The Far Right Is Antisemitic — and So Is the Radical Left

From The Algemeiner:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

by Maddie Solomon
July 26, 2019

I’m sitting in Charlottesville, Virginia — the city where the ugly “Unite the Right” rally took place two years ago that gripped the nation. The sun is radiant and the houses are pretty, but I can’t deny the choked up memories of weapons, white supremacy and violence. It’s my first time here — my dad used to tell me that Jews don’t go to the South. However, I have also spent the past six months witnessing a form of antisemitism on the left: Ilhan Omar, the BDS movement, and the comparison of Jews to Nazis. Internal dissent to these ideas is rarely, if ever, welcomed in leftist spaces — including college institutions on the West Coast.

In college, I experienced Jewish paranoia for the first time — because we seem besieged on all sides.

Donald Trump often uses Israel as a shield to defend his racism. Yet Democrats fail to condemn antisemitism at home; most Jewish voters are already estranged from the party. In fact, we’ve never really had a home; why did we expect our political and academic institutions to provide one?

The right will most definitely not fight for us, but neither will the left. I’m a progressive, and I’m disappointed with the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. My identity is being politicized, and never for the right reasons.

I’m angry at the right for how they unfairly treat minorities, and uphold racial harm. And I’m frustrated with the left for how they ignore antisemitism, endorsing stereotypes about Jewish monopolies and power. A direct correlation exists between anti-Israel and antisemitic activity; when BDS comes to campus, antisemitism thrives.

The right blames immigrants for stealing their jobs, despite the fact that immigrants bolster the economy. The left voices their frustration with capitalism through accusations of Jewish control of foreign affairs, a false idea deeply shared by the right.

And yet this crippling leftist dissociation is also the Jewish paranoia speaking. Our ancestors have fled persecution, genocide and violence. Fear of religious persecution has become fear of political ostracization — and now, we sometimes feel we can’t speak up in our own party.

Too often, we confuse criticism with hatred for the party itself. My peers will assign me names: confused, moderate, conservative, immoral. Most Jewish students, including myself, self-identify as liberal; in fact, Jews are largely one of the most liberal ethnic groups, consistently voting Democrat. And we are in danger, because Trump uses Israel as a shield for his inexcusable actions, which could lead to dire consequences for Jews and Israel.

I’m choosing to critique the radical left’s chosen form of antisemitism not because it is morally equatable with the alt-right, but because it is harder to discern. Academia is normalizing anti-Jewish sentiment once again; backed by professors, these institutions have made it sexy, progressive, and legitimate to target Jews and Israel.

From California to Charlottesville, Jewish paranoia prevails. I am relieved to be leaving Virginia, but it would be ignorant to assume that the West Coast and the political left will offer me and other Jewish students political asylum. Thus, it is up to us to stand up to physical and ideological violence, no matter what party it originates from.

Continue reading at:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Ace of Cups

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Another Summer of Love

I lived the “Summer of Love”.  Saw it play out in the East Village and on MacDougal Street, at the demonstration outside the Pentagon and the Haight Ashbury and Berkeley.  Hippie men were the heroes, hippie women for the most part were the supporting cast.  The feminist movement was mid-term just waiting to be born.

Women musicians, poets, artists, photographers etc were considered cute but never as good as men who could produce crap and have everyone praise it because after all they had dicks.

I think it is great that the women who played music, wrote and were artists are finally getting attention.  Too little and fifty years too late but still nice.

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

A half-century after its founding, the pioneering all-women rock band Ace of Cups is back—with a Jewish grandma leading the way

By Andrea Cooper
July 5, 2019

Denise Kaufman can’t help smiling as she belts out her lyrics on stage. “There’s a whole lotta people tryin’ to mess with your mind,” she sings, in “Feel Good.” “When you were just a little child they filled you in with every sin they could find/Tellin’ you it’s wrong to want my good lovin’/One way for you to know for sure/Does it feel good baby? How does it feel?”

She nods in time as bass licks propel the song forward. As she bobs her head, her long, curly, gray hair moves around her face. Kaufman is 72 years old, on tour with her septuagenarian band mates. In November 2018, they released their self-titled, long-overdue first album, and they already have plans for a second. Kaufman is a joyful singer, an unstoppable rocker, a Jewish grandma.

The band is Ace of Cups, which Kaufman helped found in 1967, during the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco. Deeply in the countercultural mix, Ace of Cups opened for Jimi Hendrix at Golden Gate Park and shared stages with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. But they had disbanded by 1972: No studio would offer a recording contract to an all-female group, and music gave way to the need to earn a living.

But Kaufman and Mary Simpson Mercy (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Mary Gannon Alfiler (vocals, ukulele, bass, percussion), and Diane Vitalich (vocals, drums) never stopped playing, though, all of them gigging over the years with other bands. Now, more than 50 years on, Ace of Cups has reunited, with their double album featuring such guest artists as Taj Mahal, Peter Coyote, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

“What a debut it is,” Morgan Enos wrote in Billboard, “brimming over not only with great songs, but a formidable guest list … It’s the sound of four maximum-eclectic musical lifers, unfettered by old frustrations in the biz and purely ready to jam.” The band is touring, too, through Aug. 17, when they conclude with a benefit in San Francisco with headliner Jason Mraz. Next year, the band is slated to release another double album, three-fourths of which is already recorded.

It’s been a heady time for Kaufman, a guitar, bass, and harmonica player whose Judaism has “always been central” to her. Her father’s father founded a small synagogue in Boston. Her mother, Golda, born to a Jewish family in London, sailed to the U.S. to visit but ended up staying because England had entered WWII during her voyage, and London was being bombed. In her new country, Golda, a trained soprano, fell in love with Hank, a graduate of Harvard. They settled in San Francisco, where they enthusiastically supported their young daughter’s musical education. There were piano lessons and Pete Seeger concerts and years of Denise’s performances in a teen light-opera company. Golda and Hank were also social activists in Jewish and civic causes.

Kaufman drew upon that foundation of activism when she was arrested as a freshman at Berkeley as part of the Free Speech Movement. She spent the next year crossing the U.S. on the bus with the Merry Pranksters, a group of friends led by author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) who some credit with launching the psychedelic era. The Pranksters would stop in a community, rent space, and create light shows and music events. “The Grateful Dead would play—that was our band,” Kaufman remembered. On hand were vats of “electric Kool-Aid and not-electric Kool-Aid,” the former seasoned with LSD. In Tom Wolfe’s book about that journey, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Kaufman is “Mary Microgram.”

Kaufman says her ’60s experiments with then-legal LSD and psychedelics allowed her to reach an understanding of the oneness of all people and our common humanity: “It was a deeply spiritual opening for me. I felt like I had tapped into the divine.” The rest of her life, she added, “has been integrating and living from that.” Kaufman had returned to San Francisco by 1966 and recorded a single, “Boy, What’ll You Do Then.” At a New Year’s Eve party, she heard someone playing blues guitar in an upstairs bedroom. It was “this blond girl with shoulder-length hair”—Mary Simpson Mercy—and Kaufman pulled out her harmonica. Mercy soon invited Kaufman to join some female friends who jammed together.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

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America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy.

From Robert Reich:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

Robert Reich
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that some Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.

But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become disempowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super-rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels?

I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. No meaningful regulation of Wall Street’s addiction to gambling with other peoples’ money. No end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from “shitholes” streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

He’s a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they’ve been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, “deep state” bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump’s deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he’ll stoke tribalism so most Americans won’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, won’t pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, and won’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations”.

Continue reading at:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

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Megan Rapinoe’s full World Cup parade speech

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The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969: when Vietnam came home

I was already on hormones and in transition when I participated in the Battle For People’s Park in 1969.  I went full time between its wind down and Stonewall.  For me People’s Park and the idea of “The Commons” have always played an important role in shaping me.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/06/the-battle-for-peoples-park-berkeley-1969-review-vietnam

A year before Kent State, police shot at protesters in California, killing one. A new oral history of the clash is a searing read


Sat 6 Jul 2019

On 4 May 1970, the Ohio national guard shot at hundreds of students protesting against the invasion of Cambodia, wounding eight and killing four. Kent State was seared into the national consciousness. The US government had authorized the killing of its own (white) children.

But what many might not know is that a year earlier in Berkeley, California, police opened fire with buck and bird shot on a large crowd of young protesters seeking to keep open People’s Park, an impromptu community garden on land UC Berkeley wanted to use. Fifty people were hit.

James Rector, a 25-year-old visitor from San Jose, was killed. Alan Blanchard was blinded. Donovan Rundle was shot point blank in the stomach and almost bled to death. After two dozen surgeries, he would live with chronic pain for the next 50 years.

“Bloody Thursday”, 15 May 1969, was the day the Vietnam war came home. The streets of Bohemian Berkeley, the New Left’s west coast HQ, became a bloody war zone. Martial law was declared, a curfew imposed and national guardsmen with unsheathed bayonets and live ammunition occupied the town. A military helicopter doused the campus with tear gas. Many members of the Alameda county sheriff’s department had just come home from Vietnam. Some later admitted that they treated antiwar students like Viet Cong.

This pivotal event in 60s history comes back to life in an excellent new oral history, The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969, by Tom Dalzell. The book recounts the chaotic 40 days and nights from 20 April to 30 May 1969 with detail that reads like a gut punch. A large-format book, lavishly printed with hundreds of never-before-published color photographs, it is a hybrid oral-visual history that reads like watching a documentary.

People’s Park evokes haunting memories of Kent State. Republican governors in California and Ohio were running re-election campaigns and rallying their base by demonizing the student movement. The chancellors of UC Berkeley and Kent State were out of town on the days of the shootings, contributing to disorder, handing law enforcement greater rein.

In his foreword to People’s Park, Todd Gitlin explains that California’s governor, Ronald Reagan, ran his 1966 campaign on making welfare “bums” go back to work and cleaning up “the mess in Berkeley”. By the time he was running for re-election he had all but granted the national guard and law enforcement officers permission to shoot to kill: “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with, no more appeasement.”

Continue to read at:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/06/the-battle-for-peoples-park-berkeley-1969-review-vietnam

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At 18 He Helped Make History at Stonewall and He’s Still Making News Today

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/287079/mark-segal-stonewall-making-news-today

After witnessing the Stonewall riots first hand, Mark Segal went on to become one of the most influential LGBT activists and publishers in America

By Peter Fox
June 27, 2019

Mark Segal was 18 years old on the night of June 28th, 1969, when he entered the Stonewall Inn. On the night of the historic Stonewall riots Segal had been living in New York for just six weeks, but he had already become immersed in the elusive Greenwich Village gay night scene. Raised by the only Jewish family in south Philadelphia’s Wilson Park housing project, Segal was no stranger to being an outsider. He told his parents he was leaving Philly to go to school in New York. In truth, he’d left to find a gay community. Watching an episode of The David Susskind Show years earlier he’d learned that gay people existed in New York and he knew then that was where he belonged.

Segal would go on to organize some of the earliest American LGBT organizations, help plan the first Pride March in 1970, found the longest running LGBT weekly newspaper, the Philadelphia Gay News, and become one of the most important figures in the alternative gay press. But on that night at Stonewall he was still a teenager just exulting in the chance to drink and socialize with other LGBT people at a time when homosexuality was still treated as a psychological affliction by the medical establishment, immoral by most religions, and criminal under law. In 1969 homosexuality was a crime in every state except Illinois.

The Mafia-run Stonewall Inn located in New York’s famed Greenwich Village was a kind of sanctuary. It appealed to the less-privileged LGBT people who couldn’t fit in among the more white-collar and buttoned-up secret societies of gays that existed at the time. If you were a well-off gay white male you went to Julius’s—the oldest gay bar in New York. If you were poor, or more radical, your home was Stonewall. The inn was a gathering place for street kids, artists, and gay people of all different races and ethnic backgrounds. It was one of the hearts of New York’s vibrant, bohemian LGBT community and it would become the birthplace of America’s gay civil rights movement.

It started when New York City police raided the bar as they had many times before. The cops were looking to bust an illegally run, Mafia-owned establishment selling water-downed liquor without a license but also came to abuse the patrons, throwing around anti-gay slurs and using the vulnerable population as a chance to arrest as many people as possible and pad their records. They had done this many times before, including just four nights earlier at the Stonewall Inn.

Segal was carded by the police that night but with no money to offer for a bribe, he says that he was fortunate to be quickly released. The people arrested were primarily minors, trans women, and crossdressers, which was still illegal at the time. Segal watched from across the street, terrified as the raid unraveled into chaos.

Yet the terror was mixed with other emotions.

“There was an odd, celebratory feel to it,” he says. Within moments of taking in the scene, he thought to himself, “this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”

Most people ran away to avoid arrest, but those who remained were drag queens, hustlers, runaways, street kids—the people who had nothing to lose and were willing to fight back.

In 1969, American society was all about rebellion. “African Americans can fight for their rights, Latinos can fight for their rights, women can fight for their rights, what about us?” Segal saw the social uproar of the era and thought, “why not me? Why not my people?”

For Segal, the aftermath of the Stonewall riots was a “magical year.” He played a role in starting the Gay Liberation Front, an umbrella group that became one of the first major American LGBT organizations, and helped found the first transgender and gay youth organizations, serving as its president at the age of 19. 

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/287079/mark-segal-stonewall-making-news-today

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Too many men think teenage girls are fair game. That gave Jeffrey Epstein cover

People like Epstein are why it would be a good thing if there were a few of Andrew Vachss “Burke and crew” or Barry Eisler’s “Livia Lone and crew” in the real world instead of just the pages of books.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/10/teenage-girls-jeffrey-epstein-fair-game

Epstein is an extreme example of how heterosexual pedophilia is both normalized and often cast as aspirational: the reward for male success


Wed 10 Jul 2019

Jeffrey Epstein may well take a lot of powerful men down with him. A new indictment on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against the hedge fund financier threatens to bring consequences to a suspected pedophile who has long avoided them. Epstein, a friend to the likes of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of Britain and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, was a paradigm of elite impunity and the moral rot of rich men. He exemplified the kind of corruption, self-interest, and disregard for the suffering of others that compels the communities to protect their own, and the systemic injustice allows even the most vile abusers to evade legal consequences when they have shoulder-clapping familiarity with those in power. Following revelatory reporting on Epstein’s case from the Miami Herald in November and amid a new sense of seriousness around sexual abuse generated by the #MeToo movement, it seems that Epstein, long suspected of abusing children in the near-open and facing no repercussions for it, may finally face justice.

At least, that’s what it looks like for now. But Epstein has been here before: he faced federal charges for nearly identical alleged behavior in 2008, when a teenage girl and her parents came forward to local police saying that Epstein had coerced her into giving him naked massages, and then paid her for it.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Epstein, in particular around how he made all his money, but his habits as an abuser seem pretty clear. When investigators searched Epstein’s huge Manhattan home, in a raid timed to coincide with his arrest just after his private jet arrived in New Jersey from Paris, they found “hundreds, possibly thousands” of explicit images of underage girls, so it seems likely that Epstein was also involved in the production and distribution of child abuse images. Afterwards, he would pay the girls, and get them to recruit other children.

Other victims came forward and the case eventually went to the FBI. But Epstein was given a sweetheart plea deal; federal charges were dropped, and he only pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution, a bit of legal logic that seemed to equate the coerced, abused children with adult sex workers. Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in jail and was released five months early. During his stay, he was permitted to leave jail six days a week, to go to the office. He continued to run his hedge fund during his sentence. The man who arranged this extraordinarily lenient treatment for the financier was the then US attorney Alexander Acosta, now Donald Trump’s secretary of labor.

It seems clear that Epstein was protected by his many powerful connections, as many abusers are, and because they were wealthy, powerful and famous, their protection was extremely effective at shielding him from consequence. And like other rich people, Epstein used his wealth to evade the criminal justice system, purchasing the services of skilled defense attorneys and leveraging his status in order to procure the favor of prosecutors.

But Epstein, with his opulent life of multiple homes, private jets and lavish parties for the elite that were populated heavily by girls and very young women, also benefited from a culture that interprets male heterosexual pedophilia of his type as benign or even aspirational, a facet of the good life and a privilege of the ruling class. There is a vision of the life of a very rich man that Epstein pursued for himself and that those around him approved of him having, and this vision is grounded heavily in a kind of indulgent sensualism, one in which the very rich man is privileged to enjoy lavish trips, rich wine, fine food and beautiful views.

The sexual abuse of teenage girls and young women is part of this vision; the pleasure that they afford the rich man is considered largely interchangeable with that that he gets from a rare steak or a nice cigar. But Epstein’s victims were not mere party props; they were not cocktails or expensive clothes. They were little girls. “I had braces on,” Epstein victim Courtney Wild told ABC news after his arrest. When she says that he abused her, she was 14.

Epstein was protected by his money, and by his well-positioned friends, and by the corruption of those tasked with stopping him. He was protected by the broad cultural antipathy toward treating sexual abuse as real harm, the often hostile reaction to the premise that teenage girls should matter as much as adult men. But he was also protected by an idea of teenage girls as fair game for adult men to pursue and abuse, by a chuckling acceptance of May-December “romances” that begin mid-March. But he was also protected by a vision of the good life in which girls and women are objects of pleasure more than they are subjects with their own free will and their own demands on justice, dignity and freedom. It is a life that many men still covet for themselves.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/10/teenage-girls-jeffrey-epstein-fair-game

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U.S. House votes to block Trump’s transgender military ban

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/07/u-s-house-votes-block-trumps-transgender-military-ban/

By
Sunday, July 7, 2019

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend you might’ve missed this piece of political news: This week, the U.S. House voted to defund Trump’s transgender military ban.

Politico.com reports, “During debate on a $1 trillion spending package, lawmakers voted 243-183 to adopt an amendment from Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to block funding to implement the new policy, which Democrats slammed as discriminatory and arbitrary.”

And since there are only 235 Democrats in the U.S. House, that means that a handful of Republicans also voted against funding Trump’s trans troop ban.

Democratic Representative Anthony Brown of Maryland said, “The president and his administration wrongfully argue that it’s about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments are the same ones that were made to keep the military racially segregated.”

However, as with most progressive votes in the U.S. House, the same vote isn’t likely to happen in the Republican-led U.S. Senate. In fact, at least one Republican representative, Ken Calvert of California, has said that Republicans shouldn’t support the House’s recent vote because it undermines troop readiness.

Trump originally announced his transgender troop ban in July 2017 via Twitter. Despite various federal circuit court-issued injunctions to stop its implementation, in January 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to lift the injunctions and let the ban begin.

According to Politico.com, “The new policy, which took effect in April, requires troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria serve in their biological sex. It also bars people with a history of gender dysphoria from joining the military unless they’ve been medically stable in their biological sex for 36 months and haven’t transitioned.”

Trump originally said the military ban is a cost-saving measure, stating, “[The military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

But the military was only spending $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually on trans-related healthcare — nearly five to 20 times less than the $41.6 million it spends annually on the erectile dysfunction medication.

“According to a 2017 estimate by the Palm Center, a think tank that researches LGBTQ military policies, the cost of replacing transgender troops could be as high as $960 million,” reports MSNBC.

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You Carry the Cure In Your Own Heart

From Andrew Vachss: http://vachss.com/av_dispatches/disp_9408_a.html

Emotional abuse of children can lead, in adulthood, to addiction, rage, a severely damaged sense of self and an inability
to truly bond with others. But—if it happened to you—there is a way out.

by Andrew Vachss
Originally published in Parade Magazine, August 28, 1994

The attorney and author Andrew Vachss has devoted his life to protecting children. We asked Vachss, an expert on the subject of child abuse, to examine perhaps one of its most complex and widespread forms—emotional abuse: What it is, what it does to children, what can be done about it. Vachss’ latest novel, “Down in the Zero,” just published by Knopf, depicts emotional abuse at its most monstrous.

I’m a lawyer with an unusual specialty. My clients are all children—damaged, hurting children who have been sexually assaulted, physically abused, starved, ignored, abandoned and every other lousy thing one human can do to another. People who know what I do always ask: “What is the worst case you ever handled?” When you’re in a business where a baby who dies early may be the luckiest child in the family, there’s no easy answer. But I have thought about it—I think about it every day. My answer is that, of all the many forms of child abuse, emotional abuse may be the cruelest and longest–lasting of all.

Emotional abuse is the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event. It is designed to reduce a child’s self–concept to the point where the victim considers himself unworthy—unworthy of respect, unworthy of friendship, unworthy of the natural birthright of all children: love and protection.

Emotional abuse can be as deliberate as a gunshot: “You’re fat. You’re stupid. You’re ugly.”

Emotional abuse can be as random as the fallout from a nuclear explosion. In matrimonial battles, for example, the children all too often become the battlefield. I remember a young boy, barely into his teens, absently rubbing the fresh scars on his wrists. “It was the only way to make them all happy,” he said. His mother and father were locked in a bitter divorce battle, and each was demanding total loyalty and commitment from the child.

Emotional abuse can be active. Vicious belittling: “You’ll never be the success your brother was.” Deliberate humiliation: “You’re so stupid. I’m ashamed you’re my son.”

It also can be passive, the emotional equivalent of child neglect—a sin of omission, true, but one no less destructive.

And it may be a combination of the two, which increases the negative effects geometrically.

Emotional abuse can be verbal or behavioral, active or passive, frequent or occasional. Regardless, it is often as painful as physical assault. And, with rare exceptions, the pain lasts much longer. A parent’s love is so important to a child that withholding it can cause a “failure to thrive” condition similar to that of children who have been denied adequate nutrition.

Even the natural solace of siblings is denied to those victims of emotional abuse who have been designated as the family’s “target child.” The other children are quick to imitate their parents. Instead of learning the qualities every child will need as an adult—empathy, nurturing and protectiveness—they learn the viciousness of a pecking order. And so the cycle continues.

But whether as a deliberate target or an innocent bystander, the emotionally abused child inevitably struggles to “explain” the conduct of his abusers—and ends up struggling for survival in a quicksand of self–blame.

Emotional abuse is both the most pervasive and the least understood form of child maltreatment. Its victims are often dismissed simply because their wounds are not visible. In an era in which fresh disclosures of unspeakable child abuse are everyday fare, the pain and torment of those who experience “only” emotional abuse is often trivialized. We understand and accept that victims of physical or sexual abuse need both time and specialized treatment to heal. But when it comes to emotional abuse, we are more likely to believe the victims will “just get over it” when they become adults.

That assumption is dangerously wrong. Emotional abuse scars the heart and damages the soul. Like cancer, it does its most deadly work internally. And, like cancer, it can metastasize if untreated.

When it comes to damage, there is no real difference between physical, sexual and emotional abuse. All that distinguishes one from the other is the abuser’s choice of weapons. I remember a woman, a grandmother whose abusers had long since died, telling me that time had not conquered her pain. “It wasn’t just the incest,” she said quietly. “It was that he didn’t love me. If he loved me, he couldn’t have done that to me.”

But emotional abuse is unique because it is designed to make the victim feel guilty. Emotional abuse is repetitive and eventually cumulative behavior—very easy to imitate—and some victims later perpetuate the cycle with their own children. Although most victims courageously reject that response, their lives often are marked by a deep, pervasive sadness, a severely damaged self-concept and an inability to truly engage and bond with others.

Continue reading at:  http://vachss.com/av_dispatches/disp_9408_a.html

Robert Reich: What is Oligarchy?

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Democrats, This Isn’t Politics as Usual

From Robert Reich:  https://robertreich.org/post/186017883635

Robert Reich
July 3, 2019

Imagine an opposition political party in a land being taken over by an oligarchy, headed by a would-be tyrant.

The tyrant and the oligarchy behind him have convinced many voters that the reason they feel powerless and economically insecure isn’t because the oligarchy has taken most of the economic gains and overwhelmed the government with their money. It’s because the country has been taken over by undocumented immigrants, Latinos, African-Americans, and a “deep state” of coastal liberals, intelligence agencies, and mainstream media.

This is rubbish, of course, but the tyrant is masterful at telling big lies, and he is backed by the oligarchy’s big money.

Imagine further that the opposition party will soon face another election in which it could possibly depose the tyrant and overcome the oligarchy. But at the rate they are consolidating power – over the courts, politics, and the media – this could be the opposition’s last chance.

What would it do?

Would it allow virtually anyone to seek to be the party’s candidate for president (and gain valuable brand recognition along the way) – including spiritual gurus, one-issue entrepreneurs, and minor elected officials who have never even run for state office?

I doubt it. The party would establish criteria to filter out those who had no real chance.

Would it let almost every one of them go on television to debate one other – thereby placing a premium on one-line zingers, fast talk, and rapid-fire putdowns? Would it assign them randomly to one of two nights, so several candidates with the most support wouldn’t even get to debate one other?

Of course not. Instead, it would take the half-dozen who had the best chance, and structure the debates so they could demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the forcefulness of their ideas in lengthy back-and-forth exchanges.

Would it encourage them to split the party over policy issues that almost no one understands, such as the meaning of “Medicare for all” – thereby causing some voters to become alarmed about a government takeover of the healthcare system, and others to worry the government won’t go far enough?

No. It would encourage the candidates to emphasize the larger goal – in this case, to provide health insurance to everyone, and have them explain that a so-called “public option” to buy into Medicare would eventually displace for-profit private insurers anyway, because it would be so much cheaper.

Would it let any of this deflect attention from the tyrant keeping children in cages at the border, coddling foreign dictators and inviting them to help him in the next election, shattering alliances with other democracies, using his office to make money for himself and his family, lying non-stop, subsidizing fossil fuels and downplaying climate change, claiming the media is guilty of treason, and undermining other democratic institutions and norms?

Continue reading at:  https://robertreich.org/post/186017883635

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The Right-Wing Is Weaponizing Gender Panic

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2019/6/23/right-wing-weaponizing-gender-panic

Around the globe, conservative forces are using the “gender ideology” movement to score all kinds of victories.

By J. Bob Alotta<
June 23 2019

The Trump Administration’s leaked gender memo, the recent transgender military ban, and the expansion of the global gag rule aren’t coincidences. They are part of a well-coordinated, funded global movement designed to control our communities by restricting the rights and bodily autonomy of women, LGBTQI communities, and people of color — eerily reminiscent of Reagan era oppressive tactics.

For LGBTQI communities, this kind of backlash is not new. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, the Reagan administration demonized our communities, as did right-wing forces around the world, spreading the false notion of the “gay plague” and blaming men who have sex with men for the transmission of the HIV virus. LGBT people were denied equal access to healthcare, faced intense violence, were stigmatized, stripped of basic rights, and often forced into the shadows. But we fought back.

Today, we know the far-right are sewing those same seeds of paranoia, creating gender panic with the use of an intentionally ambiguous organizing framework termed “gender ideology”by some and “anti-gender ideology” by others. Originating in the 1990s, gender ideology is a construct that depicts efforts to expand rights for women, LGBTQI people, and people of color, as radical, dangerous, and elitist, arguing that we are a threat to traditional family values.

What we have been less aware of is that this gender ideology movement is extremely well-funded, and well-organized across sectors and regions. While we don’t have a comprehensive map of the funding of these movements, we know the size and scope is significant. For example, the gender ideology movement’s receives a lot of funding from churches and we know their budgets are sizable; for example, Chile gave the Catholic Church $16 million in one year alone, and Russia gave the Russian Orthodox church $189 million over three years. Of course, not all of this is to oppose gender and sexuality rights, but it demonstrates the scope and capacities of these institutions.

More specifically, the World Congress of Families is one of the most influential far-right networks which “seeks to unite and equip leaders, organizations, and families to affirm, celebrate, and defend the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society.” In 2019, they hosted a conference in Verona less than a year following their last in Moldova, with a speaker lineup that included the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, the President of Moldova, an MP from Malawi, and the President of the WCF’s parent American organization, the International Organization for the Family.

From Poland to Brazil and Colombia to Kenya, gender ideology movements are showing up across the world and are growing in size and power. By bringing together right-wing authoritarian leaders, legislators, and civil society and religious leaders to develop policies which paint us as threats to the natural order, they are gaining legitimacy by the day, and directly restricting our rights and freedom. Their strategies take the form of police violence, anti-immigrant rhetoric, restricted access to sexual and reproductive rights, white supremacist ideologies, and the use of gender paranoia to mobilize masses of people toward these conservative agendas.

Many of Astraea’s grantees have been on the frontlines of this battle. In 2016, Colombia was making inroads in the fight for gender justice after coordinated organizing from local LGBTQI activist groups. A progressive subcommission was formed as part of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — to ensure a sufficient gender focus in the accords. This was the first peace agreement to use a gender-based approach to ensure the inclusion of women and LGBTI people. Concurrently, the Colombian Education ministry, led by openly lesbian Minister Gina Parody, released educational materials for teachers to prevent discrimination against LGBT students.

However, these actions resulted in major critique from former Colombian president and current Senator Álvaro Uribe — leader of the opposition — and his followers, “uribistas.” They vehemently argued that the government had used the peace deal as an opportunity to promote a “confused gender ideology.” On Facebook, a flyer posted by uribistas read, “Colombia is in danger! Of falling under the control of a communist dictatorship and the imminent passage of a gender ideology.”

The Colombia example reveals how the political forces behind gender ideology have existed for decades, fighting to deny the rights of women and LGBTI people. Today, they have rebranded to exist directly in opposition to gender ideology and utilize populist, fear-based messaging to attack the rights of LGBTI people and women with renewed vigor. Álvaro Uribe framed the inclusion of the rights of LGBTI people and women in the peace agreement as an imposition of gender ideology. By doing so, he equated a “yes” vote in the referendum to a vote against Christian values and the traditional Colombian family, as opposed to a vote to end the 50-year conflict.

The global anti-gender ideology movement has built and funded a network that knows few boundaries and has core shared goals — across different religions and bridging secular and religious divides. They have found messaging that resonates, and they have not limited themselves by issue, population, or even geography in their funding strategies. Where they see an opportunity, they show up.

Continue reading at:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2019/6/23/right-wing-weaponizing-gender-panic

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