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Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 01:32 PM PDT

Negotiating vs. Hostage-Taking

by kyril

Dear media,

It has come to my attention that you are confused about the difference between negotiating and hostage-taking in the context of politics. You appear to be under the mistaken impression that there is a failure to negotiate and compromise on both sides of the aisle.

Please refer to this short and simple guide in order to avoid making the same mistake going forward.

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No matter what you think of the recent military coup in Egypt, I hope you'll be inspired and heartened by this young man. He speaks with force and clarity on economics, religion and its role in government, democracy, women's rights, and the rule of law, while making an incredibly important meta-point about the importance of both substance and process in democracy.

[video is subtitled; transcript below the fold]

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Welcome! If you're reading, I'm going to assume that you're already aware of the recent NSA domestic surveillance revelations. But for those who need a motivation boost, I'd like to point you to Thomas Drake's excellent post from this morning.

As the second order of business, I'd like to introduce you to RestoreTheFourth, whose logo you see at the top of the diary.


1. What is RestoreTheFourth?

RestoreTheFourth is a nonpartisan grassroots coalition that seeks to restore the rights guaranteed to the American people under the Fourth Amendment. We believe that the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA, combined with modern information technology, have given the U.S. government unprecedented and unacceptable powers of search and seizure of Americans' electronic documents, and we intend to correct that overreach.

2. Are you working for (Ron Paul/Rand Paul/Glenn Greenwald/Edward Snowden/the Republican Party/the Democratic Party/the Flying Spaghetti Monster/the Catholic Church/the Cato Institute/George Soros/Al Qaeda/Alex Jones/Cthulhu)?

No. We are not an astroturf organization. We are not working for or with any elected official or candidate, unless they are participating anonymously as an ordinary citizen. We are absolutely not working for or with any political or religious organization, any foreign group, or any enemy of the United States. We have no communication with Edward Snowden or his media contacts other than through the same publicly-accessible channels as everyone else.

3. You're posting on Daily Kos. Doesn't that mean you're a Democrat?

I, personally, am a civil libertarian social democrat who would vote (D) if I were a U.S. citizen. I'm posting on Daily Kos because I'm an established user and I believe I can tap into the wealth of experienced organizers and protesters here.

RestoreTheFourth, however, is absolutely nonpartisan and focused on this single specific issue which cuts across party lines. Last night in the planning chat, I was privileged to enjoy a civil, uplifting, spirited, and respectful discussion among Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents. While we may disagree on many issues, we agree that we should be allowed to talk about them without all of our communications being collected and datamined. We believe that if we remain focused on the issues that unite us, we can remain united.

4. Where are you getting your funding?

At the moment, we have no external sources of funding. All of our work has been done entirely by volunteers. Individual members have used their own private funds to pay for some small expenses. At the moment, we have not decided how we will pay for any larger expenses, although crowdfunding has been proposed.

5. How do you feel about President Obama?

Individual opinions vary. As a group, we have no consensus opinion, nor do we intend to attempt to reach one.

6. But you're accusing him of breaking the law!

That's not a question. But no, not exactly. We acknowledge that the NSA surveillance activities that we know about were, as far as we know, conducted under color of law. We believe that the relevant law is unconstitutional; however, since FISA court rulings are secret, it has until now been impossible to even know exactly what the law is, much less prove standing to challenge it in court. We intend to rectify that situation.

7. What do you plan to do about it?

We are organizing a nationwide day of protest on July 4, 2013.

8. How can I get involved?

Check out the Action Guide below the fold.


What are you going to do about the NSA surveillance program?

14%4 votes
3%1 votes
7%2 votes
28%8 votes
35%10 votes
7%2 votes
3%1 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:07 PM PDT

Organizing Action against NSA Spying

by kyril

Are you tired of talking about Edward Snowden and the Case of the High School Diploma? Do you want to know what you can do about the recently-revealed NSA spying programs? Are you wondering why the site is devoid of action diaries on the subject? Do you want to organize a protest, or find one in your area?

Well, then, you've come to the right place.

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What women have been trying to tell Republicans for the last 50 years (or more):

"Women care about all of the same things that men do: the economy, jobs, foreign policy, education, health care, the environment."

What Republicans actually believe about women:

"Women's entire lives revolve around babies and possibly small children."

What happens when Republicans attempt to reconcile those two statements: The head-exploding result, below the fold.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM PDT


by kyril

Let's play "make-believe" for a minute.

Let's pretend that yesterday, someone you like very much, a young activist relatively recently-arrived on the public scene, had some sort of mental breakdown. Perhaps it was Markos Moulitsas. Maybe he broke down due to the pressure of publicity and a flurry of negative press around Operation Hilarity. Maybe he suffered a psychotic break due to a longstanding latent illness. You don't know exactly what happened, at this point, and neither does anyone else except his doctors.

What you do know is that he did something horrifyingly embarrassing in his delusional state. Perhaps he stood in the street naked shouting gibberish. Perhaps that part's even on video. There are reports that some 911 callers thought he was masturbating.

It's possible that the cops who first arrived on the scene thought he might have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. After talking with him for a few moments, however, they decided he needed mental health treatment and committed him to a 72-hour observation period in an inpatient facility. That's all anybody knows.

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Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 10:48 PM PST

An Open Letter to the Hon. Leon Panetta

by kyril

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I served in the United States Navy from 2004 until I was honorably discharged in 2008. As a veteran, I am familiar with the Armed Forces Network; AFN TV was available aboard ship, and AFN Radio was available at most of the Navy bases my unit visited on overseas deployments.

When I was deployed, I greatly appreciated AFN; it was a slice of home. I generally found the programming selection to be excellent, and I appreciated that there did not appear to be any form of ideological censorship. While some shows were not to my taste, others were, and in general most were well-received by a majority of the people with whom I served.

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Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:05 PM PDT

Celebrating Marriage Equality

by kyril

Crossposted at OneAngryQueer

The "party line" in the trans community whenever the LGB community wins something is that we were somehow thrown under the bus, ignored, failed by our allies. I'm sure the NY legislature's failure to pass GENDA has already been beaten to death by our self-appointed spokespeople.

But I won't actually be reading those spokespeople's blogs in the wake of this victory. Neither, I suspect, will a lot of other trans people. You see, a lot of us are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. And while the "party line" blogs might begrudgingly acknowledge this when it suits their purposes, they'll quickly forget it whenever the LGBT community actually wins something, because LGB trans people don't fit neatly into the "LGB vs. T" narrative.

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 07:43 AM PDT

Liveblog: NN11 LGBT Netroots Connect

by kyril

Hi all! I'm here at Netroots Nation at a great pre-convention meetup for LGBT bloggers from across the blogosphere. I've never liveblogged before, but giving it a shot.

Follow us on Twitter at #NN11 and #NN11LGBT.

9:15 am: Mike Rogers kicks off the event. Tears up a few times. Very excited.
9:20 am: Looks like half the room is here for their very first Netroots Nation
9:35 am: Set up rules of engagement. Everything on the record, no presonal attacks, no fake lesbians.
9:38 am: What are the things the gay community isn't talking about that we should be talking about? We talk about marriage a lot - what are our neglected issues?
9:39 am: Amp up pressure on Feds re: healthcare

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This'll be a short one.

Janet Mock has an enviable career, a supportive man, and a fabulous head of hair. But she's also got a remarkable secret that she's kept from almost everyone she knows. Now, she breaks her silence.

I was Born a Boy
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I watched "Becoming Chaz" today, and I hated it.

I don't write this lightly. After all, it's not as though portrayals of trans men in the mass media are a dime a dozen. We have Brandon Teena being raped and murdered in Boys Don't Cry in the '90s, and now we have Becoming Chaz in 2011. That's basically it. So I suppose in some ways I should be grateful that there now exists a widely-viewed movie about a trans man who actually survives through the whole thing. I wanted to like it, if only for that reason.

But that's just not enough to counteract the fact that Becoming Chaz perpetuates some deeply problematic framing. It buys wholesale into the narrative that cis people impose on trans people. In a lot of ways, in fact, it's a step back from Boys Don't Cry, the survival of the protagonist notwithstanding.

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Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 08:19 PM PDT

Sex and Science

by kyril

*This is not a community diary or a safe space. I am willing to engage conflicting opinions and evidence in the comments, even when expressed insensitively. Please only HR comments that are off-topic, deliberately inflammatory, or personal attacks.*

LGBT advocates are often accused of being anti-science. It's claimed that we operate from a 'faith-based' position in which individual experience is granted precedence over objective reality and scientific facts.

Since I am a science student and active researcher, the son of a professional scientist, and an activist for science education and science in public policy, this accusation cuts deeply for me in particular. There are many other LGBT people working in scientific fields who probably feel similarly.

I am not a biologist or psychologist or formally educated in either field. But over the years of coming to accept myself as trans, I took an active interest in the science of sexuality and sexual development because it bothered me that the things I could not help believing about myself clashed with what I had been taught about biological reality. When I was young, I dismissed my male identity as some sort of crazy delusion because it didn't match with what I knew about the world. So I can understand where those of who who think trans activism is anti-science are coming from; I was there once.

However, over the years I've spent more time reading the relevant science and come to the conclusion that the world is a lot more complicated than what we are taught in high school biology. Human development is a sequence of extremely complicated, time-sensitive interactions between genes and the environment, where things can (and do) often go differently than predicted. I'd like to share what I know about the details of human sexual development and why "XY = male, XX = female" is not a simple scientific fact.

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