A Candidate Backed Medical Marijuana. Wells Fargo Closed Her Bank Account.

Wells Fargo has gotten worse by the month over the last year.  I keep feeling like they really don’t want to do business with people below a certain place on the economic scale.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/20/business/marijuana-candidate-wells-fargo.html

By Emily Flitter
Aug. 20, 2018

Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for agriculture commissioner in Florida, has made no secret of her support for medical marijuana.

Further expansion of the state’s program is the highest priority on her campaign website. Before entering the race, she ran a lobbying firm, Igniting Florida, and described herself as “one of most visible faces and key activists in Florida’s burgeoning medical cannabis industry.”

Even so, employees at Wells Fargo, where her campaign held an account, had questions about her platform.

The bank, which says it has a policy against serving marijuana-related businesses, had noticed that Ms. Fried was “advocating for expanded patient access to medical marijuana.” It asked the campaign in July whether it would be receiving money from “lobbyists from the medical marijuana industry in any capacity.”

The campaign replied that, yes, Ms. Fried would be receiving donations from lobbyists as well as “executives, employees and corporations in the medical marijuana industry.”

Last week, the campaign said it had received written notice that Wells Fargo was closing its account.

On Monday, Ms. Fried urged her supporters to consider pulling their money from the bank.

“This is absolutely unprecedented,” she said in a telephone interview. “I’ve been in this campaign since the beginning of June. Everybody in Florida knows that I’m one of the main proponents of the expansion of medical marijuana.”

Wells Fargo isn’t the first bank to close a customer’s account over money that could be related to the sale of marijuana, which is legal in some form in states including Florida but still prohibited by federal law.

That conflict has had banks large and small walking a line for more than a decade, since the first states began changing their cannabis laws. Marijuana growers have struggled to open and maintain bank accounts, and dispensaries have relied on cash to do business instead of credit cards. Businesses like construction companies and electricians that provide services to the growers and distributors have also had problems.

The biggest banks are traditionally the most cautious. But Wells Fargo’s scrutiny of Ms. Fried’s political beliefs set its decision apart.

“If a bank is going to start drawing a line based on a candidate’s particular advocacy, where does a bank draw that line?” asked Christian Bax, who until Aug. 10 was Florida’s medical marijuana director. “Is it going to extend to every candidate in Florida who advocates for medical marijuana?”

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to discuss Ms. Fried’s case specifically, but said the bank has a policy of avoiding the marijuana industry.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/20/business/marijuana-candidate-wells-fargo.html

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Feminism and Fame

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/267502/feminism-and-fame

In the third of four excerpts from Phyllis Chesler’s ‘A Politically Incorrect Feminist,’ fear of flying

By Phyllis Chesler
August 17, 2018

I had chosen to work with Betty Prashker, who was Kate Millett’s editor at Doubleday.

After Kate read Women and Madness, she immediately endorsed it, which made me very happy. This was new—women being able to blurb each other’s books in a way that impressed publishers. I called Kate to thank her. We made plans to get together.

I visited Kate at her farm near Poughkeepsie, New York. She viewed the land she had bought in a 19th-century kind of way, as the only thing that one can count on. Kate planned to grow Christmas trees and sell them to pay the taxes and for renovations. The property had three big buildings that needed upgrading and perpetual care. Kate also envisioned the place as a summer retreat for women artists, who would work on the farm half the day (mowing, planting, building) and on their own work the rest of the time.

Kate and I had a wonderful evening. She grilled thick steaks and opened bottle after bottle of wine, and we laughed about “our movement.” It was a bit like being in a college dormitory or like having a sister, something I knew nothing about.

We were up quite late. Kate said: “They may think they’ve seen everything, but wait until they see you. You’re something else.”

Our dear friend Linda Clarke tells me that Kate told her: “Phyllis is going straight to the top.”

How much pleasure I took in being able to pledge the sorority of our first feminist icon. Icons are mesmerizing. Kate was there first, right on the cover of Time magazine. Kate had died for our sins, so to speak. Kate knew how to boss women around, but all the bullying she’d done could not compare with how prominent anti-feminists mocked her and how lesbian feminists had bullied her into coming out as bisexual and/or as a lesbian. Kate also suffered resentment, envy, even hatred because she was famous. She wrote about this in her next book, Flying.

A year later, our editor, Betty, followed me into the bathroom and urged me to persuade Kate to remove “all the lesbian material” from Flying, because with it the book was not going to fly at Doubleday. I told her I couldn’t do that. Betty probably feared that the lesbian content would doom the book. How could she have known that a gay and lesbian movement would soon become a major and visible force fighting for equality?

Perhaps Betty also did not like the self-indulgent and demanding voice of the book, which I found Joycean and was the very thing that I admired about it.

In 1973, my friend Erica Jong’s comic novel Fear of Flying was published. It garnered John Updike’s effusive praise and began its path to best-sellerdom. Kate lost Doubleday and moved to Bob Gottlieb at Knopf, where the book was published in 1974 and bombed. I love both books.


Before the 1970s, most women who worked in publishing were secretaries and editorial assistants, were grossly underpaid, and watched as young man after young man was promoted to editor. Reviews of women’s books were not as frequent or as positive as reviews of books by men; more men reviewed books in mainstream and intellectual media than women did. Eventually feminists protested this and made some headway, but all too soon editors began to tap feminists who were at loggerheads ideologically to review each other’s works, which they were only too happy to do.

In the 1960s, women did not write feminist books. Women wrote some best-sellers, but mainly they were cookbooks or about sex, not liberation. Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl (1962) and William Masters and Virginia Johnson’s Human Sexual Response (1966) were sensations. Betty Friedan’s landmark book The Feminine Mystique (1963) was not an immediate best-seller.

However, from 1970 to 1975, “dancing dog” feminists (the phrase is Cynthia Ozick’s) turned out book after book. We were sought after, written up, interviewed, and could do no wrong. Suddenly our work was celebrated, and publishers or other writers gave us book parties.

At a book party for Alix Kates Shulman’s 1972 novel Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, Vivian Gornick rushed up to me, breathless and panicked.

“What does she want from me?” Vivian pleaded. “What am I supposed to do?”

“She” was the lesbian activist Rita Mae Brown.

Rita Mae casually strolled by and said: “Just look at her beautiful green cat eyes. I can’t stop looking at them.”

She was completely and defiantly oblivious to the panic she was causing.

Rita Mae, a daughter of poverty, went on to publish Rubyfruit Jungle, live briefly with the tennis star Martina Navratilova, settle down, fox-hunt in the Southern countryside, and write best-selling detective novels with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/267502/feminism-and-fame

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Massachusetts is now ground zero in fight for trans rights

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/22/massachusetts-will-be-ground-zero-for-transgender-rights-in-november

by Chris Johnson
August 22, 2018

Massachusetts will be ground zero in the fight for transgender rights on Election Day when state voters will decide whether to approve or reject a referendum aimed at compromising public bathroom access for transgender people.

The referendum, Question 3, seeks to repeal an update to the state’s non-discrimination law approved by the Massachusetts Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in 2015 barring discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations, including hotels, restaurants as well as public restrooms.

Should voters decide to repeal the law with a majority vote of “no” on the referendum, transgender people would still have recourse under state law if they faced discrimination in employment, housing and education, but not if they’re turned away in bathrooms or other public accommodations in Massachusetts.

David Topping, field director for Yes on 3, said the campaign is “working every day” to ensure Massachusetts voters know what’s at stake for transgender people if the referendum fails.

“It means transgender people can be transgender at home, they can be transgender at work, they can be transgender at school, but they can’t go out in public and be transgender,” Topping said.

Topping said Yes on 3 is “building a robust campaign” that includes staffers in major cities, such as Boston and Worcester. In terms of finances, Topping was reluctant to disclose goals, but said the campaign has a more than $1 million budget and reserved $1 million in airtime for TV ads throughout Massachusetts.

The stakes are high not just for transgender people in Massachusetts. The referendum marks the first time a transgender non-discrimination measure will come before voters at a statewide level. The results will likely impact the national discussion on such protections.

Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans, said the coalition seeking to uphold the law recognizes the outcome of the vote will have bearing outside Massachusetts.

“It’s a fight of tremendous local significance because it impacts the very basic ability of transgender people to just about their daily lives in public,” Suffredini said. “It also has national significance because it is the first statewide vote on transgender non-discrimination protections in our country’s history, and the anti-transgender activist who put this question on the ballot have said if they are successful in Massachusetts, they will work to roll back LGBT protections across the country.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/22/massachusetts-will-be-ground-zero-for-transgender-rights-in-november

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Why is the far right dominated by men?

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/17/why-is-the-far-right-dominated-by-men

It is time we take masculinity more seriously in discussions of the far right and right wing politics

Fri 17 Aug 2018

What if male identity, rather than racist ideology, is the most important reason why people join far-right groups? That is the central claim made by Michael Kimmel, a US sociologist, in his new book Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into – and Out of – Violent Extremism, which studies why young men join (and leave) extreme right groups in Germany, Sweden and the US.

While the central thesis is slightly overstated, the book is remarkably well-written and researched. Kimmel, a longtime scholar of men and masculinity, fills the book with quotes from his many interviews with so-called “formers”.

Almost everyone will have noted that far-right groups and rallies are predominantly male, from the original, deadly Unite the Right rally last year to the pathetic Unite the Right 2 last weekend, but Kimmel is one of the few to have made this the focus of his research.

From interviews with former activists, Kimmel summarizes that far-right groups use masculinity in three distinct, but related, ways. First, they use it to describe or explain their personal situation – for instance, you are single or unemployed because “Others” took your girl/job.

Second, masculinity is used to problematize “the other” – they are not real men because either they are too effeminate or too animalistic. Third, and finally, they use it to recruit members – you can regain your masculinity, and thus your girl and job, by fighting the “Others”.

While Kimmel’s conclusions are based on interviews with members of a specific subset of the far-right universe – mostly small neo-Nazi groups, which more resemble street gangs than political parties – the importance of masculinity has been noted in other far-right groups too. In Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, US historian Kathleen Belew argues that the origins of the contemporary white power movement, and particularly its paramilitary form, militias, are to be found in the trauma of the Vietnam war.

Belew shows the importance of Vietnam veterans in the white power movement – most notably Louis R Beam Jr, who popularized the notion of “leaderless resistance” within the far right, inspiring terrorists from Robert Jay Matthews to Timothy McVeigh. She also points out how the defeatist mood in the US led to a push for “remasculinization”, expressed through paramilitarization far-right subcultures. In other words, weekend warriors joined militias to regain their manhood as they prepared to protect America (especially women and children) from a range of perceived threats from non-white “barbarians” to so-called UN-operated “black helicopters” believed by conspiracy theorists to be plotting a takeover of the United States.

It is tricky to translate insights from smaller, more activist and extreme groups to the broader electorate. Still, it is clear that gender, and specifically masculinity, also plays a role in terms of the propaganda and appeal of radical right parties and politicians. Michael Kimmel’s earlier book, Angry White Men, originally published in 2013, noted the importance of masculinity in the broader rightwing subculture of America, ie “the Trump base before Trump”.

Most radical right parties have a clear gender gap in their electorate, which is usually roughly 60% male and 40% female, despite the fact that men and women support radical right attitudes to a largely similar extent. In fact, a recent study on “the demography of the alt-right” by George Hawley of the University of Alabama, showed that white US women have stronger feelings of “white identity” and “white solidarity” than white American men.

But just like extreme right groups, many radical right parties espouse a strongly gendered discourse, in which they appeal to a frail masculinity, threatened by emasculating feminists, effeminate liberals, and overly virile “Others”. While women are mainly presented as victims, particularly of the latter – rape of white women by non-white men is an age-old favorite of the far right – men are called upon to protect their “nation” or “race”.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/17/why-is-the-far-right-dominated-by-men

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If You Confirm Brett Kavanaugh, You’re Complicit In Trump’s Federal Crime

From Huffington Post:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-trump-kavanaugh-cohen_us_5b7c9cabe4b0348585fb612f

By Michelangelo Signorile

Donald Trump is an illegitimate president. He cheated and stole the election, and the man is now implicated in a federal crime. He simply can’t be allowed to continue with his presidential duties.

And any senator who votes to confirm his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh ― scheduled for confirmation hearings in two weeks ― is complicit in the president’s stolen election and his alleged federal crime.

That may sound unrealistic and extreme; however, we’re in a massive national political crisis unlike anything many of us have ever seen. And it calls for speaking boldly and demanding strong action.

Let’s look at the facts.

Many things could have impacted the 2016 election and handed it to Trump, who lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College by less than 80,000 votes in three states. Russia’s interference, James Comey’s late letter on Hillary Clinton’s emails, and voter suppression in swing states all likely played a role.

But on Tuesday, Trump’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen admitted ― under oath in a court of law ― that he was directed by the then-presidential candidate to pay off two women to stay silent about their stories of sexual affairs with Trump. This demonstrates a deliberate and direct action by the Trump campaign to interfere with the 2016 election.

Had the allegations of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal been made public in the last weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump would have surely experienced a loss of support, coming on the heels of the already-damaging Access Hollywood tape. Even a small dip could have been enough to cost him the race.

Any senator who votes for Kavanaugh legitimizes Trump’s stolen election ― and must be held accountable.

And in fact, Trump knew the women’s stories would sink him ― so much so that, according to Cohen (I repeat, under oath in a court of law), Trump directed his former lawyer to move ahead with the payments and negotiations.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight criminal counts, including bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He told a federal court in Manhattan that “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate,” he and the head of a media company conspired in the summer of 2016 to keep an individual (very likely McDougal) from disclosing information that could hurt “the candidate.” (That media figure is loyal Trump supporter David Pecker of America Media, which bought the rights to McDougal’s story for its publication The National Enquirer, then killed it.) And Cohen admitted he worked “in coordination” with the same candidate to make a payment to another woman ― very likely Stormy Daniels.

Continue reading at:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-trump-kavanaugh-cohen_us_5b7c9cabe4b0348585fb612f

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