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JK Rowling Casts Anti-Doxxing Spell Against Trans Activists In Furious Twitter Thread

JK Rowling Casts Anti-Doxxing Spell Against Trans Activists In Furious Twitter Thread.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

A Republican Senate candidate endorsed by Peter Thiel is campaigning on a pledge to vote only for judges who oppose the SCOTUS ruling establishing the right to birth control

Blake Masters pledged to vote for judges who believe Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrongly decided. Anti-abortion supporters chant towards a group of pro-choice activists (not pictured) during 'March For Life' rally.Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images Blake Masters, an Arizona GOP candidate for Senate, is running on an anti-abortion platform.  His campaign site says he will only vote for judges who believe Griswold v. Connecticut was wrongly decided.  The Griswold decision overturned a state ban on birth control, protecting the right to use contraceptives.  Blake Masters, a GOP Senate candidate running on an anti-abortion platform in Arizona, is also taking aim at the case that established the right to access birth control on his campaign website."I am 100% pro-life. Roe v. Wade was a horrible decision. It was wrong the day it was decided in 1973, it's wrong today, and it must be reversed. But the fight doesn't stop there," Master's campaign website reads. It goes on to pledge the candidate will "vote only for federal judges who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion."Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey established and protected the right to an abortion in 1973 and 1992, respectively. But the Griswold case, decided in 1965, overturned a statewide ban on birth control and protected citizen's rights to privacy against state restrictions on contraceptives. Masters identifies himself as a Catholic father of three on his campaign site. The Catholic Church has had an official ban on any "artificial" birth control methods, including condoms and diaphragms, since 1930. Since birth control pills were invented in 1960, the church has maintained its stance that the medication should only be used for non-contraceptive reasons. "I don't support a state law or federal law that would ban or restrict contraception — period," Masters said in a statement emailed to Insider. "And Griswold was wrongly decided. Both are true."In a Twitter thread criticizing reporting that pointed out his conflicting campaign positions, Masters stated that his problem with the Griswold case was that the Supreme Court justices "wholesale made up a constitutional right to achieve a political outcome." The Senate hopeful boasts an endorsement by conservative billionaire Peter Thiel on his campaign site and is aiming to secure an endorsement by former President Donald Trump. Trump phoned in to support Masters during a campaign event, criticizing his opposition, but has not officially endorsed Masters.Masters, a venture capitalist, previously served as the president of the Thiel Foundation and was chosen by Thiel in 2016 to serve on then President-elect Trump's transition team as he took office. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 8th, 2022

A Republican Senate candidate endorsed by Peter Thiel is campaigning on an apparent anti-birth control platform

Blake Masters pledged to vote for judges who believe Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrongly decided. Anti-abortion supporters chant towards a group of pro-choice activists (not pictured) during 'March For Life' rally.Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images Blake Masters, an Arizona GOP candidate for Senate, is running on an anti-abortion platform.  His campaign site says he will only vote for judges who believe Griswold v. Connecticut was wrongly decided.  The Griswold decision overturned a state ban on birth control, protecting the right to use contraceptives.  Blake Masters, a GOP Senate candidate running on an anti-abortion platform in Arizona, is also taking aim at laws protecting the right to use birth control on his campaign website. "I am 100% pro-life. Roe v. Wade was a horrible decision. It was wrong the day it was decided in 1973, it's wrong today, and it must be reversed. But the fight doesn't stop there," Master's campaign website reads. It goes on to pledge the candidate will "vote only for federal judges who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion."Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey established and protected the right to an abortion in 1973 and 1992, respectively. But the Griswold case, decided in 1965, overturned a statewide ban on birth control and protected citizen's rights to privacy against state restrictions on contraceptives. Masters identifies himself as a Catholic father of three on his campaign site. The Catholic Church has had an official ban on any "artificial" birth control methods, including condoms and diaphragms, since 1930. Since birth control pills were invented in 1960, the church has maintained its stance that the medication should only be used for non-contraceptive reasons. "I don't support a state law or federal law that would ban or restrict contraception — period," Masters said in a statement emailed to Insider. "And Griswold was wrongly decided. Both are true."In a Twitter thread criticizing reporting that pointed out his conflicting campaign positions, Masters stated that his problem with the Griswold case was that the Supreme Court justices "wholesale made up a constitutional right to achieve a political outcome." The Senate hopeful boasts an endorsement by conservative billionaire Peter Thiel on his campaign site and is aiming to secure an endorsement by former President Donald Trump. Trump phoned in to support Masters during a campaign event, criticizing his opposition, but has not officially endorsed Masters.Masters, a venture capitalist, previously served as the president of the Thiel Foundation and was chosen by Thiel in 2016 to serve on then President-elect Trump's transition team as he took office. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 7th, 2022

The First Amendment Option: An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

The First Amendment Option: An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on one way for Elon Musk to re-introduce free speech values on his newly acquired social media platform. Pro-censorship advocates like former President Barack Obama may have given Musk a roadmap for restoring free speech on Twitter. Here is the column: For free speech advocates, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could prove the most impactful event since Twitter’s founding in 2006. The question, however, is how Musk can accomplish his lofty goal of restoring free speech values to social media. He first would have to untie the Gordian knot of censorship in a company now synonymous with speech control. The answer may be simpler than most people think. Indeed, anti-free-speech figures in the country may have given Musk the very roadmap he’s looking for: the First Amendment. The purchase of Twitter alone will have immediate and transformative changes for free speech. The control over speech on social media required a unified front. Free speech is like water, it tends to find a way out. With social media, there was no way out because of the unified front of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Facebook is actually running commercials trying to convince people to embrace their own censorship. This message was reinforced by Democratic leaders like President Biden, who demanded that these companies expand censorship and curtail access to harmful viewpoints. Now this market has one major competitor selling a free speech product. The fear is that Musk might be proven right and that Twitter could become larger and more profitable by allowing more free speech. Facebook has not had much success in convincing customers to embrace censorship, but it may find shareholders wondering why the Facebook board (like the Twitter board) is undermining its own product as a communications company committed to limited speech. Another immediate change could be the forced exodus of a line of ardent censors from the company, with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (hopefully) at the head of line. Agrawal is one of the most anti-free-speech figures in Big Tech. After taking over as CEO, Agrawal quickly made clear that he wanted to steer the company beyond free speech and that the issue is not who can speak but “who can be heard.” However, once such figures are removed from Twitter, the question is how to re-establish a culture of free speech. The answer may be in the very distinction used by Democratic politicians and pundits to justify corporate censorship. For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies. The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly. Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech. Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship. Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.” He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.” Well, what if it did? The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so. The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means. The value to tying private speech to First Amendment jurisprudence is that there is a steady array of cases illuminating this standard and its applications. Such a rule would admittedly allow a large array of offensive and objectionable speech — just as the First Amendment does in a public square. That is the price of free speech. This is, admittedly, not a perfect fit. Twitter needs to protect itself from civil liability in the form of trademark, copyright and other violations in the use of its platforms. Moreover, most sites (including my own blog) delete racist and offensive terms. That can be done through standard moderation systems or, preferably, optional filters for users to adopt on Twitter. There are also standard rules against doxxing as well as personal threats or privacy violations. Social media companies long had these limitations before plunging headlong into the type of content-based speech regulations made infamous by Twitter. Musk can use the baseline of the First Amendment with these limited augmentations to re-create the type of relatively open forums that once characterized the internet. I have long admitted to being a type of “internet originalist” who prefers precisely the digital town square concept embraced by Musk. Adopting the First Amendment standards would create a foundation for free speech that can be tweaked to accommodate narrow, well-defined limitations. The greatest challenge is not the restoration of free speech but the retention of such a site. Notably, figures like Hillary Clinton have suddenly turned from advocating corporate censorship to calling for good old-fashioned state censorship. Last week, Clinton called on the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a massive censorship measure that has received preliminary approval. Coming after Musk’s bid for Twitter, Clinton and others now want to use European countries to offer the same circumvention of the First Amendment. Rather than use a corporate surrogate, they would use an alternative state surrogate to force Twitter to censor content or face stiff penalties in Europe. Musk will have to fight that battle when it comes. In the interim, he can rally the public, as he did Twitter shareholders, to the cause of free speech. [ZH: Always willing to help, Elon Musk himself explained where he stands...] pic.twitter.com/Q9OjlJhi7f — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 28, 2022 Tyler Durden Thu, 04/28/2022 - 16:35.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 28th, 2022

"Libs Of TikTok" WaPo-Dox Backfires After Account Gains 500,000 New Followers In One Week

'Libs Of TikTok' WaPo-Dox Backfires After Account Gains 500,000 New Followers In One Week Libs of TikTok - a Twitter account which aggregates videos posted on TikTok by deranged leftists - has gained over 500,000 new followers in the week since the Washington Post published a hit-piece against the owner of the account. As part of the smear campaign, WaPo 'journalist' Taylor Lorenz doxxed the woman who runs it - while innocent people who share the same name as the account owner were harassed for days. The account first made national headlines on April 14 after Twitter suspended it for 12 hours, citing "hateful conduct." That alone caused a jump in followers from 602,000 followers that Tuesday, to 630,000 by Saturday. 48 hours later, WaPo put out their hit piece - accusing Libs of TikTok of "spreading anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment." Lorenz notably posted information on the account owner's Real Estate license, which revealed personal information. WaPo subsequently removed the link with no explanation. And of course, Lorenz's snarky hit-piece completely backfired, as the account has gained over 500,000 new followers since it was published. via socialblade.com The jump in followers was also undoubtedly fueled in part by appearances by the account owner on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to discuss the intimidation campaign. In short, Twitter and Taylor Lorenz have nearly doubled Libs of TikTok's reach in their attempts to smear the conservative account ahead of midterms. Of course, it should also be noted that Twitter has seemingly "unshackled" conservative accounts over the last 72 hours following the news that Elon Musk was acquiring the social media giant. To wit, Libs of TikTok saw a jump of 110,000 followers on Wednesday. While I’m awesome and totally deserving of 87,000 new followers a day it seems that someone took the shackles off my account. Wonder if they’re burning the evidence before new mgmt comes in? pic.twitter.com/9Mso48qyNP — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 26, 2022 Meanwhile, Journalist Tim Pool paid for a billboard in Times Square calling Lorenz and the Post out for the doxxing. Thanks to @TimCast, a billboard is up in Times Square exposing what The Washington Post did to @LibsOfTikTok. pic.twitter.com/y7MwrqGGZd — Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 28, 2022 In the meantime, Libs of TikTok will continue to send videos like this into the stratosphere: People on TikTok (an app targeting youth) continue to promote puberty blockers for kids saying they are harmless. Giving a child puberty blockers is child abuse. pic.twitter.com/fo7Jmbg9KF — Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 28, 2022 Tyler Durden Thu, 04/28/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 28th, 2022

‘We’re Back.’ Far-Right Groups Celebrate Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover

While much of the online world reacted with surprise and skepticism when news broke of Elon Musk’s stunning $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Monday, some corners of the Internet broke out in jubilation. “Today is a massive cause for celebration!” one user posted on the messaging app Telegram. That user, a conspiracist who goes… While much of the online world reacted with surprise and skepticism when news broke of Elon Musk’s stunning $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Monday, some corners of the Internet broke out in jubilation. “Today is a massive cause for celebration!” one user posted on the messaging app Telegram. That user, a conspiracist who goes by BioClandestine, was suspended from Twitter in February after sparking a viral conspiracy about the U.S. funding the development of bioweapons in Ukraine, which went on to be amplified by the Kremlin. All of that was about to change, he told his followers: “Moving forward, when massive stories like the Hunter Biden laptop and US biolabs arise, Twitter will allow the information to flow freely, instead of labeling these inconvenient truths as ‘Russian disinformation.’” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It’s still unclear what major changes, if any, Musk will ultimately implement at Twitter. But that hasn’t stopped a wide range of far-right influencers, conspiracists, and popular purveyors of disinformation and extremist ideologies from celebrating the takeover by the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” as a way to return to the platform. Read More: What Elon Musk Really Believes The eccentric tech billionaire is being hailed as an unlikely hero by far-right groups, from the Proud Boys to white nationalist activists and conspiracists—many of whom have been banned from Twitter. “We (Patriots) have a lot of unfinished business left to settle on Twitter,” an influencer named “Qtah” wrote on Telegram, which was echoed by QAnon figure Ron Watkins. “LETS F-CKING GOOO,” posted white nationalist commentator Nick Fuentes, who was banned from Twitter last year. “We’re back.” The deal is not set to close for another three to six months, but Musk has made no secret of his disdain for some of Twitter’s moderation policies. He has indicated that he envisions a more hands-off approach to make the platform a haven for unfettered expression, only removing content if it’s required by law. “If it’s a gray area, let the tweet exist,” Musk said in a TED Talk last week, echoing his previous statements that he thinks the company’s efforts to moderate legal but problematic, controversial, or offensive content have gone too far. Republicans and conservative groups have criticized these policies for censoring their voices and viewpoints. (Research from Twitter shows that rightwing partisan news sources have received a greater boost from Twitter’s algorithm than moderate or left-leaning news sources in the past.) But former employees, analysts, and experts have warned that efforts to roll back Twitter’s recent policies could lead to an uptick in disinformation, extremist content, harassment, and hate speech that the company has tried to crack down on for years. These stricter rules were developed slowly over the past decade as social media companies learned how bad actors could manipulate their platforms. In some countries, leaders have used Twitter to harass and silence critics, manipulate public opinion, and incite ethnic and religious violence. “Musk’s takeover does represent a really chaotic and uncertain moment, and in those kinds of chaotic moments it’s the forces that are most organized and most passionate that usually get their way,” says Emerson Brooking, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “And right now that is the far-right, right now that is hateful voices which were excluded from Twitter previously.” After many prominent far-right influencers, white nationalists, conspiracists, and grifters peddling political and health disinformation were banned from Twitter in recent years, legions of their followers swore off the platform and decamped to alternative ones. But Musk’s takeover seems to have convinced some of these users that they will be able to return to the app—and once again reach a wider audience. Read More: How Far-Right Personalities and Conspiracy Theorists Are Cashing in on the Pandemic Online Alternative social media platforms like Gab, GETTR, Parler and Donald Trump’s TRUTH social attract users of similar mindsets and make it more difficult to grow mass audiences by engaging with their detractors. (“Truth Social (terrible name) exists because Twitter censored free speech,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.) Twitter has proven to be uniquely powerful when it comes to skewing the information ecosystem, says Alicia Wanless, director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in Washington. “It’s very telling that there is a body of users who are celebrating being able to come back, who likely are finding that they can’t reach or grow their audiences on those smaller platforms,” she says. “You’ll find more like-minded people” on apps like Gab, Wanless adds, “but you’re not necessarily hitting the mainstream.” These users recognize Twitter’s influence. “Twitter must be acquired and censorship halted on there to begin a slow-burn red-pilling process,” one user wrote on a popular QAnon forum, using the term for converting people to far-right beliefs. “Think a bit…How is trans agenda infiltrating every classroom so quickly?” another person wrote. “Twitter is the vehicle of narrative shaping.” Another agreed: “Right, Twitter can literally steer world events and more importantly the public’s perception of the meaning of world events.” America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing political group that has built a loyal following in anti-vaccine circles by spreading health disinformation and selling access to alternative Covid-19 cures, posted several articles about the Musk deal, including one encouraging people to use the #ThanksElon hashtag. “Twitter is free, and we the Truckers are ready to take over and prepare a massive campaign with the help of Elon Musk,” read a message on a popular “Truckers for Freedom” Telegram account that was originally started for anti-vaccine protests and has since become a catch-all for conspiracies and disinformation about COVID-19, elections, and the war in Ukraine. Despite the exultation from many of these groups, and warnings from experts and employees, Musk has yet to detail how or whether he intends to roll back Twitter’s moderation policies. But until he does, these groups have made it clear they see his deal as a victory. “Elon Musk buying Twitter,” one rightwing Telegram account said, “feels like the digital Berlin Wall coming down.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 27th, 2022

For The Narrative-Creators, The Play Is You... And You Are Not Real

For The Narrative-Creators, The Play Is You... And You Are Not Real Authored by 'Mr.Smith' via PeakProsperity.com, Shakespeare’s famously gory “Titus Andronicus” is replete with violence, including fourteen deaths. Yet it continues to be performed, and audiences continue to sign up for a frisson of fear and pity, because this is not real. After the play, the actors get up, wash off the fake blood, and join the playwrights and directors for drinks or dinner. If, like me, you’ve been wondering about why things are the way they are in today’s world, and how this relates, this is my explanation: For the actors, writers and directors who create real world narratives, the play is you. And you are not real. Actors and Reality Much has been made of the jarring dissonance between the heroic stand of the president and the people of Ukraine and the facile signaling of the Social Justice crowd. Feel free to pick your favorite exemplar, from the merely stupid banning of Russian cats and renaming of White Russian cocktails to the more sinister cancelling of Russian performers, or the horrific threats and vandalism to places serving Russian food. There’s no shortage of content here. And, as we’ll get to shortly, that’s the point. Ukraine’s policy goals do not map fully to those of the United States (think Azov Battalion, for starters), and we can and should carefully consider our response with that awareness. But this does not change Ukrainian heroism. Zelensky wants planes, a no-fly zone, and he would no doubt love NATO boots on the ground. Prudence may dictate we provide him none of these, but it is worth noting that any of us in his circumstances would likely be asking for the same things. Any of us who stayed during the onslaught, that is. Clearly, Putin’s bet from the beginning included Zelensky on the first plane out to serve as the leader of the Ukrainian government in (comfortable) exile, after which the dismemberment of that nation would rapidly become a fait accompli. Zelensky was having none of it. He stayed, and continues to stay, at great personal risk to himself and his family. He is, unquestionably, a hero. It is the contrast between these two extremes (the banning of Russian-themed menus et al vs. Zelensky’s stand) that provides ample opportunity to reflect on the idea that many Americans are just not serious people. Unsurprisingly, their response to events in Ukraine has been to simply cut and paste from the outrage-of-the-week playbook: change profile picture, use a hashtag, find some people to cancel, and congratulate oneself on how virtuous one is. In the real world, rational people are tempted to say, “None of this ‘support’ matters”. It’s just empty signaling. So why is it happening, why has it become so pervasive, and how should we contend with it? Examination of a few high-salience topics can shed some light. Consider this first in the context of Covid and the by now well-known case of the Lab Leak Theory. Peter Daszak of the Eco-Health Alliance was the prime mover behind the infamous Lancet Letter branding any lab leak speculation uninformed conspiracy. This makes perfect sense when considering his incentives. Daszak (and Fauci, and others) had something to lose here. Perhaps a lot to lose. U.S. funding of Gain of Function research in Chinese labs resulting in a global pandemic is, to put it mildly, not a very good look and could be costly both financially and criminally. Explaining is not excusing. But while we can wish for better, observing actors respond to their incentives is nothing if not proof that the world works in an orderly way. Indeed, the conservative position that we are and should be a nation of laws, norms, and standards implicitly concedes the point that our better angels are not always ascendant. If some people had enormously large reasons to attempt a coverup of something, it’s hardly controversial that some would choose to do so. And that’s where those laws, norms, and standards come in. In an environment with many disinterested actors, those entities without skin in the game would easily out-produce the relatively small number of individuals invested in a particular narrative. In that environment, the idea that zoonotic transmission and escape from a biolab in the same city where researchers were known to be working on bat viruses were both very real possibilities would be obvious. But that is not at all how it went down. Instead, the idea that it might be prudent to investigate what role the lab in Wuhan may have played in the pandemic became roughly equivalent to arguing Flat Earth Theory. What the hell was going on here? Did everyone in the American media landscape owe Daszak a favor? Did Fauci have a secret cache of compromising emails and photos to dangle J. Edgar Hoover style over the heads of troublesome journalists? Why on earth would hundreds or thousands in the media run cover for these guys and for the Chinese government to the extent of making claims that mere investigation of the possibility of a lab leak was racist? More puzzling still is the idea that there is nothing about either potential source of the pandemic that presupposes an explicitly liberal or conservative position. Indeed, one could easily flip the script and imagine a campaign urging people to “follow the science” rather than resorting to xenophobic tropes about savages in wet markets. Until, that is, Donald Trump and other conservatives brought it up, which was like Christmas came early for Daszak and his co-conspirators. For the progressive left, the endorsement of anything by President Trump was more than sufficient cause to oppose it, and thus the wheels began to turn. None of this should be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. At its heart, this is an expression of the luxury of operating without consequences. The luxury of not having to think operationally. To be clear, what I am saying is that Daszak and his cronies were able to leverage a system in which those with the loudest megaphones literally did not and do not care where and how Covid originated. For them, it just doesn’t matter. The pandemic is just background noise. That may seem like a strong statement. So, why and in what sense did they not care? Gain Not Trust In a recent episode of Bari Weiss’ podcast Honestly, journalist and academic Yuval Levin articulated a theory of the change from institutions-as-formational to institutions-as-platforms. In his view, institutions of all types formerly served to develop the individuals inside them. If for example, you worked at the New York Times as a young journalist, you would be shaped by the ethos of that institution, informed by the repository of values developed over time within that structure. According to Levin, this has been replaced by the notion of institution-as-platform, the idea is that these structures exist as a launching pad for one’s personal brand. Understood from this perspective, the great Lab Leak crackdown suddenly makes a great deal of sense. One of the baseline branding positions operating was “not-Trump.” I am completely persuaded that if Trump had spoken out in favor of the wet market theory, we’d all have been loudly advised to “follow the science” in precisely the opposite direction. It is also worth noting that these personal brands are rivalrous goods. Having a “take,” even the right one, is necessary, but not sufficient. Your take must outcompete the other signals in the marketplace in order to claim disproportionate attention. And this explains why the Lab Leak Theory had to be, “conspiracist,” “anti-science,” and eventually, of course, “racist.” The more extreme the position is, the more effective it is in gaining audience-capture. And this is not part of the story; it’s the entire story. There is effectively nothing behind the curtain. Because of these powerful incentives, what has happened without us realizing it is the creation of a public dialogue between a small, privileged elite that is fixed on in-group signaling and status-capture. The policy concerns or post-pandemic reforms that should differentially apply depending upon the origin of the disease diminish in importance to the extent that they functionally do not matter at all. And people impacted by those decisions by extension do not matter either. They are extras and scenery. The Damaging Script This goes a long way toward explaining the persistence of the otherwise bewildering advocacy that has permeated American life. Democratic New York Mayor Eric Adams noted that the Defund the Police crowd “are a lot of young white affluent people.” Of course they are. Poll after poll reveals that those who live in high-crime neighborhoods want more police, not less. Like any other sane person, those citizens also want their police officers to be professional and not corrupt, but “I want my police officers to fight crime and be professional” is just not an exciting take. From this perspective, insanity like Defund the Police isn’t surprising, but rather inevitable. It is the position pushed to its logical extreme. And that is why arguing with this group is useless. If you wonder why the obvious fact that increased crime disproportionally affects black and brown people remains unpersuasive to them, the reason is maybe scarier than you think. It is not that they are stupid; it is that they just don’t care, and they never will. They are completely unconcerned about the consequences of implementing this policy in the real world. And to take it a step further, they don’t even care about the policy itself. The proclamation and the signaling is the whole story. In a fundamental sense, any person killed or otherwise victimized by increased crime is just not real. Extras and scenery. Nothing to see here. Perhaps nothing is more indicative of this trend than the increasingly unhinged claims emerging from the trans-activist community, as LGB became LGBT and now for some is properly expressed as LGBTQQIP2SAA, in order to be “inclusive” to intersex, pansexual, asexual, and two-spirit people. For an outsider, it can all seem like satire. How could anyone engage in these abbreviation acrobatics unironically? It is no surprise that all of this has continued to expand since the 2015 Obergefell ruling which legalized gay marriage. Effectively, the war was over, and the gay community won. Resoundingly. Despite that, it is instructive to note here that there’s no incentive to just take the W, as the kids say, and move on. Satisfaction, and even victory, simply does not move the needle. Outrage is the play when competing for eyeballs and clicks, and thus we have incomprehensible acronyms, death threats to J.K. Rowling, of all people, for having the temerity to state flatly that men and women are different, and an epidemic of medical intervention involving children is something for which future societies will likely judge us very harshly, with good reason. For outsiders, the criticism seems insane. That is because, once again, we are not the audience. What we are seeing is a process of in-group jousting for status, where increasingly bizarre formulations become predictable and indeed necessary to gain attention. “I disagree with J.K. Rowling” is hardly a winning message, especially compared with “J.K. Rowling threatens my right to exist!” Thus, once again, appeals to reason, biology, or even compassion for a generation of children we are harming irrevocably do not and will not work. No one affected by these positions exists in any meaningful way because, again, they are not real. By far the best example of this phenomenon is Black Lives Matter, a marketing triumph that proved beyond all doubt that these tactics can work, work well, and most importantly, be monetized. The familiar script is here, but no one has ever executed it better, as activists turned their rallying cry into a movement indistinguishable from religion. No nuance or difference of opinion was tolerated. Even to remain silent was proof of apostacy. The net result? More than $60 million, most of which remains unaccounted for, and a series of high-end real estate purchases by the activists behind the whole thing. No policy achievements of any kind, because of course those were never the point from the beginning, as was obvious to anyone paying attention. Inside BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ million-dollar real estate buying binge. Photo source: New York Post An attempt at real policy change involves engaging stakeholders, broadening your base, creating consensus, and finding ways to deliver wins for various groups in your coalition. Which to be fair, is a lot of work. It’s much easier to simply use any police shooting of a black citizen, regardless of the circumstances, as a fundraiser. Does anyone seriously believe BLM grifters wanted fewer police shootings? On the contrary, I promise you they wanted more, because each shooting represented an economic event. As in the examples above, BLM created an extremely effective in-group dialogue that served to funnel money into their pockets without any requirement to pursue or achieve any tangible outcomes. And the downstream impacts have been significant, as reduced public trust in law enforcement and plummeting morale among officers have contributed to a dramatic increase in crime which, again, disproportionately affects minority communities. The response to this from BLM? Condemn the black reporter who exposed their murky finances and questionable real estate transactions as racist, smear the black Harvard economist as a sexual predator, and suggest that even the financial reporting required of non-profits is, you guessed it, racist. It’s not that hard to parse this: BLM activists are not friends or allies of black communities whatsoever. Instead, we come back to the same point: everyone outside of the in-group are just extras and scenery. Including those for whom they purport to advocate. None of them are real. Luxury Beliefs Rob Henderson calls all of this a symptom of “Luxury Beliefs.” According to Henderson, these are “ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost while taking a toll on the lower class.” What we have is a catechism, a portfolio of dogma that operates as a signaling mechanism among the elite. And so, in addition to “Follow the Science” on Covid, “Trans Women are Real Women”, and “Black Lives Matter”, we have a host of other statements expressed as moral imperatives, including things like “Healthy at Any Size”, “All Family Structures are Equal”, “Open Borders”, etc. All of this can be considered an unexpected and unwelcome consequence of our own success. The complex, exquisitely-tuned supply chains that funnel us goods and services have become so remarkably effective they are essentially invisible. Elites don’t have to worry about how things get done, how X leads to Y, or how thing A gets to place B. It just happens. Magically. Invisibly. How the sausage is made is a question for smaller minds. In my view, Henderson gets one thing wrong about his theory. Luxury Beliefs are not in fact, the provenance of the rich, but rather of the educational elite, some of whom are also rich in the bargain. Journalists, other media members, academics, and activists typically have little to no experience in actual business and even less incentive to ever gain any. The effortless flow of goods and services they experience allows them the freedom from having to think operationally or consequentially. Over the past two years, COVID revealed and supercharged the insular status of these elites. If you talk to business owners, no matter how wealthy they may be, who vitally need to think operationally and consequentially every day, you find considerably less support for these elitist notions. All of this is bad enough when locked in some academic ivory tower, but as we’ve seen, this has escaped into the American Wild with terrifying effect. Crime, inflation, record border crossings, education, and more. Pick your topic, as the list goes on and on. The Final Act Which brings us back to Ukraine as the setting for the ridiculous virtue signaling and posturing by these same luxury elites. It is jarring when juxtaposed against actual tanks and soldiers, but it is just more of the same. I stated earlier that these are not serious people, but that is not entirely accurate. They are extremely serious, just not about anything other than their own internal conversations. Which then brings us back to “Titus Andronicus” and the reason behind the reason. These people will not change, and they will not be persuaded by your arguments, your statistics, and your facts. Because the people who make any of the things elites consume and the people elites purport to stand up for are all equally irrelevant. Performance is the point. The performance is the whole thing, and the actors, playwrights and directors aren’t taking suggestions from you, the extras and the scenery. Which leads us to the final act: maybe it’s time to think about shutting down the whole play. Tyler Durden Mon, 04/25/2022 - 05:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 25th, 2022

The UK"s first transgender MP is from Boris Johnson"s own party, but his government wants to "ostracise trans people," say campaigners

Activists and academics tell Insider that having the first trans MP isn't enough to make the changes the LGBTQ community needs in the UK. Boris Johnson (L) and a march for transgender rights in Westminster, London (R).Photo by Steve Reigate - Pool/Getty Images, Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images The UK saw its first transgender MP come out on March 30.  The historic moment could change attitudes toward trans people, but activists and academics were doubtful.  The day after Jamie Wallis came out, the government U-turned on a promise to ban conversion therapy for trans people.  Close to 3 am on March 30, the Conservative MP Jamie Wallis wrote an emotive statement on his life with gender dysphoria, and he came out as transgender. Wallis explained that some recent, horrific traumas — including being blackmailed over his gender identity and raped— had recently prompted him to share his true self with the world. Boris Johnson opened Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday, saying: "The whole house stands with you, and we will give you the support you need to live freely, as yourself."—Jamie Wallis MP (@JamieWallisMP) March 30, 2022 Wallis' coming out, a significant moment in British social history, could have been an opportunity to change UK attitudes to transgender rights, but activists and academics told Insider they were not hopeful that this would be possible in a country led by Prime Minister Johnson.Indeed, the day after Wallis came out, and on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the government U-turned on its manifesto commitment to ban conversion therapy for trans and non-binary people. The LGBT Foundation described it as an "appalling decision."Lui Asquith, the Director of Legal and Policy at Mermaids, a UK charity working to support transgender children and teenagers, told Insider: "It's an extraordinary moment and explicit in what's happening. We're working essentially with an anti-gender government. In my opinion, this is a very dark day for LGBT politics."A Conservative MP in Boris Johnson's government told Insider that the prime minister's position was to "ostracise trans people." —LGBT Foundation (@LGBTfdn) April 1, 2022 Cleo Madeleine, Communications Officer at transgender charity Gendered Intelligence, said the UK's first trans MP would not be a "turning point for the government without seeing concrete action from the government."She said its relationship with gender was expressed in "a 48-hour news cycle in which we have Boris Johnson cracking jokes about trans people at a dinner party, a trans MP coming out, and then a leaked document showing rollbacks of conversion therapy legislation." British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a PMQs session at the House of CommonsUK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERSArthur Webber, a transgender activist, freelance journalist, and former council candidate for the Labour party told Insider that he's not optimistic about Wallis' coming out changing political attitudes toward trans rights.The solidarity for the trans community and any outward support for Wallis will last "a couple of days," said Webber.He is "concerned for Jamie's mental health, just knowing exactly what some of these politicians are like, and how some of them are quite likely going to throw him under the bus at some point for the sake of a vox pop."  A study by LGBTQ rights charity Stonewall found that almost half of trans people have considered suicide.Part of what is so damaging to trans people's mental health, Stonewall says, is the rate at which they are "outed" when their identity is revealed without their consent. In writing his coming-out statement on Twitter, Wallis revealed someone had blackmailed him, told his father about his gender dysphoria, and demanded £50,000 for their silence. Finn Mackay, a senior sociology lecturer at the University of the West of England, said that Johnson's government had fanned the flames of this culture war, making for a challenging environment for LGBTQ people in the UK."Their government has helped this scrutinizing focus on trans people, who are just trying to get on with their lives," said Mackay.While there is much pessimism about the direction of the government's trans narrative, Mackay said there were also identifiable political allies. "I want to take the opportunity to thank them and thank their advocacy because it's hard at the moment, but they're there."Is the UK headed for a US-style 'culture war'?The Houses of ParliamentRichard Baker/In Pictures/GettyThe UK has been embroiled in a febrile discourse over trans rights for years — with its parliament being no exception. On International Women's Day, a debate on March 8 in the House of Commons was, at times, hijacked from a discussion on women who have lost their lives to femicide, and women in Ukraine at particular risk from war, into a graphic conversation on gender, genitalia, and identity.Sir Bernard Jenkins, a senior Conservative MP, chose to highlight rapes committed by men "presenting themselves as women."Speaking in the House of Commons on March 23, Prime Minister Johnson said, "We must recognize when people want to make a transition in their lives that they should be treated with the maximum possible generosity and respect," adding "when it comes to distinguishing between man and woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important."—Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) March 19, 2022 The Conservatives, lagging in the polls, are looking for ways to recapture the lead from the left-leaning Labour party, led by Sir Keir Starmer. Targeting gender-critical issues, identity debates, and woke-ism is a way to fire up the party's base. "Is the UK headed for a US-style 'culture war?' asked King's College London's Policy Institute, researching the phenomenon. Hours before Wallis came out, Conservative MPs gathered for a dinner in central London. Johnson, known for his wordplay and joke-telling,  spoke at the event. "Good evening, ladies and gentleman, or as Keir Starmer would put it, people assigned female or male at birth," he quipped. Wallis was listening in the room, say reports.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 3rd, 2022

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations, Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue. Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt  Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that's been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign. The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate -- their political rival. Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election. As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine's ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media. Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. attacked Trump in an Op-Ed weeks before the 2016 election. At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump's watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine's membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn't happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures. The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond. Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he's learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away. In the meantime, a comprehensive account of documented Ukrainian collusion – including efforts to assist the FBI in its 2016 probe of Manafort – is pieced together here for the first time. It draws from an archive of previously unreported records generated from a secret Federal Election Commission investigation of the Democratic National Committee that includes never-before-reviewed sworn affidavits, depositions, contracts, emails, text messages, legal findings and other documents from the case. RealClearInvestigations also examined diplomatic call transcripts, White House visitor logs, lobbying disclosure forms, congressional reports and closed-door congressional testimony, as well as information revealed by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in social media postings, podcasts and books. 2014: Prelude to Collusion U.S. envoys Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt helped bring to power Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, right. (AP) The coordination between Ukrainian and Democratic officials can be traced back at least to January 2014. It was then when top Obama diplomats – many of whom now hold top posts in the Biden administration – began engineering regime change in Kiev, eventually installing a Ukrainian leader they could control. On Jan. 27, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt phoned Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at her home in Washington to discuss picking opposition leaders to check the power of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they believed was too cozy with Putin. “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together,” Pyatt said of a planned coalition government, adding that they needed “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.” Nuland responded that Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan had just told her that the vice president – who was acting as Obama’s point man in Ukraine – would give his blessing to the deal. “Biden’s willing,” she said. But they agreed they had to “move fast” and bypass the European Union. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told the ambassador, according to a leaked transcript of their call. Hunter Biden: His father helped engineer the rise of an amenable Ukrainian leader who would later fire a prosecutor investigating the son.   Nuland’s role in the political maneuvering was not limited to phone calls. She traveled to Kiev and helped organize street demonstrations against Yanukovych, even handing out sandwiches to protesters. In effect, Obama officials greased a revolution. Within months, Yanukovych was exiled and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who would later do Biden’s bidding – including firing a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter. Poroshenko would also later support Clinton's White House bid after Biden decided not to run, citing the death of his older son Beau. The U.S. meddling resulted in the installation of an anti-Putin government next door to Russia. A furious Putin viewed the interference as an attempted coup and soon marched into Crimea. Nuland is now Biden’s undersecretary of state and Sullivan serves as his national security adviser. Whispering in their ear at the time was a fiery pro-Ukraine activist and old Clinton hand, Alexandra “Ali” Chalupa. A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Chalupa informally advised the State Department and White House in early 2014. She organized multiple meetings between Ukraine experts and the National Security Council to push for Yanukovych’s ouster and economic sanctions against Putin. In the NSC briefings, Chalupa also agitated against longtime attorney-lobbyist Manafort, who at the time was an American consultant for Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which she viewed as a cat’s paw of Putin. She warned that Manafort worked for Putin’s interests and posed a national security threat. At the same time, Chalupa worked closely with then-Vice President Biden’s team, setting up conference calls with his staff and Ukrainians. Another influential adviser at the time was former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who provided Nuland with written reports on the Ukrainian crisis and Russia that echoed Chalupa’s warnings. Nuland treated them as classified intelligence, and between the spring of 2014 and early 2016, she received some 120 reports on Ukraine and Russia from Steele. 2015: The Move Against Manafort Commences Paul Manafort: Targeted by Chalupa over work for the ousted Ukrainian president and ties to Trump. (AP) In April 2015, the DNC hired Chalupa as a $5,000-a-month consultant, according to a copy of her contract, which ran through the 2016 election cycle. (Years earlier, Chalupa had worked full-time for the DNC as part of the senior leadership team advising Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) After Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, Chalupa grew concerned that Manafort was or would be involved with his campaign since Manafort had known Trump for decades and lived in Trump Tower. She expressed her concerns to top DNC officials and “the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump,” according to a transcript of a 2019 interview on her sister’s podcast. (Andrea Chalupa, who describes herself as a journalist, boasted in a November 2016 tweet: “My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC.”) Chalupa began encouraging journalists both in America and Ukraine to dig into Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and expose his alleged Russian connections. She fed unsubstantiated rumors, tips and leads to the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as CNN, speaking to reporters on background so a DNC operative wouldn’t be sourced. “I spent many, many hours working with reporters on background, directing them to contacts and sources, and giving them information,” Chalupa said. But no reporter worked closer with her than Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff. He even accompanied her to the Ukrainian Embassy, where they brainstormed attacks on Manafort and Trump, according to FEC case files. Chalupa was also sounding alarm bells in the White House. In November 2015, for example, she set up a White House meeting between a Ukrainian delegation including Ukraine Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and NSC advisers – among them Eric Ciaramella, a young CIA analyst on loan to the White House who later would play a significant role as anonymous "whistleblower" in Trump’s first impeachment. In addition to Putin’s aggression, the group discussed the alleged security threat from Manafort. Chalupa was back in the White House in December. All told, she would visit the Obama White House at least 27 times, Secret Service logs show, including attending at least one event with the president in 2016. Eric Ciaramella (middle right) across from Ukrainians in a June 2015 meeting at the White House, flanked by Biden security adviser Michael Carpenter and Ciaramella's NSC colleague Liz Zentos. (unknownukraine.com) January 2016: High-Level Meetings With Ukrainians in the White House On Jan. 12, 2016 – almost a month before the first GOP primary – Chalupa told top DNC official Lindsey Reynolds she was seeing strong indications that Putin was trying to steal the 2016 election for Trump. Emails also show that she promised to lead an effort to expose Manafort – whom Trump would not officially hire as his campaign chairman until May – and link him and Trump to the Russian government. That same day, Chalupa visited the White House. A week later, Obama officials gathered with Ukrainian officials traveling from Kiev in the White House for a series of senior-level meetings to, among other things, discuss reviving a long-closed investigation into payments to American consultants working for the Party of Regions, according to Senate documents. The FBI had investigated Manafort in 2014 but no charges resulted. One of the attendees, Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko, recalled Justice Department officials asking investigators with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, if they could help find fresh evidence of party payments to such U.S. figures. (Three years later, Democrats would impeach Trump for allegedly asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Joe Biden.) The Obama administration’s enforcement agencies leaned on their Ukrainian counterparts to investigate Manafort, shifting resources from an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian energy oligarch who paid Biden’s son hundreds of thousands of dollars through his gas company, Burisma. “Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” said a former senior NSC official who has seen notes and emails generated from the meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Suddenly, the FBI reopened its Manafort investigation. “In January 2016, the FBI initiated a money laundering and tax evasion investigation of Manafort predicated on his activities as a political consultant to members of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politicians,” according to a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog. The White House summit with Ukrainian officials ran for three days, ending on Jan. 21, according to a copy of the agenda stamped with the Justice Department logo. It was organized and hosted by Ciaramella and his colleague Liz Zentos from the NSC. Other U.S. officials included Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, as well as State Department diplomats. The Ukrainian delegation included Artem Sytnyk, the head of NABU, and other Ukrainian prosecutors. Ciaramella was a CIA detailee to the White House occupying the NSC’s Ukraine desk in 2015 and 2016. In that role, Ciaramella met face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials and provided policy advice to Biden through the then-vice president's security adviser Michael Carpenter. He also worked with Nuland and Chalupa.Ciaramella was carried over to the Trump White House. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, he would later anonymously blow the whistle on Trump asking Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help “get to the bottom of” Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, a phone call that triggered Trump’s first impeachment by a Democrat-controlled House. Ciaramella’s former NSC colleague Alexander Vindman leaked the call to him. Vindman, a Ukrainian-American, is also aligned with Chalupa. (Vindman is now back in the news for his demands that the United States provide more active military support to Ukraine and his insistence that Trump shares great blame for the war.) As Manafort drew closer to Trump, Obama officials zeroed in, and the FBI reopened a closed 2014 probe. (Justice Department Office of the Inspector General) February 2016: Obama White House-Ukraine Coordination Intensifies On Feb. 2, two weeks after the White House meetings, Secret Service logs reveal that Ciaramella met in the White House with officials from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, which would later provide the FBI highly sensitive bank records on Manafort. (In addition, a senior FinCEN adviser illegally leaked thousands of the confidential Manafort records to the media.) On Feb. 9, less than a month after the White House summit, Telizhenko, who worked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Zentos of the NSC at a Cosi sandwich shop in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Senate. It's not known what they discussed. In addition, on Feb. 23, the two emailed about setting up another meeting the following day. “OK if I bring my colleague Eric, who works on Ukraine with me?” Zentos asked Telizhenko, apparently referring to Ciaramella. In the emails, they discussed the U.S. primary elections, among other things. NSC's Zentos and Ukraine's Telizhenko would meet and correspond numerous times during 2016. (HSGAC-Finance Committee Hunter Biden Report) Telizhenko would later testify that Ambassador Chaly had ordered him then to “start an investigation [into the Trump campaign] within the embassy just on my own to find out with my contacts if there’s any Russian connection that we can report back.” He suspects the Ambassador delivered that report to Chalupa and the DNC. Chalupa visited the White House on Feb. 22, entrance records show, just days before the second meeting Telizhenko had planned with Zentos. March 2016: Chalupa Engineers Manafort Messaging Assault With Ukrainians After Manafort was named Trump campaign chair, the campaign against him went into overdrive. New York Times On March 3, Zentos and Telizhenko planned to meet again, this time at a Washington bar called The Exchange. According to their email, Zentos wrote, “I’ll see if my colleague Eric is up for joining.” The pair also met the next day at Swing’s coffee house in Washington. After the meeting, Telizhenko emailed Zentos seeking a meeting with senior Obama NSC official Charlie Kupchan, an old Clinton hand who was Ciaramella’s boss on the Russia/Ukraine desk. Kupchan is an outspoken critic of Trump who has made remarks suggesting what countries “can do to stop him” and “protect the international institutions we’ve built .” Zentos and Telizhenko also met on March 10, patronizing the Cosi coffee shop again. On March 24, 2016, four days before the Trump campaign announced that it had hired Manafort, Chalupa met at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Chaly and his political counselor Oksana Shulyar, where they shared their concerns about Manafort, according to Politico. When news broke on March 28 that Manafort was joining the Trump campaign, Chalupa could hardly contain herself. “This is huge,” she texted senior DNC officials. “This is everything to take out Trump.” She immediately began circulating anti-Manafort memos, warning the DNC of the “threat” he posed of Russian influence. The next day, March 29, she briefed the DNC communications team about Manafort. They, in turn, hatched a plan to reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy to get President Porochenko to make an on-camera denouncement of Manafort and feed the footage to ABC News, where former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos works as a top anchor. On March 30, Chalupa fired off an email to Shulyar, her contact at the Ukrainian Embassy: "There is a very good chance that President Poroshenko may receive a question from the press during his visit about the recent New York Times article saying that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort as an adviser to his campaign and whether President Poroshenko is concerned about this considering Trump is the likely Republican nominee and given Paul Manafort’s meddling in Ukraine over the past couple of decades,” Chalupa wrote. "It is important President Poroshenko is prepared to address this question should it come up. In a manner that exposes Paul Manafort for the problems he continues to cause Ukraine." Within minutes of sending the email, Chalupa wrote the DNC’s communications director Luis Miranda, “The ambassador has the messaging.” Then she reached out to a friend in Congress, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, about holding hearings to paint Manafort as a pro-Kremlin villain. April 2016: Chalupa Solicits Ukrainian Dirt on Trump, His Campaign, and Manafort Though accounts differ, Chalupa discussed Trump dirt with Ukrainian representatives. Federal Election Commission American presidential campaigns aren't supposed to work with foreign governments to dig up dirt on their political opponents. Geneva Convention rules bar diplomats from becoming entangled in their host country’s political affairs, particularly elections. There are also federal laws banning foreign nationals from engaging in operations to influence or interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for that purpose. But just weeks after Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, the Ukrainian Embassy appeared to be working with the Clinton campaign to torpedo him and the campaign. Emails reveal that Chalupa and Shulyar, a top aide to Ambassador Chaly, agreed to meet for coffee on April 7, 2016, at Kafe Leopold, a restaurant near the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. (Chalupa had paid a visit to the White House just three days earlier.) One of the purposes of the meeting, according to FEC case files, was to discuss Manafort and the danger he allegedly posed. They were joined at the café by Telizhenko, who said he was working on a “big story” on Manafort and Trump with the Wall Street Journal. In a sworn 2019 deposition taken by the FEC, Telizhenko alleged that Chalupa solicited “dirt” on Trump, Manafort, and the Trump campaign during the meeting. Telizhenko also testified that Chalupa told him that her goal was “basically [to] use this information and have a committee hearing under Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, in Congress in September and take him off the elections." Telizhenko later approached Ambassador Chaly about the DNC representative's overtures and he responded: “Yes. And I know that this is happening. You should work with her." After speaking with Chaly, Telizhenko claims that he went back to Shulyar who instructed him to help Chalupa. “I went to Oksana and said, ‘Like what are we doing?’” he testified. " And she told me, ‘You have to work with Chalupa. And any information you have, you give it to me, I’ll give it to her, then we’ll pass it on later to anybody else we are coordinating with.’” Less than a week later, on April 13, Telizhenko met again with White House official Zentos, email records reveal. Telizhenko said he resigned the next month because of concerns regarding his embassy’s work with Chalupa and the Clinton team. In her sworn account of the meeting, Chalupa acknowledged discussing Manafort and the “national security problem” he allegedly presented, but denied asking the embassy for help researching him. She allowed that she “could have mentioned the congressional investigation … that I had talked to Marcy Kaptur,” but maintained she couldn't recall trying to enlist the embassy in the effort. Shulyar, however, clearly recalls that Chalupa sought the embassy’s help warning the public about Manafort – including pitching stories to the press and lobbying Congress, according to a 2020 written statement to the FEC. An “idea floated by Alexandra Chalupa was that we approach a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus to initiate a congressional hearing on Paul Manafort,” Shulyar said, though she denied the embassy acted on the idea. Around the same time, two Ukrainian lawmakers – Olga Bielkova and Pavlo Rizanenko – visited the U.S. and met with journalists, as well as a former State Department official with close ties to Sen. John McCain – David Kramer of the McCain Institute. Kramer would later leak the entire Steele dossier to the media. The meeting was arranged by major Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who lobbied Clinton when she was Obama’s secretary of state. Bielkova was also connected to the Clinton Foundation, having once managed a Clinton Global Initiative program for Ukrainian college students. While Clinton was at Foggy Bottom from 2009 to 2013, Ukrainians gave more money – at least $10 million, including more than $8 million from Pinchuk – to the Clinton Foundation than any other nationality including Saudi Arabians. Pinchuk's donation was a down payment on an astounding $29 million pledge. On April 12, 2016, Bielkova also attended a meeting with Ciaramella and his NSC colleague Zentos, head of the Eastern Europe desk, according to lobbying disclosure records. In late April, Chalupa helped organize a Ukrainian-American protest against Manafort in his Connecticut hometown. Activists shouted for Trump to fire Manafort, whom they called “Putin’s Trojan Horse,” while holding signs that read: “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Putin, Hands Off the U.S. Election.” Chalupa also organized social media campaigns against Manafort and Trump, including one that encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtags: “#TrumpPutin” and "#Treasonous Trump." Also that month, Chalupa reached out to Yahoo News reporter Isikoff to pitch a hit piece on Manafort. She connected him with a delegation of Ukrainian journalists visiting D.C. Isikoff would later be used by Steele to spread falsehoods from his dossier. May-June 2016: Manafort Dirt Spreads In a May 3 email, Chalupa alerted DNC communications director Luis Miranda and DNC opposition research director Lauren Dillion that there was “a lot more [dirt on Manafort] coming down the pipe[sic].” Chalupa told them the dirt has “a big Trump component” and would “hit in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear if she was referring to the notorious "black ledger” smear against Manafort, who was promoted to campaign chairman on May 19, but a story about it was brewing at the time. On May 30, Nellie Ohr, an opposition researcher for the Clinton-retained firm Fusion GPS, emailed her husband, Bruce Ohr, a top official at the Justice Department who would become a prime disseminator of the Steele dossier within the government, and two federal prosecutors to alert them to an article indicating NABU had suddenly discovered documents allegedly showing Manafort receiving illicit payments. Amid the flurry of anti-Manafort activity, Zentos met again with Telizhenko on May 4, records show. And Chalupa visited the White House for a meeting on May 13. Chalupa paid another visit to the White House on June 14, Secret Service logs show. On June 17, Ciaramella held a White House meeting with Nuland and Pyatt of the State Department to discuss undisclosed Ukrainian matters. In late June, the FBI signed an evidence-sharing agreement with NABU, less than two months before the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency released what it claimed was explosive new evidence on Manafort. July 2016: Ukrainian Officials Attack Trump Publicly Chalupa continued to pow-wow with the Ukrainian Embassy and got so cozy with officials there that they offered her a position, which she declined, as an “embedded consultant” in the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same month, high-ranking Ukrainian officials openly insulted Trump on social media in an unusual departure from normal diplomacy. For instance, Ukraine Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov tweeted that Trump was a “clown” who was “an even bigger danger to the U.S. than terrorism.” In another July post, he called Trump “dangerous for Ukraine.” And on Facebook, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned that Trump had “challenged the very values of the free world." (After Trump upset Clinton, Avakov and other officials tried to delete their statements from their social network accounts, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions.) “It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy,” Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko told Politico. “They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing Trump." While attending the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Chalupa spread the scurrilous rumor that Manafort was the mastermind behind the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and that he “stole" her and other Democrats’ emails. She later told her sister’s podcast that she had reported her conspiracy theory to the FBI, eventually sitting down and meeting with agents in September to spin her tale of supposed espionage (the Senate has asked the FBI for copies of her interview summaries, known as FD-302s). Chalupa also prepared a report for the FBI, as well as members of Congress, detailing her Russiagate conspiracy theories, which Mueller later found no evidence to support. In addition, Chalupa helped spread a false narrative that Trump removed a reference to providing arms to Kiev from the Republican platform at the party's convention earlier that month. Internal platform committee documents show the Ukraine plank could not have been weakened as claimed, because the “lethal” weapons language had never been part of the GOP platform. The final language actually strengthened the platform by pledging direct assistance not just to the country of Ukraine, but to its military in its struggle against Russian-backed forces. August-September 2016: The Phony Manafort Ledger Leaks  A page released by Ukrainian authorities from the fake Manafort ledger. New York Times/NABU In another attempt to influence the 2016 election, Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko leaked to the U.S. media what he claimed was evidence of a secret handwritten ledger showing Manafort had received millions in cash from Yanukovych’s party under the table. He claimed that 22 pages of the alleged ledger, which contained line items written by hand, had mysteriously appeared in his parliament mailbox earlier that year. Leshchenko would not identify the sender. A fuller copy of the same document showed up later on the doorstep of a Ukrainian intelligence official who passed it to NABU, which shared it with FBI agents stationed in Kiev. Leshchenko and NABU officials held press conferences declaring the document was “proof" of Manafort corruption and demanding he be “interrogated.” The Clinton campaign seized on the story. In an Aug. 14 statement, campaign manager Robby Mook stated: “We have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He demanded Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities." But there was a big hole in the story. Though Manafort was a consultant to Yanukovych's party, he was paid by wire, not in cash, casting serious doubt on the ledger’s authenticity. Another problem: the ledger was alleged to have been kept at party headquarters, but rioters had destroyed the building in a 2014 fire. Leshchenko admitted that he had a political agenda. He told The Financial Times at the time that he went public with the ledger because “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” He added that most of Ukraine’s politicians are “on Hillary Clinton’s side." Leshchenko also happened to be "a source for Fusion GPS,” as Nellie Ohr confirmed under questioning during a 2019 closed-door House hearing, according to a declassified transcript. Fusion was a paid agent of the Clinton campaign, which gave the private opposition-research firm more than $1 million to gin up connections between Trump and Russia. Fusion hired Steele to compile a series of “intelligence” memos known as the dossier. As a former MI6 operative, Steele gave the allegations a sheen of credibility. FBI counterintelligence veteran Mark Wauck said the dossier and the black ledger both appear to have originated with Fusion GPS, which laundered it through foreigners who hated Trump – Steele and Leshchenko. "The ledger and the dossier are both Fusion hit jobs,” Wauck said. “The two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign’s oppo research shop." In an August 2016 memo written for Fusion GPS, “The Demise of Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,” Steele claimed he had corroborated Leshchenko’s charges through his anonymous Kremlin sources, who turned out to be nothing more than beer buddies of his primary source collector, Igor Danchenko, a Russian immigrant with a string of arrests in the U.S. for public intoxication, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Danchenko had worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic think tank in Washington that Durham has subpoenaed in connection to its own role in Russiagate. Danchenko was indicted last year by Special Counsel Durham for lying about his sources, including one he completely made up, as RCI reported. “YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorize and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged,” Steele claimed in the unsubstantiated report, citing “a well-placed Russian figure” with knowledge of a "meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH” allegedly “held in secret” on Aug. 15. As a paid informant, Steele had long reported to the FBI about alleged corruption involving Yanukovych. The FBI used his Clinton-funded dossier as a basis to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, including the false claim that Page acted as an intermediary between Russian leadership and Manafort in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” that included sidelining Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. Steele also falsely claimed that Page had helped draft the RNC platform statement to be more sympathetic to Russia’s interests by eliminating language about providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a report by the Department of Justice's watchdog. In fact, Page was not involved in the GOP platform. The misinformation came from Danchenko’s fictional source. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson worked closely with the New York Times on the Manafort ledger story. In his book, “Crime in Progress,” Simpson boasts of introducing Leshchenko to the Times as a source, who ended up providing the paper some of the dubious ledger records. On Aug. 19, Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign the day after the Times reported what it had been fed by the anti-Trump operatives. In effect, Ukrainian government officials tried to help Clinton and undermine Trump by disseminating documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and telling the American media they were investigating the matter. In 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Leshchenko and NABU’s Sytnyk illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger. Among the evidence was a recording of Sytnyk saying the agency released the ledger to help Clinton’s campaign – “I helped her,” Sytnyk is recorded boasting. But the damage was done. The Ukrainians, along with Chalupa and the Clinton camp, achieved their goal of undermining the Trump campaign by prompting Manafort’s ouster though they never proved he was colluding with the Russians. Neither did Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, Mueller did not use the ledger to prosecute Manafort after a key witness for the prosecution told him it was fabricated. “Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato,” Wauck said.  Ukraine’s neutrality in the election was also called into further question that September, when Porochenko met with Clinton during a stop in New York. He never met with Trump, who appeared to get the cold shoulder from the Ukrainian leader. In statements following Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton in November, Ukraine’s embassy has denied interfering in the election and insisted that Chalupa was acting on her own. Epilogue After Trump won the election in spite of her efforts to sabotage him, Chalupa predicted: “Under President Trump, the Kremlin could likely invade U.S. allies in Europe without U.S. opposition.” Not only did Russia not invade Europe “under Trump,” it didn’t even invade Ukraine. Rather, the invasion came under Biden, whose campaign Chalupa supported. Yet she continues to blame Trump. Recent tweets show a still-obsessed Chalupa has not dialed back her extremist views about Trump or Manafort, whom she believes should be prosecuted for “treason." In a Feb. 28 post on Twitter, for example, Chalupa claimed that Putin installed “a puppet regime in the U.S. with the help of Paul Manafort.” The previous day, she tweeted, “We had a Putin installed Trump presidency.” A day before that, she wrote: “Now would be a good time to release the Putin-Trump treason calls.” And on Feb. 25, Chalupa tweeted another wild conspiracy theory: "It’s important to note that Putin’s imperial aspirations are of a global criminal empire, as we saw when he installed Donald J. Trump president and tried to turn the U.S. into a Russian satellite state." Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 11th, 2022

Insiders say RAINN, the nation"s foremost organization for victims of sexual assault, is in crisis over allegations of racism and sexism

22 current and former staffers said that RAINN, which has deep ties to Hollywood and corporate America, is facing an internal reckoning. Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's co-founder and CEO, began his career in politics, advising former Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old.RAINN; Kris Connor/Getty Images; Alyssa Powell/Insider22 current and former staffers say the organization favored by Hollywood and corporate America is in crisis. 'How can RAINN be helping survivors externally, when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?'April Cisneros says the first time she was sexually assaulted at her private Christian college was in 2015, while she was playing piano in the school's conservatory. A music tutor came into the small practice room and began to touch her. The second time, one year later, she remembers waking up in a hotel room near campus after drinks with classmates. One man was forcing his hand into her pants while another ejaculated on top of her. The incidents were devastating, and further compounded by a conservative religious community that lacked empathy for her pain or a framework to understand it. "Maybe it's demons attached to you that attracted this fate," she recalls one pastor telling her. Others placed the blame on her, wondering if she set the right boundaries with men. While studying abroad at Oxford University in 2016, in an effort to get far away from what she suffered back home, Cisneros attempted to take her own life.Soon after, she Googled for help, and the website for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN, flashed across her computer screen. RAINN, which was founded in 1994 as a nonprofit, bills itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization, operating a 24-hour hotline for victims and pushing for state and federal policies to punish sex offenders and support survivors. It has deep ties to corporate America and Hollywood, partnering with Google and TikTok and media like "I May Destroy You" and "Promising Young Woman," both of which center on sexual assault. (Insider itself utilizes RAINN's hotline; our publishing system automatically appends a referral link to RAINN at the bottom of every story about sexual assault.) In 2019, it reported nearly $16 million in revenue. It says its programs have helped 3.8 million people, and 301,455 people called its hotlines last year.The organization was a beacon in a difficult time, and Cisneros soon threw herself into supporting it. She cycled 1,500 miles across the country for a fundraising drive; later, after the Trump administration rolled back Title IX protections for campus-sexual-assault victims, she decided to get involved more directly. April Cisneros biked across the US to raise money for RAINN.April Cisneros"I was so angry," Cisneros told Insider. "I just remember thinking, 'Well, why don't I just, like, go try to be a part of the solution?'" She began working for RAINN in 2018 as a communications associate.But she soon discovered that it looked very different from the inside. Instead of the supportive, inclusive victims' advocacy organization that offered her hope in the depths of her depression, Cisneros found herself in a demoralizing workplace overrun by what she described as racism and sexism. She recalled that during the filming of a video about survivors' stories, her boss asked a participant to smile while recounting a sexual assault. "If you don't," Cisneros remembered her boss saying, "it'll look like you have a bitch face."Cisneros is among 22 current and former RAINN staffers who spoke to Insider and described a roiling crisis over race and gender in the over-200-person-strong nonprofit. These people described a culture in which a routine training was beset by racist caricaturing, executives ignored employees' requests for change, and people who were deemed political risks — including sexual-assault survivors — were silenced. According to these accounts, in one instance, a supervisor badgered an employee during the time she took off to recover from an abortion. In another, an Asian staffer was replaced on a project with a white man after their boss deemed him a better fit because of his race and gender. One staffer sent a resignation letter, obtained by Insider, in which she bemoaned "toxic managerial behavioral patterns" and worried that "young employees like myself, many of them survivors themselves, are currently being treated like their rights at work do not matter, like their comfort and security and health at work doesn't matter, like the skills they bring to work are worthless."RAINN declined to make its founder and president, Scott Berkowitz, available for an interview. In a statement, the group said it had made great strides in diversifying its workplace and addressing the concerns of its employees of color. It accused the current and former staffers who came forward to Insider of providing "incomplete, misleading, and defamatory" information about "a handful of long-outdated and disproven allegations.""RAINN is proud of the work our committed staff do, day in and day out, to support survivors of sexual violence," the statement read. "As an organization, we owe it to our committed staff to provide a work environment where they feel safe, appreciated, and heard … Over the last several years, like most organizations, RAINN has worked to expand and implement comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals. We regularly update staff on our progress toward achieving those goals, and solicit feedback on potential areas of improvement. While there is always room to build on our efforts, we are continually working to foster an open dialogue between employees and leadership to ensure ideas and concerns can be heard and addressed."RAINN hired Clare Locke LLP, a boutique libel law firm that has gained a reputation for representing clients facing #MeToo allegations, including Matt Lauer and the former CBS News executive Jeffrey Fager, to respond to Insider's inquiries. During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the firm's cofounder Libby Locke came to his defense, writing: "No wonder Judge Kavanaugh is angry. Any man falsely accused of sexual assault would be."When Insider asked RAINN whether Clare Locke's work was consistent with the organization's mission and values, the firm's partner Thomas Clare emailed a statement attributed to RAINN: "Given your questions contained outright lies about RAINN and our staff, and publication of those claims is potentially defamatory, we hired defamation counsel. We recognize we have a right to legal representation, and our attorneys have helped us disprove your ridiculous and libelous allegations."Some RAINN employees fear that the corporate dysfunction has poisoned the work of the largest sexual-violence organization in the country, which they continue to view as crucial, despite their own experiences. "How can RAINN be helping survivors externally when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?" Cisneros said.How RAINN became Hollywood and corporate America's go-to partner Through savvy marketing and hard work, RAINN has become to sexual assault what Planned Parenthood is to reproductive health: the premier, full-service resource for people struggling with a crisis and the ultimate destination for donations to help people who have been victimized.The global embrace of the #MeToo movement, and the contemporary focus on the depth and pervasiveness of sexual assault, has further aided RAINN's ascension. Companies in crisis often turn to the organization to telegraph their commitment to social responsibility. After dozens of women sued Lyft, claiming they were assaulted by its drivers, the company worked with RAINN to roll out extensive safety initiatives and contributed $1.5 million to its coffers.Hollywood has also embraced the organization. RAINN was cofounded by the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tori Amos, who promoted the organization's hotline at her concerts and sat on its advisory board. In 2018, Timotheé Chalamet pledged his earnings from Woody Allen's "A Rainy Day in New York" to groups including RAINN, as did Ben Affleck from productions affiliated with Harvey Weinstein. Christina Ricci, a star of Showtime's breakout hit "Yellowjackets," has served as an official spokesperson since 2007, and the platinum-selling pop artist Taylor Swift has donated to the organization, something it publicized from its social-media accounts.—RAINN (@RAINN) April 8, 2021 But Berkowitz has largely stayed out of the public eye. He began his career as a political wunderkind, advising Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old. A profile in his grandparents' hometown newspaper in Pennsylvania said he was personally responsible for collecting $100,000 in donations for Hart — a feat achieved in between classes at American University, where he was already a sophomore. After graduation, Berkowitz continued to work in and around politics. His experience in the field, he said in a 2019 interview with RAINN, taught him about the "extent of the problem" of sexual violence in the United States and the opportunity to fill this "service gap.""I knew next to nothing about the issue," Berkowitz said. "It just seemed like a good idea." Christina Ricci has been a RAINN spokeswoman since 2007.Michael Kovac/WireImage/Getty ImagesEarly on, Berkowitz ran the day-to-day operations, and his early fundraising prowess served him well. After a series of sexual assaults at the infamous Woodstock '99 festival, promoters and record labels did damage control by giving RAINN 1% of the proceeds from the festival's CD and video releases. "In raw self-interest, the money and attention that would come from it would allow RAINN to promote the hotline better, provide more counseling, print more brochures," Berkowitz told the Village Voice. RAINN's budget swelled in tandem with its brand. Total revenue rocketed from more than $1.2 million in 2009 to nearly $16 million in 2019. Berkowitz's compensation grew from $168,000 to over $481,000 over the same period. Even though RAINN's tax returns list Berkowitz as its president and indicate that he was paid nearly a half a million dollars in the year ending in May 2020, RAINN says that he is not in fact an employee and does not receive a salary. Instead, for reasons that RAINN did not explain, he is paid through A&I Publishing, a company solely owned by Berkowitz that contracts with RAINN. "Scott Berkowitz is paid solely as an independent contractor through A&I Publishing and does not receive any salary or benefits," it said. "He has never received any employee compensation from RAINN."RAINN's tax records tell a slightly different story. The group has reported paying a total of $561,500 in consulting fees for "strategic and financial oversight" to A&I Publishing from 2001 to 2006, during which time Berkowitz drew no salary from RAINN. Since 2007, though, RAINN has reported directly paying Berkowitz a total of $3,529,000. (RAINN says he "is recused from all board consideration of his compensation.")Over the same period, RAINN also began reporting payments to A&I to service $288,000 in debt that it owed the consultancy at 5% interest. RAINN's tax records don't reflect that the organization ever received any cash from A&I; instead, the loan is described in its 2006 tax return as "issuance of debt for prior year services." RAINN says the loan, which has been repaid, stems from "deferred payment for fees" that RAINN owed A&I "for a number of years."'How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake?'With the Woodstock '99 deal, Berkowitz struck on a highly successful strategy — corporate penance — and he would often return to it. But he also looked to the public sector for funding opportunities.One of RAINN's largest sources of revenue — $2 million a year — is its contract to run the Department of Defense's Safe Helpline, which offers confidential, anonymous counseling to members of the military who have been affected by sexual violence. Multiple staffers who spoke with Insider said Berkowitz was exceedingly sensitive about maintaining the contract. They said that he had gone to great lengths to stay in the Department of Defense's good graces and that they believe RAINN has at times been overly deferential to its interests. Michael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder in February 2022.Evan Jenkins for InsiderMichael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, a former flight attendant and roller-rink operator who previously served in the Navy as a medic, said that in 1982, just months after he enlisted, a Navy physician raped him. The doctor, who outranked Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, threatened him with prison time if he came forward. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder said it was the first of multiple sexual assaults he suffered, all of which resulted in a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder stayed silent about the assault for nearly 30 years. He became depressed and experienced paranoid suspicions that the government was spying on him, ready to silence him if he ever told the truth about his assault.But decades of therapy empowered Wiedenhoeft-Wilder to eventually come forward. He discovered the Safe Helpline, which then led him to RAINN's Speakers Bureau, a roster of more than 4,000 volunteer survivors who share their stories with the media, student groups, and other organizations. When Wiedenhoeft-Wilder signed up with the bureau, his story was selected for publication on RAINN's website. In October 2019, he worked with April Cisneros, who helped manage the Speakers Bureau, to prepare the story.But the story was abruptly killed. Cisneros said Berkowitz decided to pull Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's account once he realized that it involved an officer assaulting an enlisted man."Once we actually wrote up his story, Scott was like, 'No, we're not even getting into this,'" Cisneros told Insider, adding that Berkowitz refused to send the story to the Department of Defense for review, as it routinely did with accounts of military sexual assault. Cisneros said Berkowitz told members of the communications team that promoting the testimony of a man who had been assaulted by one of his superiors could harm the military's reputation and upset the Department of Defense. Cisneros told Insider she believed that Berkowitz did not want to risk losing the government's funding.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder was shocked. He had spent time with Cisneros revisiting the details of an assault that haunted him for 30 years, all for nothing."I've spent the last several days trying to deal with the devastating news that the article about my military sexual trauma being canceled for someone else," he told Cisneros in an email on October 31 that Insider reviewed. "How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake? Do you have any idea how this mistake has affected me? It's absolutely devastating. Just one more failure for me.""I feel victimized all over again," he wrote. "What did I ever do to you people to deserve this!"Cisneros, worried about Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's mental health, forwarded the exchange to Berkowitz and Keeli Sorensen, then the vice president of victim services, she said. "Maybe you just tell him you made a mistake," Cisneros recalled Sorensen telling her. She felt Sorensen's suggestion was, in effect, to "[fall] on my sword for RAINN."Cisneros told Insider that she told Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a lie about a scheduling conflict and blamed the mix-up entirely on herself. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder didn't believe her. "I know she wasn't telling me the truth," he told Insider. "I knew it wasn't her fault. It was a really weird, very strange thing to do to someone."Cisneros was heartbroken. She felt that she'd betrayed Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's trust and was distressed because she felt an anti-sexual-violence organization had asked her to deceive a rape victim. "What's so sad is people treat him like he's so paranoid about being silenced by the military, but that paranoia is at least … legitimate," Cisneros said. "And it happened again at RAINN."Sorensen denied having any involvement in the incident and said she was "not authorized in any way to instruct Ms. Cisneros in this matter," adding that Berkowitz had "total authority" with respect to the publication of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story. She said she did not know why Berkowitz pulled the testimony."I had no part in the matter," Sorensen said, "but it's my recollection, based on my conversation with Ms. Cisneros, that she had promised Mr. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder that she would publish their story before having secured final approval from Mr. Berkowitz."RAINN also said that if Cisneros had promised Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a spot on its website, it had "no knowledge of that and she was not authorized to make that commitment."Cisneros disputed that. She said that she provided Berkowitz with details of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story before reaching out and that he approved. "Scott gave me the greenlight to move ahead with the process if [Wiedenhoeft-Wilder] expressed interest," Cisneros said."We have no recollection as to why this survivor's story did not run in the fall of 2019," RAINN said, adding that some isolated quotes from Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's interview — stripped of their military context — were shared on RAINN's social-media accounts. The statement pointed to other stories from survivors of sexual assault in the military that RAINN had published; none of those featured scenarios in which an attacker outranked their victim.Evan Jenkins for Insider"We are not aware of the Department of Defense expressing concern over RAINN's coverage of military survivors," RAINN said, "nor is it standard practice for RAINN to consult with [the department] regarding the material and resources it publishes unless they directly mention Safe Helpline. RAINN frequently publishes the stories of military survivors and will continue to do so as it works to carry out the organization's mission to eradicate sexual violence from every corner of society."Anxiety around RAINN's relationship with the Department of Defense came up again in 2019. Six former staffers said one RAINN employee felt compelled to frantically retract public comments she had made in support of Black trans victims of violence amid the Trump administration's efforts to expel trans people from the military. The woman suddenly and mysteriously departed the organization on the day her remarks were published.(The woman's identity is known to Insider, which is not naming her because doing so may expose her to professional harm. The woman declined to comment for the record.) On March 7, 2019, to mark International Women's Day, the employee was one of "8 everyday women" featured by The Lily, a women-focused website published by The Washington Post. The Lily post listed the woman's age, background, position at RAINN, and responses to a questionnaire about her favorite fast-food chains and movies. But she came to fear that her seemingly uncontroversial answer to one question could become a professional liability.InsiderThe answer came a few months after the Trump-era transgender military ban went into effect, reanimating debates over trans rights. Two sources told Insider that the woman told them that RAINN's leadership expressed alarm over her contribution to the article and was frustrated that the woman had spoken to the media without getting consent from leadership.One source told Insider that Jodi Omear, then RAINN's vice president of communications, said minutes after reading the article that it was "too controversial" and that she worried it "could jeopardize our contract with the Department of Defense." The source said Omear escalated the article to Berkowitz and the human-resources director, Claudia Kolmer, because she was confident they would feel the same.Omear told Insider that because the former staffer had been under her supervision, it would be "inappropriate" to comment on her exit from the organization.On the day the questionnaire was published, the woman called the reporter at The Lily who'd conducted the interview and asked her to remove the reference to RAINN, as well as her comments about trans people, according to four sources familiar with the situation. The writer agreed. Insider viewed an original version of the interview that contained the employee's affiliation and comments about trans rights; the version currently published online does not.Two former employees said the woman was escorted out of the office by human resources the day the story was published. RAINN said that "it is standard practice that an employee separating from the organization is accompanied by a RAINN human resources representative when leaving the premises in order to collect their office keys, security fob and other credentials," adding that it "reached a separation agreement" with the woman a week after the story was published.One staffer who sat near her described the woman as a "fabulous" employee who was heavily invested in the projects they were set to work on together."It was one of the reasons why it was so shocking," the staffer said. "Like, where'd she go?"In its statement, RAINN claimed that the woman's remarks were an unauthorized attempt to speak on behalf of the Pentagon. "[The RAINN staffer] spoke with a Washington Post reporter on-the-record, on behalf of RAINN and the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, which she was not authorized to do," the statement said. "Contractually RAINN is barred from speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense or Safe Helpline." The Lily billed the interview as an opportunity to "step inside the lives of 8 everyday women." Aside from identifying her employer and job description — a format applied to other women featured in the post — the woman's interview did not touch on RAINN or the Department of Defense. Instead, she answered questions about her favorite body part and what she would change about her upbringing if she could.Still, RAINN said, the woman broke the rules: "The issue at hand centered around a clear violation of RAINN policy. RAINN supports all transgender survivors and has worked to remove the barriers to reporting sexual violence in LGBTQ communities, and to elevate the stories of transgender survivors, particularly for transgender persons of color for whom sexual violence is all too prevalent."Asked why, if that were the case, the woman would ask The Lily specifically to remove her comments about trans victims, RAINN said it was "unaware of any evidence indicating [the woman] was pressured to retract or remove" the comments. "RAINN is always mindful of honoring its contractual obligations not to speak on behalf of the DoD and the Safe Helpline," it said. "The fact someone commented on other subject matter or issues was irrelevant."A white male staffer was deemed a better fitJackii Wang joined RAINN's public-policy team in 2019, hopeful that she could use her experience working in national congressional offices to advance legislation that would help sexual-assault survivors. But she said her boss, RAINN's vice president of public policy, Camille Cooper, instead saddled her with administrative responsibilities like writing greeting cards. Wang said Cooper regularly discounted her ideas and "berated" her when they disagreed on issues the younger staffer considered minor. It became "psychologically terrifying," Wang said. Wang didn't immediately view that as discriminatory — multiple staffers said many of Cooper's employees complained of similar treatment. But during a performance review in December 2019, Wang said, Cooper attempted to explain her perception of Wang as defiant by rattling off stereotypes that Wang felt were "very targeted towards my Asian identity.""Camille asked me questions like, you know, 'Is your family very strict?' 'Do they expect perfectionism from you?' ... 'What was your childhood like?' Do I have problems with authority because of my family background?" Wang told Insider. What started as an implication became explicit, Wang said, when Cooper announced she would pull Wang off a lobbying assignment.Jackii WangDaniel Diasgranados for InsiderAt the time, RAINN was working on a Florida bill that would close a loophole in the state's statute of limitations for teen survivors. Cooper called Wang and another staffer into her office and told the two women she had decided to send a white male colleague in Wang's place, Wang said. Wang asked why."And she was like, 'Well, you know, because he's a white male,'" Wang recalled.Wang was mortified. While she had experience working with Florida legislators, her male colleague wasn't even registered to lobby in the state. Wang and the other staffer said Cooper argued that he would connect better with white conservatives in the state."He can talk about baseball. He can really, like, connect with these men," Cooper said, according to Wang and the other staffer present. "And these men really hate women.""Her reasoning for picking a white man over me for the project is that he'll be received better," Wang said. "But if that's the logic that she's following, then, like, I guess I shouldn't work anywhere because white men are received better everywhere."Neither Cooper nor the man responded to requests for comment.Wang said she reported the incident to Kolmer, the human-resources director, and Berkowitz in March 2020, along with a detailed recounting of other complaints about Cooper's leadership. But Wang said Kolmer never took serious action. When Wang quit that June, she sent Berkowitz a blistering resignation letter. "As you know, she has harassed and bullied every single person on our team, including an intern, and has blatantly discriminated against me," Wang wrote.Berkowitz thanked Wang for her time and for informing him, and asked Kolmer to discuss the issues Wang raised. Cooper continues to serve as a vice president, the face of RAINN's policy arm.RAINN said that Wang was too junior a staffer to lead a statewide lobbying effort and called her claims of discrimination "false and defamatory.""RAINN took Wang's allegations seriously and investigated the matter thoroughly," the statement said. "Ultimately it was determined that the basis of Wang's claims of discrimination were unfounded."RAINN did not deny Wang's claim that Cooper told her a white man would connect better with conservative legislators.Cooper wasn't the only executive to receive complaints. One current staffer and one former staffer described a meeting in which Jessica Leslie, the vice president of victim services, defended Berkowitz's unwillingness to address the concerns of staffers of color."You have to understand where he's coming from," they remember Leslie saying. "I mean, he's a white man, and you're all people of color — like, he's really nervous around you."One of the staffers was furious. "We just wanted to have a conversation. We're not about to berate the man," she told Insider. "This is not true," RAINN said. Its statement said that at a Safe Helpline shift managers meeting, a group of managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz would meet with them. When Leslie asked them to craft an agenda first, RAINN said, the shift managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz wanted an agenda because he was "uncomfortable talking to women of color." "The shift managers created this narrative," RAINN said, "not Leslie."Through an attorney, Leslie said she agreed with RAINN's responses and called the allegations against her "demonstrably baseless."A racist training, a pay disparity, and an email uprisingStaffers of color told Insider that they were often underpaid compared with their white counterparts; one, a nonwhite Latina woman who asked to remain anonymous, said she made $35,000 a year and lived in public housing to keep her head above water. After she quit for a higher-paying opportunity, RAINN filled her job with a white staffer who earned roughly $20,000 more, Cisneros said, adding that the white staffer disclosed her salary. (Three additional sources with knowledge of her salary corroborated Cisneros' account.) RAINN said the salary discrepancy was a result of both the role being "restructured" to include "significantly more responsibility" and the fact that the white staffer had an advanced degree.Four current and former RAINN staffers recalled that after RAINN's white office manager left for a new job, her replacement, a Black woman named Valinshia Walker, was asked to perform janitorial tasks that were not in her predecessor's job description — including scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, washing dishes, and disinfecting conference rooms. "Let me be very clear: [Walker's predecessor] never washed dishes from the sink. Ever," one former staffer said. "Val? You would come in, and Ms. Walker was cleaning the conference room. Like, wiping down all the tables. Spraying down the chairs. Doing the kitchen, she's washing dishes from the sink … You would see her walking around with the mask on and gloves because she literally cleaned. Like a cleaning lady."Walker declined to comment for the record. "The beliefs of your sources are simply not true," RAINN said, adding that Walker was hired as the "office coordinator," which had a different set of responsibilities than the "office manager" she replaced. "Maintaining a clean office has always fallen under the responsibilities of the HR and admin staff as a whole, this includes the office manager and office coordinator," the statement said. "We are not aware of any instances where Walker was asked to handle cleaning responsibilities beyond those that were part of the office coordinator's regular duties."Staffers also recalled what became a notorious and hamfisted mandatory sexual-harassment training in early 2020 led by an outside employment attorney hired by RAINN. According to more than a dozen employees, the attorney used a series of racist stereotypes to illustrate examples during the training."So let's just say, you know, there's Nicki [Minaj] and Cardi B are employees, and they're at their desks, and they start twerking," Cisneros recalled the lawyer saying. "Is that inappropriate workplace behavior?"At one point, Cisneros said, the lawyer proposed a hypothetical scenario in which a Latino-coded man — participants recalled his name was "Jorgé" or "José"—  kissed a coworker. The lawyer asked if the behavior could be appropriate "because this is Latino culture." "Your information regarding this training is inaccurate," RAINN said. "The examples in this legal training were all past legal cases using fictitious names." It added that staff concerns "were immediately addressed and the training was subsequently modified based on their feedback."Sarcia Adkins, a shift manager for the Department of Defense Safe Helpline who attended the training, was furious. She wrote an email to multiple executives, including Sorensen, Kolmer, and Berkowitz, on March 5 demanding action from the organization. "I wanted to get up and walk out at various points and it was one of the more traumatic experiences I've had at RAINN as a woman of color," she wrote. Kolmer acknowledged her complaints and promised to meet with Adkins alongside Berkowitz and Sorensen to discuss changes to the training and her issues with the nonprofit's culture.Adkins said that Kolmer didn't follow up that March but that Sorensen did reach out to schedule a one-on-one meeting. RAINN said Adkins agreed to meet Sorensen but "did not show up, without notification or explanation," and "did not follow up after she skipped the meeting." Several months later, after a former colleague intervened, Adkins did meet with Berkowitz and Sorensen. Adkins told Insider she was underwhelmed. "They pick what they want you to talk about," she said.The dysfunction came to a head during the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd sparked a series of bitter internal conversations about RAINN's track record on race. In June 2020, Berkowitz sent an email with the subject line "A Note to the RAINN Family" to the entire staff. In it, he acknowledged the unrest and pledged to support the company's Black staffers.Sarcia Adkins replied to the email with a list of demands and copied the entire organization. She asked for mandatory cultural-competency training and a commitment to hiring Black employees for leadership positions. (RAINN says that 43% of its top seven staffers are people of color.) Adkins — who has been with RAINN since 2014 — asked Berkowitz why he hadn't reached out following the deaths of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and dozens of other victims of police violence."RAINN has never been a place [that] acknowledges or uplifts their black staff, not just people of color, and the injustices we face in the world and within the structure of RAINN," Adkins wrote.Following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, Scott Berkowitz sent an email to staffers acknowledging the resulting unrest and pledging to support the company's Black staffers. But employees at RAINN began responding en masse, including one person who asked why a similar message was not sent after other police killings of Black people.Provided to InsiderIn 2021, in response to the outrage over the George Floyd email, the organization began internally releasing draft proposals on diversity, equity, and inclusion with goals the organization planned to achieve or had already accomplished. The laundry list of objectives, which Insider reviewed, included a plan to "develop new relationships to ensure a diverse pool of internal and external candidates for all open positions" and "collect more data to identify the causes of turnover."But people working in the organization say little has been achieved, or even attempted."Hiring practices are not getting better," said a current RAINN staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. "There's been no management training. Turnover is horrendous." In its statement, RAINN recounted the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts it began implementing in 2021, including "expanded recruiting," "revised exit interviews," and "researched training on DEI-related issues.""The summer of 2020 sparked important cultural conversations in companies and organizations across the United States, RAINN among them," the statement said. "As we've seen nationwide, there is more work to be done. Over the past two years, RAINN worked with experts and garnered input from staff to develop and implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals … Changes implemented to date include increasing diversity within senior management to better reflect our staff diversity and the people we serve, implementing an anonymous third-party ethics hotline where employees can voice concerns without fear of reprisal, offering expanded professional development and internal promotion opportunities, and increasing health and mental health benefits for employees, the four top priorities identified by staff."As evidence of its success in addressing the concerns of its employees of color, RAINN provided Insider an email that Aniyah Carter, a staffer on the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, wrote to the vice president of communications, Heather Drevna, in June 2020. Carter, who is Black, had been one of the most outspoken staffers demanding change at RAINN after Berkowitz's George Floyd email fiasco. When Drevna sent a follow-up email to staff announcing an employee survey and more personal and sick days, Carter replied with a note of thanks."I just want to personally thank you and the senior team for this," she wrote. "It's one thing to listen to and hear us. It's another thing to take action. I am proud of the responses of my colleagues and I am grateful for the swift action from leadership. It is my sincere hope that we continue to make a necessary shift in the right direction. Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance."Scott Berkowitz at the "Tina The Tina Turner Musical" Cocktail Reception, co-hosted by Anna Wintour in support of RAINN, on January 31, 2020.Tiffany Sage/BFA/ReutersWhen Insider asked Carter about the email, she said any movement in the right direction quickly stalled."They sent an email and that was it," Carter told Insider. "So my 'sincere hope' was crushed. It's so insulting for me. When this first happened and you were optimistic and gave us the benefit of the doubt, you say it here," she said, mocking RAINN's use of her email. "And it's like, OK, but two years later here we still are. And I've mentioned how I'm frustrated, but you're going to take words from two years ago feeling optimistic about the future and spin it as if that applies to today? Seriously? That was very upsetting because it makes me feel like this is more about optics than, like, how your staff really feels."'OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?'When April Cisneros arrived at RAINN, she began working for Jodi Omear. Cisneros said she quickly ran up against Omear's domineering management style, which often seemed dismissive of and belittling to other women. Besides the "bitch face" comment, Cisneros said, Omear joked about how office dress codes could reduce the risk of sexual assault by preventing people from wearing provacative outfits. "I understand we're not supposed to blame the victim," Cisneros recalled Omear saying, "but, like, what do you expect to happen if you're in a dimly lit room and people of the opposite sex [are] wearing pants with holes in them?" Omear did not deny making either comment but told Insider that when training people who lacked experience with on-camera work, she directed them to "over-exaggerate facial expressions." She also said she "advocated for casual professional attire across the organization."Cisneros' low point at RAINN occurred in January 2019, when she unexpectedly became pregnant. She decided to take a sick day to visit a doctor. She told Insider she informed Omear the day before and outlined when her unfinished work would be completed.Omear became angry, Cisneros said, demanding to know why she didn't give more notice and insisting on further details. Omear called Cisneros at 9 p.m. demanding answers. Cisneros broke down and told her boss about the surprise pregnancy. According to Cisneros, Omear replied, "OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?"The next day, as Cisneros met with her doctor, her phone buzzed with calls and texts from Omear. Between the stress of an unplanned pregnancy and Omear's incessant check-ins, Cisneros said, she "started bawling" under the stress.  A day later, Cisneros received a prescription for a two-day medical abortion. She requested an extra day off to recover, but Omear continued to pester her, texting and calling Cisneros for updates on RAINN's monthly marketing report. Cisneros said she finished the report from home while waiting for the bleeding to die down. (A RAINN staffer who was familiar with the incident corroborated Cisneros' version of events.)Omear told Insider that it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Cisneros specifically and did not directly answer a series of questions about Cisneros' allegations. "In general, when working with communications staff, especially in a fast-paced environment on such an important issue, it is/was important to ensure that other team members were able to cover assignments to meet any potential deadlines and organizational needs," she said in an emailed statement.RAINN said that it "was not aware of this incident happening in real time" and that it "supports employees taking time off and does not support managers encroaching on sick time."Omear's conduct was the final straw for Cisneros, and she wrote to human resources to complain. Cisneros said Claudia Kolmer told her in a meeting that the conflict "was a big misunderstanding" and that she should have come clean about her pregnancy sooner. (RAINN said that Kolmer told Cisneros that different managers have different preferences about how they should be notified of sick time and that "Cisneros was never asked to share sensitive personal or medical information.")Dissatisfied, Cisneros unloaded on Omear to Kolmer, accusing her boss of making inappropriate complaints about the loud breathing of a colleague who used a wheelchair and the habit of another colleague, who was blind, of walking into Omear's office by mistake, Cisneros said. (Another former RAINN employee corroborated the complaints to Insider.) Cisneros also said she told Kolmer that Omear made lewd remarks about the attractiveness of a sexual-assault victim set to make a public-service announcement. Omear denied making the lewd comments. She also denied complaining about disabled colleagues but said that she did recall "thanking one of my staff for helping" a blind colleague "when she couldn't find her way around the office."Cisneros rallied the entire RAINN communications department to put together a detailed list of other allegations of inappropriate behavior by Omear, which she collected in a memo for Kolmer and Berkowitz.Omear left RAINN that July, ostensibly to launch her own communications consulting firm. But Cisneros said Berkowitz told her that he had pushed Omear out in response to Cisneros' efforts. "We want you to know we're letting her spin her own story," Cisneros said Berkowitz told her. "But this is a direct result of the conversation you all have with us."The experience nonetheless angered staffers. Cisneros left RAINN the next year.Another colleague, Martha Durkee-Neuman, wrote a scathing resignation letter shortly after Omear announced her exit, addressing it to Omear, Berkowitz, and Kolmer."Jodi leaving of her own accord with no accountability is not justice," Durkee-Neuman wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Insider. "It is not justice for the countless people that she has fired or driven from RAINN. It is not justice to pretend that nothing has happened, that staff were not forced to go to HR over and over and over until something was finally done." "I do not believe any of this work of justice or restoration will happen at RAINN, so unfortunately, this is no longer the right organization for me," she added."After the communications team raised concerns [about Omear] with Claudia Kolmer," RAINN said, "RAINN worked swiftly and diligently to investigate the staff's complaints. RAINN took appropriate action to address the findings of that investigation and Omear separated with RAINN shortly thereafter."Martha Durkee-Neuman's resignation letter.Martha Durkee-Neuman'What is left?' On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of charges related to the shooting deaths of two people at a civil-rights rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some time later, Leslie, then the interim vice president of RAINN's victim-services department, addressed the organization's Black staffers. "I am deeply saddened by the pain and violence that has continued to plague our Black neighbors and communities," she wrote. "I want to recognize how this may be affecting you, as you navigate your day and the work you do at RAINN." She then touted the racial diversity of the victim-services department.Nearly 18 months had passed since the organization sent around its email about the death of George Floyd. Despite various promises and initiatives, in the eyes of many staffers, little had changed. But here it was again, another email promising to listen to staffers of color. Employees were enraged.Aniyah Carter, the Safe Helpline worker whose email RAINN provided to Insider, reminded her boss that nearly two weeks had passed since the verdict. "By now, we have already had to check in with ourselves so that we can continue our day-to-day lives," she wrote. "And while the opportunity to check in with managers is still absolutely available (and encouraged), the reminder to do so would have been more beneficial if it occurred when this took place." Carter also highlighted the gap she saw between leadership's stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and its on-the-ground support of its employees of color, a sentiment echoed by other staffers who spoke to Insider.Daniel Diasgranados for InsiderFor Cisneros, the repeated failure of the organization to address the concerns of its staff speaks to something darker, and she is worried about how the culture at RAINN is affecting its ability to help abuse survivors."If church can't help, if school can't help, if the police can't help, if the hospital can't help, if my family can't help, my friends can't help — and now this nonprofit that is specifically saying that it's here to help people like me can't help?" she said."Like, what is left?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene made transphobic comments in conversation with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

A March 2021 study found that transgender people are four times more likely to experience violence than cisgender people. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for physical violence against transgender people on Sunday. Greene appeared on an InfoWars episode with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. A study found that transgender people are four times more likely to experience violent discrimination than cisgender people. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene doubled down on previous anti-LGBTQ comments during an appearance on the right-wing conspiracy network InfoWars with far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.According to Media Matters For America, the conservative radio host brought up a report by KTLA in which some parents were furious that some of the counselors who identify as non-binary but are biologically male slept in the same cabin as some fifth-grade girls, which Greene said she thought was "straight evil.""Well, first off, my husband would've beat him into the ground, and then he'd be in jail," she said. "But this is exactly how we need to stand up against this stuff."The Republican congresswoman's remarks come after 2021 was marked the deadliest year on record for trans people, particularly Black trans women. According to a March 2021 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, transgender people are four times more likely to experience violence than cisgender people."The media has rightly given attention to the 2020 increase in murders of transgender women of color," Andrew Flores, an affiliated scholar at the Williams Institute, said in a statement. "Our study shows that both transgender women and men are also highly vulnerable to non-fatal physical and material victimization."The Republican lawmaker went on to call transgender people a "perversion" that is "grooming children to believe things that are lies and that are completely wrong."Representatives for Greene did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.Greene's comments on InfoWars weren't her first public transphobic display. In February 2021, she hung a sign declaring binary gender outside of the office of another lawmaker, Rep. Marie Newman, who has a transgender daughter, in response to Newman's support of the civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ community.The sign read, "There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE," as well as the phrase, "Trust The Science!" in quotation marks."Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called "Equality" Act to destroy women's rights and religious freedoms," Greene wrote in a tweet of her hanging up the sign. "Thought we'd put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 24th, 2022

The Age Of Intolerance: Cancel Culture"s War On Free Speech

The Age Of Intolerance: Cancel Culture's War On Free Speech Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” - George Carlin Cancel culture - political correctness amped up on steroids, the self-righteousness of a narcissistic age, and a mass-marketed pseudo-morality that is little more than fascism disguised as tolerance - has shifted us into an Age of Intolerance, policed by techno-censors, social media bullies, and government watchdogs. Everything is now fair game for censorship if it can be construed as hateful, hurtful, bigoted or offensive provided that it runs counter to the established viewpoint. In this way, the most controversial issues of our day—race, religion, sex, sexuality, politics, science, health, government corruption, police brutality, etc.—have become battlegrounds for those who claim to believe in freedom of speech but only when it favors the views and positions they support. “Free speech for me but not for thee” is how my good friend and free speech purist Nat Hentoff used to sum up this double standard. This tendency to censor, silence, delete, label as “hateful,” and demonize viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite is being embraced with a near-fanatical zealotry by a cult-like establishment that values conformity and group-think over individuality. For instance, are you skeptical about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines? Do you have concerns about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election? Do you subscribe to religious beliefs that shape your views on sexuality, marriage and gender? Do you, deliberately or inadvertently, engage in misgendering (identifying a person’s gender incorrectly) or deadnaming (using the wrong pronouns or birth name for a transgender person)? Say yes to any of those questions and then dare to voice those views in anything louder than a whisper and you might find yourself suspended on Twitter, shut out of Facebook, and banned across various social media platforms. This authoritarian intolerance masquerading as tolerance, civility and love (what comedian George Carlin referred to as “fascism pretending to be manners”) is the end result of a politically correct culture that has become radicalized, institutionalized and tyrannical. In the past few years, for example, prominent social media voices have been censored, silenced and made to disappear from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for voicing ideas that were deemed politically incorrect, hateful, dangerous or conspiratorial. Most recently, Twitter suspended conservative podcaster Matt Walsh for violating its hate speech policy by sharing his views about transgendered individuals. “The greatest female Jeopardy champion of all time is a man. The top female college swimmer is a man. The first female four star admiral in the Public Health Service is a man. Men have dominated female high school track and the female MMA circuit. The patriarchy wins in the end,” Walsh tweeted on Dec. 30, 2021. J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter series, has found herself denounced as transphobic and widely shunned for daring to criticize efforts by transgender activists to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender. Rowling’s essay explaining her views is a powerful, articulate, well-researched piece that not only stresses the importance of free speech and women’s rights while denouncing efforts by trans activists to demonize those who subscribe to “wrongthink,” but also recognizes that while the struggle over gender dysmorphia is real, concerns about safeguarding natal women and girls from abuse are also legitimate. Ironically enough, Rowling’s shunning included literal book burning. Yet as Ray Bradbury once warned, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.” Indeed, the First Amendment is going up in flames before our eyes, but those first sparks were lit long ago and have been fed by intolerance all along the political spectrum. Consider some of the kinds of speech being targeted for censorship or outright elimination. Offensive, politically incorrect and “unsafe” speech: Political correctness has resulted in the chilling of free speech and a growing hostility to those who exercise their rights to speak freely. Where this has become painfully evident is on college campuses, which have become hotbeds of student-led censorship, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and “red light” speech policies targeting anything that might cause someone to feel uncomfortable, unsafe or offended. Bullying, intimidating speech: Warning that “school bullies become tomorrow’s hate crimes defendants,” the Justice Department has led the way in urging schools to curtail bullying, going so far as to classify “teasing” as a form of “bullying,” and “rude” or “hurtful” “text messages” as “cyberbullying.” Hateful speech: Hate speech—speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation—is the primary candidate for online censorship. Corporate internet giants Google, Twitter and Facebook continue to re-define what kinds of speech will be permitted online and what will be deleted. Dangerous, anti-government speech: As part of its ongoing war on “extremism,” the government has partnered with the tech industry to counter online “propaganda” by terrorists hoping to recruit support or plan attacks. In this way, anyone who criticizes the government online can be considered an extremist and will have their content reported to government agencies for further investigation or deleted. In fact, the Justice Department is planning to form a new domestic terrorism unit to ferret out individuals “who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals.” What this will mean is more surveillance, more pre-crime programs, and more targeting of individuals whose speech may qualify as “dangerous.” The upshot of all of this editing, parsing, banning and silencing is the emergence of a new language, what George Orwell referred to as Newspeak, which places the power to control language in the hands of the totalitarian state. Under such a system, language becomes a weapon to change the way people think by changing the words they use. The end result is mind control and a sleepwalking populace. In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind lest they find themselves ostracized or placed under surveillance. Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism. The social shunning favored by activists and corporations borrows heavily from the mind control tactics used by authoritarian cults as a means of controlling its members. As Dr. Steven Hassan writes in Psychology Today: “By ordering members to be cut off, they can no longer participate. Information and sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences are stifled. Thought-stopping and use of loaded terms keep a person constrained into a black-and-white, all-or-nothing world. This controls members through fear and guilt.” This mind control can take many forms, but the end result is an enslaved, compliant populace incapable of challenging tyranny. As Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry, one that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.” The problem as I see it is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. And we’ve bought into the idea that we need the government and its corporate partners to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean. The result is a society in which we’ve stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences. In short, we have reduced ourselves to a largely silent, passive, polarized populace incapable of working through our own problems and reliant on the government to protect us from our fears. As Nat Hentoff, that inveterate champion of the First Amendment, once observed, “The quintessential difference between a free nation, as we profess to be, and a totalitarian state, is that here everyone, including a foe of democracy, has the right to speak his mind.” What this means is opening the door to more speech not less, even if that speech is offensive to some. Understanding that freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society, James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely. We haven’t done ourselves—or the nation—any favors by becoming so fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful or closed-minded that we’ve eliminated words, phrases and symbols from public discourse. We have allowed our fears—fear for our safety, fear of each other, fear of being labeled racist or hateful or prejudiced, etc.—to trump our freedom of speech and muzzle us far more effectively than any government edict could. Ultimately the war on free speech—and that’s exactly what it is: a war being waged by Americans against other Americans—is a war that is driven by fear. By bottling up dissent, we have created a pressure cooker of stifled misery and discontent that is now bubbling over and fomenting even more hate, distrust and paranoia among portions of the populace. By muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.” The First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows, and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation. Be warned: whatever we tolerate now—whatever we turn a blind eye to—whatever we rationalize when it is inflicted on others will eventually come back to imprison us, one and all. Eventually, “we the people” will be the ones in the crosshairs. At some point or another, depending on how the government and its corporate allies define what constitutes “hate” or “extremism, “we the people” might all be considered guilty of some thought crime or other. When that time comes, there may be no one left to speak out or speak up in our defense. After all, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. We are on a fast-moving trajectory. In other words, whatever powers you allow the government and its corporate operatives to claim now, for the sake of the greater good or because you like or trust those in charge, will eventually be abused and used against you by tyrants of your own making. This is the tyranny of the majority against the minority marching in lockstep with technofascism. If Americans don’t vociferously defend the right of a minority of one to subscribe to, let alone voice, ideas and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different, then we’re going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals). No matter what our numbers might be, no matter what our views might be, no matter what party we might belong to, it will not be long before “we the people” constitute a powerless minority in the eyes of a power-fueled fascist state driven to maintain its power at all costs. We are almost at that point now. Free speech is no longer free. On paper—at least according to the U.S. Constitution—we are technically free to speak. In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow. The steady, pervasive censorship creep that is being inflicted on us by corporate tech giants with the blessing of the powers-that-be threatens to bring about a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace. Orwell intended 1984 as a warning. Instead, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, it is being used as a dystopian instruction manual for socially engineering a populace that is compliant, conformist and obedient to Big Brother. The police state could not ask for a better citizenry than one that carries out its own censorship, spying and policing. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis" Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis' Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com, Those paying attention to the current situation regarding the establishment’s control on the narrative around Covid-19, have watched as anyone — including esteemed experts in the field — are censored into oblivion for attempting to put forth information that challenges the status quo. For the first time in recent American history, merely talking about alternative treatments for a disease is met with mass censorship by big tech. This is diametrically opposed to actual “science” and the opposite direction in which a free society should be moving. One of the people who has been censored the most is Robert W Malone MD, MS who is one of the inventors of mRNA & DNA vaccines. Dr. Malone has been outspoken about the way the establishment system is handling, or rather mishandling, the covid crisis. His Twitter account had grown to over a half million followers last week before the platform decided that his alternative views on the pandemic were a danger to the narrative. So they banned him. Instead of standing up for the free exchange of ideas by experts — which is how science works  — the left cheered for Malone’s censorship, calling him a kook while celebrating the tools of tyrants. Before Donald Trump came into office and caused mass hysteria over Russia, the left used to stand for freedom of speech. However, the flamboyant tyrant in the White House quickly eroded their respect for rights. Then, in 2020, Covid-19 arrived and the censorship campaign switched into overdrive. The left — armed with their militant “fact checkers” whose opinions are wielded like swords against anyone who challenges the official narrative — became the regime of authoritarian information controllers. After all, if you challenge their messiahs like Dr. Fauci, you challenge science itself — facts be damned. So what happened? Why did the left go from championing free speech for years — even supporting the speech of neo-nazis — to rabidly demanding the silencing of those who attempt to challenge team doom? Dr. Malone and others have a theory, and it’s called mass formation psychosis. “When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere,” explained Malone on a recent interview with Joe Rogan. Malone then described how “leaders” can exploit this situation: “And one of the aspects of that phenomenon is that the people that they identify as their leaders, the ones typically that come in and say you have this pain and I can solve it for you. I and I alone. Then they will follow that person. It doesn’t matter whether they lied to them or whatever. The data is irrelevant.” On Joe Rogan, Dr Robert Malone suggests we are living through a mass formation psychosis. He explains how and why this could happen, and its effects. He draws analogy to 1920s/30s Germany “they had a highly intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad” pic.twitter.com/wZpfMsyEZZ — Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) January 1, 2022 After Dr. Malone explained this concept of mass formation, developed by Dr. Mattias Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, internet searches for “mass formation psychosis” began to exponentially increase. It appeared that Google, at one point, even attempted to skew the returned results, and it appears it is still happening. Dr Malone broke the algorithm and now Google is struggling to manually edit the results when you search for mass formation psychosis. Try it. Never seen this before. pic.twitter.com/kBKBGjM8bB — Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) January 1, 2022 Now, when you search for the phrase on Google, it returns articles by mainstream media outlets, like Forbes who took to making fun of Malone for even daring to suggest that this was the case. Apparently, large swaths of people calling for the unvaccinated to be put into camps, denied healthcare, and even killed, is not psychosis. It’s normal. It’s normal to completely dismiss the massive amounts of data in front of us, and instead opt for a fear-driven narrative that has caused suffering of epic proportions in populations whose risk of complications from covid are almost non-existent. If you search for the term on DuckDuckGo, however, Dr. Malone’s article from last month comes up. Bing, unlike Google, did not manipulate Malone’s article out of the search results either.  Though Google is hiding it and Forbes is downplaying it, mass formation psychosis is a plausible explanation for what is going on right now in Western society. According to Desmet, there are four basic conditions which need to be met for a society to be vulnerable to mass hypnosis. And we are meeting all of them. The first condition is a lack of social bonding. Over the last five years, Americans have been torn in half by the Trump phenomenon and when covid arrived it pushed people into isolation that much further. As fearful individuals pine away in their homes with no social interaction, their lack of community has fallen to a depressing level. The second condition for mass psychosis is a lack of meaning or purpose in one’s life. Desmet cites a Gallup poll done with people in 142 countries in which 63% of respondents admitted to being so disengaged at work that they were sleepwalking through their day, putting time but not passion into their work. What’s more, a recent poll of young people in the UK revealed that 89 percent of those aged 16-29, “believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose.” Free floating anxiety is the third condition for mass psychosis and one need only look at the millions of prescriptions for anti-anxiety/depression medications in the country to realize that it is rife throughout the west. As Desmet points out, if people feel socially isolated and that their life has no meaning, their anxiety isn’t connected to a mental representation. This free-floating anxiety then creates deep psychological discontent. Finally, the fourth condition needed for mass psychosis is prevalent levels of frustration and aggression. A quick stroll down Twitter lane and the amount of overt societal aggression becomes exceedingly clear. It has even manifested countless times in real life as pro-maskers attack anti-maskers and vice versa. The term “covid Karen” exists for a reason. One can reasonably argue that all four of these condition are easily met currently, which is fomenting a mob psychology. And as Desmet reminds us, this psychological phenomenon explains why so many have bought into a clearly illogical and unscientific narrative, and why they are willing to participate in the prescribed strategy like quadruple masking — “even if it’s utterly absurd,” Desmet says. “The reason they buy into the narrative is because it leads to this new social bond,” he explains. “Science, logic and correctness have nothing to do with it.” Sound familiar? How many times have people continued to cite the “experts” whose narratives have been proven false over and over again. How many times have wee seen people blindly follow these known liars simply because these liars offer them solidarity in their mutual psychosis. Even the FDA has fallen into this formation as they push vaccinations for 5-11 year old children despite no clear emergency for children. In spite of the lack of emergency, because these new community bonds have formed and team doom is under mass hypnosis, millions of parents eagerly await to inject their children with a vaccine that hasn’t even been approved for them. What, besides mass psychosis could explain the mainstream media scoffing at the 400,000 adverse reaction events from the covid vaccine reported to VAERS in the last year? How is it that these reported events, including 20,000 deaths posted to the system are written off as immediately unreliable — despite all previous data showing that it is likely a vast undercount? How is it that mainstream media and their supporters in team doom can justify myocarditis in children as some preservation of the greater good, without falling victim to mass psychosis? Without mass psychosis, why are people so willing to surrender their freedoms, submit to vaccine passports, and welcome a totalitarian police state with open arms? This behavior is not “normal.” Those under mass psychosis have simply formed a bond so strong that actual facts no longer matter — for they are now the virtuous ones. Anyone who doesn’t constantly virtue signal to the collective is an enemy. Through fact checkers, social media, and big tech control, this collective focusses their rage and hatred on those who have not fallen victim to the spell. Those not under the spell are evil, need to be locked up, arrested, and are deemed domestic terrorists by the collective. Critical thought, logic, and reason rest in their graves as mass psychosis maintains its grip on millions of fearful, anxious, and aggressive loners who have found their place in the virtuous and caring aggregate horde. While this outlook may seem bleak, the good news is that we can fight this mass psychosis by continuing to counter the narrative which is driving it, thereby shaking others out of their hypnosis by repeatedly exposing them to actual reality. What’s more, it means these horrific things that many people are saying online, like the unvaccinated should be excluded from society or locked up, isn’t necessarily coming from a place of evil, but it’s more of a psychological process their minds are doing to help them survive their false reality. *  *  * Click here to join The Free Thought Project resistance Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 4th, 2022

San Francisco Homeless Insider Tells All

San Francisco Homeless Insider Tells All Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, Why progressives defend and finance open drug scenes... In my new book, San Fransicko, I describe why progressives create and defend what European researchers call “open drug scenes,” which are places in cities where drug dealers and buyers meet, and many addicts live in tents. Progressives call these scenes “homeless encampments,” and not only defend them but have encouraged their growth, which is why the homeless population in California grew 31 percent since 2000. This was mostly a West Coast phenomenon until recently. But now, the newly elected progressive mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu, has decided to keep open a drug scene at Mass and Cass avenues, even though it has resulted in several deaths from drug overdoses and homicides. Progressives defend their approach as compassionate. Not everybody who is homeless is an addict, they say. Many are just down on their luck. Others turn to drugs after living on the street. What they need is our help. We should not ask people living in homeless encampments to go somewhere else. Homeless shelters are often more dangerous than living on the street. We should provide the people living in tents with money, food, clean needles, and whatever else they need to stay alive and comfortable. And we should provide everyone with their own apartment unit if that’s what they want. But this “harm reduction” approach is obviously failing. Cities already do a good job taking care of temporarily homeless people not addicted to drugs. Drug dealers stab and sometimes murder addicts who don’t pay. Women forced into prostitution to support their addictions are raped. Addicts are dying from overdose and poisoning. The addicts living in the open drug scenes commit many crimes including open drug use, sleeping on sidewalks, and defecating in public. Many steal to maintain their habits. The hands-off approach has meant that addicts do not spend any amount of time in jail or hospital where they can be off of drugs, and seek recovery. Now, even a growing number of people who have worked or still work within the homeless services sector are speaking out. A longtime San Francisco homeless service provider who read San Fransicko, and said they mostly agreed with it, reached out to me to share their views. At first this person said they wanted to speak on the record. But as the interview went on, and the person criticized their colleagues, they asked to remain anonymous, fearing retribution. Why “Housing First” Failed The main progressive approach for addressing homelessness, not just in San Francisco but in progressive cities around the nation, is “Housing First,” which is the notion that taxpayers should give, no questions asked, apartment units to anyone who says they are homeless, and asks for one. What actually works to reduce the addiction that forces many people onto the streets is making housing contingent on abstinence. But Housing First advocates oppose “contingency management,” as it’s called, because, they say, “Housing is a right,” and it should not be condition on behavior change. But such a policy is absurdly unrealistic, said the San Francisco homeless expert. “To pretend that this city could build enough permanent supportive housing for every homeless person who needs it is ludicrous,” the person said. “I wish it weren’t. I wish I lived in a land where there was plenty of housing. But now people are dying on our streets and it feels like we’re not doing very much about it.” The underlying problem with Housing First is that it enables addiction. “The National Academies of Sciences review [which showed that giving people apartments did not improve health or other life outcomes] you cited shows that. San Francisco has more permanent supportive housing units per capita than any other city, and we doubled spending on homelessness, but the homeless population rose 13%, even as it went down in the US. And so we doubled our spending and the problem got worse. But if you say that, you get attacked.” How did progressives, who claim to be evidence-based, ever get so committed to Housing First? “Malcolm Gladwell’s [2006 New Yorker article] “Million Dollar Murray,” really helped popularize this idea,” the person said. “But it was based on an anecdote of one person. It works for who it works for but is not scalable. [Governor] Gavin [Newsom] made a mistake [as San Francisco’s Mayor 2004-2011] which was that we stopped investing in shelter. But that’s because all the best minds were saying, ‘This is what’s going to work.’” One of the claims made defenders of the open drug scenes is that people who live in them are mostly locals who were priced out of their homes and apartments and decided to pitch a tent on the street. In San Fransicko, I cite a significant body of evidence to show that this is false, and that many people come to San Francisco from around the U.S. for the city’s unusually high cash welfare benefits, free housing, and tolerance of open drug scenes. The insider agreed. “People come here because they think they can. It’s bullshit that ‘Only 30 percent [of homeless] are from out of town.’ At least 20,000 homeless people come through town every year. Talk to the people on the street. There’s no way 70 percent of the homeless are from here. Ask them the name of their high school and they guess, ‘Washington? The one around the corner?’ But you can’t even talk about that without being called a fascist.”  The people living on the street suffer from serious addiction, this person said. “During the first point in time count [census of homeless population] in 2007, one-third had a disability, mental illness, or addiction, while last time, it was over two-thirds. The population fundamentally changed, whether from the drugs, or the time on the street. It doesn’t matter because a lot of the problems on the street are drugs-related. Neither San Francisco nor any other municipality can solve the housing policy without changing federal policy.” Life in the open drug scenes is brutal, this person confirmed. “Most homeless encampments are not communities but have paper-thin relationships based on their disease. It’s hard to have healthy relationships when you’re just trying to keep your head above water because you’re so dope dependent.” What San Francisco and other progressive cities are doing isn’t working. “People in those encampments have food brought to them, port-a-potties brought to them, and all they need to do is put drugs in their arm all day. They get really really sick and they die. Portugal didn’t make it so you can do whatever you want. The consequences of your action are treatment driven, but there are consequences. Here there are no consequences. And so we make it worse.” This person was harshly critical of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health for allowing drug overdoses to rise to over 700 per year. “They say, ‘It’s not our fault because it’s fentanyl.” But it’s only gotten worse.” This person stressed they were in favor of harm reduction policies like giving addicts clean needles in exchange for them giving back dirty ones, but not just giving out needles. “I’m all in favor of needle exchange, but not of needle distribution. Ask people to return the needles they’ve been given. There are people who don’t have it together enough. I get that. But when you tell people we’re going to give you whatever you want, to do whatever you want… Sleeping on a sidewalk is a crime. There are things you can’t do. You can’t shoot up on the street. The laws are there for a reason.” Why Progressives Create Homelessness So ⁦@SFPD⁩ just arrested ⁦@christinevans⁩ for interfering with their work of displacing folks in a large encampment under the freeway during a pandemic as Delta is spreading. I was talking to an unhoused pregnant woman when they threatened to arrest me too. pic.twitter.com/NBANKCWA0Y — Kelley Cutler (@NutCheese) July 27, 2021 Open drug scenes look like natural disasters, but they are the result of specific city policies. These policies including giving money, food, and drug paraphernalia to addicts to support their addiction. But even if progressives didn’t give people those things, many addicts would still live in open drug scenes. As such, the main reason “homelessness” is so much worse in progressive West Coast cities is because progressives hotly oppose efforts by cities to close the open drug scenes and move addicts into shelters and rehab. By blocking the closing of open drug scenes, which is referred to as “clearing an encampment,” people in need of help don’t get it. “The San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness recently [July 2021] protested an encampment clearing where a woman was pregnant,” the insider told me. “As soon as everybody left, the woman went into a shelter, after having been on the streets for three months. She went indoors. It’s like, ‘What are you fighting for? The right of this person to stay on private property and be pregnant?’” One of the questions I tried to answer in San Fransicko was when it was that street addicts started living in tents. I concluded that it started with the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011, when progressive activists in San Francisco, Oakland, and other cities lived in tents in front of government buildings to protest capitalism. This person confirmed this account. “You’re right that the tents popped up after Occupy,” they said. “But it wasn’t just that the Occupy activists gave the homeless their tents. It was that the homeless saw well-heeled whites sleeping in tents. It got moralized.” The most influential homeless advocate in San Francisco, and perhaps the United States as a whole, is the head of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, Jennifer Friedenbach. Over the last three decades, Friedenbach has taken control over San Francisco’s homelessness budget and other policies. She blocks the closure of open drug scenes, calls people who disagree with her fascists and racists, and organizes protests at the homes of politicians. Time to house all San Franciscans, don’t you think? pic.twitter.com/PA5fFGivhN — Jennifer Friedenbach (@fbach4) May 18, 2021 A typical example of Friedenbach’s tactics could be seen in posters she promoted in May. The headline read, “See a tent? Just fucking leave it alone, thanks. Maybe instead of complaining about a homeless person’s only shelter from the elements, you could do something about the economic conditions that put them there in the first place?” The main reason San Francisco lacks sufficient homeless shelters is because Friedenbach and other Housing First advocates have long opposed them. They have demanded that money go to providing people with their own apartment units. The reason, Friedenbach explained to me, is that “if you ask unhoused people, they’re not screaming for shelter. They’re screaming for housing.” In the spring of 2021, Friedenbach published an op-ed opposing a proposal considered by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create, within eighteen months, sufficient homeless shelters and outdoor “Safe Sleeping Sites” for all of the city’s unsheltered homeless. “One can simply take a look to New York City,” she wrote. “Their department spends about $1.3 billion dollars of its budget on providing shelter for their unhoused population while thousands remain on the street. . . . As a result, New York has a higher rate of homelessness than San Francisco.” But the claim was misleading. New York shelters the vast majority of its homeless, whereas San Francisco leaves the vast majority of its homeless unsheltered. “New York [City] has made the decision that everyone should have an exit from the street,” noted Rafael Mandelman, a San Francisco county supervisor. “San Francisco has consciously chosen not to make that commitment. And the conditions on New York’s streets versus San Francisco streets are somewhat reflective of what that means.” Friedenbach controls how San Francisco spends its astonishing $850 million annual budget. “Jenny built her power base by becoming a master of the budget’s “add back” process,” said the San Francisco insider. “The night before the budget is announced, it gets reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, but they’re trying to get out of there by midnight, and that’s when these ‘community asks.’ The board goes and trims stuff out of the mayor’s budget and does “add backs'' of money for struggling nonprofits. Jenny has mastered that process. And so if you’re a nonprofit executive director, and you want money in the add back process, which everyone does, you have to go through Jenny.” This person said that Friedenbach also operates behind the scenes. “She controls fake front groups like the Homeless Service Providers’ Coalition and the Justice Budget Coalition,” said the insider. “She knows the issue well. A lot of people look to her.” But more importantly, Friedenbach, like many progressive defenders of open drug scenes, demonize the people who stand up to her. “They shut down the discussion,” the insider said. “Everybody is just like, ‘Police bad. Public health good.’ It’s Animal Farm. But the city’s homeless outreach team can’t do their jobs without the cops. That’s the stuff that shuts down any meaningful discussion.” Why do they do it? Radical anti-system ideology. “There’s a San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness hat which says, ‘Coalition on Homelessness: On The Frontlines of Class Warfare,’” said the insider. “They feel like they’re fighting class warfare. They tell people to not take shelter.” I documented in San Fransicko that Friedenbach and other homeless advocates are motivated in significant measure by their belief that capitalism, not addiction, is responsible for the suffering on the streets. After I appeared on Joe Rogan, a clinical psychologist who for two decades ran programs for homeless veterans at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, which included homeless vets, emailed me. “I agree with all you say about the ‘homeless’ people who are actually mislabeled mentally ill and drug addicts,” wrote Dr. Mark Zaslav. “I like your comparison of the ‘ideology’ of people who “advocate” for the homeless to a religion gone haywire. But I wanted, as a psychologist, to add another point for your consideration.  This is the fact that this leftwing religion is based on split-off hatred and contempt for civilization itself.  When I attended substance abuse conferences in San Francisco run by community leaders, it became clear to me that these people had no understanding of mental health disorders like addiction – they regarded “homeless” addicts as heroes of some kind.   “Thus, each drug addict defecating on the streets in the Tenderloin was a massive middle finger to some imagined white male with a briefcase.  The premise of your solutions, which make so much sense, assume that adherents to the now reigning ideology want things solved.  They do not.  They want people inconvenienced by addicts – the homeless become quote literal scared cows who roam society reminding everyone of the sins of capitalism. “You mentioned Noam Chomsky.  These people are angry and full of hate.  They have tapped into a form of blindness among the voters of places like San Francisco or California itself – these are angry people endlessly telling themselves they are compassionate while projecting their hatred toward the ‘bourgeoise.’ I am afraid this does not end well. “ The San Francisco homelessness insider agreed, and despaired over the religious fervor in which the people who work at the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, the San Francisco Public Health Department, and many elected members of the Board of Supervisors are gripped. “Maybe homelessness is part of capitalism and racism,” said this person. “I can’t solve that and neither can any nonprofit organization. I can’t stand seeing people suffering on the streets. What are we going to do right now?” .*  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Our research and writing depends on individuals like you. Please consider subscribing now so we can expand our work in the coming year Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

The Equity Talk: Despite the diversity reckoning of 2020, trans voices are still largely missing from corporate plans for the future

This may be the deadliest year for trans people. For Trans Awareness week, Insider spoke with two trans diversity consultants on what CEOs need to do. Samantha Lee/Insider Anti-trans legislation and attacks have reached record highs in 2021. For Trans Awareness Week, Insider spoke with two trans advocates who help educate CEOs. In an Equity Talk, Sean Coleman and Kayden Coleman shared what leaders need to do. Trans people are more visible than ever before in media and pop culture, but with visibility comes increased transphobic violence. Data from Insider's Transgender Homicide Project showed that 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year for trans people in recorded US history. As trans Black women and femmes face unprecedented rates of violence, trans youth are being subjected to anti-trans legislation — bills curtailing their participation in sports and their ability to have gender-affirmation surgeries covered by health insurance. Despite the racial reckoning of 2020, Dave Chappelle's comedy controversy, and some CEOs defending LGBTQ rights, many trans and nonbinary activists say Black and brown trans lives, and more broadly all trans lives, are still not being included in corporate plans to become more diverse. For Trans Awareness Week, which runs from November 13 to 19, Insider's Canela López and Marguerite Ward spoke with two leading activists helping business leaders get serious about protecting trans lives. Sean Ebony Coleman is a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and the founder of the LGBTQ nonprofit center Destination Tomorrow, and Kayden Coleman (no relation) is a DEI consultant who educates brands and medical professionals on trans-inclusive language and practices with his company, Papa Seahorse Inc. Both said CEOs need to step up now."This is not something that we should have to be fighting for," Kayden Coleman said. "We are all human beings at the end of the day, whether or not you agree, accept, or understand, we deserve all of the things that make a healthy, safe life."This interview has been edited and condensed. 2020 was a year of racial reckoning. CEOs have been pressured to take diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously. But what about Black trans lives? Do you feel CEOs are recognizing Black trans lives? Kayden Coleman: Black people as a whole are not being listened to by CEOs. So when you add that extra layer of being trans, you really delve into a space of which a lot of people are not used to. You're asking people to step out of this learned behavior that trans people are deviants and things of that nature, while also asking them to step out of learned anti-Blackness. In the work that I do, I get a lot of pushback from people. Sean Coleman: I agree. I think one of the things that any CEO can do is step outside of their circle. If you are constantly going to the same two or three people for advice when it comes to the trans community and they aren't people from the trans community or a Black or brown trans person, that's a problem. You don't have a complete picture of what the trans experience actually means and some of the challenges that Black and brown trans folks experience. So my advice would be to step outside of your immediate circle.I am a subject-matter expert in my life. I need folks to trust that I know what I'm saying when I tell you what I need, and then I need you to invite me into these spaces.2021 is on track to be the deadliest year for trans lives. At the same time, there's been more visibility. Singer Demi Lovato came out as nonbinary. Elliot Page came out as transgender. How are you feeling about the rights of trans and nonbinary people right now? Sean Coleman: I'm hopeful because we're having discussions like this. But I'm also a bit nervous because I don't want folks to conflate being visible with being safe. While it's great that Demi Lovato and Elliot Page are now living in their truth, it doesn't necessarily translate to a trans or nonbinary person who happens to be, maybe, in the South Bronx or somewhere in LA because they don't have the same access to privilege and safe spaces.We need to continue to have layered discussions around what safety looks like for everyone. We need to address what the root causes are behind this kind of violence. The Human Rights Council Foundation led an increase in the number of major US employers offering transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage. It's gone from 49 in 2009 to 949 at the end of 2020. What are additional measures that executives need to take? Kayden Coleman: It's not enough to just provide healthcare. Healthcare doesn't matter if the employees don't exist in your spaces. If you have trans-inclusive healthcare but only one or two trans employees, who's that really benefiting? I'm a firm believer that the "LGB" is one sector and the "T" is another. I exist as a "G entity" as a gay transmasculine person. But that doesn't mean that a cisgender gay man knows my plight. They don't know my experience. I know my experience because I've had to survive it. We need to bring trans people in to do the work with business leaders, and we need to pay them for this work. When you talk about transness, you also need to understand that identities intersect. So we're talking about trans rights, but we also need to be talking about racism, anti-Blackness, disability, etc. Bringing in an able-bodied, palatable white person who qualifies as LGBTQ is not sufficient. For equity to happen, we have to have a serious discussion with our allies. Like, we have all these folks that are allies, but they're taking up space. So if you truly want to be an ally, allow us that platform to come in and say, "This is what's going to work." Lend me your platform. In May, 95 companies voiced their opposition to the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills in this country, in a letter written in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. However, some large companies did not sign or comment. What's your message to the companies that did not sign? Sean Coleman: I want companies to understand that this is a concentrated effort. It shouldn't be lost on anyone that at the same time that trans athletes and trans youth, a woman's right to choose is being attacked, and voting rights are under attack. They're coming at it from a few different angles, but it's all the same result. And it's to have control over someone else's life. We need to figure out how we work together.For the companies that decided not to speak out against these bills, it's kind of hard to be a voice for a community that you probably don't hire, that you probably don't have any relationship with, right? So what I'm going to say to them is do better. You have the opportunity to be on the right side of history. Kayden Coleman: To the companies that are either remaining silent or just blatantly refusing to stand up for trans people, the message that you're sending is that you don't see us as human beings. You don't think that we deserve to live equal lives.To the people who are standing up for us, I love to see it. Keep it going and advocate for it more. Call these people in power and ask them why they're not doing the things that they should be doing.Editor's note: In the recorded interview, Insider's journalists said Target did not sign the Human Rights Campaign letter, citing a report from Yahoo News. However, a representative from Target told Insider that the retailer did, in fact, sign the letter. Walmart and Disney, the other companies mentioned, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

Empty Promises, Softened Language, And Demands For Climate Reparations: COP26 Ends In Hypocritical Whimper

Empty Promises, Softened Language, And Demands For Climate Reparations: COP26 Ends In Hypocritical Whimper Negotiations at the UN climate conference in Glasgow are expected to bleed over into the weekend, as countries craft a new draft agreement which - so far, includes softened language 'requesting' (but not 'urging') that nations come back to the drawing board in one year with better climate-action plans for 2030. Bloomberg describes the softened language as a "get-out clause." Activists are sure to be pissed. Good luck with that Other changes include a closely watched line on fossil fuels and coal - which was changed to phasing out "unabated coal" instead of "consigning coal to history" after China and other countries voiced their displeasure. Next, negotiations hit an impasse over the global carbon market Thursday, with countries disagreeing on how to account for emissions credits sold around the world. Climate talks #COP26 in Glasgow are entering the final stage. Negotiators are still far apart on several key issues, including international #carbon markets. Here is what it is about:pic.twitter.com/YCOa9dWb5o — Ewa Krukowska (@E_Krukowska) November 11, 2021 ...the risk is that a weak deal would enshrine in the system rules so loose that they could end up allowing for emissions to rise rather than fall. Talks on carbon trading collapsed in 2019 at the last round of climate talks in Madrid, with Brazil and the European Union at loggerheads on topics including how to avoid counting the same emissions reductions twice. Those accounting issues remain a stumbling block, and other obstacles have also emerged during talks in Glasgow. -Bloomberg Meanwhile, 'vulnerable countries' have railed against Friday's proposed draft - saying they need a more ambitious deal on climate reparations from rich nations responsible for global warming, in order to handle costs from 'worsening storms, droughts and rising sea levels.' The new draft balances the demands of smaller nations and the world's biggest polluters whose economies rely on fossil fuels. As Reuters notes, some countries say the draft would just barely maintain the Paris Agreement's cap on global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the limit at which climate scientists claim the most severe impacts would be averted, however the draft asks countries to 'upgrade' their climate targets in 2022 in order to reach the goal. The COP26 conference has so far not delivered enough emissions-cutting pledges to nail down the 1.5C goal, so the draft asked countries to upgrade their climate targets in 2022. However, it couched that request in weaker language than a previous draft, and failed to offer the rolling annual review of climate pledges that some developing countries have pushed for. It said the upgrade of climate pledges should take into account "different national circumstances", a phrase likely to please some developing countries, which say the demands on them to quit fossil fuels and cut emissions should be lower than on developed economies. -Reuters "If the text that is currently on the table withstands the battering that it may get - yes, we are holding on by our fingernails," said Grenada climate minister Simon Stiell after being asked if the latest proposal maintained the temperature target. According to the draft, the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions from oil, gas and coal by 45% by 2030, and to net zero by 2050, in order to hit the 1.5C target. Bitch better have my money (or else?) Poorer COP26 attendees are reportedly 'furious' that wealthy nations have yet to fulfill a 12-year-old pledge to give $100 billion per year by 2020 to help them line their elites' pockets cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The draft expressed "deep regret" at the missed target which rich nations now expect to meet in 2023, but offered no solutions to make sure the money materializes - just that rich nations should double the funding they currently set aside for poor countries. "Loss and damage is too central for us to settle for workshops. We must strengthen action on loss and damage," according to Marshall Islands climate envoy Tina Stege. In addition to the softened language on fossil fuels, the draft calls on nations to pledge to phase out "inefficient" subsidies for fossil fuels in general - changes in language which Arab nations had lobbied for, much to the chagrin of climate activists. "The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened," said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. The United States and China - the world's two largest polluters, unveiled a deal on Wednesday that would see China strengthen its emissions-cutting targets. Beijing has committed to "work jointly and with other parties to ensure a successful COP26 and to facilitate an outcome that is both ambitious and balanced." Climate hypocrites In a hilarious final note, a UK government report reveals that the carbon footprint for COP26 itself is expected to reach the equivalent of 102,500 tons of carbon dioxide - roughly equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted annually by 10,000 UK households. The document, compiled by sustainability consultant Arup, notes that some 60% of the emissions are related to international air travel of some 39,000 delegates who have taken part in the environmental crisis talks. Other major sources of pollution are cited as accommodation for the delegates, ferrying of guests to and from the summit, and venue catering.  ... The last UN climate change summit in Madrid welcomed some 27,000 people and produced some 51,101 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Data suggest the COP summits have been gradually getting more polluting, with the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen producing around 26,000. -RT In short, nobody's going to be happy and that was a giant waste of time.  Childhood status: [_] Not Ruined [X] Ruined Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 14:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

Texas abortion law could have "traumatic" consequences for trans and nonbinary people who are forced to carry out a pregnancy, experts say

The legislation only refers to women. Pregnancy is defined as "the human female reproductive condition," according to Texas's abortion ban SB 8. Abortion-rights activists and anti-abortion activists protest alongside each other during a demonstration outside of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2021. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images Reproductive rights experts told Insider that Texas' restrictive abortion law could have "traumatic" consequences for trans and nonbinary people. The text of the law does not explicitly refer to anyone but women. But trans and nonbinary people would still be restricted from abortions past the six-week mark, one expert said. Trans men and nonbinary people in Texas run the risk of body dysphoria and other health-related issues if the state's new abortion law forces them to carry out a pregnancy, according to reproductive rights experts.The law is called SB 8, and it effectively prohibits anyone from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. That's a point at which most people do not yet know they are pregnant. People who violate the law can be sued in court, which would likely result in a minimum of $10,000 in statutory damages per abortion.Abortion clinics in Texas have tried to block the law in court, arguing that it would prohibit care for "at least 85% of Texas abortion patients." That figure includes trans and nonbinary people who have a reproductive system that's capable of pregnancy. Under the law, people are unable "to make their own choices about their medical care" and bodily autonomy, Dr. Ricky Hill, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Insider. "I think it's a way to keep trans and gender-nonconforming, nonbinary folks out of sexual health conversations."Hill said trans and nonbinary people are particularly vulnerable to body dysphoria, a mental condition that occurs when a person identifies as a specific gender but feels that gender is not perceived by others. There may be feelings of dysphoria if a transmasculine individual, for example, were to get pregnant and start to show physical signs of a pregnancy.The law, SB 8, was enacted on September 1, and Texans needing an abortion have since sought out alternative ways to get one, like securing pills or traveling out of state. Some abortion providers in Texas have had to turn away patients seeking the procedure.The text of the legislation does not use language that's inclusive of trans and nonbinary people. Pregnancy, according to the law, "means the human female reproductive condition" that "begins with fertilization," "when the woman is carrying the developing human offspring" and "is calculated from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period."While the text only refers to women, the law itself is broad enough to eliminate abortions for trans and nonbinary people past the six-week mark, according to Columbia University reproductive rights scholar Carol Sanger.But if a trans or nonbinary person tries to challenge that in court, they'll likely lose, Sanger told Insider."What they're trying to protect is the unborn child," Sanger said. "If a judge were hearing this, they would say the intent is to protect the embryo. It's less concerned with the gender of the carrier, of the parent."Abortion is widely regarded as a women's issue, but that label is often not inclusive of trans and nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy. "Trans people, in general, are not included in conversations around sexual health," Hill said, adding that they believe abortion is a bodily autonomy issue, not exclusively a women's issue.Data on trans and nonbinary healthcare is limited, Hill said. But there are studies that indicate there's a need for more inclusive healthcare for trans and nonbinary people. One study, for example, found that several hundred trans and nonbinary people obtained abortions in 2017. The lack of data represents a vital knowledge gap that can be abused by a law like SB 8, according to experts."Being able to quantify something really does lend to credibility," Hill said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 7th, 2021

5 Sinema Advisors Quit, Accuse Her Of "Selling Out" To Big Donors, As Far-Left Backlash Intensifies

5 Sinema Advisors Quit, Accuse Her Of 'Selling Out' To Big Donors, As Far-Left Backlash Intensifies While the New York Times attempts to augur Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's demands as she and fellow moderate Dem Sen. Joe Manchin continue their battle with progressive House Dems that has left President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda - an infrastructure bill and accompanying expansion of the social safety net - the backlash against her "obstructionist" stance has just prompted five veterans who once served on her semi-formal "advisory council" to resign in protest. In recent weeks, Sinema has been hounded by progressive activists who tried - but failed - to harangue her as she ran the Boston Marathon. Now, that pressure is likely about to be turned up to '11' as the former advisors accused her of "hanging your own constituents out to dry" in a letter that was just leaked to the New York Times. As President Biden struggles to quell the partisan battle over his agenda and sell it to the American people (as warnings about the potential for stoking further inflationary pressures multiply), progressives are getting increasingly desperate, and ramping up their attacks on Dem moderates who are in the middle of a pitched battle with progressives. According to the NYT, which "obtained" (ie was given) a copy of the letter, the former Sinema aides accuse her of placing the needs of wealthy donors ahead of the needs of her constituents. In a scathing letter obtained by The New York Times, the veterans took Ms. Sinema to task for her refusal to abolish the filibuster and her opposition to parts of Mr. Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social safety net, education, climate and tax plan, stances that have stymied some of his top priorities. "You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people," the veterans wrote in a letter that is to be featured in a new advertisement by Common Defense, a progressive veterans’ activist group that has targeted Ms. Sinema. "We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming," they added. Moreover, the NYT said the letter is the latest in a "crescendo of anger" directed at Sinema over her 'perplexing' tactics during the hectic negotiations, which have most recently centered on the tax hikes Dems' have promised to help offset the cost of both Biden's "bipartisan" infrastructure plan as well as his plan to expand the social safety net. Sinema is a key swing vote in this battle. But it's not just Sinema's stance on the tax hikes that's got the far-left so hot and bothered. There's a groundswell of anger over her opposition to scrapping the filibuster, which progressive Dems want to eliminate to help push through a version of the Biden agenda that they effectively dictate. The resignations add to a crescendo of anger and pressure that Ms. Sinema is facing from erstwhile allies who say they are perplexed by her recent tactics. She has resisted major elements of Democrats’ sprawling social safety net and climate bill, including raising individual income and corporate tax rates to pay for it. Because Democrats control the Senate with only 50 votes, even one defection could spell defeat for the measure, giving Ms. Sinema outsize influence to determine what can be included. Ms. Sinema has also steadfastly opposed changing the Senate’s filibuster rule, which effectively requires 60 votes to move forward on any major bill, even as Republicans have used it as a procedural weapon to block voting rights legislation and a bill to avert a federal debt default. Progressive activists have stepped up their campaign to push Democrats to do away with the rule so they can muscle Mr. Biden’s priorities through Congress on simple majority votes, and they have trained their anger on Ms. Sinema and another centrist holdout, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. One progressive activist quoted by the NYT said that Dems worked "so hard" to get Sinema elected, and now they feel betrayed. "Democrats were out desperately trying to help her win the seat, and now we feel like, what was it for?” Sylvia González Andersh, one of the veterans who signed the letter, said in an interview. "Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn’t tell anybody anything. It’s very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen." Well, there is one person who knows - Nancy Pelosi. But apparently she won't tell. Despite campaigning on raising tax rates on corporations and high earners, Dems may finance the bill without it given Sinema's position, something Pelosi said was an option. Pelosi says that Dems are exploring options. "Her position is well known," Pelosi said to me of Sinema pic.twitter.com/70JymRP8Kl — Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 21, 2021 As time goes on, pressure on Sinema is only going to get worse. How much longer until she gets "Tucker Carlson'd" - or worse - by Antifa? Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 17:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 21st, 2021

Netflix CEO said the company believes content "doesn"t directly translate to real-world harm" in defense of Dave Chappelle special, report says

GLAAD pushed back on the claim, saying media can lead to "real world harm, especially for trans people & LGBTQ people of color." Dave Chappelle's latest special, "The Closer," has been defended by Netflix head Ted Sarandos. David Livingston/Getty Images In an email, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said on-screen content doesn't translate to real-world harm. Sarandos cited a decline in violent crime in recent decades despite an increase in violent content. He was defending Dave Chappelle's "The Closer," which has been criticized for transphobic comments. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said this week the company believes on-screen content "doesn't directly translate to real-world harm," in another defense of Dave Chappelle's new comedy special, Variety reported.The streaming giant has come under fire from some of its employees for hosting the special, "The Closer," which activists say features transphobic comments. In the special, Chappelle says "gender is a fact" and defends "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling, who has also been criticized for transphobic comments. Chappelle also said he identifies with TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists.Sarandos initially defended the special in an email sent to company leadership on Friday, according to The Verge. He doubled down on the remarks in a company-wide email sent on Monday and obtained by Variety after Netflix employees protested the special and the decision to keep it on the platform."With 'The Closer,' we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real-world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence, etc.)," Sarandos wrote. "While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm."He continued: "The strongest evidence to support this is that violence on screens has grown hugely over the last thirty years, especially with first-party shooter games, and yet violent crime has fallen significantly in many countries. Adults can watch violence, assault, and abuse - or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy - without it causing them to harm others."In response to the comments, GLAAD released a statement pushing back against Sarandos's claims about the impact of media: "GLAAD was founded 36 years ago because media representation has consequences for LGBTQ people. Film & TV have been filled with stereotypes and misinformation about us, leading to real-world harm, especially for trans people & LGBTQ people of color."One transgender Netflix employee who spoke out against the special in a viral Twitter thread last week also argued that transphobic content translates to physical harm, listing off transgender people who have been killed.The employee, Terra Field, was suspended by the company but was later reinstated.Chappelle's "The Closer" was the third most-watched piece of content on Netflix in the US on Wednesday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 14th, 2021

Netflix has suspended 3 employees but says it wasn"t for criticism of its Dave Chappelle special

Dave Chappelle and Netflix have come under fire for his new special in which he makes transphobic comments. Chappelle in "The Closer." Netflix Netflix has suspended three employees for crashing an executive meeting, The Verge and Variety reported. One of the staffers was Terra Field, who criticized Dave Chappelle's new Netflix special on Twitter last week. In the special, called "The Closer," Chappelle makes transphobic comments. Netflix has suspended three employees for attending an executive meeting they were not invited to, including a trans staffer who recently criticized the company's new Dave Chappelle standup special called "The Closer," The Verge and Variety reported on Monday.The trans employee, senior software engineer Terra Field, tweeted a thread on Wednesday that went viral in which she said that Chappelle "attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness - all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups."In a statement, Netflix said the employees were not suspended because of anything they tweeted about the special."It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show," a Netflix spokesperson said. "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."Field did not return requests for an interview.During the meeting, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos took questions about how Netflix should address employees and talent being upset about Chappelle's special, according to Variety.Sarandos then sent an internal memo to executives addressing concerns in which he said that Netflix would not be removing the special, The Verge and Variety reported. "Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him," Sarandos wrote, in part. "His last special, 'Sticks & Stones,' also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date. As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom - even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful, like 'Cuties,' '365 Days,' '13 Reasons Why,' or 'My Unorthodox Life.'"He added: "Distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it's an important part of our content offering."Netflix declined to comment on the memo.Other Netflix employees also spoke out against the special on Twitter, as did Jaclyn Moore, who is trans and is an executive producer on Netflix's "Dear White People."Moore tweeted that she would "not work with [Netflix] as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content."In the special, Chappelle said that "gender is a fact" and defended "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling - who has been criticized for anti-trans comments - by saying "Team TERF!," which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

AG Garland "Weaponizes" DoJ Against Dissenting Parents After School Board Association Pleas

AG Garland "Weaponizes" DoJ Against Dissenting Parents After School Board Association Pleas One day after a North Carolina school board adopted a policy that would discipline or dismiss teachers if they incorporate critical race theory (CRT) into their teaching of the history of the United States, The Epoch Times' Ivan Pentchoukov reports that Attorney General Merrick Garland on Oct. 4 announced a concentrated effort to target any threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment by parents toward school personnel. The announcement also comes days after a national association of school boards asked the Biden administration to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent alleged threats against school staff that the association said was coming from parents who oppose mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory. Garland directed the FBI and U.S. attorneys in the next 30 days to convene meetings with federal, state, and local leaders within 30 days to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” according to a letter (pdf) the attorney general sent on Monday to all U.S. attorneys, the FBI director, the director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, and the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s criminal division. According to the DOJ, further efforts will be rolled out in the coming days, including a task force that will determine how to use federal resources to prosecute offending parents as well as how to advise state entities on prosecutions in cases where no federal law is broken. The Justice Department will also provide training to school staff on how to report threats from parents and preserve evidence to aid in investigation and prosecution. “In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools,” Garland wrote. “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.” School boards across the nation have increasingly become an arena for heated debate over culture, politics, and health. Parents groups have ramped up pressure on boards over the teaching of critical race theory and the imposition of mask mandates. The debate is split sharply along political lines, with Democrats largely in favor of critical race theory and mask mandates, and Republicans opposing both. The amount and severity of the threats against officials are not known, but Garland’s letter suggests the phenomenon is widespread. Full AG Garland Statement (with our thoughts): MEMORANDUM FOR DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS FROM:       THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SUBJECT:    PARTNERSHIP AMONG FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, TRIBAL, AND TERRITORIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO ADDRESS THREATS AGAINST SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, BOARD MEMBERS, TEACHERS, AND STAFF In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation's public schools. While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views. [ZH: But intimidating parents who dare to have the view that the nation's founding fathers and the founding documents are not in fact systemically racist and does not want their children taught that is the case is ok?] Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to he able to do their work without fear for their safety. [ZH: "Dedication" to a "proper education" is admirable; indoctrination in Marxism is not] The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel. [ZH: What exactly is the crime?] Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation's nearly 14,000 public school districts. To this end, I am  directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response. [ZH: We wonder how many local law enforcement officials, while busily watching for vaccine passport offenders, and mask-mandate refusers, will acquiesce to enforcing these new laws to protect the very people who are preaching that America's systemic racism starts with the men (and women) in blue?] The Department is steadfast in its commitment to protect all people in the United States from violence, threats of violence, and other forms of intimidation and harassment. [ZH: Presumably intimidation and emotional harassment of young white boys and girls for their 'whiteness', privilege, and systemic racism is beyond that 'protection'?] As Chris Rufo (@RealChrisRufo) tweeted: "The Biden administration is rapidly repurposing federal law enforcement to target political opposition." The Biden administration is rapidly repurposing federal law enforcement to target political opposition. They want to reclassify dissent as "disinformation" and "domestic terrorism," justifying an unprecedented intervention, both directly and in partnership with tech companies. — Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 4, 2021 Rufo goes on to note that: "Neither the Attorney General's memo nor the full Justice Department press release cites any significant, credible threat. This is a blatant suppression tactic, designed to dissuade citizens from participating in the democratic process at school boards." Parents have led the charge against controversial issues such as Critical Race Theory (CRT), masking mandates and vaccine requirements. CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies. This is Courtney Ann Taylor, a mother in Georgia. She’s one of the many parents who’ve HAD IT with mask mandates, especially for young kids in school. Share this video! pic.twitter.com/pyG3fYmgVI — Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) April 22, 2021 In Loudoun County, Virginia, two parents were arrested in June for trespassing while protesting CRT and a transgender policy at the school district because they refused to leave the rowdy meeting that was declared an unlawful assembly. In July, a man was arrested at a school board meeting and charged with a felony because a gun reportedly fell out of his pocket, the Indianapolis Star reported.  In Utah, 11 anti-mask protestors were arrested on misdemeanor charges for allegedly disrupting a school board meeting in May, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The protestors entered the school board meeting and shouted obscenities, which resulted in an early end to the meeting. Senator Tom Cotton  (@SenTomCotton) tweeted his thoughts: "Parents are speaking out against Critical Race Theory in schools. Now the Biden administration is cracking down on dissent." Just this week, Ron Paul explained why it is so important for parents to control the education of their children: During last week’s Virginia gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe promised that as governor he would prevent parents from removing sexually explicit books from school libraries, because he doesn't think “parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” McAuliffe's disdain for parents who think they should have some say in their children’s education is shared by most “progressives,” as well as some who call themselves conservatives. They think parents should obediently pay the taxes to fund the government schools and never question any aspect of the government school program. School officials' refusal to obey the wishes of parents extends to the anti-science mask mandates. Mask mandates are not only useless in protecting children from a virus they are at low risk of becoming sick from or transmitting, the mandated mask-wearing actually makes children sick! Yet school administrators refuse to follow the science if that means listening to parents instead of the so-called experts. Replacing parental control with government control of education (and other aspects of child raising) has been a goal of authoritarians since Plato. After all, it is much easier to ensure obedience if someone has been raised to think of the government as the source of all wisdom and truth, as well as the provider of all of life’s necessities. In contrast to an authoritarian society, a free society recognizes that parents have both the responsibility and the right to provide their children with a quality education that reflects the parents’ values. Teachers who use their positions to indoctrinate children in beliefs that contradict the views of the parents are the ones overstepping their bounds. Restoring parental control of education should be a priority for all who believe in liberty. If government can override the wishes of parents in the name of “education” or “protecting children’s health” then what area of our lives is safe from government intrusion? Fortunately, growing dissatisfaction with government schools is leading many parents to try to change school policies. "It is shameful that activists are weaponizing the US Department of Justice against parents,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education told the Daily Caller News Foundation in response to the memorandum. “This is a coordinated attempt to intimidate dissenting voices in the debates surrounding America’s underperforming K-12 education – and it will not succeed. We will not be silenced.” Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 5th, 2021