PressWatch: sexing the worker
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Speaking of corporations, I finally started using Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, I’m listed as “first name Press, last name Watch.” On Twitter, it’s “kboopresswatch.” The idea is to use social networking services to expand the effect of the polemics and counterpropaganda that I produce on the PressWatch program, so here’s hoping it has some effect. And yes, I’m afraid of it…..(shudder)…..
KBOO is reaching the far end of Membership Drive, so I’d like to re-introduce myself. I am Theresa Mitchell, and I began writing and producing short counterpropaganda broadcasts for community radio in Austin, Texas, in 1987. At that time I was concerned that US imperial adventures versus the people of Central America were being misrepresented as a necessary defense against Soviet expansionism, while it was really about corporate control of labor and agricultural resources. By 1990, it was becoming clear that the focus of US war efforts was shifting to the Middle East, despite a vicious invasion against the people of Panama in 1989. I moved to the NorthWest looking for work, and KBOO began broadcasting my PressWatch tapes, so that for a while the program was going in Austin and in Portland.
In 2001, I finally gave up denying my androgyne nature, and I transitioned to a female name and social role. I did it publicly, marking my progress and defeats on the air, using the experience as an opportunity to examine and criticize gender roles and patriarchy here in the US. Any psychological counselor can tell you that’s not a safe nor easy route to gender transitioning, and I paid the price with mental stress, losing many hours at my workplace. After years of public abuse, due in part to the fact that I have been denied feminization surgery, I lost nine months of work in 2007. Thanks to union power I was able to return to work last year, though my workplace still maintains a special rider in their insurance policy that prevents medical care for transgenderism.
As the health care debate rages, or rather as the popular demand against the health denial industry breaks against the bulwark of corporate rule in Congress, I see my little struggle against workplace bigotry as a side issue. Four hundred people will lose their lives today to protect the profits of the health denial industry. That is not to say that my struggle is altogether insignificant, because there are other transgendered persons suffering this sort of oppression, and as long as the myth of “lifestyle choice” can be wielded against me, it can be used to bludgeon others. And though even the health denial business now offers surgery to transgendered workers, workplaces sometimes insist that the condition be excluded. Mine does. My workplace is a municipal bus service, where I am visible as a pre-op trans driver to hundreds of persons each day.
The American Medical Association came out with a resolutions 114, 115, and 122, more than a year ago,
showing that exclusions like those maintained by TriMet, where I work, waste money by creating stress-induced work losses and suicides. I estimate that, if TriMet saved ten thousand per year by maintaining the discriminatory rider against transgendered care in their Blue Cross account in 2007, then they wasted the equivalent of twenty thousand bus fares that year alone, by hiring a special investigator out of California to harass me, and by having to pay other workers to replace my work for nine months.
But at least they didn’t have to give in and provide equal medical care for transgendered persons, nor did they have to allow any worker’s compensation to be paid to me during that time. Patriarchy won, transgender equality lost. I almost lost my house and I spent every cent of my savings, as I lost nine months’ wages, trying to recover my sanity after years of public abuse and violence. The amount and impact of that public abuse could have been greatly mitigated by facial feminization surgery and vocal coaching, but my employers chose to waste the money. All this, to maintain the fiction that transgendered persons like me are just deranged perverts, who have somehow outwitted the medical and psychological communities. All this, to hold off an imagined flood of transgender claims, which even the AMA says doesn’t happen. All this, really, to protect the fragile psyches of fundamentalist men and women, who cannot endure the idea that transgenderism is real, that gender roles are exaggerated and exchangeable, that women and men are actually equal.
So, I lose and you lose too, as my workplace and other workplaces quietly crush transgendered persons, as the Defense of Marriage Act voids my marriage, as the religious Right continues its wave of oppression against American citizens. But here at KBOO, ordinary people have a voice, and transgendered persons are treated equally. Here at KBOO my transgenderism was never cause to discriminate against me. Here the standard is community, not profit and not conformity to systems of oppression. Maybe that’s because we get our funding and our participation directly from our listener base—that’s you.
Swine flu is now a multibillion-dollar global business boon. Millions of flu vaccines are being shipped across the world. Many persons are wary of taking the jab, and given the rampant corruption that has characterized Big Pharma from diethylstilbestrol to Vioxx, it’s a reasonable wariness. An article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News by LJ Anderson says “…the current stock of U.S. swine flu vaccines does not contain adjuvants, according to Anne Schuchat, MD, in an informational video produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Schuchat does acknowledge that there is an emergency provision to use them — should the pandemic accelerate. Adjuvants are being used in swine flu vaccines in countries outside of the United States, including Canada, Europe and Australia. However, even though Canada is using an adjuvanted vaccine, it has also ordered 1.8 million doses of the unadjuvanted vaccine for use in pregnant women and children under the age of 3.”
The principal adjuvant being discussed is squalene, and that is where additional potential profits come in. The existing stock of vaccine, though massive, may not be enough for a truly violent outbreak of disease, and one way to deal with that is to dilute the existing vaccine and boost its action on the immune system with squalene. Squalene is an extract that may be found in olives or shark liver oil, and it is harmless when ingested but produces a frantic immune response when injected. The question is whether a massive rush to produce diluted vaccines might force the use of squalene, thereby providing a tremendous opportunity to test the stuff for future usage, and of course future profits.
In the meantime the jury is still out as to whether the swine flu pandemic will turn monstrous. I had a dream a few nights ago in which I could see a downtown area from a distance, and I could see Godzilla walking around. She was just sniffing the skyscrapers as if wondering whether this would be a good time to start a rampage. So you see the metaphor—the swine flu has that potential, clearly, to become a rampaging Godzilla, but we don’t know if that will happen or not yet.
There have been some cases worldwide of what I would call the “godzilla version,” that is, a sudden and massive assault on the body that kills practically overnight. Often the victims are young people or children who suddenly cannot breathe and turn blue. The disease is also showing a bizarre tendency to reinfect, according to this information from Dr. Henry Niman:
….areas that had high levels of H1N1 in the spring are seeing a resurgence of infections in the fall. One such area is Buffalo, NY which was heavily impacted in the fall, including the deaths of two students who attended schools within a mile of each. H1N1 was confirmed in most zip codes within the city (see map). However, this fall there have been major outbreaks in school districts in or adjacent to Buffalo, raising concerns of re-infections. Such re-infections are supported by anecdotal reports of people infected in the spring and fall, or twice in the fall. [….more….]
The interview that I conducted with Dr. Niman in August is still relevant to the issue, find it on the KBOO.fm website, which has been updated and improved:
Europe needs gas. Millions of households currently depend on Russian pipeline gas for winter heating. Right now there are efforts to turn to non-fossil-fuel sources, renewable sources such as wave energy and solar power and cogeneration, but these efforts are underfunded compared to the Big Oil pipeline projects. When you wonder why there’s such a push to destroy Iran with bombs, remember these names: Nebucco and North Star. These are the names of massive pipeline projects that will cross continents and seas to bring gas from Caspian Basin fields to market in Europe. There’s a problem or two with their completion, however: the Afghans don’t seem to be willing to allow their country to be used to hold the pipelines in a direct routes, and Iran insists on claiming that the gas reserves under their soil belong to them and not to Big Oil profiteers. The answer is war, a massive US and Israeli carpet bombing campaign that will terrorize, murder and annihilate the Iranians and allow a puppet government to be installed.
If the war can go forward, Iran can yield its remaining 130 billion barrels of liquid oil to the profiteers. If it can be stopped, that oil can sit in the ground and the green energy revolution can go forward. Which would you prefer?