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Monday, July 24, 2017

Should we in fact, 'try Kamala Harris'?

So names are popping up for possible party leadership or possible challengers to our nectarine nightmare in 2020. One of those names has been Kamala Harris. She's been composed, intelligent, concise and persistent in the face of stodgy white male supremacy in the Senate and everything you'd want in an elected official questioning potential Cabinet members. I admit, I've enjoyed her outspoken statements and tweets. I get her emails and I've imagined her as President. Of course I have. 

OPINION | Dems need a fresh face for 2020: Try Kamala Harris

I disagree that lack of experience as a legislator is a serious problem- Obama was a junior Senator and Trump had ZERO. She seems to be nationally known with the several instances of being interrupted and calling attention to sexism in the Senate- the piece seems to think she's not that well known.

Here's her commencement speech to Howard University:

BUT. . . we should also consider a few things. She's a prosecutor. I know! One thinks usually that's not a place for liberals, looking to get convictions ruthlessly, fill jails, be tough on crime, etc. 

I did read this, though, which sheds a bit different light on that part at least:

Through a Facebook group for my favorite podcast, Radio Dispatch, I became aware of these other stances Harris has taken. She has the fortitude and composure to really make a splash and shift things to the left - hopefully. These couple of stances though, if indicative of her current mindset, really don't bode well for her being a candidate I could support enthusiastically.

Prop K was going to finally address the prostitution issue and stop criminalizing the women (and targeting women of color) and rather rehabilitate them. Harris called it ridiculous. There's the tough on crime liberal I was hoping not to see. 

And while it didn't hurt her election to the Senate obviously, it's problematic to see these blips.

So, in short, I don't know, but I do know we should soberly look into any possible candidate. Don't simply get star struck because she speaks intelligently and we haven't heard anything like that in months.

Fad diets and nutrition trends

I saw a video the other day that made me think a few things, so I figured I'd write them down.

Is 'Clean Eating' a Dirty Trend? - I'm failing at embedding this, so it's here:

Wow. So perhaps clean eating isn't what I thought it was? I don't take fads all that seriously. I remember Michael Pollen's advice that sounds close to common sense and is as catchy as any of these silly fad mantras: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Plans that exclude entire food groups or include some kind of extreme deprivation send up red flags for me. I try to eat more veggies and greens, drink more water, eat less bread and don't deprive myself, all in moderation- the more and less being just for me because I know what I'd eat if I didn't pay attention to it. It doesn't matter what I eat, that's not the point I want to make. I only give my opinion there to say that clean eating sounded like what I shoot for in general. But that turned out to be wrong.

At first blush clean eating seems fairly innocuous as far as trends go. Eat more fruits and veggies, eat less white bread (processed!). I totally agree. But it goes a lot farther than that. . .and I'm not even talking about the religion/lifestyle aspect and eating disorder encouragement yet.

I grabbed this explainer so we can get some specifics on what someone thinks clean eating is.

It takes a few good points- don't eat too much over processed stuff with a lot of preservatives and eat more greens- and takes it to the absolute extreme. It discusses 'processing' and puts adding salt, mashing apples to applesauce, steaming your broccoli or stir frying your veggies in the same category as removing bran to create refined bread and adding preservatives you can't pronounce to prepackaged food. It does say not all processing is necessarily bad (yay for facts!), but doesn't clearly sort that out in a way that doesn't seem completely nuts to a person who has studied science for at least 4 years. As in me. I graduated in microbiology, took a nutrition class while there and worked in science for 10 years. Putting things in a blender is processing them, then say processing is bad. I would say that smoothies are not the best choice because you add milk and sugar instead of just eating the fruit, the chopping isn't the problem here. *Add the overblown uninformed GMO bogeyman and you have a great pile of junk science. You might as well have told me to down some capsules filled with essential oils for HEALTH, Mr. Bodybuilder turned amateur fake nutritionist says so, trust him! Believe!

*GMO bogeyman- 

Is clean eating about GMOs?

Eating Clean in 2017- this is a pro- clean eating piece, fact checking needed, but it might give you an idea of the GMO stance in the movement.

On the  GMO scare cult, akin to vaccine avoidance . . . from Cornell University
"If you vaccinate your kids and believe that climate change is real, you need to stop being scared of genetically modified foods."

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I know people will push back, saying surely not everyone who eats clean will have an eating disorder, but the lifestyle rather than diet plan and the wild interpretations of nonspecific rules don't really make this a great choice for anyone unless they are constantly fact checking with scientists and doctors. Be careful who you are getting your information from.
Whilst the rules of clean eating are far from clear cut, the underlying commonality is the omission of certain food groups – whether it’s gluten, dairy, grains or meat.

Another piece urging balance, not necessarily this clean eating lifestyle business- it talks about gluten too, which has become another trend probably sparked by the benefit seen in those with celiac disease for whom it was a medical necessity.

Clean eating: the good, the bad and the unhelpful


I added this based on he number of food photos and hashtags I saw in 2016:

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Let's look at the other side then.

Can We Stop Condemning ‘Clean Eating’?

 I don't agree with that as a journalism tactic, but I'm not a journalist. I'm not asking about the Nakba or Holocaust and entertaining the morality of the other sides of an anti- genocide stance. For fun, let's see how the clean eating people are taking the pushback on their lifestyle choice.

This pushes back on clean eating bashing, you can take for what it is. The last paragraph flummoxed me. I value seeing the other side of an issue, so it was informative. The author even addressed the possible unhealthy direction the fad could take. In the last paragraph, though, she seems to completely buy into the harmful aspect of the lifestyle and encourages others to join her, like in religion. She latches onto the good vs evil unhealthy aspect she momentarily acknowledges in the second to last paragraph. Ugh.

"One can only hope that the British public won’t be deterred from making a nutritious green smoothie once in a while due to bad editing and lazy research."

Here's one about juicing! Shall we go there??

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Forced pregnancy and religious freedom

Over the course of a day last week, I saw this article about a 12 year old forced to carry her rapists' baby to term and a CPC was quoted, it was #ExposeFakeClinic (CPC) week as well, then I saw one about anti-abortionists violating the law to block the door to the only clinic in Kentucky. Either Trump's incompetence is opening the door for religious extremists to bring us closer to state religion or they're able to move us backwards regardless. Some say that after history is made - electing our first African American president - that it's normal to move backwards a bit before continuing forward as with desegregation, among other events. I hope, as the saying goes, that the arc bends toward justice, but it sure does look dismal sometimes.

Alabama lawyers say a 12-year-old rape victim shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion

From this article about the 12 year old girl:
"Mullins, the executive director of COPE Pregnancy Center in Montgomery, which provides counseling but not abortions, said that the girl likely had trouble deciding what clothes to wear to school, let alone determining whether or not an abortion was appropriate."

What is a CPC?

Keep in mind in this Alabama case- NO ACTUAL COUNSELING WAS INVOLVED- these CPCs peddle lies (abortions cause cancer!) and guilt and prey on women in general.

The girl can't decide what to wear to school, so yeah, the natural conclusion is she should be forced to carry her rapists' baby to term, causing more trauma and disrupting her schooling, thereby limiting her choices further! Brilliant! And by brilliant I mean you cruel lying manipulating authoritarian fundamentalist PsOS.

Your religious freedom allows YOU when you get raped to CHOOSE to carry your sweet precious reminder of that trauma to term, IT DOES NOT let you make that decision for others. That is outside of the bounds of your freedom; you are now infringing on someone else's. Like the misnamed Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Pence's home state and several others

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is Used to Discriminate. Let's Fix It.


Here are two more references for those CPCs if you want to know more- one's an older investigative piece and the other is a recent update:

King County's "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Can No Longer Say They're Health Clinics 7/20/2017

Exposing Fake Women’s Health Clinics: My Visit to a Local Crisis Pregnancy Center from 2009
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Seeing this last story made it a little harder to be optimistic about all the progress being made with regard to race, the glass ceiling, and marriage equality. There was a specific ruling made that you cannot block the door to clinics; women have to be able to walk in free of interference. A sea of people sat down in front as though they were protesting segregation or some real civil rights violation. Instead, they are angry they cannot yet control where you walk and what health decisions you make according to their religious preferences. It's not enough for them to freely practice their religion, they want the right to force you to make choices based on what they believe too.

Judge Says Protestors Can’t Block Door To Kentucky’s Last Abortion Clinic


And to top that week off, I'd forgotten to add this bit about a legislator trying to prevent doctors from even learning how to perform the procedure, so that even in an emergency, eventually there will be no one to help women. That is dangerous and irresponsible to even consider. Leave medicine to the doctors and women's heath decisions to them and their doctors.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Antisemitism or media bias?

Antisemitism or media bias?

No, I'm not asking this in general, so please don't take the gloves off yet. Relax. There has been a specific controversy lately and very little pushback on a large scale. There was an excellent discussion on this in the FB group for a podcast I love, Radio Dispatch, they considered the charge and as new facts were brought to light, people didn't double down on the original position or throw around baseless personal attacks, which was refreshing and productive.

NYT smear piece:

Another, rather worse, smear piece I became aware of through a supposedly liberal organization online:

Always a good resource, here's what Mondoweiss had to say on the whole thing:
Anti-Semitism accusations against ‘Dyke March’ prove pro-Israel lobby will torch LGBT rights for marginalized people

This TIME article is particularly bad because it is not only devoid of facts, but also makes wild baseless accusations. First, it asserts that Jews were denied expressing their intersection of religion and sexuality, which is false - others with stars of David on shirts, signs and flags were welcomed and not ejected. Which begs the question, what did these three individuals do differently?

Greenblatt of the ADL in the TIME piece pointed to these things as examples of intolerance

Last summer, a plank in the platform of the Movement for Black Lives bizarrely accused Israel of genocide.
Linda Sarsour, a leader of the women’s rights movement, has lambasted Zionism as incompatible with feminism and advocates for the exclusion of pro-Israel Jews from activist groups. And some in the anti-Israel movement have accused Israel of “pink-washing,” claiming that Israel and its supporters celebrate freedoms enjoyed by the LGBTQ community in Israel to divert attention from Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Genocide? Bizzare? It's a frequent consideration due to the indiscriminate use of deadly force and talk of "demographic threats." Here's one example of Holocaust survivors' concern for Israel's genocidal tendencies:

The TIME piece ends by saying they, the ADL,". . . demand that our allies observe those fundamental values that we also seek to live by: equality, fairness and respect for all."

This is a noble goal, but when you try and whitewash history and ignore Palestinian suffering at the hands of the oppressed turned oppressor, you are no longer heading in the general direction of these ideals; you're going the opposite direction.

Zionism is to many, by definition, a colonial and genocidal undertaking. Maybe we need to be asking what do YOU mean by Zionism? What do you mean by a Jewish homeland? The right simply to exist in peace with equal representation such that all peoples' rights are protected? Great! Or do you mean the right to exist as a Jewish entity protecting Jewish rights, thereby necessitating the ethnic cleansing of another group, namely Palestinians? The right to continue the Occupation until a (suitable to you) government emerges from the rubble of the starved open air prison you created? When a person objects to Zionism, you cannot charge antisemitism automatically.

A few notes and facts can be found in the links to the official statements of several groups below, facts which are missing in the TIME and NYT articles that only seem to quote one woman who was kicked out and no other witnesses or organizers or Palestinian groups that may have been involved to make this grand pronouncement of antisemitism. From what I gathered, one or all of the three ejected were members (one was a director, possibly?) of A Wider Bridge, a problematic organization in support of various IDF actions against Palestinians that go against the anti-colonial position of the March and violate human rights more broadly. They weren't just there as LGBTQ Jews, they were loudly anti-Palestinian and increasingly belligerent when asked to be respectful of the March's aims and others marching.

Chicago Dyke March Collective's statement:

JVP statement: If Not Now statement:

More on A Wider Bridge and why these individuals as opposed to other Jewish participants were asked to leave:

Among problems with A Wider Bridge are (from EI article above):

+ In 2016

+ "In 2014, A Wider Bridge sponsored rallies addressed by Israeli government officials in support of Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign that devastated the Gaza Strip and left 2,200 Palestinians – more than 550 of them children– dead."

 + And at the March-  "the altering of chants to erase the word “Palestine,”" among other things.

+ In general- "A key goal of Israel and its lobby groups in recent years has been to inoculate Israel against criticism by obscuring the line between anti-Jewish bigotry, on the one hand, and criticism of Israel and its state ideology Zionism, on the other."