Once and for all: Hormone replacement is good for women

From The L.A. Times:  https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-bluming-tavris-hormone-replacement-therapy-20190131-story.html

By Avrum Bluming and Carol Tavris
Jan 31, 2019

Over its long history, hormone replacement therapy for women in menopause has been the Jekyll and Hyde of medications. It has careened from savior to villain, from cure-all for every female complaint to poison. And when in 2002, the National Institutes of Health-funded, $1-billion Women’s Health Initiative loudly announced that women taking HRT had an increased risk of breast cancer, its role as “savior” all but disappeared. Other dire alleged consequences included heart disease, stroke, dementia and even “all-cause mortality.”

Understandably, millions of women panicked, along with much of the medical establishment, and dropped the option of hormone therapy altogether. (Estrogen is given by itself to women who have had hysterectomies and, as HRT, in combination with progesterone to those who still have a uterus.)

The good news about estrogen has been lost: namely that more than 70 years of findings from animal studies, human studies, observational studies and randomized controlled studies demonstrate the benefits of estrogen. Most remarkably, the research shows the failure of the accepted hypothesis that estrogen causes breast cancer. In fact, estrogen has been successfully used as a treatment for women with the disease, and, remarkably, it can often be safely administered to most women who have had breast cancer.

Women on hormone replacement therapy live, on average, several years longer than those not taking it.

Heart disease, not cancer, is the leading cause of death for women in every decade of their lives (it is even the leading cause of death for breast cancer survivors). Hormone replacement therapy can decrease that risk by 30% to 50%. It can also cut in half the risk of osteoporotic hip fracture — a crucial benefit because as many older women die annually after breaking a hip as die of breast cancer. And numerous animal and human studies indicate that estrogen is the only intervention that prevents or reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in women.

HRT is the most effective treatment for familiar menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness and loss of sexual desire, and for the less familiar symptoms: heart palpitations, joint and muscle aches, headaches, bladder problems and depression. Forget the black cohosh and chaste tree; they are no better than placebos.

Finally, because of estrogen’s benefits for heart, brain and bones, women on hormone replacement therapy live, on average, several years longer than those not taking it. This is one reason that the North American Menopause Society and 30 other international groups concluded that “there are no data to support routine discontinuation [of HRT] in women age 65 years.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-bluming-tavris-hormone-replacement-therapy-20190131-story.html

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How Prohibition Fueled the Klan

All of the below applies to “Reefer Madness” Anti-Jazz, Anti-Rock and Roll, Anti-LGBT, War on Drugs, Crack Crisis, Opiod Crisis and Gun Control.

All of the above are aimed at controlling minorities and the lower classes. The main benificiaries are the wealthy in the Law/Criminal Justice Prison Industrial Complex.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/opinion/prohibition-immigration-klan.html

The 1920s weren’t just gin joints and jazz. Anti-immigrant racism was all the rage.

By Lisa McGirr
Jan. 16, 2019

On Jan. 16, 1919, Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the manufacture, sale, import or transportation of intoxicating liquors. The Prohibition era had begun.

Prohibition looms large in the national imagination even today as the era of gangsters and gin joints. Less often do we reflect on what motivated the country to adopt it and maintain it for 14 years. While the country faced a real problem of excessive drinking, powerful anti-immigrant hostility is what drove this monumental act of constitutional overreach.

Today, as we find ourselves in the midst of another fight over immigration, it is worth revisiting the role that nativism played in driving, and later enforcing, Prohibition. The consequences of that battle reverberated for decades to come. It sparked a vast expansion of the repressive capacities of the federal government and a rise of right-wing extremism, led by a revived Ku Klux Klan. It also forged a new political coalition that would bring ethnic working-class voters into the Democratic Party, where they would remain for much of the century.

Temperance and Prohibition had been popular causes throughout the 19th century, but supporters didn’t reach a critical mass until the era of mass immigration at the turn of the century. With more than a million men and women coming to the United States in 1907 alone, anti-liquor crusaders railed against a “foreign invasion of undeveloped races.” The boisterous drinking culture of the ubiquitous working-class saloon, dominated by immigrant men, seemed to make manifest the dangers mass immigration posed to a white native Protestant American way of life.

During World War I, the Anti-Saloon League, the self-declared Protestant Church in action, fanned nativist flames: With the large brewing companies in the hands of German immigrants, the league declared the abolition of “the un-American,” “home wrecking, treasonable liquor traffic” the most patriotic act. Congress concurred, sending the 18th Amendment to the states on Dec. 22, 1917.

Ratification sped through the states in record time, stunning its ecstatic supporters: “The rain of tears is over. … Hell will be forever for rent,” the flamboyant evangelical preacher Billy Sunday proclaimed. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the powerful grass-roots female reform organization at the core of the anti-liquor crusade, raised an American flag at its campaign headquarters in Evanston, Ill. Church bells rang at many Protestant churches in celebration of “Uncle Sam’s knockout blow … that set John Barleycorn and all his cohorts to the mat.”

The utopian hopes of Billy Sunday and his ilk that the 18th Amendment would turn “our prisons into factories” quickly evaporated. The vast and powerful federal agencies in charge of policing Prohibition as of January, 1920, along with state and local enforcement, overcrowded court dockets, changed legal doctrine and flooded prisons, but they did little to meet Prohibitionists’ almost impossible ambitions.

Newly hired and poorly trained Prohibition agents, along with local and state police, targeted violators at the margins, but they lacked the capacity, and at times the will, to go after powerful crime kingpins. Chicago’s Al Capone, Ohio’s George Remus, New York’s Arnold Rothstein and Seattle’s Roy Olmstead amassed large fortunes in the profitable illicit drink trade, oiling their violent supply rings with payoffs to judges, senators and officers on the beat.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/opinion/prohibition-immigration-klan.html

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The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture

I don’t generally like David Brooks, but he has written some commentary recently that really hit home regarding the Call Out Culture and Social Justice Warrior phenomena.

Back at the end 2000 I on a number of “mailing lists” where I found myself being attacked by both TERFs and Trans-Feminists.  I was vulnerable at that point and had it not been for a couple of people, one of whom is my spouse I might well have committed suicide.

The Call Out Warriors bear a close resemblance to lynch mobs, too ready to do terrible violence to people chosen as targets.  I can’t for the life of me see one iota of difference between them and the MRAs who have targeted certain women for life destroying harassment.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html

How not to do social change.

By David Brooks
Jan. 14, 2019

A number of months ago, I listened to a podcast that has haunted me since — because it captures something essential about our culture warrior moment. It was from NPR’s always excellent “Invisibilia” series and it was about a woman named Emily.

Emily was a member of the hard-core punk music scene in Richmond, Va. One day, when she was nearly 30, she was in a van with her best friend, who was part of a prominent band. They were heading to a gig in Florida when the venue called to cancel their appearance. A woman had accused Emily’s best friend of sending her an unwelcome sexually explicit photograph.

His bandmates immediately dismissed her allegations. But inwardly Emily seethed. Upon returning to Richmond, she wrote a Facebook post denouncing her best friend as an abuser. “I disown everything he has done. I do not think it’s O.K. … I believe women.”

The post worked. He ended up leaving the band and disappeared from the punk scene. Emily heard rumors that he’d been fired from his job, kicked out of his apartment, had moved to a new city and was not doing well. Emily never spoke with him again.

Meanwhile, she was fronting her own band. But in October 2016, she, too, got called out. In high school, roughly a decade before, someone had posted a nude photo of a female student. Emily replied with an emoji making fun of the girl. This was part of a wider pattern of her high school cyberbullying.

A post denouncing Emily also went viral. She, too, was the object of nationwide group hate. She was banned from the punk scene. She didn’t leave the house for what felt like months. Her friends dropped her. She was scared, traumatized and alone. She tried to vanish.

“It’s entirely my life,” she told “Invisibilia” tearfully. “Like, this is everything to me. And it’s all just, like, done and over.”

But she accepted the legitimacy of the call-out process. If she was called out it must mean she deserved to be rendered into a nonperson: “I don’t know what to think of myself other than, like, I am so sorry. And I do feel like a monster.”

The guy who called out Emily is named Herbert. He told “Invisibilia” that calling her out gave him a rush of pleasure, like an orgasm. He was asked if he cared about the pain Emily endured. “No, I don’t care,” he replied. “I don’t care because it’s obviously something you deserve, and it’s something that’s been coming. … I literally do not care about what happens to you after the situation. I don’t care if she’s dead, alive, whatever.”

When the interviewer, Hanna Rosin, showed skepticism, he revealed that he, too, was a victim. His father beat him throughout his childhood.

In this small story, we see something of the maladies that shape our brutal cultural moment. You see how zealotry is often fueled by people working out their psychological wounds. You see that when denunciation is done through social media, you can destroy people without even knowing them. There’s no personal connection that allows apology and forgiveness.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html

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Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

A new study shows that gender-nonconforming kids who go on to transition already have a strong sense of their true identity—one that differs from their assigned gender.

Jan 15, 2019

Since 2013, Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, has been running a large, long-term study to track the health and well-being of transgender children—those who identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Since the study’s launch, Olson has also heard from the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, who consistently defy gender stereotypes but have not socially transitioned. They might include boys who like wearing dresses or girls who play with trucks, but who have not, for example, changed the pronouns they use. Those parents asked whether their children could participate in the study. Olson agreed.

After a while, she realized that she had inadvertently recruited a sizable group of 85 gender-nonconforming participants, ages 3 to 12. And as she kept in touch with the families over the years, she learned that some of those children eventually transitioned. “Enough of them were doing it that we had this unique opportunity to look back at our data to see whether the kids who went on to transition were different to those who didn’t,” Olson says.

By studying the 85 gender-nonconforming children she recruited, her team has now shown, in two separate ways, that those who go on to transition do so because they already have a strong sense of their identity.

This is a topic for which long-term data are scarce. And as transgender identities have gained more social acceptance, more parents are faced with questions about whether and how to support their young gender-nonconforming children.

“There’s a lot of public writing focused on the idea that we have no idea which of these gender-nonconforming kids will or will not eventually identify as trans,” says Olson. And if only small proportions do, as some studies have suggested, the argument goes that “they shouldn’t be transitioning.” She disputes that idea. “Our study suggests that it’s not random,” she says. “We can’t say this kid will be trans and this one won’t be, but it’s not that we have no idea!”

“This study provides further credence to guidance that practitioners and other professionals should affirm—rather than question—a child’s assertion of their gender, particularly for those who more strongly identify with their gender,” says Russell Toomey from the University of Arizona, who studies LGBTQ youth and is himself transgender.

(A brief note on terms, since there’s a lot of confusion about them: Some people think that kids who show any kind of gender nonconformity are transgender, while others equate the term with medical treatments such as hormone blockers or reassignment surgeries. Neither definition is right, and medical interventions aren’t even in the cards for young children of the age Olson studied. That’s why, in her study, she uses pronouns as the centerpiece marker of a social transition. Changing them is a significant statement of identity and is often accompanied by a change in hairstyle, clothing, and even names.)

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

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Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/opinion/ilhan-omar-israel-jews.html

A conspiracy theory with ancient roots and a bloody history.

By Bari Weiss
Jan. 21, 2019

In 2012, during one of Israel’s periodic wars with Hamas in Gaza, Ilhan Omar, at the time a 32-year-old nutrition coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Education, tweeted the following: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel”

The sentence has dogged Ms. Omar, a refugee from Somalia who last year became one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and was just seated on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. On Thursday, CNN’s Poppy Harlow pressed her again: “I wonder just what your message is this morning as the first on our Game Changer series to Jewish-Americans who find that deeply offensive.”

“That’s a really regrettable way of expressing that,” Ms. Omar said of the anchor’s question. “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war.”

Perhaps Ms. Omar is sincerely befuddled and not simply deflecting. Because sentiments like these, once beyond the pale of our public discourse, are being heard with greater frequency and volume these days, allow me to explain why this Jewish American, and almost every Jewish American I know, found her words so offensive.

The conspiracy theory of the Jew as the hypnotic conspirator, the duplicitous manipulator, the sinister puppeteer is one with ancient roots and a bloody history. In the New Testament, it is a small band of Jews who get Rome — then the greatest power in the world — to do their bidding by killing Christ. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, speaks to the Jews about Jesus in the book of John: “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your own law.” But the Jews punt the decision back to Pilate: “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” And so Pilate does the deed on their behalf. In the book of Matthew, the implications of this manipulation are spelled out: “His blood is on us and our children,” the Jews say — a line that has been so historically destructive that even Mel Gibson cut it from his “Passion of the Christ.”

In the two millenniums that followed, even after 1965, when the Catholic Church formally disavowed the belief that the Jews killed Jesus, this was the template for the anti-Semitic conspiracy: the ability of this tiny minority to use its wiles and its proximity to power to con others into accomplishing their evil ends. It has led to countless expulsions, murders, massacres and pogroms throughout Europe and elsewhere.

The Jewish power to hypnotize the world, as Ms. Omar put it, is the plot of Jud Süss — the most successful Nazi film ever made. In the film, produced by Joseph Goebbels himself, Josef Süss Oppenheimer, an 18th-century religious Jew, emerges from the ghetto, makes himself over as an assimilated man, and rises to become the treasurer to the Duke of Württemberg. Silly duke: Allowing a single Jew into his city leads to death and destruction.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/opinion/ilhan-omar-israel-jews.html

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The Supreme Court Just Ended My Military Career

From The New York Times:   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/opinion/transgender-ban-supreme-court-military.html

The justices chose not to protect the rights of transgender patriots like me.

Brynn Tannehill<
Jan. 22, 2019

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the Trump administration could reinstate its policy barring most transgender people from serving in the military while several cases challenging the policy are being decided. The decision was both a devastating blow to me personally, and a disturbing sign of what is to come for transgender people in the United States.

I graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1997, and was on active duty for over a decade. When I began transitioning in 2010, I transferred from the Naval Reserves, which I had joined in 2008, to the Individual Ready Reserves, an administrative status that allows service members to deal with medical issues before returning to full duty. By spring 2012, I had resolved the “issues” at my own expense, and was ready to return to full duty — in my case, as a Navy helicopter pilot.

The problem was that at the time, the military’s medical regulations prohibited transgender people from serving. I then set off on years of volunteer work on my own time researching transgender military issues. This included educational outreach, research, policy development and coordinating with the Pentagon to build an evidence-based standard for transgender service, based on the lessons learned from the other 18 countries that allow transgender people to serve.

In 2015, the Department of Defense stopped discharging people for being transgender and began the open and transparent process of researching how to institute an inclusive policy. This included an assessment of the costs, in terms of both money and readiness, of integrating transgender troops. Researchers found both impacts to be negligible.

By 2016, a policy was in place for transgender people already serving. Two years later, the military put in place a process for new recruits, officer candidates and people on inactive status like myself. The day after that, I contacted my recruiter to begin the process of rejoining the military.

Over the past year, I’ve had countless medical and psychological exams in my quest to return to the job I was trained to do: flying Blackhawk helicopters. This involved a lot of time off work and considerable travel, all at my own expense. At every turn, the people examining me reached the same conclusion: I was “aeromedically adapted” — fit to fly — and able to return to the service. There was, finally, a chance that I might be able finish my career after 16 good years of service.

I was hoping against hope, throughout this process, that I’d be able to join my friends who had fought alongside me for the right to serve openly. Nearly every week I would see pictures of them in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It gave me a thrill in December to see a picture of four of them together at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. One was an airborne ranger, and one was Special Forces.
All of this makes the administration’s dogged attempt to undo everything achieved over the last few years even more baffling. The ban was developed in secret, without the sort of careful study that went into the policy it reversed. It does not reflect any current medical understanding of transgender people, and it has been denounced by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/opinion/transgender-ban-supreme-court-military.html

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Emmylou Harris


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Statewide protections for transgender people pass in historic New York vote

Congratulations New Yorkers…

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/statewide-protections-transgender-people-pass-historic-new-york-vote/

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

As applause broke out in the State Senate, New York has passed a comprehensive package of protections for transgender people, passing the State Assembly 100-40, and the State Senate 42-19. It will now head to governor Cuomo’s desk, where he is expected to sign.

GENDA adds gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in New York’s human rights and hate crimes laws, and prohibits discrimination in several areas, including housing, employment, and public accommodations such as restrooms. The inclusion of these categories also allows for enhanced penalties for crimes against transgender people as a class.

State activists were elated with the passage.

“It is just amazing,” said Luca Maurer. “As a person who has been involved for a very long time, since before the previous SONDA act was prosed and passed, this is amazing news. I’m having a lot of different feelings, but I’m over all I’m feeling overwhelming gratitude. I’m happy I was able to play a small part, but we stand in the shoulder of those who came before us, and the tremendous sacrifices of so many other transgender people before us.

Maurer is the Program Director for The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services at Ithaca College. For him, this bill is a recognition of the lives transgender people live every day.

GENDA has passed in the state’s Assembly every year since 2008, but has never made it through the Senate, which has been staunchly Republican. Now, with a Democratic majority, the bill has finally been able to move.

The bill passed out of the Senate committee yesterday for the first time, before going to the senate floor today.

The bill, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), was first introduced in 2003, and has been a part of nearly every legislative session in the state since then.

GENDA grew out of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) bill, which passed in 2003, after protections for gender identity and expression were removed, a point that has frustrated and angered transgender activists for more than a decade.

Continue reading at:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/statewide-protections-transgender-people-pass-historic-new-york-vote/

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Democratic National Committee drops partnership with Women’s March

From The Jewish News Service:  https://www.jns.org/democratic-national-committee-drops-partnership-with-womens-march/

This development comes amid accusations of anti-Semitism within the movement’s leadership, causing many organizations to drop their support of the this year’s march, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19.

By Jackson Richman
January 15, 2019

The Democratic National Committee has dropped its partnership in the Women’s March over anti-Semitism concerns, according to a Democratic source.

This development comes amid accusations of anti-Semitism within the movement’s leadership, causing many organizations to drop their support of the this year’s march, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19. There have been calls for firms to back out.

DNC Deputy Communications Director Sabrina Singh told JNS that although it will not participate in the march, “The DNC stands in solidarity with all those fighting for women’s rights and holding the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers across the country accountable. Women are on the front lines of fighting back against this administration and are the core of our Democratic Party.”

In recent weeks, a number of progressive groups that have withdrawn their support of the march, which was launched in 2017 in protest of the election of President Donald Trump, including, but are not limited to, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Human Rights Campaign, Greenpeace, Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance, Coalition Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Moreover, local marches, such as in Chicago and New Orleans, have been cancelled.

Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Democratic Committee of America applauded the groups that have scrapped their affiliation with this year’s Women’s March.

“JDCA supports the objectives of the Women’s March and stands with sister marches across the country this weekend,” its executive director, Halie Soifer, told JNS. “At the same time, we welcome the DNC, SPLC, Emily’s List and other organizations’ decision to not sponsor and participate in the Women’s March and take a principled stand against anti-Semitism.”

Women’s March co-leader Tamika Mallory denied any anti-Semitisc accusations, including her support of National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has an extensive history of making anti-Jewish remarks such as “I’m anti-termite” and that Hitler was “a very great man.”

Mallory said in a Monday appearance on ABC’s “The View” that “we did not make those remarks. What I will say to you is that I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements.”

Continue reading at:   https://www.jns.org/democratic-national-committee-drops-partnership-with-womens-march/

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A Jewish Women’s March guide: Which local marches are and aren’t affiliated with the national group, and why

From The Jewish Telegraphic Agency:  https://www.jta.org/2019/01/15/united-states/a-jewish-womens-march-guide-which-local-marches-are-and-arent-affiliated-with-the-national-group-and-why

By Josefin Dolsten
January 15, 2019

NEW YORK (JTA) — Alyssa Weinstein-Sears and her husband, Joe, try hard to empower their 11-year-old daughter and teach her about being politically involved.

“In the 2016 election, she was very pro-Hillary and I took her into the voting both with me, and I let her push all the buttons. And we think it’s really important for her to stand up for women’s rights,” Weinstein-Sears said.

That’s why the 28-year-old considered taking her daughter with her this year to the Women’s March, either in Washington, D.C., or in Houston, where they live.

But Weinstein-Sears, who works as an educator at Houston’s Holocaust museum, and her daughter will not be attending the march on Saturday after all.

The reason: Weinstein-Sears can’t get on board with a movement whose leaders she feels have failed to adequately condemn anti-Semitism.

“It’s really difficult to be supportive of a movement that has anti-Semitic undertones when I’m trying to raise a strong Jewish daughter,” she told JTA on Monday.

She isn’t alone. In the past year, celebritiesactivists and community leaders — Jewish and otherwise — have said they will not attend the march and called on the national organizers to step down over claims that they have not done enough to disavow anti-Semitism.

It all started when Women’s March co-founder and organizer Tamika Mallory attended a speech by and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Jewish and homophobic statements. Though the Women’s March organizers eventually disavowed Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, many believed their response took too long and did not go far enough in denouncing him.

More recently, a report in Tablet said that Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez had made anti-Semitic statements at two Women’s March planning meetings, claims the organizers deny. On Monday, Mallory appeared on “The View,” where she failed to outright condemn Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments.

Some Jews also feel uncomfortable by comments made about Israel and Zionism by organizer Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist and outspoken critic of the Jewish state.

A number of organizations have cut ties with the group: The National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, for example, are no longer sponsoring the Washington march.

“In an ideal world we’d love to be able to endorse [the national Women’s March], but in the real world there are concerns,” National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy Kaufman told JTA last month as her organization was weighing whether to sign up as a 2019 sponsor.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the prominent liberal political action committee Emily’s List also have stopped supporting the march, the Daily Beast reported last week.

Jeff Migliozzi, a communications assistant at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told JTA that the organization believes “supporting the local communities around us with their marches is of greater priority at this time.” Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam is designated as a hate group by the center.

Continue reading at:  https://www.jta.org/2019/01/15/united-states/a-jewish-womens-march-guide-which-local-marches-are-and-arent-affiliated-with-the-national-group-and-why

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Women’s March set to proceed under cloud of controversy

If you march… Make sure the march you join is not one affiliated with Sarsour, Mallory, and Bland.

Louis Farrakhan is not only a vicious Anti-Semite but an anti-LGBT bigot.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/18/womens-march-2019-controversy-antisemitism

Event on Saturday set to be smaller after several major sponsors withdrew following allegations of antisemitism

in Washington DC
Fri 18 Jan 2019

Just two years after leading the largest recorded protest in US history, the third annual Women’s March on Saturday is set to proceed under a cloud of controversy.

This year’s march is shaping up to be smaller and more splintered than before, after several major sponsors withdrew and local chapters disaffiliated from the central organization which leads it, following allegations of antisemitism.

Leaders were slow to deny and condemn allegations they had made antisemitic comments, and recent reporting has revealed deep ties between top officials and the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, is a notorious antisemite.

Major progressive groups which sponsored the first march in 2017 have quietly withdrawn, including leading unions, environmental groups and women’s organizations. Of the many Jewish groups listed as partners in previous years, only a few remain. The Democratic National Committee, which had previously appeared on a list of 2019 Women’s March sponsors, recently disappeared too.

It’s a major blow for the movement that marked the beginning of the “resistance” in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential upset, when hundreds of thousands descended on the National Mall in Washington DC, a mass demonstration roughly three times the size of Trump’s own inauguration.

Experts called the 2017 Women’s March the largest single-day protest in recorded US history, with turnout around the country estimated in the millions, and top celebrities and politicians lending their star power to the event. It also presaged the coming of the powerful #MeToo movement which would reshape the culture around the treatment of women at work.

This year, however, the showing is expected to be fractured.

Following a protracted fight over the organization’s leadership, Vanessa Wruble, a Brooklyn-based activist who was pushed out of the organization in 2017, went on to help found another organization called March On, which emphasizes supporting local activists and denouncing antisemitism.

The result is that there will be two major women’s marches taking place on the streets of New York and many other cities around the country on Saturday – the original one, which emphasizes leadership by women of color, and another – March On – formed in opposition to antisemitism.

“Founded by the leaders of many of the marches across the country, March On is women-led, but open to all, and will employ a sophisticated political strategy to coordinate concrete actions at the federal, state, and local level through the joint efforts of millions of marchers,” the March On website states.

Lee Weal, an activist based in New York City, told the Guardian that while she went to the second Women’s March and had been planning to go to the third this year, the group’s ties to Farrakhan put her off.

“If we insist that Trump disavow people like David Duke, you can’t have a different rule for those on the left,” she said, adding she thought leaders were “hurting the movement” by aligning with him.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/18/womens-march-2019-controversy-antisemitism

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The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/women-older-happiness.html

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice.

By Mary Pipher
Dr. Pipher is a clinical psychologist.
Jan. 12, 2019

When I told my friends I was writing a book on older women like us, they immediately protested, “I am not old.” What they meant was that they didn’t act or feel like the cultural stereotypes of women their age. Old meant bossy, useless, unhappy and in the way. Our country’s ideas about old women are so toxic that almost no one, no matter her age, will admit she is old.

In America, ageism is a bigger problem for women than aging. Our bodies and our sexuality are devalued, we are denigrated by mother-in-law jokes, and we’re rendered invisible in the media. Yet, most of the women I know describe themselves as being in a vibrant and happy life stage. We are resilient and know how to thrive in the margins. Our happiness comes from self-knowledge, emotional intelligence and empathy for others.

Most of us don’t miss the male gaze. It came with catcalls, harassment and unwanted attention. Instead, we feel free from the tyranny of worrying about our looks. For the first time since we were 10, we can feel relaxed about our appearance. We can wear yoga tights instead of nylons and bluejeans instead of business suits.

Yet, in this developmental stage, we are confronted by great challenges. We are unlikely to escape great sorrow for long. We all suffer, but not all of us grow. Those of us who grow do so by developing our moral imaginations and expanding our carrying capacities for pain and bliss. In fact, this pendulum between joy and despair is what makes old age catalytic for spiritual and emotional growth.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

We may not have control, but we have choices. With intention and focused attention, we can always find a forward path. We discover what we are looking for. If we look for evidence of love in the universe, we will find it. If we seek beauty, it will spill into our lives any moment we wish. If we search for events to appreciate, we discover them to be abundant.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/women-older-happiness.html

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In National TV Appearance, Women’s March Leaders Again Refuse to Condemn Farrakhan

From The Algemeiner:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/01/14/in-national-tv-appearance-womens-march-leaders-again-refuse-to-condemn-farrakhan/

by Benjamin Kerstein
January 14, 2019

Two Women’s March leaders repeatedly refused to condemn Nation of Islam (NOI) leader and prominent antisemite Louis Farrakhan during an appearance on ABC‘s talk show “The View” on Monday.

Queried about her presence at a NOI Savior’s Day event last yearwhere she posed for a picture with Farrakhan, that she later posted on social media with a caption calling Farrakhan the “GOAT” or “Greatest Of All Time,” Tamika Mallory sought to relativize the issue, saying, “I think it’s important to put my attendance, my presence at Savior’s Day, which is the highest holy day for the Nation of Islam, in proper context.”

“You know, as a leader, as a black leader, in a country that is still dealing with some very serious unresolved issues as it relates to the black experience in this country, I go into a lot of difficult spaces,” she continued.

“I wrote a piece immediately following the beginning of this controversy, talking about, wherever my people are, that’s where I must also be,” she said. “So I also go into prisons, where there are people who have been convicted of heinous acts. And I am trying to help people to move from wherever they are today, and build that unity to bring them to a place where we live in a more fair and equitable society. And I think that that work is not easy for everyone to understand, but it’s certainly work that I’m committed to and everywhere I go is difficult.”

She then appeared to accuse other Women’s March leaders of racism, saying, “The Women’s March was very difficult. I met with a lot of women who did not even understand why race was important to be a part of the conversation as it relates to women’s rights issues, and there was a lot of offensive rhetoric that I heard.”

“Just because you go into a space with someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they say,” she added.

Complete story at:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/01/14/in-national-tv-appearance-womens-march-leaders-again-refuse-to-condemn-farrakhan/

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The Morality of Selfism

I have never been that big a fan of David Brooks, but lately he has been delivering critiques of a number of modern trends that resonate with the level of discomfort I have been feeling regarding those trends.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/opinion/self-care-individualism.html

The Gospel of Saint You.

By David Brooks
Jan. 3, 2019

You probably want to be a good person. But you may also be completely self-absorbed. So you may be thinking, “There is no way I can be good if I’m also a narcissist. Isn’t being good all about caring about other people?”

But how wrong you are!

We live in a culture of selfism — a culture that puts tremendous emphasis on self, on self-care and self-display. And one of the things we’ve discovered is that you can be a very good person while thinking only about yourself!

Back in the old days people thought morality was about living up to some external standard of moral excellence. Abraham Lincoln tried to live a life of honesty and courage. Mother Teresa tried to live up to a standard of selfless love.

But now we know this is actually harmful! In the first place, when people hold up external standards of moral excellence, they often make you feel judged. These people make you feel sad because you may not live up to this standard. It’s very cruel of them to make you feel troubled in this way!

When somebody does this, you should just say, “That makes me feel judged,” and just walk away. Don’t stoop to their level!

The second problem with these external standards is that they are very hard to relate to. People are always talking about how Nelson Mandela came out of prison and tried to usher in an era of forgiveness and reconciliation. That’s all very well and good for Nelson Mandela, but what does this have to do with your life?

If people are talking to you, shouldn’t they be focusing their attention on your life? Shouldn’t they be saying things you can relate to? If somebody starts talking about some grand hero who is dead or lives far away, you should just respond, “Sorry, that’s not relatable.”

These people have to learn to keep it real!

The good news is that these days we don’t base our values on moral excellence. We base them on meaning. People are always saying they want to lead a meaningful life. They want to do things that have “meaning.”

One great thing about meaning is it’s all about the emotions you yourself already have. We say that an experience has meaning when that tingly meaningful feeling wells up inside. Picture yourself shopping at a farmers market where everything’s locally grown. Do you feel the tingly meaningful feeling welling up inside? Of course you do!

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/opinion/self-care-individualism.html

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Southern Poverty Law Center Quietly Joins the Roster of Big Groups Walking Away from the Women’s March

From The Daily Beast:  https://www.thedailybeast.com/southern-poverty-law-center-quietly-joins-the-roster-of-big-groups-walking-away-from-the-womens-march

The SPLC calls the Nation of Islam a hate group. The leaders of the Women’s March kept praising its leader.

Jackie Kucinich

The Southern Poverty Law Center will not partner with the Women’s March this year, The Daily Beast has confirmed.

Jen Fuson, a spokeswoman for the SPLC, said “other projects were a priority,” but added they would continue to be involved in marches at the local level in areas where they have offices.

The third annual march, to be held on January 19, comes amid criticism of the March leadership’s past affiliation with and failure to fully denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, as well as other allegations of anti-semitism from its former organizers. The SPLC has designated the Nation of Islam as a hate group. Asked whether the Farrakhan connection played a part in the decision not to partner with them, Fuson reiterated that the group had other priorities.

EMILY’s List, a political action committee that aims to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, is also absent from the Women’s March list of 2019 partners. A spokeswoman for EMILY’s List did not immediately return a request for comment.  The National Council of Jewish Women told The New York Jewish Week Wednesday they would not be a partner in this year’s march.

A spokeswoman for the Women’s March did not immediately return a call for comment.

The SPLC’s quiet move away from the Women’s March is in stark contrast to its press release two years ago,

“As an official partner of the march, the Southern Poverty Law Center stands in solidarity with its organizers’ vision — that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ — and with the march’s mission to bring together communities ‘insulted, demonized and threatened by the rhetoric of the past election cycle,’ the SPLC said in January of 2017, calling itself “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Through our core issues, we work to protect the rights of the working poor, LGBT, and undocumented immigrant women whom the Women’s March on Washington seeks to unite.”

In November, Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing said they would no longer support the national march after the failure to denounce Farrakhan. March leaders in cities around the country have also disaffiliated in recent months, citing the Farrakhan issue as well as the failure of the national chapter to provide promised financial and logistical support

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New San Francisco Community Space Sees Protests Because Owner Is A ‘Zionist’

From The Forward: https://forward.com/news/national/416699/new-san-francisco-community-space-sees-protests-because-owner-is-a-zionist/

Aiden Pink
December 27, 2018

Manny’s, a new business in San Francisco’s Mission District, is part cafe, part bookstore, part political event hall. Owner Manny Yekutiel, a 29-year-old rising star in the world of liberal political organizing, calls it a “civic social gathering space.”

It’s hosted incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, activists with Black Lives Matter — and on the sidewalk outside, protesters upset because Yekutiel is a “Zionist gentrifer.”

“Zionists out of the Mission!” one marcher yelled on Wednesday, Dec. 26, as about 20 members of the Lucy Parsons Project and allied groups gathered outside Manny’s.

he self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” named for an early 20th century Latina anarcho-communist labor organizer, has protested at Manny’s every Wednesday this month, and says it will continue protesting every Wednesday until Manny’s is “shut down.” The Project only has about 300 Twitter followers, but among the protest’s supporters is a local rapper, Equipto, with 14,500 followers.

This reporter tweeted at the Lucy Parsons Project on Thursday asking for an interview and was promptly blocked. (The group tweeted on Dec. 21, “We Proudly Block all Zionists.”)

The Bay Area is known for its left-wing politics and history of political activism on a range of issues — including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jewish Voice for Peace was founded in Oakland. Groups for and against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement have advertised on area buses. The president of San Francisco State University has repeatedly apologized for anti-Semitic statements made by pro-BDS students and faculty. Local activists have for years protested at stores selling Israeli products like Ahava creams or SodaStream seltzer-makers.

And the Mission District, with its burrito shops and local Latino landmarks abutting pricey townhouses, is Ground Zero for various San Francisco-specific tensions, like gentrification fueled by the region’s tech boom.

None of the events at Manny’s have concerned the Middle East. Instead, the protesters are targeting Yekutiel for his personal support for the existence of the Jewish state.

The Lucy Parsons Project claims that Yekutiel is furthering gentrification in their neighborhood and criticized him for posting things like “Happy 70th Birthday Israel!” and “I am so proud of Israel and its people” on his personal Facebook page. They also wrote that he is “pinkwashing and blackfacing his gentrification and Zionism” by bringing in minority and LGBT guest speakers. (Yekutiel is also gay.)

He grew up in Los Angeles, the son of an American Ashkenazi Jewish mother and an immigrant father whose family fled persecution from Afghanistan to Israel. “I’m proud of their story and proud to be Jewish in America,” he said. At Manny’s, there’s a mezuzah on the door.

Continue reading at: https://forward.com/news/national/416699/new-san-francisco-community-space-sees-protests-because-owner-is-a-zionist/


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“Evangelical” Hate Group Wants Gays Removed From Anti-Lynching Bill

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/evangelical-group-wants-gays-removed-anti-lynching-bill-n956831

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver opposes including the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in a federal anti-lynching bill.

By Brooke Sopelsa
Jan. 9, 2019

The U.S. Senate last month unanimously passed a bill that would explicitly make lynching a federal crime. Not everyone, however, is pleased with passage of the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act.

Liberty Counsel, an evangelical nonprofit that opposes gay rights, and its chairman, Mat Staver, are taking issue with the bill’s inclusion of LGBTQ people.

“The old saying is once that camel gets the nose in the tent, you can’t stop them from coming the rest of the way in,” Staver said in an interview with conservative Christian news outlet OneNewsNow. “This is a way to slip it in under a so-called anti-lynching bill, and to then to sort of circle the wagon and then go for the juggler [sic] at some time in the future.”

Staver told OneNewsNow that his organization, which has been labeled an anti-LGBTQ “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is lobbying lawmakers in the House to have them remove the bill’s “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” language before taking a vote.

Similarly, the group encouraged Congress in November to remove language about “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination from a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Liberty Counsel did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/evangelical-group-wants-gays-removed-anti-lynching-bill-n956831

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Competing women’s march efforts in New York City undercut by infighting, anti-Semitism scandal

From The New York Daily News:  https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-news-womens-march-2019-nyc-20181227-story.html

New York Daily News
Jan 13, 2019

There will be not one, but two women’s march events in Manhattan next week.

Women’s March Inc. — the group behind the historic first march in D.C. in 2017 — is holding a rally in Foley Square from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, according to a city Parks Department permit granted Friday.

Meanwhile, the Women’s March Alliance – an unaffiliated local group that has spearheaded events in the city for the last two years — has also secured a permit for Saturday. And their march, near Columbus Circle, will also kick off 11 a.m.

The dueling events are a product of an ugly feud over what and who should be represented in the women’s marches.

The Alliance claims the leaders of Women’s March Inc. have tried to “bully” their way into the Columbus Circle march and trashed the group for a lack of diversity.

Katherine Siemionko, founder and president of the Women’s March Alliance, which developed into a nonprofit two years ago, says she had a less than pleasant conversation with Linda Sarsour, a Women’s March Inc. board member and Palestinian-American racial justice activist this October.

“Linda said ‘You put us on your leadership board or we’ll hold a counter march,'” Siemionko explained. “And I said, ‘I don’t put up with bullying.'”

Siemionko says that Sarsour also implied she wasn’t fit to organize a march for all women because she is white.

Sarsour declined to talk to the Daily News and a spokeswoman for Women’s March Inc. refuted Siemionko’s account of the conversation.

Since the first march two years ago, accusations of anti-Semitism and criticism over connections to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have soured people’s views of Women’s March Inc.

Sarsour, along with her fellow board members Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez, attended a 2015 Washington, D.C., rally organized by Farrakhan, who has said “Hitler was a very great man” and argued Israel is structured “on injustice, thievery, lying and deceit and using the name of God to shield your dirty religion.”

Mallory has referred to Farrakhan as “the GOAT,” which stands for “Greatest of All Time,” in an Instagram post that included a photo of herself alongside him. She also attended the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day event last February, along with Sarsour and Perez, where Farrakhan said Jewish people are “responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”

Both Women’s March Inc. and Mallory, who did not respond to a request for comment, have been criticized for being late to respond to the growing backlash and in Mallory’s case, for not properly condemning Farrakhan’s remarks.

Jewish online magazine Tablet last month detailed several other disturbing allegations, including that Mallory, in a November 2016 meeting with founding members of the Women’s March, implied that Jewish people exploit black and brown people. Mallory has denied it. Tablet also reported that Women’s March Inc.used members of the Nation of Islam’s security team, the Fruit of Islam, with Sarsour writing in a Facebook caption, “FOI Brothers, security for the movement.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-news-womens-march-2019-nyc-20181227-story.html

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Queen

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American Psychological Association links ‘masculinity ideology’ to homophobia, misogyny

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/american-psychological-association-links-masculinity-ideology-homophobia-misogyny-n956416

For the first time in its 127-year history, the APA has issued guidelines to help psychologists specifically address the issues of men and boys.

By Tim Fitzsimons
Jan. 8, 2019

For the first time in its 127-year history, the American Psychological Association has issued guidelines to help psychologists specifically address the issues of men and boys — and the 36-page document features a warning.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” the report warns.

The new “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” defines “masculinity ideology” as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” The report also links this ideology to homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment.

The new guidelines, highlighted in this month’s issue of Monitor on Psychology, which is published by the APA, linked this ideology to a series of stark statistics: Men commit approximately 90 percent of all homicides in the U.S., they are far more likely than women to be arrested and charged with intimate partner violence in the U.S., and they are four times more likely than women to die of suicide worldwide.

Jared Skillings, a psychologist and the APA’s chief of professional practice, told NBC News these new guidelines are intended to educate mental health professionals about the unique issues facing this patient population. The APA published a similar report about girls and women in 2007 and is expected to publish an updated version this year.

“Masculinity ideology,” Skillings said, was important to highlight because it “represents a set of characteristics that are unhealthy for men — men who are sexist or violent or don’t take care of themselves.”

The report addresses the “power” and “privilege” that males have when compared to their female counterparts, but it notes that this privilege can be a psychological double-edged sword.

“Men who benefit from their social power are also confined by system-level policies and practices as well as individual-level psychological resources necessary to maintain male privilege,” the guidelines state. “Thus, male privilege often comes with a cost in the form of adherence to sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men’s ability to function adaptively.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/american-psychological-association-links-masculinity-ideology-homophobia-misogyny-n956416

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