Kim Kardashian talks Greta, politics, and prison

U.S. reality TV star Kim Kardashian said on Tuesday that she admired Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, whom she called a “brave and amazing young woman,” in an exclusive interview with Reuters.

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Kim Kardashian talks Greta, politics, and prison

U.S. reality TV star Kim Kardashian said on Tuesday that she admired Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, whom she called a “brave and amazing young woman,” in an exclusive interview with Reuters.

Reuters Video: Entertainment

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Episode 645 Scott Adams: Talking About Politics, AI, and Brain Hacking


  • Mexican military clashes with illegals at Mexico’s southern border
    • Does Mexico need a…WALL on their southern border?
    • Would it cost Mexico LESS in the long-run to build…a wall?
  • Democrat candidates review…how they’re doing, what to expect
  • If Biden drops out…
    • …who will absorb his African-American supporters?
  • James Mattis new book’s criticism of  President Trump
  • Lawrence O’Donnell’s report and retraction, Maddow’s reaction
  • Elon Musk, Jack Ma debate AI potential
  • Software developer pushback against the Simulation Theory
    • Creative people vs software developer mindsets
  • Is the universe old enough to justify the theory of evolution?
  • Computers will never have “souls”…people don’t have them either
  • Whiteboard Talk: Mental Hacks
    • ReProgramming your own brain
    • EASY personal preference modification

If you would like my channel to have a wider audience and higher production quality, please donate via my startup ( at this link: 

I use donations to pay for the daily conversions of the original Periscope videos into Youtube and podcast form, and to improve my production quality and search results over time. 

The post Episode 645 Scott Adams: Talking About Politics, AI, and Brain Hacking appeared first on Scott Adam's Blog.

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Before Paris Attack, the Bataclan Had Long History in Music and Politics

The 150-year-old Bataclan was the scene of concerts by Piaf, Chevalier and generations of hip-hop and rock artists, but also of protests against some political events held there.
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Roger Waters Puts Politics Aside to Perform With U.S. Vets

Roger Waters explains how a cocktail party ended up with him befriending several U.S. veterans and coming to terms with the loss of his father in WWII.
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Obama Gives Kanye West Some Advice About Getting Into Politics

President Barack Obama gave Kanye West some advice about getting elected on Saturday. 

The rapper recently announced he was running for president in 2020. Obama, alluding to the inability of House Republicans to find a new speaker, suggested Kanye could be a candidate for that position instead.

“You may have heard that Kanye is thinking about running for Speaker of the House. It couldn’t get any stranger,” Obama said at a fundraiser in San Francisco. He dispensed some tips ”in case Kanye is serious about this whole POTUS thing, or as Kanye calls it, ‘Peezy.'”

“Do you really think this country is going to elect a black guy from the south side of Chicago with a funny name to be president of the United States?” Obama said. “That’s cray.”

“Saying you have a beautiful dark twisted fantasy — that’s what’s known as ‘off message’ in politics,” he continued.

Obama also suggested that West’s appearances on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” might serve him well in politics.

“You got to deal with strange characters who behave as if they are on a reality TV show,” Obama said. 

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Senator Claire McCaskill Dishes on Sexism in Politics

Remember 2012? It was only three years ago the country was knee-deep in election season as President Obama sought a second term, Taylor Swift was rounding out her Kennedy phase, and the media got a…

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Trump Excels at Business, But He Has No Business in International Politics

Listening to Donald Trump’s egotistical take, you’d think his loud business personality translates perfectly into international politics. Mexico acting up? No matter; he’ll hop on the phone and curse Mexico out. China spiffing us in trade deals? Who cares! A solution is a phone call and an immature insult away. “Your country sucks, China!” Problem solved.

Except while that might work on TV, it would backfire in reality. As several commentators have already pointed out, Trump’s “refusal to act diplomatically [would be] catastrophic for the lead diplomat of the United States.” Diplomacy requires subtlety, tact and restraint — something everyone from Sun Tzu to Henry Kissinger agrees on. But screaming insults like a petulant toddler? That sort of behavior is best left on The Apprentice.

I’m not saying business experience has no place in politics. It obviously does. Outsiders bring valuable insights into the political process, and a more realistic representation of how business works — stressing restraint and negotiation over needless offense — translates extremely well into international diplomacy.

But Trump’s view of how his own bombastic business personality would play in the political realm is remarkably shortsighted. He speaks of countries as if they were individuals, and he acts like solutions to complex problems lie in three-word slogans. That pithy ideology might work for Trump’s personal life, but it would spell disaster if adopted by the president of the United States. In Trump’s worldview as presented thus far, one gets the impression that Israel-Palestine can be solved by a few stern phone calls and maybe a fancy steak dinner afterwards. If that fails, then bombs should do the trick. Yeah right.

Obviously, Trump’s oversimplification of international relations has appeal. Most people don’t have the background knowledge, the patience, or the time to truly consider the intricacies of, say, the development of ISIL. As Robert Greene writes in The 48 Laws of Power, short mantras have an intrinsic draw, a resonance that longer, more nuanced takes on things just don’t have. And that’s fine — for the average citizen. But the president of the United States, wielding a governmental branch clothed in immense executive power, should have a more thorough understanding of foreign policy.

He or she should understand that illegal immigration is not a problem the Mexican government alone can control, or that empirical evidence suggests undocumented immigrants actually commit less crime than native-born Americans. He or she should acknowledge that a disgusting phenomenon like ISIL has complex political, religious, and historical underpinnings that will not be, cannot be, dismantled by a few well-placed explosives — rhetorical or military. A responsible president should know that criticisms of China and Japan for manipulating currency should be restrained and qualified, to acknowledge (for example) Japan’s two decades of careful economic policy aimed at counteracting slumping fiscal performance. And so on.

Because in foreign policy, jabs aren’t taken lightly; and unlike in Trump’s business affairs, insulting a country ticks off a heck of a lot more people than the one person on the other side of the phone line.

Business isn’t simple; foreign policy isn’t either. If Trump wants to be taken seriously by the general electorate, he should demonstrate the nuanced understanding of foreign policy exemplified by candidates ranging from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton.

As things stand now, the world is far too dangerous and complex a place for Donald Trump to be at its helm, his hand hovering over the nuclear button, ready to shout “you’re fired!” at anyone who ticks him off.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Ivanka Trump Discusses Fashion and Business — But No Politics, Please

With an expanding signature collection of her own, an executive role at the Trump Organization and a father who’s poking the political hornet’s nest with his decidedly non-PC style, it’s safe to say Ivanka Trump has a lot going on.
Accustomed to operating in overdrive, the Wharton grad is now suiting up 3,500 Trump Hotel staffers in uniforms she designed. Trump handles design and the creative vision for the company’s nine existing properties and four yet-to-be-opened ones in Baku, Azerbaijan; Rio de Janeiro; Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. She also serves as executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization. With two young children and an equally ambitious husband in Jared Kushner, the self-described “American wife, mother and entrepreneur” may represent a different sort of bold-faced paradigm in the fashion business. While that alone is something of a feat, it is not a moniker the former model acknowledged in any way during an interview last week.
Speaking about her new uniform designs, Trump very much stayed on message. While she has cheered on her father Donald’s take-no-prisoners presidential bid to her nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers and 582,000 more on Instagram, she wasn’t about to engage on political matters. “I

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ABC’s ‘The Muppets’ Will Feature Music, But Not Politics

Executive producers Bill Prady and Bob Kushell were joined by Kermit and Miss Piggy for a lively TCA panel Tuesday.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Can “The Donald,” Trump Politics as Usual?

(Photo: Associated Press)

The general public is disgusted with politicians and has been seeking an alternative to politics as usual, yet sadly, the only substitution available seems to be Donald Trump. I was discussing this with my friend Jim at our weekly lunch, where we always talk about life’s vagaries along with a large slice of politics for dessert.

Jim called Trump an uncontrollable, egotistical bigmouth, and suggested that Trump is succeeding due to the shortcomings of all the other candidates from both parties. I have paraphrased his rant by removing the obscenities, yet it still represents a bipartisan anger felt by many of us:

Trump understands how to communicate and despite being an ocean wide and an inch deep he continues to make an impact. Why? Our manufacturing is dying; our infrastructure is that of a Third World country, yet our republican politicians are focused on Planned Parenthood as a major issue while democrats assuage their base by fixating on climate change. Candidates from both parties are selling out their country – for the sole benefit of pandering to party extremists. They’re not looking at the big picture and certainly not living up to their obligation as elected officials and Americans.

Americans are an apathetic bunch and often protest against something by simply ignoring it. I am a Democrat, but I am also a fiscal conservative. As a journalist I frequently speak with people on the street about taxes and ask if they believe the government uses those dollars effectively and the answer is always a resounding “no!,” yet they – other than the tea party’s ineffective histrionics – do nothing about it.

Enter Donald Trump, which given the country’s apathy is all we deserve.

However, Trump’s interaction with the public is unlike any politician of late. When he meets people on the campaign trail they call him Donald and he interacts with them for sustained periods of time where he speaks at length rather than in sound bites. Trump is also remarkably accessible to the press. He has what my grandfather called “the common touch.” Despite being a wealthy patrician with a cigarette holder, FDR had it as well. So did JFK. This is gift that can’t be taught or learned and should not be taken lightly and is another reason Trump has garnered a surprising 25 percent of voter support. Trump may be a sideshow act, but our politicians (both sitting and running) are highly flawed as well, and there are lessons they can learn from him. Many of Trump’s biggest critics concede that he may perform well in Thursday’s debate.

Everyone has been waiting for Trump to disappear or flame out, but it hasn’t happened yet. However, he still hasn’t explained how he will bring back jobs from China or actually build a wall at our borders. Logical answers are not often important to some voters, so if support for Trump somehow continues and he chooses to run as a third party candidate, that could seriously bolster Hillary Clinton’s political future. Finally, I find it hard to believe Trump has any interest in helping anyone other than himself and once he’s fulfilled his current brand promotion, his foray into politics will be finished.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Lena Dunham Is Launching a Newsletter on Feminism, Friendship, Style, Politics, and “Everything Else”

lena dunham

Starting this fall, Lena Dunham will be addressing your most pressing, embarrassing, and confounding issues in her forthcoming newsletter, Lenny. Dunham is partnering up with Girls producer Jenni Konner—Lenny is a mashup of both of their names—for this new editorial project. Dunham recognized a need for a forum for young women while on tour for her book, Not That Kind of Girl. Sensing a desire for more content addressed to 19- to 34-year-olds, Dunham enlisted former Slate and Jezebel editor Jessica Grose to head the project. As of now, the stand-in site for Lenny promises the future newsletter will cover “feminism, style, health, politics, friendship, and everything else.” We’ll have to wait until the fall to find out whether this will be this generation’s more accessible answer to Goop. In the meantime, watch Konner and Dunham’s cute introductory Instagram video for Lenny below.

The post Lena Dunham Is Launching a Newsletter on Feminism, Friendship, Style, Politics, and “Everything Else” appeared first on Vogue.

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Vikings – New Politics

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New Politics

Genre: Alternative

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Expected Release Date: August 14, 2015

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The Politics of LGBTQ People: Caitlyn Jenner and Class Differences

Should LGBTQ people automatically get along with each other because they are designated as a minority group that has endured decades of oppression and stigmatization? It was exactly a year ago that I decided to pen an article exploring the LGBTQ acronym and why we remain divided when that will only lead to failures in achieving civil rights. And what do you know, last week a preponderance of negativity arose out of Caitlyn Jenner’s posing for Vanity Fair magazine since her conservative politics are disconnected with the presumed LGBTQ’s population’s liberal politics. But let’s delve a little deeper into the situation because what is dividing us aside from various values and ends is class differences. I said it, it is a fight over class, and let me explain how.

Caitlyn Jenner is a white, able-bodied, wealthy celebrity, former athlete, who has decided at the ripe age of 65 to transition from a male to female. According to the comments that have circulated in social media since earlier last week, Caitlyn was formerly embraced by the LGBTQ population for taking this huge step in her life — but when LGBTQ people shed light on the real Caitlyn regarding her conservative politics, we all changed our opinions to abandon her without reservation. Should we ignore her now that we understand what her predominate political views are, or should we give her a chance to see if those views will change over time as a transgendered person? Of course, we should not forget that Caitlyn has a planned show to air soon, so we have to remember what possibly underlies the agenda here: likely, making money!

Turning the conversation back to class, LGBTQ organizations have only hired leaders who are invested in white, privileged, able-bodied, patriarchal politics. Boards of these organizations are privileged and do not have an interest in those in the lower and middle classes who likely have intersecting minority identities. We have witnessed this struggle since the beginning of the LGBTQ movements, in HIV/AIDS activism, among other social movements that have occurred in American history.

I am a working-class man who came from poverty: thinking about class differences will always be part and parcel with anything I do in life. As such, I have felt, noticed, and experienced firsthand accounts of privileged, white, gay men who are oblivious and disinterested in the values of marginalized groups within the LGBTQ population. When I made attempts to discuss why this ignorance occurs, I have been objectified and silenced. The bigger question is why does class not enter the dialogue when so many of us are not privileged? It has been written about extensively that class is an invisible force within our capitalist economy where the hypothesis is the individual can dictate and control the outcomes through their autonomy and self-determination. This is conservative bullshit politics to keep the disempowered enslaved, reinforcing the myth of making ends meet in a deregulated economy that only privileges the one percent. And with this trend of lasting deregulation is the consequence of the 99 percent being in huge debt and barely surviving.

So, what happens to the multiply marginalized LGBTQ people if they cannot fight for their values to be part of the LGBTQ agenda? Common sense would tell you that their voices go unrecognized and the privileged LGBTQ class continues to dictate the how, what, who, why, when, where. Caitlyn Jenner, although a role model in demonstrating self-acceptance, has used all of her one percent status to get surgery, in order to boost her ego and public image. Tell me who has 100 million dollars net worth like Jenner to transition successfully, when I have met personally a number of poor, working and middle-class transgendered people who have endured psychological turmoil before, during, and after the transition process. The transition has taken years, mainly unsuccessful, some even remain with original plumbing, some with scars from bad cosmetic surgery, and some feeling regret from not having the backing of family, friends, and a career to support them. Can we compare the lives of the former and latter? Once again, class is the divide here.

Let’s remember the class politics with Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, both wealthy, Jewish, gay men, who own a number of gay venues and properties and deny that they provided presidential campaign funds for conservative Ted Cruz after, including hosting a party at the hotel they own, The Out Hotel. I am not looking to attack them for their contributions even if I contentiously disagree with them for supporting Cruz, but class is the dividing difference here where the values and allegiance of rich, wealthy LGBTQ are with corporation, for-profit, and deregulated environments. Sexuality in this occurrence obviously sits much further down on the hierarchy of needs (maybe does not make it on the list?) and earning more money despite being millionaires is the top priority.

My recommendation, I reiterate as in the past, is for the 99 percent of LGBTQ population to forget settling our differences with the 1 percent; instead, we are the majority voice and need to exercise that right regularly. Our voices, stories, identities, beliefs, and values deserve the front page of news articles, in social media, in interviews, in books — everywhere! I am not asking for revolution to effect change, but for the acknowledgement that class plays a significant role within LGBTQ politics. And with this acknowledgement will develop a public consciousness in the LGBTQ population on how to level the playing field.

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Meet The HDP, The Pro-Gay, Pro-Women Kurdish Party Shaking Up Turkey’s Politics

Turkey held parliamentary elections on Sunday in a vote that saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party lose its single-party majority after over a decade in power.

As support for the AKP waned among voters, a progressive new pro-Kurdish party helmed by a charismatic young leader made surprising gains. The Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, is one of the biggest stories to emerge from the election, and it represents a new power player in Turkish politics.

The HDP garnered about 13 percent of the vote in Sunday’s polls, overcoming Turkey’s high barrier to enter the national parliament, where parties must carry at least 10 percent of the electorate in order to join the chamber. This will be the HDP’s debut in Turkey’s parliament, and it will mark the first time in Turkish history that an overtly Kurdish party has made it in. Its 80 seats put it in a position to block Erdogan’s efforts to consolidate power for himself, potentially stopping the ruling AKP from achieving the majority it would need to pass legislation endowing the president with more influence.

Headquartered in the southern city of Diyarbakir, the HDP formed in 2012 from a collection of smaller pro-Kurdish political groups. Due to Turkey’s electoral rules, it had previously run its candidates as independents in order to skirt around the 10 percent threshold for parliament, but increased popularity and a wider base of support led to a unified run this time around.

The party as it stands now is not solely a pro-Kurdish party, but one that incorporates a variety of liberal interest groups that have helped it break into government.

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), celebrates following a news conference in Istanbul, late Sunday, June 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

It’s impossible to discuss the HDP’s surge without also bringing up its celebrated co-chair, Selahattin Demirtas. Born in southern Turkey, Demirtas, 42, is Kurdish and was a human rights lawyer before entering politics. His family-friendly appearance, youthful looks and exciting rhetoric have won him significant support.

Demirtas came in third in Turkey’s presidential election last year, and he’s been nicknamed the “Kurdish Obama” by his fans. The young politician’s rising clout has not gone unnoticed by Erdogan, who called Demirtas a “pop star” and a “pretty boy” in the lead-up to Sunday’s vote.

While the HDP has its base of constituents in Turkey’s minority Kurdish population, which makes up about 20 percent of the country, Demirtas has broadened the party’s appeal. Under his lead, the HDP has reached out to a variety of minority groups excluded by the socially conservative AKP, such as environmentalists, LGBT rights activists and secular Turks.

These groups were the target of vitriol from Erdogan, who has attempted to rile up his conservative base with derisive talk of “the Armenian lobby and gays,” notes Reuters.

The HDP has also provided a political platform for women’s rights groups, and has signaled a commitment to gender equality. The party is led by female and male co-chairs — Figen Yüksekdağ and Demirtas, respectively — and the party charges female candidates half what it does men to run for office. Creating a ministry of women is also among its promises, reports The Guardian.

Around 40 percent of the HDP’s newly elected members of parliament are women — a remarkably large share in comparison to the parliament as a whole, where women hold only 17 percent of the seats.

Young supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) hold Kurdish flags as they celebrate the results of the legislative election in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on June 7, 2015. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Analysts say that by shifting its focus from Kurdish nationalism to a more inclusive platform, and campaigning on issues of minimum wage and anti-corruption, the HDP has garnered a hugely favorable impression with the Turkish electorate. A poll conducted by the party found that the percentage of voters who would “never” select HDP on a ballot went from 85 percent in August 2014 to just 15 percent in March of this year, according to The Washington Post.

Kurdish issues are still a central part of the HDP’s platform, however, and on Sunday Demirtas stated his commitment to reviving stalled peace talks. Conflict between the Turkish government and the left-wing Kurdish militant group PKK killed more than 40,000 people between 1984 and 2013, until a ceasefire was reached.

Demirtas has said that many of his friends died in the conflict, and as a youth he even attempted to join the PKK himself, reports The Wall Street Journal. Now he says he wants to bring political change through peaceful means, and to alleviate the conditions that push young people toward militant groups in the first place.

Turkey currently faces an uncertain political situation after its election, with the AKP needing to form a coalition yet unlikely to find willing partners. The HDP has ruled out joining the AKP in coalition, Reuters reports. This could mean another election that would send voters back to the polls — and force the HDP to prove that its first-time success wasn’t just beginner’s luck.

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Russian designers bring politics to catwalk

Russian fashion designers present their new political-minded collections on a Moscow catwalk. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

Reuters Video: Entertainment

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Politics as Performance: From Obama’s Luther to Huckabee’s Christ

Listen to this companion podcast on SiriusXM POTUS 124.

As the White House Correspondents’ Dinner reliably demonstrates, performance is the new politics. By tapping comedy, drama and other forms of storytelling influencers can access strategies they’d normally never employ.

Consider the recent dinnertime plays that Barack Obama’s ran, all to set the record straight on his presidency, set traps for any GOP successor, and put journalists in their places.  Whether delivered directly or through Luther, Obama’s brilliant comedian-proxy, Keegan-Michael Key, the president did more agenda-setting in one evening than a dozen serious-minded sit-downs.  Here are some examples:

“Six years into my presidency some people still say I’m arrogant, aloof, condescending. Some people are so dumb.”  His play was a counter-intuitive Lantern, the strategy that volunteers a player’s shortcomings and one he’s loath to run in more serious settings.

“Soon, the first presidential contest will take place, and I for one cannot wait to see who the Koch brothers pick. It’s exciting.” His line was delivered as a kidding Ping, but it had all the power of a caustic Call Out on the Kochs’ use of new election laws.

Obama: “We count on the press to shed light on the most important issues of the day.”  Luther: “And we can count on FOX to terrify old white people with some nonsense!”  This was another masked Call Out, made possible by the venue and the expectation for barbs.  But more than the play, its genius was in the proxy who fired shots for Obama.

This is to say that in the Plays for the Presidency 2016, those who seek the oval office will be naturally advantaged if their politics are rooted in performance.  Of this week’s newly-announced candidates, one got it, two didn’t.

When the former Republican Carly Florina sniped in her dour video announcement, “Our founders never envisioned a professional political class,” we were informed of the former tech CEO’s opinion on the Clintons but cooled to Carly personally.

Contrast this to the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who declared from his Hope, Ark., perch, “I grew up blue-collar, not blue-blood.” We are informed on the pastor-politician’s opinion of Bill and Hillary, but the tone is self-effacing, and it dovetails with the Huckabee slogan, I like Mike.

Fiorina’s might as well be, I hate Hillary.

Here’s more from Huckabee this week, each quote having the impact of a Call Out on progressives but presenting as a more noble Challenge to conservatives.  Note, too, his shrewd use of the framing play we call a Screen, all to invoke the all-American staples of Western genre movies and a Christian God:

“I wonder if [Obama] could watch a Western from the 50s and be able to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys really are. As president…we will deal with jihadis just as we would deal with deadly snakes.”

“As Americans, we ought to get onto our knees every night and thank God we still live in a country that people are trying to break into rather than one they’re trying to break out of.”

The other declared candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, was no better than Fiorina.  Like Clinton, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Sanders, Walker, Webb and others, Carson’s announcement was an oddly wonky monologue, enabled by framing strategies to invoke the likes of Lincoln and MLK and neatly side-step obvious questions of the good doctor’s qualifications.

Campaigning is serious business. So is the strategy that directs it.  But what was once straight-faced talking points on civics and citizenship is quickly morphing into soaring sermons where dramatics, and particularly comedy, are thriving and where the better actors are sure to hold our attention.

Video image credits: C-SPAN

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Locker Room Frenzy Returns – Planet Fitness, Zoey Tur and the Politics of False Movement Messiahs

Once again the media has catapulted a new and clueless, recently transitioned celebrity into national attention, allowing her, in her profound ignorance of trans history, politics, law and medicine, to provide aid and comfort at a time when many lives are still at risk. Great progress on civil rights continues to be made, which is why we see yet another trans celebrity providing analysis, but why is someone’s inexperience and utter lack of credentials so blatantly ignored by those who give out these platforms? And why is Zoey Tur, recently known as “Chopper Bob,” so resistant to learning enough to get the facts straight?

This past Sunday a story broke from Michigan touching on the favorite target in the battle for trans rights — locker rooms and the associated bathrooms, washrooms, and changing areas. This is not new — there was a staged incursion into the women’s locker room in a sports club in Montgomery County, Maryland, by a right-wing zealot in a frumpy dress back in 2008 — nor is it unusual to be the flashpoint in all our civil rights battles. From the African-American experience to the Equal Rights Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act, then to gay and now trans rights, fear-mongering reaches a crescendo when semiprivate public accommodations are targeted to make a case against extending civil rights.

Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan, is a “Judgment Free Zone,” created not specifically for trans men and women but to foster an environment where everyone can feel comfortable. After all, many who attend gyms do so because they’re uncomfortable with their bodies and would rather not be subject to shaming while working out. Apparently most of the business’ members understand this, and act accordingly. One woman, however, Yvette Cormier, complained about a trans woman, Carlotta Sklodowska, and when asked to back away from her complaints because of the gym’s policies, persisted in making a fuss with the members and was finally asked to leave. Cormier’s membership was revoked because it was she who was exhibiting the behavior that was “inappropriate and disruptive” to members who had the right to expect a “non-intimidating and welcoming environment.”

Sklodowska apparently didn’t even use one of the “private lockable changing rooms,” so this wasn’t an issue of indecent exposure, the thought of which leaves conservatives quaking in fear. It was simply a cisgender woman being uncomfortable in the presence of a trans woman — as she said, “I was stunned and shocked. He looked like a man. He did not look like a woman.” No inappropriate behavior, action, or even words — she just didn’t like the way another woman looked.

Sklodowska could have been a lesbian, or even a masculine-appearing straight, cisgender woman. Cormier was simply uncomfortable with her appearance, and fundamentally, her existence, and demanded, in a disruptive manner, that her wishes be prioritized over the policy of the business. The Tea Party News Network, which generally loves its business people, was not happy with Planet Fitness’ policy.

What we have here is a trans woman, living full-time as a woman, apparently without affirming ID but accepted, nevertheless, by the management at the gym. Not an uncommon situation, and in my experience all trans women in similar situations have behaved impeccably, wherever they are on the transition spectrum. Trans women (and men) are encouraged to get their documents changed as soon as feasible, or carry a letter from a mental health profession, to prove who they are should a problem arise. When challenged, a trans person may be asked to vacate sex-segregated premises if they do not have adequate identification, which is as it should be. Few such incidents occur, and while the law varies among jurisdictions where it protects trans persons, it often requires trans persons to be “persistent and consistent” in their presentation. Gender identity laws are not supposed to be used by people out on a lark, or crossdressers and drag queens out on the town for a night of fun. Those situations should not be problematic, but the laws are clear.

Yet in this circumstance the situation spiraled out of control. It became about bathrooms, which were never an issue in this instance, and degenerated into the common “no one should be allowed into a locker room based on how they feel that day” meme. Maybe Cormier, in her ignorance about trans lives, was understandably uncomfortable. But she made no effort to alleviate that discomfort, instead choosing to be disruptive — again, this is behavior, not identity — going so far as to play the conservative victim by saying, “They’re [Planet Fitness] judging you for complaining about it.” And she certainly made no effort to show concern for the discomfort of the trans woman. It was the trans woman who was the victim in this threatening situation, as is the case when these confrontations arise (fortunately infrequently) elsewhere.

Nor was any effort at understanding made by the extremist state representative, Gary Glenn, who attacked Planet Fitness as being “anti-woman” and “anti-reality.” The Family Research Council weighed in about madness and insanity, even libeling the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy in the process.

This is all to be expected. For the extreme religious right, attacking trans women (note, never trans men) in semi-private facilities is a gimme, with a long history of success in the United States. Where this really went off the rails was when a former helicopter traffic pilot, now out trans reporter, decided to play doctor and movement leader. Less than a year after completing gender transition, Zoey Tur, the woman who stated during the tabloid frenzy about Bruce Jenner that estrogen can change sexual orientation and that women after genital reconstruction will “probably be going to transition to have sex with the opposite sex,” spoke with arrogance, ignorance and contempt for trans women in general. She said,

People have a right to be concerned and I believe there should be private areas. The person at the center of this controversy, the transgender person — and that’s really the problem, your definition of transgender — is a transvestite, a crossdresser, a male that has a sexual fetish dressing as a female.

She did her “research” — discovering that Sklodowska was into BDSM and, as a result, diagnosed her as a “transvestite,” a term rarely used even by anti-trans psychiatrists. She completely misspoke about Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which doesn’t cover sex discrimination in public accommodations and therefore doesn’t compel Planet Fitness to admit anyone. She smirked and rolled her eyes when discussing the potential criminal act that would occur if a crossdressed man — in this case, Sklodowska — snuck into the women’s locker room for voyeuristic purposes, even though there are no recorded instances of such behavior.

Tur is not a movement leader. She has never advocated for any legislation or demonstrated against any reactionary social or political behavior. She knows nothing of sexual biology or medicine. She’s not aware of how our civil rights laws are written, and most remarkably she shows no practical sense about how these laws could possibly be enforced. She privileges women whom she calls “transsexuals,” who’ve had genital surgery, over those who haven’t, and speaks as if genital anatomy is going to be checked by a gender police. Most strikingly, she is the latest trans celebrity who, by virtue of having recently undergone transition, believes that the experience makes her expert on all things trans.

She certainly can relate her experience of being trans and undergoing transition, just as anyone else can, and she may very well be qualified to be an expert on helicopter mechanics or the dynamics of chasing down OJ Simpson. Unfortunately, instead of sitting back, absorbing and learning about the community, she pontificates on issues of which she is ignorant, putting all trans women at risk. The sad part of this is, even after hours of speaking with accomplished trans activists, she seems not to care in the least. But even worse is that the media buys into the celebrity it has created, being oblivious to the way it empowers the ignorant, and furthers the spread of falsehoods and misunderstandings that threaten women who struggle just to get on with their lives every day.
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