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Below are the 3 most recent journal entries recorded in lizo_essays' LiveJournal:

Friday, October 13th, 2006
6:43 pm
Genitals are Important
Our genitals are the most physically sensitive parts of our bodies. They are crucial to our existence as humans. What happens to those genitals is important and deeply personal. Surgical procedures on one’s genitals are never taken lightly. And yet, in the United States, the genitals of thousands are drastically surgically altered every day without the individual’s consent – under the law. These individuals are intersex infants, many of whom grow up feeling mutilated and confused as a result of surgery that failed to take their best interests into account.

Intersex genitals – genitals that are not easily distinguished as “male” or “female” – disturb many people in our culture, which fears androgyny. The parent’s of intersex babies are often very distressed by their child’s “abnormality.” However, distress of third parties is hardly a justification for surgery that will be life-altering for the child.

Surgery on intersex infants that has no medical purpose is considered “corrective” and “normalizing.” However, many people, especially intersex people, see no need for such a correction. Dr. Suzanne Kessler of State University of New York at Purchase polled college students recently on the subject. Note that most ambiguous genitalia are either a large clitoris or a small penis.
Women were asked to imagine that they had been born with a larger than normal clitoris, and that physicians had recommended surgery to reduce its size. One fourth of the women indicated that they would not have wanted the clitoral reduction surgery under any circumstance; one quarter would have wanted surgery only if the clitoris caused health problems, and the remaining 1/4 would have wanted the size of their clitoris reduced only if the surgery would not have entailed any reduction in pleasurable sensitivity.
Men were asked to imagine that they had been born with a smaller than normal penis, and physicians had recommended reassigning the boy as female and surgically altering the genitals to appear female. All but one man indicated that they would not have wanted surgery under any circumstance.
Clearly, most of us would prefer our genitals not to be operated on, especially with risks of less sensitivity and no real medical need. However, these are the conditions under which most intersex infants are operated on.

The warrant for this surgery is the belief that someone of an ambiguous sex or gender cannot live a worthwhile or happy life and that sex/gender must be assigned at birth. One need only meet a few happy intersex people, trangender and transsexual people, genderqueers, drag kings and drag queens, masculine women, feminine men, androgynous people or other people who transcend the binary gender code to realize that many people are content with different or ambiguous gender identities. In some cultures, hermaphroditic features are accepted, or even sacred. Before the advent of “corrective” surgeries, intersex people lived their lives, most not desiring to change their bodies. When asked if intersex people faired well before the predominance of “corrective” surgery, Christian Matta, who recently wrote a scholarly article on intersex history, said that the surgery is “inexplicable, given that historically, adults with intersex were, by default, completely in control of their anatomies. Even if they had reason to consult a doctor (and those who did almost always did so for reasons that had nothing to do with their genitals), very few individuals were interested in the “solutions” doctors spontaneously offered.” It is true that an intersex child will probably get made fun of at some point in life for their gender and their genitals. But if parents are afraid that their children will be alienated or antagonized by others, they need to start changing societal fear and hostility around non-normative gender instead of changing their child’s genitals.

Clearly, it is more than possible for intersex people to be happy without operation, and many intersex people, like the ones that are part of the Intersex Society of North America, are chagrined with the surgery done without their permission. There are, no doubt, some intersex people that would choose some degree of surgical change to their genitals. However, people must be allowed to make conscious decisions about their own genitals.
6:36 pm
Impeach Bush? Why bother?
Soon, George W. Bush may be in impeachment hearings for lying about the reasons for war in Iraq, illegal wire-tapping, violating the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, using government funds for domestic propaganda and holding prisoners without charge or legal representation (“Impeach Bush”). Even in the mainstream media, calls for impeachment can be heard. However, the injustices committed by the Bush administration are only part of a larger picture. The context of the Bush administration is a society that is dominated by private corporate interests.

The term “fascism” is commonly associated with ideas of racial supremacy and mass genocide, but this connotation is misleading. Economically, fascism is called “corporatism,” a system in which an unelected corporate oligarchy is an integral part of the state. And as Mussolini, fascist leader of Italy in the early 20th century, puts it, “The Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State” (DiLorenzo). The true nature of fascism is about the domination of wealthy, private interests in government. It is a political ideal in which the people are servants of a powerful central government run by an elite – radically different from the concept of democracy, in which the government is run by common people and serves the common good. Before World War II, fascism was openly revered by American and British politicians and intellectuals. The essential components of fascism are at work in our government today (DiLorenzo).

The outright, unabashed fascism practiced by Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s and ‘40s is essentially extinct, but incognito fascism that calls itself “democracy” (a.k.a. crypto-fascism) still runs rampant. The social and economic policies of the United States are increasingly fascist, starting far before the Bush presidency, but accelerating since his (questionable) election. Dr. Lawrence Britt, who examined six fascist regimes, wrote an article on their themes, detailing what he calls the “definitive signs of fascism.” Key to his definition are nationalism, fear – especially fear over nation security – used to persuade the public, protection of corporate power and suppression of labor power, use of “with us or against us” scapegoat rhetoric, military supremacy, disdain for international law and human rights, control of mass media, corruption in government and corporations, religious rhetoric in government and fraudulent elections. According to his definition, the following are signs of fascism:
• de-funding of education, especially of the arts
• recent federal censorship and de-funding of public broadcasting
• the K Street Project, which pressures lobbying firms to appoint Republican lobbyists and rewards loyalists with access to influential officials
• disproportionately great military spending – about half of the federal tax dollar
• labeling of environmental groups as “eco-terrorist”
• multi-billion-dollar no-bid contracts given to corporations tied to figures in the federal government, such as the total $10.77 billion given to Halliburton, which was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney
• recent creation of the Military Channel, the Pentagon Channel and the Military History Channel
• national push to ban gay marriage and abortion
• American authorities shutting down webservers used by independent media websites
• 2005 report showing that the U.S. “has been engaged in illegal propaganda to control its own citizens,” which gets only 41 mentions total in the U.S. media
• color-coded terrorist threat levels (which never officially fall below “elevated”)
• use of terrorists and liberals as scapegoats
• “support our troops” ribbons and patriotic slogans, especially “United We Stand” appearing everywhere
• Tom Delay and Enron corruption scandals
• creation of a permanent national police force
• questionable fraudulency of last two elections
• monitoring of pacifist social justice groups as “terrorists”
• illegal wire-tapping of citizens without a warrant
• the Patriot Act, which takes away state rights and individual liberties for the sake of national security (“14 Points of Fascism”)

Without clearly and openly defining itself as fascist, our society is one in which government officials and their corporate allies are gaining more and more power and wealth at the expense of common people.

Considering the fact that this elite currently controls not only which candidates are running in the two major parties, but probably the outcome of elections themselves, it is doubtful that impeaching George W. Bush would do much long-term good. Few people involved in politics, and none of those who are top officials, are free of ties to corporate oligarchy or the insiders’ cult of the elite. In the last presidential election, Bush ran against John Kerry, fellow member of the Skull and Bones club at Yale, which is closely tied to the tight-knight intelligence community. Although the secret society is a college club, it is a very serious cult (with worshipped idols and all) that concentrates on getting its alumni into positions of power (“Skull and Bones”). At no point has Kerry challenged Bush’s occupation of Iraq, his siphoning of money to corporations, the Patriot Act, or any other important component of American fascism (Pilger). It is foolish to think that replacing Bush with some other elite individual like Kerry is going to change to dynamic of American fascism.

Without a widespread consciousness about the underlying trend of our government toward fascism, an equitable future for common Americans will not be had, no matter which corporate puppet is sitting in the White House. Impeachment and re-election is a minor change of cast, not a change of plot. As corporate oligarchy takes hold of our state, we can no longer look to the functions of our government to serve or protect us, but we can serve and protect ourselves. Those who wish to centralize control of society make one crucial mistake: they fail to realize that one can only control what allows itself to be controlled. The only authority one has is the authority one is given. Therefore, to preserve the notion of liberty that we, the American people, hold so dear, we must reach out and take it for ourselves. The most revolutionary thing we can do is not to blow up a building somewhere, but rather to continue to live our lives freely, think for ourselves, and express our dissent.
Monday, August 15th, 2005
9:57 pm
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