 1971 GAA has had its own building in New York.)  At least in part because of GAA pressure, laws have been introduced in New York's State Assembly and City Council to remove discrimination against homosexuals, and there has been a significant change in the attitude of the New York media to homosexuals, which of course affects the whole country. My comparative neglect of such traditional political activity is not meant to suggest that it is unimportant. A proliferation of groups, as sociologists are now coming to see, serves some purpose, and may indeed be a sign of health in a movement. Social movements, after all, serve expressive as well as instrumental ends and must cater to a wide variety of personalities and needs.  That no one group can speak for “the homosexual” – one is reminded of Robert Penn Warren’s plaintive question in the title of his book Who Speaks for the Negro? – is less important that the face that different groups can cater for different sorts of homosexuals.

The style of the Gay Liberation Front is totally different. Members of the GLF are no more likely to describe theirs as a civil rights organization than is the Black Panther party. Their meetings, as is true of most in the (white) radical movement, are largely unstructured with a very heavy stress on personal declarations and revolutionary sentiment. Unlike GAA, which has rigid requirements for membership (including attendance at a number of meetings), GLF defines itself as open, unencumbered by structure, and as a movement rather than an organization.
                Here, as in other features, GLF has borrowed consciously from the women's liberation movement. There is a strong feeling in both movements that traditional rules of debate and procedure tend both to polarize opinion and to preclude the shyer and less verbally agile from full participation. Thus devices are adopted like choosing chairmen or women by lot, rotating discussion around the room so that no one may speak twice until everyone has been heard, avoiding any formal motions in favor of a search for consensus, etc. GLF meetings, as a result, are often something of a cross between a Quaker meeting and an informal rap session, infuriating to those who want to " get things done" but important in raising the level of self-awareness and acceptance of those with less experience and less self-confidence. Or, at least, this is the theory. In some cases, I suspect that the very lack of structure gives an enormous advantage to a few charismatic figures who are able to dominate the meeting as totally as in any rigorous debate-by-the-rules gathering.

Both the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front are open to men and women and both of them, GAA in particular, are predominantly male.  Each contains a small number of blacks and Spanish-Americans, each has a few transvestites and transexuals.  ("No member may be discriminated against because of personal appearance, style or behavior or sexual taste" reads the GAA manifesto, and in both groups there is a very conscious effort to avoid stigmatizing anyone for whatever their thing may be.) But inevitably the Liberation Front, though less than the Activists Alliance, seems to be dominated by gay men of a certain type-white, middle-class, educated, closer to straight movement types than to the homosexual of the popular imagination-and this has led to a number of breakaway groups. Women, youth, Third World, and transvestite organizations have all been set up, part of gay liberation as a movement but distinct from the GLF. At a time when people are becoming aware of the many ways in which they can suffer oppression, there seems almost a competition as to which group can identify itself as the most oppressed. Is the transvestite who is harassed for wearing_ women's clothes more oppressed than the black lesbian? The need to explore multiple oppression is expressed in this statement by a group of Third World gays.  "We, as Third World gay people suffer a triple oppression: 1) We are oppressed as people because our humanity is routinely devoured by the carnivorous system of capitalism; 2) We are oppressed as Third World people by the economically inherent racism of white American society; 3) We are oppressed by the sexism of the white society and the verbal and physical abuse of masculinity-deprived Third World males."
Yet if there is a proliferation of groups that adopt a liberation perspective there is also a common sensitivity and a number of common activities. One of the more interesting activities that grew
out of the movement was Gay Night at Alternate University - the now defunct successor to the Free Universities of a few years ago which was established to provide revolutionary education: "We must create and expand revolutionary values, visions of alternate structures, and analyses of history and existence. And as our understanding changes, we must change ourselves. As everywhere else, in our workshops and classes we must combat elitism, sexism, racism, and liberalism – and fear (from the 1970 fall prospectus). Along with the classes on organic foods and revolutionary Cuba, on self-defence, squatter movements, Marxism and social practice, Gay Night provided a time for gay men and women to come together, to pool experience, knowledge, and wounds, and to develop a new sensibility and community, a concern far less pronounced in the civil libertarian focus of the Gay Activists Alliance.

One Friday night at Alternate University: in one side room a few transvestites are rapping with a group of gay men and women, trying to discover the essence of their own experience. Diane, who had previously been Roger, is dressed in burlesque style in a short, submini frock of black net, buttocks rounded by black lace pants, face heavily powdered and eyes lovingly formed. He insists that he is passing as a woman, to which the gay women, women's-liberation-clad in heavy slacks and shirts, respond indignantly that he is in fact only acting out the male fantasy of what a woman is.  In the main room a short girl in black slacks is briefing a group on first aid during demonstrations: "If there's heavy bleeding," she says, "stop it, and worry about infection later."
                Back in the transvestite classroom, Sylvia, one of the leaders of the street transvestites, is explaining a decision to have "the" operation.  "But what," expostulates Dusty-a tall lean boy with wild Afro hair who has played opposite Jackie Curtis in an Andy Warhol movie - "what does cutting your penis off change? Isn't the whole thing all in your head?" And in another room the Third World gay people having completed their discussion, a discussion gets under way on roles, led – dominated - by Pat, a (genital) woman with two kids who likes to play at being a man.
This, then, is part of gay liberation.  And if a Fellini or a Warhol might make it grotesque in film, there is a deadly seriousness to it, a straining to comprehend other people's experiences and fantasies and fears, as when a tall black, who until now had been irritating everyone by uncalled-for wisecracks, talks of his/her problem as a hermaphrodite with no clear concept of which sex to identify with, raising problems whose dimensions one can scarcely grasp. There are wounds opened in such exchanges that have rarely been opened before, but there is as well a real feeling for each other, a common sense of belonging and identity.
The Gay Liberation Front has also been identified with the commune movement, and this sets it apart from the more conventional life-styles of GAA members. While the traditional homophile groups are seeking to institute homosexual marriages - in Los Angeles, the Reverend Troy Perry, the Billy Graham of the homophile movement, is in fact performing such marriages and two women in Kentucky fought a court case to have such a marriage recognized the kids in Gay Liberation Front, like their counterparts in the rest of the movement, are searching for new forms of communal living, rejecting the traditional one-to-one relationship as selfish and constricting.  The Gay Activists Alliance seeks to find acceptance in present society; the gay liberationists are committed to a transformation of that society.