New Project: #rebelleft on Twitter, Tumblr

guest post by Sylvia/M

Use hashtag #rebelleft on Twitter to spread news, updates, and commentary.

Use hashtag #rebelleft on Twitter to spread news, updates, and commentary.

About #rebelleft on Twitter:

  1. The service only works if you have a public Twitter account (free to start and use).  If you don’t, and there’s news you’d like to spread, simply ask for a retweet.
  2. All issues, news stories, commentaries, and updates from the left are welcome.  When tweeting a link or an opinion, simply append #rebelleft to the end of your message and you’re set!
  3. You can follow #rebelleft tweets via the Twitter Search Page.   There is also a Rebel Left Tumblr page that aggregates all #rebelleft tweets and news links.
  4. Spread the word! Feel free to post the picture above on your blog, linking to the Twitter Search Page, or use this smaller badge: rebelleft-small-finalLink to this post or copy-paste it onto your blog to alert fellow bloggers, activists, and Twitterers about #rebelleft.

x-posted @ Problem Chylde

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Action, please, nao.

guest post by Sarah J

So on the “What Now” subject: The economic stimulus bill is up before Congress this week and it’s going to have a rough time in the Senate. The House has the votes along party lines, but the Senate, well, you know the score.

If you’re like me and you live in a state with a rational Republican senator, email/call/picket his or her office (I’m thinking Specter–my Senator–the two from Maine, Voinovich…you know what I mean.) Harass the hell out of ’em. Flood their offices. We need this passed and we need it now.

I’d prefer if we could get this back in, but Obama had to at least look like he was willing to compromise. If the Republicans keep stonewalling, we need to remind ’em who won this election.

We all do a lot of talking and writing, some of it can certainly go in the direction of elected officials. If one of those people isn’t your Senator, fake some sort of a connection and go for it. State you were born in? State where your grandma lives? State you slept in once on an all-night booty call? Whatever.

Let’s do this.

http://www.senate.gov/

(x-posted at Alterdestiny and Season of the Bitch)

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AFP: Obama’s UN Ambassador Pick Says Administration Will Confront Mugabe

by matttbastard

Let’s hope Susan Rice is being forthright here:

At her Senate confirmation hearing, Rice pledged to confront the regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, urging China, Russia and southern African countries to join the Obama administration in isolating the veteran strongman.

“Their interests no longer, frankly, coincide” with Mugabe’s regime, the former diplomat told the Senate foreign relations committee, after its chairman John Kerry said she was an “outstanding choice” for the UN job.

Arguing it was “in our shared interest to support a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe to a democratic government,” Rice said China and Russia should support UN efforts to isolate a regime “that is clearly not long for this world.”

“I hope very much that under president-elect Obama’s leadership, we will work with southern Africa and bring their private condemnation in to the public sphere… so that the people of Zimabwe’s suffering can finally end,” she said.

Related: Chris Beyrer and Frank Donaghue: ZANU-PF government systematically denying citizens access to basic health and human services, says Mugabe regime “has destroyed the health-care system, as it has devastated virtually every other sector of public life, with its ruinous mix of corruption, mismanagement, violence and human rights violations.”

More from Frederick Clarkson of Religion Dispatches:

Dr. Chris Beyrer, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at Johns Hopkins University told Religion Dispatches that the scale of human suffering and death may be worse than Pol Pot’s Cambodia in the 1970s, and that regional and international inaction is analogous to the international community’s failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. He estimates that about half of the population of Zimbabwe is either dead or has fled to neighboring countries. “I have been at this for a long time,” he said, his world-weary voice seeking to convey the urgency of the accelerating Zimbabwean disaster. “I’ve never seen so total a collapse of a health system.”

Read the Physicians for Human Rights report Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe. Also, follow Joe Trippi and ZimbabweFast on Twitter, and join Bishop Desmond Tutu in a once-a-week solidarity fast for Zimbabwe:

The 78-year-old Anglican archbishop said he had been fasting once a week in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans facing food shortages and a cholera outbreak.

“If we would have more people saying ‘I will fast’ maybe one day a week, just to identify myself with my sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe,” the radio station quoted him as saying.

Must-read op-ed from Bob Herbert: “If you want to see hell on earth, go to Zimbabwe”.  Make sure to also check out this  Save the Children fact sheet on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

ElsewhereThe Times (SA): “Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko is being held in solitary confinement in Harare’s Chikurubi maximum security prison.” The Times also reports that Ms. Mukoko is currently detained “in a section reserved for hardcore criminals” and, according to a warder, despite the existence of a women’s section “has been placed in the tougher section that normally houses men.”  Earlier: CNN: “Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has asked organizations such as the United Nations to help find 11 supporters who were allegedly abducted by government agents, a party spokesman said.”

Background: Mahmood Mamdani: Lessons of Zimbabwe; Mary Ndlovu: Zimbabwe on the edge of the precipice.

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All We Are Saying…

by matttbastard

The Beeb reports on  Today’s pro-Israel PR stunt “peace rally” in London:

Organisers said they wanted people in Gaza and Israel to live in peace, but argued that Palestinians must accept some responsibility for the conflict.

Demonstrators told the BBC they felt the rocket hits and losses Israel had suffered had been downplayed.

Chief Rabbi Dr Sir Jonathan Sacks said he wanted Hamas to “say yes to peace”.

[…]

Rabbi Sacks told the crowd: “All it took to avoid this suffering was for Hamas to stop firing rockets on Israeli citizens.

[…]

Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, addressed the crowd saying: “We are here because we believe in peace, because we believe in life, and because we want peace in life.

“The events of the past two weeks have not been a war on the people of Gaza but war on the people using them as human shields.”

Shorter Sacks and Grunwald:

“Hey, Gazans — stop hitting yourselves!”

Christ on a cockney wideboy.  Orwell himself couldn’t have envisioned a more warped event in his wildest dreams.  Maybe up really is down.

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PSA: A call for action on trans rights in Tennessee

by matttbastard

Via The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:

For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008

Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.

We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.

The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.

This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.

We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.

We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.

We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.

We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

h/t Cara by way of Queen Em.

Related: More on Leeneshia Edwards from Em and Monica Roberts

Update: Renee, bumped from comments:

What bothers me most about this is the way in which these acts of violence and murders are ignored. When I wrote about this issue I focused on the race aspect. Trans women of color are being targeted. At remembering our dead over 65% of the women listed are of color. I want to know where the hell the NAACP is. I want to know where the hell NOW is. When are we going to decide that these women matter?

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Feigned Disbelief and Political Theatre

by matttbastard

Steve Hildebrand responds to critics in an interview with Greg Sargent:

“I don’t regret any of it,” Hildebrand told me when I asked him a few minutes ago by phone whether he regretted the tone of his piece, which many found condescending and finger-wagging.

“My intent was exactly what I wrote,” Hildebrand said, adding that the criticism had “surprised” him.

Hildebrand also confirmed that the Obama team had had no hand in writing or approving the piece. “This was not collaborated with anybody in the Obama camp,” he said, and a source close to the transition confirms this.

Perhaps Marc Ambinder and Ezra Klein are correct, and this was all just a Machiavellian attempt on the part of the Obama team (does anyone really buy Hildebrand’s hard-to-swallow contention that he called an audible with this play?) to shift the Overton Window via political theatre. Sure would be nice to finally see imperative policy endeavors like withdrawal from Iraq, health care reform, and climate change firmly established as mainstream pursuits in the US public interest, rather than planks in a narrow communist socialist Marxist anti-American ‘liberal’ platform.

Still, even if this is, in Klein’s words, “a calculated messaging strategy,” I don’t believe Hildebrand should expect much online backup from the (unnamed) angry “left-wing” boo-bears unwittingly cast as foils in his Kabuki production if and when he makes a behind-the-scenes play for the (operational) DNC chair.

And maybe that was also taken into careful consideration.

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

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How Not to Stem Criticism From Obama’s Left Flank

by matttbastard

Memo to Deputy Transition Director Steve Hildebrand: poking a beehive with a sharp STFU stick isn’t gonna stop the buzzing. It’s just gonna get your dumb ass stung.

David Sirota patiently explains why muzzling progressives isn’t the answer:

The reason the Republican Party and conservative movement were so successful [up until recently] was because they developed a symbiotic relationship. Specifically, the party apparatus knew that sustained conservative movement pressure on the party was good for the party in keeping it disciplined and on message. By contrast, the culture of the Democratic Party since the McGovern debacle in 1972 has been to bash the progressive movement – to triangulate against it as proof of “independence” and “centrism.” We saw where that got the Democratic Party for the last 30 years – but by the looks at the public post-election attacks on “the left” from Democrats, it seems like the party higher-ups still haven’t learned the simple lesson that pressure from a strong movement strengthens the party as a whole.

In other words, internal criticism from individuals and organizations who share your goals serves as a self-correcting ideological quality control mechanism.  Such good-faith criticism is a benefit, not an impediment.  Stifle it and you risk weakening your mandate.

Look, like Sirota, I’m not ready to give up on Obama just yet.  Every new administration will stumble at times, and I’ve been vocal (if perhaps a bit too impolitic) when I believe the criticism has been impatient and unfair.  But pat-patting progressive critics on teh heads with smug condescension and smarmy dismissiveness , as Hildebrand did, is just plain idiotic.

As Bob Cesca put it:

The better approach here would’ve been to underscore President-elect Obama’s progressive appointments and to remind us that even though the Republicans are on the run, we still have a lot of work to do together. “Together” is the appropriate word here. If the goal is to be all-inclusive, and then to write a piece that doesn’t reach out to the netroots, what are we supposed to take away from the message?

Couple this boneheaded online PR maneuver with Jon Favreau’s recent Facebook follies, and one can’t help wonder if the Obama team should perhaps rethink its wicked awesome new media strategy.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Rally for Change This Thursday!

by matttbastard

Via The National Union of Public and General Employees:

Citizens rallying across Canada to support federal coalition

Parliament Hill rally at noon Thursday just one of many across Canada

Ottawa (2 Dec. 2008) – Rallies are being planned across Canada Thursday to support a coalition government in Ottawa to replace the administration of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The biggest rally is expected at noon on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is supporting the coalition and is urging the 340,000 members of its Component unions across the country to add their voices to the campaign by attending the rallies.

The Harper government introduced an economic and fiscal statement last week that failed to provide economic relief for Canadians, or any measures to get the economy back on track.

The Harper government is also committed to trampling workers’ rights and women’s rights to pay equity.

Canadians want a government that shows leadership. The opposition parties are acting in a responsible manner. They are not going to force another costly election. Instead, the Liberals and the NDP are planning to form a coalition government − with the support of the BQ in the House of Commons − to get this Parliament to address the economic crisis in a way that benefits workers and their families.

Let’s support a coalition government that will get us through this crisis

Here is the list of rallies planned.

St. John’s, NL
Thursday, December 4th 7 p.m.
St. Theresa’s Hall
Mundy Pond Road

Halifax, NS
Thursday, December 4th 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Hall – Halifax Forum
Windsor & Almon Street
(enter off Almon Street)

Charlottetown, PE
Thursday, December 4th 7 p.m.
Murphy’s Community Centre
Richmond Street

Moncton, NB
Thursday, December 4th 7 p.m.
Moncton City Hall Front Lawn
Main Street

Regina, SK
Thursday, December 4th 7 p.m.
Speakers @ 7:30 p.m.
Education Auditorium
University of Regina

Edmonton, AB
Thursday, December 4th 6 p.m.
Winston Churchill Square
Downtown Edmonton Central

Winnipeg, MB
Thursday, December 4th
7 p.m. Marlborough Hotel
331 Smith Street
Ballroom (Room for 600)

Vancouver, BC
Thursday, December 4th Doors open @ 5 p.m.
Speakers @ 6 p.m.
Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre
Ballroom “A” |

Toronto, ON
Saturday, December 6th 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. City Hall
Nathan Phillips Square

Ottawa, ON
Thursday, December 4th Noon
Parliament Hill NUPGE

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Reality Check

by matttbastard

Despite the empty promise of a magical unity pony being giddily floated by the Very Serious Set (sample conventional wisdom: “[t]he big argument for centrist governance is that nothing significant can be achieved in Washington without bipartisan support, without members in both parties owning a stake”) politics, as they say, ain’t bean bag. Sooner or later it’s gonna once again get real ugly in Washington and, as Digby observes, nakedly partisan:

Considering that the Republican party really has been purged of moderates now, I’d say that the GOP is going to be the much bigger roadblock to compromise than the left. They’re more radical than ever. The Republican party is now led by Rush Limbaugh. There’s nobody else. And when Obama reaches out his hand to Rush Limbaugh he’s going to get it whacked off with a chainsaw, at which point, these villagers (who haven’t even considered this political problem) are going to blame Obama for being unable to govern in a bipartisan fashion.

All over television this morning the gasbags seemed convinced that Obama had been elected to stop the left from ruining the country. And when it turns out to actually be his supposedly cooperative new partners in governance — the right — that stands in his way, they will blame him for being too far left. It’s a trap.

Something tells me Digby has a Scrying pool somewhere on the grounds of her palatial estate, because the preceding sounds like an all-too-plausible dispatch from the near future. Look, change is not magic, nor is it going to bestowed upon us from on high by any individual, remarkable as he or she may be. It is going to take some hard goddamn work from the ground up and from all of us to move forward with a progressive agenda in the US, Canada and the rest of the world (or, at the very least, put a stop on the regressive course of the past 40 looooong years of movement conservative ascendancy.)

Party time’s over, kids; time to take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves and once again get down to the dirty business of making a better world. We’ve been given an opportunity. Let’s not squander it.

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