Embarrassing Photos of Me, Thanks to My Right-Wing Stalkers

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/embarrassing-photos-of-me-thanks-to-my-right-wing-stalkers.html?_r=4

By Bill McKibben
Aug. 5, 2016

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — THERE are shameful photos of me on the internet.

In one series, my groceries are being packed into plastic bags, as I’d forgotten to bring cloth ones. In other shots, I am getting in and out of … cars. There are video snippets of me giving talks, or standing on the street. Sometimes I see the cameraman, sometimes I don’t. The images are often posted to Twitter, reminders that I’m being watched.

In April, Politico and The Hill reported that America Rising Squared, an arm of the Republican opposition research group America Rising, had decided to go after me and Tom Steyer, another prominent environmentalist, with a campaign on a scale previously reserved for presidential candidates. Using what The Hill called “an unprecedented amount of effort and money,” the group, its executive director said, was seeking to demonstrate our “epic hypocrisy and extreme positions.”

Since then, my days in public have often involved cameramen walking backward and videotaping my every move. It’s mostly when I travel (I’ve encountered them in at least five states so far, as well as in Australia), and generally when I’m in a public or semipublic space. They aren’t interested in my arguments; instead, these videos, usually wordless, are simply posted on Twitter, almost always with music. One showed me sitting in a church pew, accompanied by the song “Show Me That Smile.” The tweet read, “Ready for his close-up.”

Someone also went to the archive at Texas Tech University, where my papers are stored, and asked for copies of everything in all 54 boxes. He identified himself as being with a group that is affiliated with America Rising Squared.

This effort has resulted in all kinds of odd things appearing on right-wing corners of the web: out-of-context quotations from old books and articles apparently put on display to prove I’m a zealot, and photos from God knows who intended to make me out as a hypocrite (the plastic bags, for instance, and my travel by car, which, you know, burns gas). Mostly, they’ve just published those creepy videos, to remind me that I’m under surveillance.

I understand that this isn’t horrible in the way that police brutality is horrible, or having your home swept away by a flood is horrible. I know that in other parts of the world, environmentalists have worse things than cameras pointed at them. From Honduras to the Philippines, in the last two years, activists have been assassinated after getting in the way of mega projects.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/embarrassing-photos-of-me-thanks-to-my-right-wing-stalkers.html?_r=4

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Nike: Unlimited Courage

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Win like a woman: How the media is still failing female Olympians

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2016/08/08/win-like-a-woman-how-the-media-is-still-failing-female-olympians/

Women are taking home medals, but many reports still focus on them as wives and moms

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Monday, Aug 8, 2016

Did you hear that women’s trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein won her second career Olympic medal for the U.S. team in Rio this weekend? Did you cheer for Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, who won the gold and broke a world record in 400-meter individual medley? Or were you too distracted by the media commentary about their husbands?

In the field of world-class competition, you can be literally one of the greatest athletes of all time and still have fans who’d argue your achievements are second-rate. If you want to get on the cover of Sports Illustrated, your odds are better if you’re a swimsuit model than an actual record-crushing hero. And then there’s the way that female athletes are repeatedly commented on in the media — either as objects of desire or grudging “plays like a guy” admiration, and always, the need to comment on their status as wives and moms.

When Corey Cogdell-Unrein took the trap shooting bronze over the weekend, eight years after earning her first medal in Beijing and four years after competing in London, the headlines noted her achievement by placing her in context. The Chicago Sun-Times announced, “Corey Cogdell-Unrein, wife of Bears DE Mitch, wins bronze.” This is the entire second paragraph of the report: “Her husband, Bears defensive end Mitch Unrein, cheered her from his home near Chicago. They have been married for two years.” Last month, the paper similarly declared that “Bears lineman Mitch Unrein’s wife takes aim at gold in Rio.”  The Sporting News, meanwhile, reported that “Corey Cogdell, wife of Bears lineman, wins bronze in shooting.”

Writing for Australia’s SBS, comedian Rebecca Shaw suggested that come the fall, maybe the headlines could announce that “Three time Olympian Corey Cogdell’s husband plays a game of football.” And on Twitter, performance artist Mallory Hanora noted the Chicago Tribune’s tweet on the medal didn’t even mention Cogdell-Unrein’s name — but did include her husband’s — with a wry, “Wow she trained so her whole life for that marriage congratulations unnamed woman.”

Sure, he’s a Chicago athlete and she’s not — note how her home state didn’t have trouble writing the news as “Alaska trapshooter Cogdell-Unrein claims 2nd Olympic bronze medal.” And yes, the Bears have a bigger fan community than Olympic trap shooting does. But did anybody stop for a second before writing that headline to ask if the story here really is about this woman’s identity as a wife? (It is not.)

It’s kind of like how when Hillary Clinton achieved her history-making Democratic nomination for the president of the U.S., newspapers across the country blasted out photographs of her husband. Know when not to perpetuate BS, journalists.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2016/08/08/win-like-a-woman-how-the-media-is-still-failing-female-olympians/

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Russia may be meddling in US politics. Where is the left wing outrage?

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/03/russia-putin-trump-us-politics-sanders-supporters-response

Thanks to Bernie Sanders, leftwingers of my generation are poised to wield enormous influence over national politics. Let’s not use it to excuse Russia

Wednesday 3 August

The idea that Russia is meddling in the US elections on behalf of Donald Trump – fueled by reports that Russians may have hacked and leaked Democratic National Committee emails via WikiLeaks – has reignited debates about US-Russian relations. It has also made apparent the American left’s failure to articulate a coherent approach to Russia.

No one knows what Trump’s exact relationship with Vladimir Putin or Russian financial interests is – in part because he refuses to release his tax statements to the public. But Trump isn’t the only one that has an ambiguous relationship with Russia. The Soviet Union broke up 25 years ago, but cold war rhetoric continues to unhelpfully inform how the American left talks about its largest successor state.

Much of this can be blamed on the hawks in the Washington foreign policy establishment who are committed to confrontation with Putin. There are good reasons to believe that the US should avoid needless belligerence against a nuclear-armed power, and that proposals to expand Nato into Georgia, to arm Ukraine against Russian-backed rebels or simply to denounce Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe” are ill-advised.

But that doesn’t excuse the left’s glibness toward the possibility that Russia is interfering in a US election. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, wrote in the Washington Post this week that Democrats “are on the verge of becoming the Cold War party, with Trump, ironically, becoming the candidate of détente” and denounced what she termed “neo-McCarthyism”. There is also Glenn Greenwald, who, after Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, dismissed the stunned reaction of much of the US media as “such unmitigated bullshit”.

And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange won’t comment on how his organization acquired the DNC emails, but has pushed back against the notion of Russian involvement, despite the growing consensus among US spy agency officials that they were involved.

But it’s not just prominent leftwing leaders who are turning a blind eye to Russia. Some young supporters of Bernie Sanders, who are justifiably upset about the information revealed by WikiLeaks, told the Daily Beast’s Tim Mak that they don’t care what role Russia might have played.

As someone who supported Sanders, and who has also spent years closely observing Russian politics, it was frustrating to watch many of my friends and allies on the left shrugging off concerns about Russia in my Twitter feed last week. Nearly a century after the Bolsheviks first seized power, the American left’s relationship with Russia is still defined by an abstract nostalgia for a failed socialist experiment that has little relevance today.

Notwithstanding the Kremlin’s protecting of Snowden or its patriotic celebrations of the communist era, contemporary Russia is in no sense a left-leaning country.

It is better understood as a cautionary tale of unchecked neoliberalism. The US-supported 1990s privatization schemes described in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine are directly responsible for the rise of Putin and the repressive state he presides over.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/03/russia-putin-trump-us-politics-sanders-supporters-response

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Black Lives Matter’s Jewish Problem Is Also a Black Problem

From Tablet:  http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/209977/black-lives-matters-jewish-problem

The civil rights group’s newly published platform holds that societal reforms in America are somehow related to the Arab-Israeli conflict

By Chloe Valdary
August 4, 2016

On Aug. 1, the Black Lives Matter coalition (BLM) of groups and partners published a platform of objectives and demands ostensibly constructed to correct heavy-handed policing, educational negligence, and economic inadequacy in black communities.

That platform did no such thing.

Instead, organizers offered up a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas in the service of creating a new world order, one in which defunding police, releasing all political prisoners from jail, and redistributing of land are imperative.

Moreover, apparently believing that societal reforms in America’s inner cities are somehow related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, BLM included a section on Israel in its list of demands. With trite talking points, the group called for a divestment from the Jewish state as it is allegedly “complicit in the genocide against the Palestinian people.”

What this means is unpleasant to contemplate. An organization formed to confront systemic prejudice against black Americans—which predates the reestablishment of the state of Israel—is now intimating that such prejudice is caused by the Jewish state’s supposed genocidal tendencies (which, according to census reports, have led to a population increase among Palestinians).

Though I find no intrinsic value in “rebutting” crackpot conspiracy theories, it’s worth demonstrating how far removed BLM is from honoring the legacy of its ancestors by reminding readers just how pro-Zionist prominent leaders in the black community have been throughout history—and how Zionism helped shape black politics in America.

Edward Wilmot Blyden, founder of the 19th-century American Pan-African movement, famously wrote,“[I have] the deepest possible interest in the current history of the Jews—especially in that marvelous movement called Zionism.”

W.E.B. Dubois, founder of the NAACP, declared in 1919, “The African movement must mean to us what the Zionist movement must mean to the Jews, the centralization of race effort and the recognition of a racial front. … For any ebullition of effort and feeling that results in an amelioration of the lot of Africa tends to ameliorate the conditions of colored peoples throughout the world.”

Marcus Garvey, founder of the Back-to-Africa movement, stated in 1920: “When a Jew says, ‘We shall have Palestine,’ the same feeling comes to us when we say, ‘We shall have Africa.’ … Africa remains the heritage of black people, as Palestine is of the Jews.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/209977/black-lives-matters-jewish-problem

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Hey, misogynist killjoys: stop denying that Hillary has made history

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/02/misogynist-killjoys-denying-hillary-clinton-made-history

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Over the past month, Americans have seen history made over and over again: Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. We watched as a 102-year-old woman from Arizona – born before women had the right to vote – cast her state’s votes for Clinton. And we now live in a time when some young women have never voted in an election where both candidates were white men. All of these things are remarkable and – regardless of your political leanings – cause for celebration.

Why, then, does it feel like any time a woman points out the objectively important political and cultural moment at hand, someone else feels the need to jump in to tell her why she’s wrong? I’ve heard it from my female friends, seen it on social media and experienced it myself: if you dare to express overwhelm or joy at the prospect of a female president, or the strides women’s rights have made this year, you are promptly shot down by a special brand of misogynist killjoy.

They point out Clinton’s imperfections, or that women have run as third-party candidates before, to make the case that our happiness is misplaced. They say it’s not really an important moment. That our feelings are wrong. As if any celebration needs to be papered over with caveats and “actuallys”.

But here’s the thing: men, it’s not your moment, and the irony of lecturing over our happiness at this particular historical milestone is not lost on us. We have heard this kind of hectoring before; in fact, we’ve heard it most of our lives. (There is a reason the term “mansplaining” took off the way it did!)

It is not that we think your opinion is unimportant – we just think that it can wait. Or that you don’t need to give it at every possible turn, especially if we’re taking the rare moment that women see progress to breathe a sigh of happiness. As Michelle Obama pointed out in her epic speech at the DNC, this is bigger than any one person’s “desires or disappointments”.

Trust me, those who are celebrating the possibility of a female president – or the fact that the Democratic nominee is a woman – fully understand that the moment, and the candidate, are not perfect. But name me a hurdle jumped that is. Instead of talking over women who may be celebrating, try asking us why we are doing so.

Ask us about what it feels like to never have seen ourselves represented at the highest level of government. Ask what it’s like to grow up with people constantly undervaluing your opinion, or ignoring your intelligence. Ask us what kind of world we imagine when we take a minute, just a minute, to consider how political parity might change things.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/02/misogynist-killjoys-denying-hillary-clinton-made-history

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George Carlin – Political Correctness is fascism pretending to be Manners.

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