Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Show #Solidarity With Striking #Workers At Verizon-May 5th Day Of Action





Support the men and women on strike for good jobs at Verizon and Verizon Wireless.
  National Day of Action on May 5. 

From Stand Up To Verizon:



Save the Date! Join us for a May 5 National Day of Action to fight for good jobs at Verizon and Verizon Wireless.

We'll be back in touch soon with more information about actions at Verizon Wireless stores near you and how you can join the fight online.

40,000 men and women are still on strike at Verizon and Verizon Wireless determined to fight for as long as it takes to protect good jobs.

This strike is bigger than Verizon. It's about protecting good, hometown jobs in this country. It's about securing a brighter future for our families and our communities. It's about standing up to a handful of rich and powerful interests to make sure the needs of working families are met.
That's why it's so important for all of us to stand with the working people at Verizon and Verizon Wireless.

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Exploitation Of #Animals For Human Entertainment Is Cruel -NH Ringling Bros.Circus #Protest: May 2016



Please join us as we protest the Ringling Bros. Circus coming to Manchester, New Hampshire.

The exploitation of animals for human entertainment is cruel and is not entertainment.

Posters will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.

May 5th 5:30-7pm
May 6th 5:30-7pm
May 7th 1:30-3pm
May 8th 1030am -12pm.

Verizon Wireless Arena: 555 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

Parking is available on the street or in the parking garage near by.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Senator @WoodburnJeff Praises House Vote To Protect Victims Of Unauthorized Disclosure Of Sexually Explicit Images

 


Following the House passage of SB 465, which closes a loophole in current law in order to protect victims of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, Sen. Jeff Woodburn released the following statement:

 “Disclosure of sexually explicit material without consent and for no legitimate purpose causes immediate, devastating, and potentially irreversible harm to victims of this crime,” said Senator Woodburn. “Unfortunately, rapid advances in technology have created a loophole in our state laws that prevent prosecution of this crime. SB 465 closes this loophole and establishes a penalty for this devastating crime.” 

 “The ability of people to gain access to and distribute private, sexually explicit material has raised all sorts of issues that we could have never imagined even just a few years ago. Police and prosecutors are seeing an increase in these types of crimes, but need the tools to protect victims of this crime.”

 “I thank the House for their swift approval of this important legislation and for supporting the victims of this devastating crime.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 20, 2016
Contact: Ryan Mahoney
 603-271-7587

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

#BigOil Giants Spend $115 Million A Year To Oppose #Climate Policy


Oil Giants Spend $115 Million A Year To Oppose Climate Policy

“While we regard our estimations as conservative, they still represent significant use of shareholder funds to obstruct ambitious climate policy." British research organization Influence Map




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The New Gilded Age: Close To Half Of All Super PAC #Money Comes From 50 Donors


The last period political wealth was so concentrated was in 1896. Corporations and banking moguls backed McKinley, the Republican candidate, and outspent Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan.
“The peak of the system for tapping corporations and rich people came in the McKinley campaign” I think that would be an equivalent.” Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute



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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inside Big Oil's #Climate Change Cover-Up


“Oil companies had an early opportunity to acknowledge climate science and climate risks, and to enable consumers to make informed choices. They chose a different path. The public deserves to know why.” Carroll Muffett, president Center for International Environmental Law

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

James Hansen's #Climate Bombshell: Dangerous Sea Level Rise Will Occur in Decades, Not Centuries


 "We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control." Dr. James Hansen




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Chris Boeskool-When You’re Accustomed to #Privilege, #Equality Feels Like #Oppression





An excerpt from Chris Boeskool's piece “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” :

And things started making a little more sense to me. All this anger we see from people screaming “All Lives Matter” in response to black protesters at rallies. All this anger we see from people insisting that their “religious freedom” is being infringed because a gay couple wants to get married. All these people angry about immigrants, angry about Muslims, angry about “Happy Holidays,” angry about not being able to say bigoted things without being called a bigot... 

They all basically boil down to people who have grown accustomed to walking straight at other folks, and expecting them to move. So when “those people” in their path don’t move — when those people start wondering, “Why am I always moving out of this guy’s way?”; when those people start asking themselves, “What if I didn’t move? What if I just kept walking too?”; when those people start believing that they have every bit as much right to that aisle as anyone else — it can seem like their rights are being taken away.

Equality can feel like oppression. But it’s not. What you’re feeling is just the discomfort of losing a little bit of your privilege — the same discomfort that an only child feels when she goes to preschool and discovers that there are other kids who want to play with the same toys as she does.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

.@SenatorShaheen Introduces Legislation To Impose Sanctions On Foreign Individuals Responsible For Violence Against the #LGBT Community


Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Impose Sanctions on Foreign Individuals Responsible for Violence Against the LGBT Community
 
(Washington, DC) –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), along with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), has introduced the Global Respect Act, legislation that would impose sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals abroad.  Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-1) in response to a United Nations report that found thousands of incidents of physical violence are committed against LGBT individuals each year.
 
“While we’ve seen tremendous progress towards equality in the United States, the fact remains that the LGBT community is still under threat both here at home and around the world,” said Senator Shaheen. “No one should live in fear of physical violence or oppression because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity. The Global Respect Act would send a strong message to the international community and a stern warning to those who persecute LGBT individuals that the United States will continue to defend human rights.”
 
"For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere,” said Senator Markey. “With the rights of the LGBT community under attack around the globe, we must stand hand-in-hand with them in the struggle to ensure equality for all people around the globe."
 
“LGBT rights are core human rights,” Senator Wyden said. “This bill sends the message that America will hold individuals responsible if they persecute people on the basis of who they love or how they identify. The United States needs to lead by example and ensure that LGBT rights remain an important part of U.S. policy both at home and abroad.”
 
There are currently 75 countries that criminalize consensual same-sex relations, and in ten countries consensual same-sex relations are even punishable by death. Several countries, including Russia, have newly instituted or proposed laws outlawing “LGBT propaganda,” a vague term that has been interpreted to mean any public statement in support of LGBT rights or LGBT individuals. The Global Respect Act would:
 
  • Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who have incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
 
  • Deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list;
 
  • Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBT international human rights, as well as an annual report to Congress on the status of the law’s effectiveness; and 
 
Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to designate a staff position responsible for tracking violence, criminalization, and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Could Google Could Technically Fix An Election?


"We are living in a world in which a handful of high-tech companies, sometimes working hand-in-hand with governments, are not only monitoring much of our activity, but are also invisibly controlling more and more of what we think, feel, do and say. The technology that now surrounds us is not just a harmless toy; it has also made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations – manipulations that have no precedent in human history and that are currently well beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws. The new hidden persuaders are bigger, bolder and badder than anything Vance Packard ever envisioned. If we choose to ignore this, we do so at our peril." Robert Epstein


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Student Loan Debt Crisis In 9 Charts





This is a striking older piece, from several years ago, from Mother Jones. Unfortunately, the charts and graphs are still relevant. Most of the narrative should still be accurate, but obviously many of the figures would need  to be updated to give a complete picture for 2016, since some time has passed.

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Thomas Piketty On The Rise Of Bernie Sanders: The US Enters A New Political Era




Democrats never truly challenged this choice in the Clinton (1992-2000) and Obama (2008-2016) years, which stabilized the taxation rate at around 40% (two times lower than the average level for the period 1930 to 1980). This triggered an explosion of inequality coupled with incredibly high salaries for those who could get them, as well as a stagnation of revenues for most of America – all of which was accompanied by low growth (at a level still somewhat higher than Europe, mind you, as the old world was mired in other problems).

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

People Get Real About Multiracial Identity In This Powerful Video


"I am who I am, and no one else is like me, and that's pretty cool."


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What Is This Bernie Supporter Thinking? By Kyle Leach



What Is This Bernie Supporter Thinking? By Kyle Leach


I’m online a lot. I like being able to keep track of campaigns, elections, and sitting officials from my own spaces. I enjoy going out to the digital world and seeing what supporters of Bernie, Martin, and Hillary have to say. Many Dems seem to think that something feels different about this election cycle. They impart that we seem more fragmented, more hostile to one another, less focused on electing all of our own. I’m writing this piece because some of my Hillary “friends” in the greater online world are having a difficult time reconciling these developments and are having a hard time seeing where the conflicts and dissent are seated. They have voiced fears of impending Republican takeovers and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court if we do not come together. They want to know why we can’t all simply be unified again.

I can understand these perceptions; I certainly understand what they are trying to impart, but from my perspective, it is erroneous to conclude that this is a new feature to our political realm; or to conclude that this in fact a bad development for our party; or to even assume that the Democratic Party was ever unified. I can’t tell you what the millions of Bernie supporters are thinking or what has led them to support Bernie Sanders. We are a very diverse group of thinkers, hopers, dreamers, and changers.  But what I can do is help you understand my thought process, and why I am willing to give Bernie support.

Part of my support for Bernie comes from knowing his work long before he became a presidential figure. I have followed his career, even though I am not a constituent. I know his history; I know his voting record. I know he is consistent. He has always been focused on the average person and he has always pressed for human rights.  He has fought very hard to reduce human suffering throughout the world. Part of my support comes from Bernie’s views being close to my ideological placement, though I’m much further left; much more liberal.  My online profiles don’t say uber-liberal for nothing. That means Bernie and I disagree on some things, but by and large, Bernie and I are on the same playing field. When he makes decisions, he tosses the ball out of the field sometimes; and sometimes he’s right on the very edge.  But most of the time, he is still pretty close. I see centrist Democrats pop in to the field and then pop out; and I sometimes I used to see a Republicans every now and then.  Though now that is very rare.

People in the Party love to use the words liberal and progressive to identify themselves.  But if I use their actions as indicators, I’m not sure many people really know what those two words mean, or the world view they embody.   Liberals create actions that lead to universal equality and human rights, while retaining as many personal liberties as possible. Their goal is to alleviate all ills for all humankind and to make sure no person is in need. If you can get far enough socially you go beyond equality and push for equity, giving each human being everything they need to succeed and to be the best they can be, even if that requires  more than others would  need for their own success. 

Progressives do believe in similar things, though I think they tend to favor a more stepped approach while trying to hold to the same ends as liberals. The key here is that both want reform and change, not in small pieces, but in broad, sweeping, often fundamental, shifts from where we are now. Bernie is progressive; I’m not sure I would call him liberal, though he does support many liberal ideas, so maybe he could be. Given my perspective I’m sure you can see why I often double over in laughter when Republican s call many Democrats liberals or try to label the Party as liberal, or progressive, or to say that the a  “liberal wing”  has control of the Democratic Party. 

People in our party too often forget when and where our party started, and how our touted successes over history are marred by the failings of individuals, and the times they were a part of. Too often, Democrats pump up past leaders from the Party as people to emulate or rally behind, all the while holding a curtain over the transgressions of those same people.  This frustrates me greatly. It is lazy and one day it will catch up to us. As far as I can tell, our party has always been divided. The decades change, the issues at hand change, but how we move forward and who or what we  choose to champion has always been a great point of contention.  There are many people in our tent, E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one.  But we have never been united; if you think we have, you have bought into a false narrative, probably made and distributed by the Party. My advice on that is to dig deeper. Question more. Don’t take things on face value. The perspective you gain can be immeasurable. 

You will probably find it odd that I have Bill and Hillary to thank for my uber-liberal awakening. Before they were President and First Lady, I took most things the Party said at face value. I took what most officials said at face value. I took what the media said at face value. I was young then and obviously very naïve, something I sometimes miss in middle age. Much of what Bill Clinton did in office launched a domino effect that lead to the disempowerment of millions of people here at home. His decisions here at home also had repercussions that echoed into the lives of billions of people throughout the globe. NAFTA was one of those ideas. It hurt workers here. It hurt workers abroad. It hurt unions. It hurt women. It hurt minorities.  He gave into corporate interests. His tough on crime stance did much of the same thing but focused those hurts on our own people. Don’t even get me started on what DADT and DOMA did to my own LGBQTIA community. Bill helped to ignite my uber- liberal center; he helped me to realize that I needed to find others like me. He made me realize that I didn’t want to be anything like him. He made me realize I didn’t want our Party to be anything like him. He helped me realize that I had to be the change I wanted to see. 

My dislike for Bill did not influence my judgement of Hillary when she ran for a Senate seat. Each human being is unique. Each person is their own. I had no idea where she might take things. She has many strengths. She is very intelligent. Her campaign is fond of saying that she gets things done in our system.  She does. She moves very slowly; she is calculating. She hedges a lot, but she can move things within the system. The better question to ask is not if she can, but when she does, where will she move them?

What Hillary accomplished in the Senate didn’t help the nation’s middle or lower class. When she green lit military action, she harmed millions of people in an entire region of the world. That was just one vote. That one vote started the wheels turning for the military industrial complex; they were able to gobble up even more of our national budget, they were able to interfere in other nations, they we able to siphon young people from the middle and lower class, and they were able to further privatization of that entire arena. Her authorization of TARP bailed out the Big Banks and financial institutions responsible for the Great Recession. It gutted the financial present and future of the middle and lower class, at the same time preparing for a new era of corporatization. 

And after all was said and done, and all the investigations were concluded, only one person was ever convicted. One. Millions of average citizens lost their personal wealth, their jobs, their homes, their retirement, their chance at college.  They had to watch it all go to banks, institutions, and corporations.  They were left with little, while corporations, banks and their greedy shareholders, took all their dreams and plans away. They had to watch as it filtered up to 62 people they don’t know, that they will never meet, and who have little regard for the other inhabitants of this world. Many of her most important votes helped the wrong people.  These two votes and many others are the reason I cannot think of Hillary as a liberal or a progressive. 

To ruin so many lives and then to think she could say she was sorry and to just go on with her very privileged life, her  political aspirations, is beyond what I can fathom . After her mistakes in the Senate, and after her failed campaign for president, she could have gone on to be a better public servant perhaps in a less prestigious position. I still thought she might redeem herself. That’s how hopeful I am. Instead, she chose to take position as Secretary of State, continued on the same path she did as senator, and advanced her future political prospects. It is why I cannot imagine she can stand up to Big Business or the Big Banks, or Big Ag, or Big Pharma, or to the military industrial complex. She has more ties to them now than she ever did before. She’s receiving more donations, more support from them now than she did then. The endorsements Hillary gets day after day from industry, the political establishment, and from establishment non-profits should tell you one thing; none of them want things to change greatly. They are all perfectly fine with things the way they are. Political ambition isn’t bad; it helps you get elected. Political ambition at the expense of your people, well that is a whole new category entirely.

Corporate entities and concentrated wealth are the problems that we need to recognize, that we need to fix. I’m happy Hillary would like to talk about them, but talking about them, or chastising them, isn’t going to get them to change. One of the first things people who are abused learn in counseling is to get away from their abusers.  They have to learn not to go back to their abusers.  They learn not to negotiate with those abusers. The abusers will always tell you they are sorry, and that they will change. They will pretend they will do anything for you. People are tired of being abused. People are tired of being told someone is sorry for what they are going through. People are tired of watching their futures evaporate. People are tired of watching their communities and public services degrade while having to work harder and harder, longer and longer, just to keep up, much less get ahead. People are tired of watching fellow human beings being murdered on a regular basis, all around them, with almost no repercussion.  Bernie has attracted so many people, from across the political spectrum and tens of millions of small donors from across the nation because he doesn’t pretend to care; he really does care.  

Bernie’s not our messiah, he is our therapist. Bernie has never told any of us that he can give us our old lives back, or bring things to where they were before. What he does tell us is that, with all of our help, he can try to shut down the abuse. He is telling us that with all our help he can stop our abusers from hurting us in the ways they are currently hurting us. He has told us that he has ideas for how to start fixing some of our most systemic national problems and that he wants to expand the social safety net further in order to help our most marginalized, our most at risk, people.  He is up front that some of the ideas are unconventional; some have never been tried before, some were last used after the 20th century’s Great Depression. He is also up front that opposition will be fierce. We won’t just be able to vote on voting day and then abandon him. He will need us to fend off the wolves. He is too nice to say this, but the wolves won’t all be from the other side of the aisle. We will have to have his back. He’ll have to be focused forward on our next therapy session and getting us ready for the next bit of hell we have to face. We all will have to do the work. We will have to make the changes stick.

We supposedly live in one of the wealthiest, most resourceful, most educated, most adventurous nations on the globe. Why is it then that we could not accomplish at least some of the things Bernie proposes? Money is really not an issue. We have plenty of it. It is simply concentrated in places where it cannot help our people, where it cannot be used to reinvigorate our society. Much of what he has proposed has worked in other nations in the world. Why do you think we could not examine things they have done and scale them to our own nation?  If he has the support of enough people to elect him to office, we can change the flow of money in this country.  We can enhance and enforce much needed regulations.  We can diminish the improper influence that corporations, and those with unusually large wealth, have on our government.  Bernie isn’t being bought; he is one of the few who is not.  As President, he could change some things simply by executive order. We’d have to work on the rest in Congress.  Just a hint: that’s our jurisdiction; it is our responsibility, not his.  If we don’t get more Progressive Dems into Congress, we better turn our flaming eyes on the Party at all levels. Their sole job, and they say it so often, is to elect Democrats. 

I think the problem is not that Bernie’s supporters create, think, dream, and hope too much.   I think the problem is that those that do not support him, might do too little creating, thinking, dreaming, and hoping.  One day, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when we would have enough women on the highest court. She answered by saying when it had nine, without a blink. I smile every time I think of that. That’s how I look at moving toward our future. That’s how I think as an uber-liberal. We focus on the things we want. We go to the table with those ideas. Going to the table already sacrificing, weakens your position and makes for certain you will not get anything near what you wanted.  You have to dream big, and think big, if you are ever to get close to what you want.

It is not that I can’t imagine Hillary as President Clinton. It is that I can imagine so many other women, so many other people, who would be a better match for the position. I can think of so many other people who would protect the nation from corporate interests, corporate corruption, and the whims of the extremely wealthy. One of those better matches is Bernie Sanders. I’m not worried about the Supreme Court changes or a Republican sweep, because when Bernie gets the nomination he would have all of his supporters, and all the support from the rest of our Party.  At least that’s what the Party, and supporters of Hillary, constantly say.  Once a nominee is chosen, we must all get behind our candidate.  So if that candidate is Bernie, Hillary folks should rally around him, just as they expect Bernie supporters to rally around Hillary if she wins.  Fair is fair right?

Many people criticize Bernie and his supporters as idiots who think up the most fantastical things, things no one could ever accomplish. They are too hopeful, too gullible, and too eager to gamble on future creations that cannot be guaranteed.   We are thinkers. We are dreamers. We are hopeful. We are creative. I’m sorry if others have given up those things. They are the things that make life worth living, even when you have lost everything else.  If you have lost the ability to dream, hope, and be creative, you should try to get them back.

I know it is frightening to think of doing something new, and untested. You won’t be alone in that thought. Don’t you think our nation, our people, our world, deserve a chance? The status quo hasn’t worked for a long time. Yet, we keep proposing the same solutions and expect different results.  We can’t afford to wait for change any longer. We have to make it happen now. Don’t you think it is worth trying? I think it is.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

My Thoughts On The Bernie, Hillary, The HRC, And LGBTQIA Firestorm By Kyle Leach




My thoughts on the Bernie, Hillary, the HRC, and LGBTQIA Firestorm By Kyle Leach

In the decade of my birth gays, lesbians, drag queens, and the transgendered fought for tolerance and acceptance.  They pressed society and every human being they encountered, asking to be recognized and to be treated with dignity and respect. In the 1990’s I was in my early twenties. I was, for the first time, becoming my own person and making my own way.  I was discovering who I was. The world and this nation were still broadly hostile, often violent, and universally dismissive of those of us who would eventually become known as LGBTQIA.  LGBTQIA. That acronym does not tell the complete story of our history.  It does not contain who we were, who we are, or what we will become.  At that time, we were just beginning to assemble into the “alphabet soup” that now is almost universally recognized. Until the 90’s, I had never known a place where we were not demonized, dismissed, blamed, and hated. Slowly, that started to change. 

One of the few people in public office, not in our community, who publicly defended us before the 1990s, was Bernie Sanders. In the 1990’s I remember learning about this crazy straight dude, from Vermont, who stood up for us. I was shocked-- shocked because someone was trying to help us who didn’t have to.  In 1983, Bernie backed Burlington’s  first-ever pride march. 1983!  Think about that. He pushed to decriminalize homosexuality when he ran for governor of Vermont.  He stood up for us in fighting against DADT and DOMA; and he voted against both. He stood by us frequently throughout my life, and his actions, coupled with those of many others, helped to move our community out of the closet and into the 21st century. He did all of this before it was fashionable.  He supported us. He didn’t remain silent. He added his voice to ours, a true ally. The fact that we are even having a discussion about his record shows how much LGBTQIA, and the average American, need to learn about LGBTQIA history.

What did Hillary Clinton do for us in the 1980’s? What did she do for us in the 1990’s? Where was Hillary Clinton during these decades? Did she sanction her town’s first pride parade when I was twelve? No.  That was Bernie.  As First Lady, did she rail against her husband’s DADT policy? Again, silence. Did she fight against DOMA?  Unfortunately, she was not silent.  In this case, she supported it. Did she rally to abolish discriminatory laws pertaining to sexuality? No.  She didn’t.  It’s true that Hillary “evolved” on many issues relating to LGBTQIA, but not until the last decade. And on marriage equality, her change of heart came just two years ago.  She changed her mind and supported us when it was politically expedient to do so.  She needed us.  In fact, each time she chose to “evolve”,  the political ramifications of that evolution diminished.  Now, it’s fashionable to support us.  So there is little risk.  Does this mean Hillary is a bad human being? No, of course not.  But it does mean that people should check their history books, and get all their facts straight about how and when she did support us and what the conditions of that support were.  Personally, I’m a little cautious of people who have to “evolve” on civil rights issues. And I’m even more cautious when a person doesn’t consistently look at their fellow human beings as equals.  As for Hillary Clinton, she has many strengths, to be sure.  But, unfortunately, this arena is not one of them.  And it never has been.

The last component of this piece deals with the Human Rights Campaign. like Hillary, they also have “evolved”. They were once one of the foremost organizations spearheading issues that were important to the LGBQTIA community.  They made us very visible. They collaborated with many organizations, including the Democratic Party, and drew in revenue to help fight for our rights.  They are very efficient at those two things: collaborating and fund raising.  Now, the organization is extremely corporatized, as are so many of our large scale nonprofit organizations, as is our society. My biggest criticism of the HRC is that the organization’s focus is not very diverse.  Money is not spent on those who really need it, especially marginalized people in the LGBQTIA community, it is spent on fashionable things that can help raise even more money.  I’m also still very upset at the HRC because  when ENDA was being debated, many from the HRC were willing to throw out the T in LGBTQIA in order to gain what they considered to be success.  They felt the entire transgendered community was worth sacrificing to gain success for the other groups in our community.  And what’s even worse, is they were willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable people in our community, those that face the worst oppression and hate, and need the most support.

I abandoned the HRC a long time ago, and I would only ask that people be careful of any advice you would get from the organization. They have become a self- fulfilling prophecy, and are beholden to money and power, selling out to remain relevant at all. The fact that the HRC board was willing to praise and endorse Hillary, a candidate who has a lower HRC rating than Bernie, over Bernie, before the primary, gives you a good indication of how money and power mean more to the HRC Board than the LGBTQIA community they say they support.

In the last two decades of my life, there have been far too many LGBTQIA who have lost their lives unnecessarily.  Many of us don’t survive coming to terms with our sexuality in one way or another. Those of us who do survive are understandably altered by our experiences.  Whether those of us are beaten, shot, bullied, succumb to AIDS, or take our own lives, those parts are taken from our collective, far too soon, and leave us far less than what we should be. Still, we keep moving forward and amazingly continue to find ways to keep their memory a part of our world. And we thrive as a community.  It is what we do.  I have felt respect now; and I know what dignity is.  I know what it feels like to trust and have a sense of community.  I also know what love is. But I have not forgotten where we have come from and those that have helped us. I also kept track of those that stood in our way and those that shielded themselves from the discomfort or repercussions that support might bring, by staying silent on issues, or pretending to help our community behind the scenes.

Dark deeds in our world succeed so often, not because humanity is bad, but because, too often, people are afraid to stand up to those dark deeds. Actions can speak louder than words and so can the lack of action. In the 1980’s, activists used to chant SILENCE=DEATH.  Even though we are in the 21st century, don’t think that has lost its relevance.  Stand up. Don’t be silent. Silence does equal death.

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