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Alt Right: A Primer on the New White Supremacy

The Alt Right

Origins of the term

White supremacistRichard Spencer, who is President and Creative Director at the National Policy Institute, a tiny white supremacist organization, coined the term alternative right in August 2008 in an article in Takis Magazine, a far-right publication.

At the time, Spencer was using alternative right to refer to people on the right who distinguished themselves from traditional conservatives by opposing, among other things, egalitarianism, multiculturalism and open immigration. That same year, Paul Gottfried, a Jewish paleo-conservative, employed the term alternative right when he gave a speech entitled, The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right, at the H.L. Mencken Clubs Annual Meeting in November 2008. For this reason, some sources credit Gottfried with originating the term.

Spencer further popularized the term when he chose Alternative Right as the name for an online publication that debuted in 2010. Spencer shut the website down in 2013, but it was soon re-launched by Colin Liddell and Andy Nowicki, former writers forAlternative Right. Spencer went on to found another journal,Radix. BothAlternative Right (rebranded as Affirmative Right)andRadixare forums for racists, anti-Semites and others who identify with the alt right.

What is the ideology of the alt right?

Alt right adherents identify with a range of different ideologies, all of which center on white identity. Many claim to be Identitarians, a term that originated in France with the founding of theBloc Identitairemovement and its youth counterpart,Generation Identitaire. Identitarians espouse racism and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of their respective counties. American Identitarians, including Richard Spencer, claim to want to preserve European-American (i.e., white) culture in the U.S.

As Michael McGregor, a writer and editor forRadix,wrote in February 2015, Identitarians want the preservation of our identity--the cultural and genetic heritage that makes us who we are. Identitarians reject multiculturalism or pluralism in any form.

Others in the alt right identify as so-called radical traditionalists, people who want to preserve what they claim are traditional Christian values but from a uniquely white supremacist perspective. Some inthe alt right identify as white nationalists who want to preserve the white majority in the U.S., claiming that whites losing their majority status is equivalent to white genocide. They issue mendacious propaganda on subjects like immigration and black crime as evidence of whites imperiled status.

Another segment of the alt right refers to themselves as neo-reactionaries (those who reject liberal democracy and ideas associated with the Enlightenment. Some neo-reactionaries refer to their theories as the Dark Enlightenment.) Others call themselves race realists or alternately HBD advocates, a reference to human biodiversity (a belief that ones race governs traits such as behavior and intelligencewith non-whites being inferior to whites). However they define themselves, alt righters reject egalitarianism, democracy, universalism and multiculturalism.

Many alt righters are also blatantly antisemitic and blame Jews for allegedly promoting anti-white policies such as immigration and diversity.

In 2015, alt righters began disparaging members of the conservative movement with the derogatory termcuckservative, a combination of conservative and cuckold, that is used by white supremacists to describe a white conservative who putatively promotes the interests of Jews and non-whites over those of whites. The alt right also refers disparagingly to the mainstream conservative movement as Conservatism, Inc. or Conservative, Inc., in an effort to highlight its associations with wealthy donors (whom the white supremacists dismiss as pro-immigration globalists whose policies undermine white nationalism in America).

Who makes up the alt right?

The alt right is an extremely loose movement, made up of different strands of people connected to white supremacy. One body of adherents is the ostensibly intellectual racists who create many of the doctrines and principles of the white supremacist movement. They seek to attract young educated whites to the movement by highlighting the achievements and alleged intellectual and cultural superiority of whites. They run a number of small white supremacist enterprises, including organizations, online publications and publishing houses. These includeNational Policy Institute, run by Richard Spencer; Counter Currents Publishing, run by Greg Johnson; American Renaissance, run byJared Taylor; and The Right Stuff, a website that features numerous podcasts with a number of contributors.

Alt righters use terms like culture as substitutes for more divisive terms such as race, and promote Western Civilization as a code word for white culture or identity. They tend to avoid explicit white supremacist references like the14 words,a slogan used by neo-Nazis and other hardcore white supremacists. While alt righters share the sentiment behind the 14 words theyre more inclined to talk about preserving European-American identity.

The Groypers are the latest alt right group to grab media attention. This loose network of alt right figures want to normalize their racist and antisemitic views, and are undertaking an organized effort to publicly lambast mainstream conservative organizations like Turning Point USA (TPUSA) for failing to promote an America First agenda and for not being adequately pro white.

The subculture of the alt right

The alt right also has its own subculture and language and both tend to attract young, white men. Many of these young men are active in the Chan world, including 4Chan, 8Chan (now defunct) and Reddit. These message boards, where most people post anonymously, are a key source of internet memes and trolling efforts, which often target women and minorities. For example, it is common to find memes that belittle the Holocaust and depict well-known Jewish figures, among others, being gassed. The memes creators hold that bigoted humor and irony help attract new followers to the alt right.

Another aspect of the alt right subculture is its connection to the online world of misogyny known broadly as the manosphere. Men in this movement believe they are being stripped of power by women and pro-feminist social structures. They also are hostile to women on a personal level, with some believing that women are objects to be possessed and used for sexual gratification, while others resent women for their own inability to attract them or to form meaningful relationships with them.

One incident that preceded the advent of the alt right but anticipated its misogyny was Gamergate. In 2014, males in the gaming community expressed hostility and resentment toward certain female gamers and attacked and threatened them online. This pushed a number of women to leave that community. Gamergate showed alt right adherents the effectiveness of online harassment campaigns against their perceived enemies.

Alt right vs. alt lite

In 2015 and 2016, a number of people who considered themselves part of the alt right were not white supremacists, but held certain views that aligned with white supremacist ideology: they were anti-immigrant, anti-globalism, anti-feminism and believed that the left and/or liberals are actively working to destroy American culture.

These people became known as the alt lite. In late 2016, the alt right and alt lite definitively split when people associated with the alt lite, including Mike Cernovich and Lucien Wintrich, began to distance themselves from the negative publicity surrounding the alt rights white supremacist views. The split became very clear after Richard Spencer and some of his followers were caught on video giving Nazi salutes during a National Policy Institute conference shortly after the 2016 election.

The Charlottesville Backlash

The 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a peak moment for the alt right. The event brought together between 500 and 600 white supremacists, including Klan members, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads. A torchlit rally the night before the event was attended largely by alt right adherents, and the next days gathering was the largest public white supremacist event in decades.

The alt rights moment of triumph was cut short, however, when a white supremacist named James Fields used his car to murder counter-protester Heather Heyer, and wound many others.

The repercussions were immediate for the alt right, and for the larger white supremacist community. Scores of them were doxxedtheir real identities exposed and as a result, some were fired from their jobs, had to leave their universities, or were rejected by their families or romantic partners. Many white supremacists social media accounts and websites were taken off line and some were kicked off popular crowdfunding websites, eliminating a key income source.

More than two years after Charlottesville, efforts to deplatform white supremacists continue, even as many have migrated to newer, less-scrutinized platforms like Discord and Telegram.

Alt right groups have also turned away from large rallies and have focused on distributing white supremacist propaganda, particularly on college campuses, and holding small flash demonstrations and private events.

In addition to criminal cases, Unite the Right organizers, including alt right leaders, have been dogged by civil lawsuits at both the state and federal levels, and are accused of conspiring to plan the rally and promote violence in Charlottesville.

Lawsuits are not the only irritant affecting white supremacists since Unite the Right. In July 2018, Richard Spencer was refused entry into Europe while en route to Sweden to speak at an alt right conference. Jared Taylor was banned from Europe in March 2019 and Greg Johnson was deported from Norway in May 2019.

Meanwhile, alt right leader Spencer, who helped spearhead the events in Charlottesville, has become increasingly unpopular in the alt right due in part to the perception that he failed to capitalize on the energy generated by Unite the Right.

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Alt Right: A Primer on the New White Supremacy

Alt-right | Definition of Alt-right by Merriam-Webster

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variants: or less commonly alt right

: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism Welcome to the alt-right. The label blends together straight-up white supremacists, nationalists who think conservatives have sold out to globalization, and nativists who fear immigration will spur civil disarray. Dylan Matthews Rather than concede the moral high ground to the left, the alt right turns the left's moralism on its head and makes it a badge of honor to be called "racist," "homophobic," and "sexist." Benjamin Welton Regardless of who triumphs at the ballot box, the biggest winner of this presidential election may be the alt-right: a sprawling coalition of reactionary conservatives who have lobbied to make the United States more "traditional," more "populist" and more white. Jonathon Morgan often used before another nounan alt-right manifestoSecularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it's also making America's partisan clashes more brutal. And it has contributed to the rise of the so-called alt-right movement, whose members see themselves as proponents of white nationalism. Peter Beinart

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Alt-right | Definition of Alt-right by Merriam-Webster

What You Need To Know About The Alt-Right Movement : NPR

Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos, a self-proclaimed leader of the movement, co-wrote a manifesto of sorts about what the alt-right believes. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos, a self-proclaimed leader of the movement, co-wrote a manifesto of sorts about what the alt-right believes.

The presidential candidates this week accused one another of racism and bigotry, with Hillary Clinton arguing that Donald Trump's rhetoric and policies are an invitation to the "alt-right" movement.

"This is not conservatism as we have known it," the Democratic nominee said on Thursday during a speech in Reno, Nev. "This is not Republicanism as we have known it. These are racist ideas. These are race-baiting ideas. Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women ideas all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the 'alt-right.'"

So what, exactly, is the "alt-right"?

The views of the alt-right are widely seen as anti-Semitic and white supremacist.

It is mostly an online movement that uses websites, chat boards, social media and memes to spread its message. (Remember the Star of David image that Trump received criticism for retweeting? That reportedly first appeared on an alt-right message board.)

Most of its members are young white men who see themselves first and foremost as champions of their own demographic. However, apart from their allegiance to their "tribe," as they call it, their greatest points of unity lie in what they are against: multiculturalism, immigration, feminism and, above all, political correctness.

"They see political correctness really as the greatest threat to their liberty," Nicole Hemmer, University of Virginia professor and author of a forthcoming book Messengers of the Right, explained on Morning Edition.

"So, they believe saying racist or anti-Semitic things it's is not an act of hate, but an act of freedom," she said.

For that reason, as well as for fun and notoriety, alt-righters like to troll, prank and provoke.

One of their favorite slams is to label someone a "cukservative," loosely translated by the Daily Caller as a cuckolded conservative, or "race traitor" who has surrendered his masculinity.

How does the alt-right movement differ from what we think of as traditional conservatism?

The movement's origins are traced to many conservatives' opposition to the policies of President George W. Bush, especially the U.S. invasion of Iraq (alt-righters are strictly isolationist).

They are also suspicious of free markets, a key tenet of conservatism, as they believe that business interests can often be in conflict with what they view as higher ideals those of cultural preservation and homogeneity.

Two self-proclaimed leaders of the alt-right movement Breitbart's Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos recently outlined a manifesto of sorts for what the group believes and who their allies are and are not. It claimed that "beltway conservatives" hate alt-right adherents even more "than Democrats or loopy progressives."

They see themselves, rather, as "natural conservatives," with an "instinctive wariness of the foreign and the unfamiliar," Bokhari and Yiannopoulos wrote.

What is Trump's connection to the alt-right?

Last week, the GOP presidential nominee announced that Stephen Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News Network, which Bannon has called "the platform for the alt-right," would be his campaign's new chief executive.

"By putting Brietbart front and center in his campaign," said Hemmer, "Trump has elevated the alt-right."

But Hemmer suspects that Trump and all but a small fraction of his supporters do not pledge allegiance to the alt-right movement.

Yet, the movement has embraced Trump.

"I think they are attracted to Trump [and] see him as a vessel for getting their ideas out there," Hemmer said.

Clinton is likely to continue drawing a link between Trump and the alt-right in the minds of voters.

"She's reminding those undecided voters that whatever the new moderate face of Donald Trump might be, there are the things he has said and here are the implications of the things he said and the people who he's brought into his campaign," Hemmer said.

How do alt-right leaders feel about Clinton's statements?

They seem to be loving the attention. As Michelle Goldberg wrote in Slate:

"The white nationalist Richard Spencer was on vacation in Japan when he learned that Hillary Clinton was planning to give a speech about Donald Trump's ties to the so-called alt right, and he was thrilled. 'It's hugely significant,' Spencer told me by Skype from Kyoto. 'When a presidential candidate and indeed the presidential candidate who is leading in most polls talks about your movement directly, I think you can safely say that you've made it.' "

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What You Need To Know About The Alt-Right Movement : NPR

Four Years Embedded With the Alt-Right – The Atlantic

The result is The Atlantics first-ever feature-length documentary, White Noise, which focuses on the lives of three far-right figures: Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theorist and a sex blogger turned media entrepreneur; Lauren Southern, an anti-feminist, anti-immigration YouTube star; and Richard Spencer, a white-power ideologue.

J.M. Berger: Trump is the glue that binds the alt-right

Progressives like to believe that racism is an opiate of the ignorant. But the alt-rights leaders are educated and wealthy, groomed at some of Americas most prestigious institutions. The more time I spent documenting the movement, the more ubiquitous I realized it was. I bumped into one subject dancing in Bushwick with his Asian girlfriend, and another walking around DuPont Circle hitting a vape. Their racism is woven into the fabric of New York, Washington, D.C., and Paris, just as much as Birmingham, Alabama, or Little Rock, Arkansas.

During a visit to Richard Spencers apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, I began to understand how the alt-right works. Evan McLaren, a lawyer, wrote master plans on a whiteboard. A band of college kids poured whiskey for Spencer, adjusted his gold-framed Napoleon painting, and discussed the coming Identitarian revolution. Spencer offered a sense of historical purpose to his bored, middle-class followers. In his telling, they werent just white Americans, but descendants of the Greeks and Romans. Myths are more powerful than rationality, Spencer told me. We make life worth living.

Read: Trumps white-nationalist pipeline

White Noise is about the seductive power of extremism. Hatred feels good. But the fix is fleeting. As the film progresses, the subjects reveal the contradictions at the heart of their world. Southern advocates for traditional gender roles, but resents the misogyny and sexism of her peers. Cernovich warns that diversity is code for white genocide, but has an Iranian wife and biracial kids. Spencer swears hell lead the white-nationalist revolutionuntil its more comfortable for him to move home to live with his wealthy mother in Montana. For so many who feel lost or alone, these avatars of hate offer a promise: Follow us, and life will be better.

White Noise shows how empty that promise is.

Toward the end of my reporting, my family traveled to Kielce, Poland, with my sole surviving grandmother, Nina Gottlieb, to retrace her steps fleeing the Nazis. They had signs: Jews and dogs are not allowed, she told us, as we gathered near her childhood home. My grandmother spent the war hiding under a Polish Catholic name, Janina Winiewski, until she was eventually resettled by HIAS, the Jewish refugee resettlement organization targeted by the white nationalist who murdered 11 people as they worshipped at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. Were all born innocent babies. What happens to us? my grandmother asked.

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Four Years Embedded With the Alt-Right - The Atlantic

Influence of COVID-19 Crisis on Global Right-Wing Agenda – Valdai Discussion Club

The agenda of the right-wing forces will likely move to the left, not through the betrayal of their basic ideological principles, but because they will have to respect the requirements of their electorate and supporters, writesDaniil Grigoryev,expert of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements (IGSO), Moscow.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has been top global news for months now, has resulted in a thorough revision of the seemingly inviolable rules of the game in budgetary policies, social infrastructure priorities and many other fields too. It has also provoked deep changes in collective consciousness, which is slowly rising from ruins amid the unexpected changes and pessimistic mid-term forecasts. What effect will this have on the public and, in particular, on the views that set the tone on the global political stage? To try answering this question, we really need to take a good look at the situation preceding the surprise pandemic.

Something that predominantly sticks out in global history over a period of the past decade was the increased turbulence, or a series of conflicts and crises that shook many countries around the world. Flabby economic growth in the United States, a large-scale crisis in the European Union (in particular, in southern Europe), ever decreasing growth rates in the periphery countries, and a shocking plunge of oil prices have created a material basis for social instability. On the other hand, they have launched a powerful process of political and cultural transformation. The military component of international relations, although very important, is not something to be brought up in this commentary.

The largest and most significant of these processes is the rise of political influence of various populist forces, which are gaining ever more attention by sharply criticising the existing social system, from its monetary policies to immigration laws and mainstream media. Populist leaders are famous for speaking simply, so that their slogans easily appeal to the general public, appealing to everyday experience, and offering simple solutions to the majority of current problems. [: There are very many books and other literature on populism, for example, The Global Rise of Populism (2016) by researcher Benjamin Moffitt and its latest contribution, Populism (2020).]

There are several dimensions of the rising populism. One is represented by the so-called left-wing populists, such as Pablo Iglesias Turrion (Podemos, Spain), Alexis Tsipras (former SYRIZA, Greece), Bernie Sanders (Democratic Party, US), Jeremy Corbyn (Labor Party, UK), Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France Insoumise or France Unbowed), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (member of the US Congress), and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (President of Mexico). Despite their social media popularity, most of them did not have much luck when it came to fighting for power.

At the same time, right-wing populists seem to be more successful in this pursuit, for example, leader of the Brexit Party Nigel Farage, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of the National Rally (formerly National Front) political party Marine Le Pen, US President Donald Trump, President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, and the collective leadership of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany. They have won elections and were more successful in attaining their other goals, such as Brexit. It is therefore not surprising that the attention of political analysts, commentators and academics was focused on these and other right-wing politicians.

Despite a rapid rise during the crisis period, the New Right politicians do not resemble their predecessors of the 1930s or even the 1970s in structure, ideology, or even presentation. A new term has been coined to denote them, alt-right, alternative right, to stress their unique status. The heyday of the alt-right coincided with Donald Trumps victory (Data source: Google Trends), who was widely supported by many speakers of the alt-right, related media resources and other celebrities, including many online communities.

Trumps political victory promised a bright future for the alt-right, and many people thought that the alt-right would determine the development of the worlds largest countries in the next decade. We are well aware now that these forecasts never materialised. The seeming unity of the alt-right started eroding exceedingly fast. Public figures claimed that they had no relation to the movement, including conservative youth leaders, such as Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos, let alone Donald Trump himself. Trumps chief strategist and the co-founder of the far-right website Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, left the White House, although according to the grapevine it looks like he might be on his way back again. Many Western politicians slammed the door in the face of the alt-right after a series of thunderous scandals and suspicion of racism. In fact, alt-right supporters are now active predominantly in culture (gender identification, same sex families, and inclusiveness) and the environment, mostly climate change. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the gradual demise and degeneration of the alt-right movement, with the remaining few alt-right public figures only on rare occasions coming out with some statement or other.

Global shocks in human history usually encourage the spread of numerous popular theories and explanations of their origin, for example, the Zionist conspiracy theories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Cold War spy mania, and the mystic theories that appeared during the Soviet Unions collapse. Collectively, they can be described as conspiracy theories that include many issues related to the alt-right and, in general, the right/conservative agenda.

Conspiracy researchers point out the features of many conspiracy theories:

Numerous interpretations and versions (the advocates of conspiracy theories claim that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in China, or the United States, or Russia);

Secretiveness and incomprehensibility (almost all conspiracy theories suggest the existence of private elite clubs and shadow governments)

Technophobia (the narratives of the digital concentration camp, forced human microchipping, 5G radiation, the dangers of vaccinations, and many other theories that are popular in Russia as well).

Another attractive feature of conspiracy theories is their rationality, according to which everything that takes place in the world can be explained by the existence of a small group of players with clearly mercenary objectives and effective instruments for attaining them. By this logic, unpredictability, chance, coincidence and uncontrollability only play a very insignificant role in these processes. Taken together, this shows that conspiracy thinking is a natural response of the public to frightening, unpredictable and dangerous events.

It is no wonder then that people who can be tentatively described as advocates of right-wing views have taken part in many events organised by COVID dissenters and the opponents of the lock-down regime. Overall, the right-wing politicians love of conspiracy theories is not a liberal presumption. For example, Infowars founder Alex Jones promoted a campaign that disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts. According to recent surveys, Republicans believe twice as often as Democrats that Chinese scientists engineered the coronavirus and that Bill Gates wants to use a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips in people to track them with a digital ID. However, the conspiracy-based agenda is not popular everywhere. For example, AfD is getting rid of unpopular marginal party members in an attempt to dissociate itself from such views

Government response to the coronavirus was so divided in many countries that this has not really helped to create and maintain a stable group of government supporters. Within a matter of a few months, the US and UK authorities moved from denying the danger of the coronavirus infection to calling for self-isolation, taking nationwide medical measures, and spending the largest ever amount of funds since WWII on financial support for the people, which reached double-digit percentage points of GDP. At the same time, far from all members of the right-wing parties have changed their views when it comes to the coronavirus, which is deepening the internal split in the not very popular movements and organisations.

Of course, the right-wing movement includes not only the alt-right and party groups in parliaments, but also conservatives, religious fundamentalists, and all manner of patriotic movements. The ultimate effect that they have on society is no easy task to assess, because the economic views of this movement vary from ultra-paternalism to anarcho-primitivism, and taking into account their fundamental ideologies that range from the political philosophy of the 19th century to the Scriptures.

So, what conclusions can we make from the just mentioned information?

First of all, when the COVID-19 crisis erupted, the alt-right had not developed as an integral movement with recognised leaders, ideologies (manifests), universal policy proposals and functioning political organisations.

Secondly, the coronavirus crisis is eroding the initially amorphous and unstable basis of the right-wing/conservative movement backed by numerous supporters of conspiracy theories, fringe politicians, anti-government forces, as well as the advocates of flat Earth theories.

And lastly, the overwhelming majority of the proponents of right-wing views are strongly influenced by changes in the public mood, the growing popularity of paternalism, the government programmes aimed at rapidly bringing the national economies back to pre-crisis levels, as well as ensuring (or introducing) the principle of universal access to modern, high quality medical services regardless of what people earn or where they live.

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Influence of COVID-19 Crisis on Global Right-Wing Agenda - Valdai Discussion Club

What we know about the ‘Boogaloo Bois,’ the far-right group tied to killings in Santa Cruz and Oakland – San Francisco Chronicle

Federal authorities on Tuesday said the man accused of killing a Santa Cruz County Sheriffs official and an Oakland security guard had ties to the Boogaloo movement.

But what is it?

The movement started in alt-right culture on the internet with the belief that there is an impending civil war, said Devin Burghart, director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights in Seattle. The two main aspects that differentiate Boogaloo Bois, as they call themselves, from other right-leaning militia-type groups are that they are younger and they are more likely to turn to acts of violence.

They are really violent, Burghart said. Armed conflict is at the core of their ideology.

Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal, director for the Center for Right-Wing Studies at UC Berkeley, said the movements origins are rooted in the history of the militia right in the United States, holding that patriots will rise up and lead to a second civil war.

While the movement overlaps with white nationalism, its supporters are centered more on the right to bear arms and not being subjected to constituted authority, Rosenthal said.

Another aspect that differentiates the movement from other extremist ones is its culture, like wearing distinctive patches and Hawaiian shirts.

The name itself is believed to come from the film Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo, playing off the idea that the boogaloo is a sequel to the Civil War.

The FBI special agent who wrote the criminal complaint in the Santa Cruz and Oakland killings wrote that the movement was not a defined group but in general, followers of the Boogaloo ideology may identify as militia and share a narrative of inciting a violent uprising against perceived government tyranny.

Its difficult to estimate how many members or supporters the movement has, Burghart said, but there have been several recent real-life mobilizations, including three Nevada men who were recently arrested for allegedly plotting to terrorize protests in Las Vegas.

It has gained traction in recent months during the demonstrations to reopen the economy, he added.

Alejandro Serrano is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: alejandro.serrano@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @serrano_alej

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What we know about the 'Boogaloo Bois,' the far-right group tied to killings in Santa Cruz and Oakland - San Francisco Chronicle

How game theory not chaos rules the Trump White House – Los Angeles Times

The Trump presidency is often billed as a phenomenon born from chaos.

It arrived in a flurry of tweets, online beefs and the sound of rules and norms bending and snapping like fragile floorboards under a listing democracy. But make no mistake: The strategy of this White House and the culture it has sought to embolden is anything but random.

Posting wild conspiracy theories one minute, racist phraseology the next and then acting as if Trumps initial choice of Juneteenth for his latest rally made the day that now commemorates the end of slavery famous rather than being a blatant swipe of disrespect is all part of a strategy that relies on obnoxious, overwhelming online bullying, and pulls from an insidious corner of the gaming world as much as it does the history books.

Every bit of language out of Trump and the White House can be parsed for not-so-hidden coded messages and disinformation designed to create an environment full of symbols, badges and allegiances that create an us-versus-them playing field.

The bulk of Trumps speech Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., relied heavily on fear-based rhetoric with violent underpinnings. It was delivered in broad strokes as if to define teams.

I know our people, Trump said, cheerleading his followers strength in battle after portraying the Democratic Party as anarchists and stoking fears of immigration, even trotting out the grotesque slur kung-flu to describe COVID-19. While many laughed at the low turnout at the BOK Center rally after excessive hype from the Trump team, the president succeeded in disseminating his toxic messaging to a global audience. Its a thread that has been ramping up in recent weeks.

It was present when Trump tweeted that last weeks Supreme Court decision against his planned repeal of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for so-called Dreamers, was shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or conservatives. Such language in particular is designed to appeal to those on the right who feel their culture is under attack.

And it was more directly spelled out in a Wall Street Journal interview in which Trump said wearing a mask in the pandemic is a way to signal disapproval of him and that attempts to COVID-shame him wouldnt work. Thats not just bad health-advice, it turns a face mask into a uniform and citizens into adversaries.

The Trump world overflows with language and images that are stand-ins for symbols, all of which the campaign shrugs off when called out. On Thursday, it was reported that Facebook removed numerous Trump ads that featured an inverted red triangle, a figure once used by the Nazis to identify their political opposition. The Trump team claimed it was an antifa symbol, a far-left movement that Trump is trying to use as a scapegoat by branding adherents as some sort of mysterious, Darth Vader-like overlords controlling the American empire.

Its as if Trump is the orator of his own extremely dangerous alternate-reality game, a type of play that graphs itself onto the real world and utilizes key words as signals to an in-the-know audience. In a playful environment, its a cue to dig deeper into a singular universe. Here, its an endless tunnel that has followers view every living being and pop-culture item as a symbol of potential political opposition.

Its not just a deflection; its the construction of a whole other alternate story line. Its a fantastical conspiratorial plot Trump has spun since his birther days, one that will only get more intense in the lead-up to the November election.

Recent attention has zeroed in on the boogaloo movement, a far-right fringe subculture that has been tied to violence around the country. Its followers also celebrate provocative memes and tweets while wearing aloha shirts and believing broadly speaking that progressive ideas are bringing us to a bloody race war that they hope will lead to their goal of overthrowing the federal government.

Any moment that can lead to mass unpredictability, be it Trumps calls to liberate states from stay-at-home health orders or large protests, exist, in their mind, to be exploited, and yet Trump continues to scream the word antifa as a call to arms. The president is creating a quest to look for conspiracies that dont exist such as the false Pizzagate claim that Hillary Clinton ran a pedophile ring in a restaurant basement all the way providing a narrative to an antagonistic way of life and using this moment of protest following the killing of George Floyd to create further divisions.

In these pursuits theres no elaborate puzzle or tidy solution, but it does provide followers constant fuel to hunt for the next conspiratorial breadcrumb until fiction turns into a much louder fiction or at least results on Facebook, which became a favorite landing spot for boogaloo supporters. Think of it as a Monopoly board, only instead of passing Go, the little square reads Fake News.

When viewed as part of a larger, game-like strategy, such chaos starts to come into relative clarity. The Trump thesis for leadership and disarray, while speaking to dark corners of internet message boards or Discord servers, even reads as if lifted from the texts of Diplomacy, a complicated-yet-nerdy board game of yore that unwittingly outlined a Trump-era manifesto.

There are some people who need to win to be amused, reads a guide to a 1979 edition of Diplomacy, the game first sold in the late 1950s and popularized by Avalon Hill. But Diplomacy, the guide tells us, is not a game for such persons.

No, in fact the guide directly spells out an alternate win state: maintaining the illusion of a balance of power. This is a game, in essence, where a player can dominate by keeping the others fighting among themselves. The goal? He is concerned that no player, no alliance, will become strong enough to eliminate any of the others, particularly himself.

Winning, more or less, comes from creating a state in which no one else can win. And power is maintained by keeping others confused, frustrated and angry. This feels uncomfortably close to Trumps method of governing.

Of course, the playing board was set even before Trump took office with Gamergate, a 2014 movement that galvanized around a perceived loss of power among a segment of the gaming community made up largely of men who believe their worldview is threatened by the media and the introduction of diversity in games. This publication and others have cited Gamergate as a blueprint for Trumps vitriolic attacks and Twitter dragging.

Thats because it isnt all that different from the complaints of those today who are angry over toppled Confederate statues or even the retiring of the Aunt Jemima brand. Keep politics out of a games is essentially an alt-right rallying cry for maintaining a status quo games by, for and starring white men.

Its a so-called army the administration has sought to activate, to quote Stephen K. Bannon, who once oversaw Breitbart News and served as Trumps campaign chief executive, in an interview he gave with journalist/author Joshua Green.

Consider them activated.

Thus, the cultural war moves to its next battleground, be it whatever high-profile game, television show or tell-all memoir is released this week. All are mixed together into a melting pot of racism and fear to maintain a hold on the cultural conversation. Or, rather, to simply make it difficult for other voices to get the floor.

Like the game of Diplomacy, its not about winning so much as it as just not losing.

In March, when fears over the spread of the coronavirus seemed to be alternately gripping and splitting the nation, I dug out my copy of Diplomacy, which I inherited from my dad but have had a hard time since college finding anyone will to play. In the spring, unfounded theories that the virus had been manufactured in a Chinese lab were floated, as was the suggestion by Trump to try the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and even bleach to prevent COVID-19.

Such messages drowned out and clashed with very real health concerns. Feeling stressed and powerless, I thumbed through a number of recent books and articles, trying to make sense of our disregard of facts, even in the face of something that would appear to be nonpartisan, such as a virus.

None of them hit as direct and plainly as Rod Walkers eloquent The Gamers Guide to Diplomacy.

Players, wrote Walker of the board game, do not expect consistency, but they do expect rationality. Sometimes any excuse will do.

Walker then writes of someone who was once an in-game ally, wondering why Walker stabbed him in the back.

His answer? Because it was there.

We should brace for the same, and be prepared to not stop showing our spine.

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How game theory not chaos rules the Trump White House - Los Angeles Times

Magic: The Gathering Ends Relationship With Controversial Artist – We Got This Covered

Wizards of the Coast, best known as the company that publishes the popular fantasy-themed trading card gameMagic: The Gathering,recently announced it would be ending its longtime partnership with artist Terese Nielsen due to the latters affinity with the alt-right.

For reference,Magic: The Gatheringconsists of hundreds of thousands of cards, each of which is fitted with astounding artwork. The company typically does not produce this artwork in-house, but outsources it to a number of independent creators. Nielsen, who had been designing cards for Wizards since the early 1990s, was one of their earliest and most prolific freelancers.

For most of her employment, Nielsen was on good terms with the company. However, in 2018, fans began noticing the artist was following an alarming amount of conspiracy theorists on Twitter, nearly all of whom are affiliated with the alt-right. From white nationalists like Stefan Molyneux and Sandy Hook-deniers such as Alex Jones, Nielsen could be found in their lists of followers.

While the artist could have been following these accounts for strictly educational purposes not unlike how many non-Trump supporters follow the Presidents Twitter account she cemented her unfavorable political beliefs by retweeting a number of racist posts. As soon as the Magiccommunity became aware of her tastes, Nielsen began unfollowing many of the aforementioned accounts.

But her employer had already taken note. Had this controversy come to light a few years ago, Wizards of the Coast may have pardoned the artist and pretended nothing had happened. However, after receiving accusations of pervasive, ongoing racism on the work floor, the companys hands were metaphorically tied.

We havent commissioned new art from Terese Nielsen in quite a while, Doug Beyer, Principal Game Designer for Magic: the Gathering said. The last product that will have any reprint art from her is this Fall with Zendikar Rising.

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Magic: The Gathering Ends Relationship With Controversial Artist - We Got This Covered

Wizards Ends Their Relationship with Terese Nielsen – Hipsters of the Coast

Thursday evening on Weekly MTG, Wizards of the Coast revealed that they have apparently ended their relationship with controversial artist Terese Nielsen.

We havent commissioned new art from Terese Nielsen in quite a while, said Doug Beyer, Principal Game Designer on the Worldbuilding team for Magic: the Gathering. The last product that will have any reprint art from her is this Fall with Zendikar Rising.

Beyers statement is Wizards of the Coasts first acknowledgement of the controversy surrounding Nielsen. It came on the same day that it was revealed that Nielsen will have at least three cards in Jumpstart, Magics newest supplemental product, with her art: Deaths Approach, Hunters Insight, and Rhystic Study. Many in the Magic community were upset that Wizards was continuing to use Nielsens work after the information that has surfaced throughout 2018 and 2019.

A sampling of alt-right, conspiracy-driven accounts that Nielsen followed on Twitter.

Nielsen, who lives in Carson City, NV with her wife, was one of Magics most popular artists and began illustrating cards in 1996s Alliances expansion set. But in 2018, people noticed that Nielsen had been following members of the alt-right and conspiracy theorists on Twitter. Those follows ranged from alt-right activists like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, to InfoWarshome of conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jonesand the white nationalist Stefan Molyneux.

She was also found to have liked a number of racist tweets that spouted anti-Semitic theories and made memes about white power.

Some of the racist and conspiracy-laden tweets Nielsen liked on Twitter.

When all of that was brought to light, she unfollowed many of those accounts and unliked the offending tweets. However, the controversy would not die down, and it resurfaced a year later in April 2019, at which time she issued a long statement on Twitter.

Being excommunicated from a community and ostracized by family for following my convictions is not new to me, Nielsen wrote. The Magic community has blessed me and taught me in a myriad of ways in the past 25 yearsI embrace the fact that many different viewpoints can, do, and should co-exist. In these stressful times, it is my intent to navigate in harmony with my core values (beauty, compassion, love) to the best of my ability without any need or desire to stifle, censor or demean another for differently held viewpoints.

Many found her statement vague and underwhelming, especially because it didnt address her alleged trans-exclusionary beliefs. Nielsen later posted a second statement celebrating pride month, saying: Just so nothing I have expressed thus far can possibly be misunderstoodfor the record, I support human rights, trans rights, gay rights, as well as religious freedom and the sacredness of life in all forms.

Just a few months later, Nielsens work ended up on the racist, QAnon and conspiracy-focused YouTube channel Edge of Wonder. The show posted a video on July 12, 2019 in which the co-hosts present art prints that Nielsen had gifted them.

Nielsens gifted work is displayed on an episode of Edge of Wonder.

So, a painter sent us these, Rob Counts says in the video. Terese Nielsen. She sent us all of these paintings and theyre actually incredible.

And signed them! replies co-host Ben Chasteen.

Despite the building body of evidence that Nielsen held fringe views, Wizards didnt make any public statements about the situation while the community grew increasingly uneasy. When Nielsen was given another card in June 2019s Modern Horizons set, Echo of Eons, Wizards still hadnt given any indication that they aware of the communitys concerns.

Then, in November of that year, controversy bubbled over once again at Mythic Championship VI. Autumn Burchett, winner of Mythic Championship I the first non-binary player to win a major tournament, wrote NO TERFS ON GRUUL TURF! on their (very expensive) Guru Forest and Island that feature artwork by Nielsen. (TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is often used to describe people who do not believe that trans women are women.) Burchett tweeted that Wizards asked them to remove those lands from their deck, causing an uproar in the Magic community as it appeared that Wizards was trying to stifle a very public criticism of Nielsen and her views.

Burchetts modified guru lands.

Nielsen proceeded to fade into the background as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the entire world. Attention turned the delay of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths release and the cancellation of Magics entire 2020 in-person schedule, from MagicFests to the Players Tour and Mythic Invitationals. On Memorial Day, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, MN, generating waves of protest in the United States that dominated the headlines. The protests forced companies like Wizards to acknowledge how unwelcome many minorities felt in its game, resulting in the banning of seven cards for their racist depictions and an acknowledgement that [t]heres much more work to be done as we continue to make our games, communities, and company more inclusive.

A week later came the beginning of Jumpstarts preview seasonand the revelation that Nielsen would once again have cards with her art appear in a brand new Magic set.

We hear you, Beyer said Thursday. The implication of his wordsthat the last product that will have any reprint art from Nielsen will be in Zendikar Rising, combined with the fact that they havent commissioned any new art from [her] in quite a whileis that Wizards has stopped working with Nielsen and will cease printing cards with her art. When Hipsters reached out to Wizards for confirmation, they declined to comment any further.

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Wizards Ends Their Relationship with Terese Nielsen - Hipsters of the Coast

Philly residents call for Taney Street to be renamed – PhillyVoice.com

A petition has been launched by Philadelphia residents calling for the removal of former Supreme Court chief justice Roger Taneys name from the city street that bears his name.

The campaign, which has been organized by the community association Fitler Square Neighbors, states that the street should be changed to honor someone who has united the country rather than divided it, and who recognizes the contributions of all Americans.

Along with the petition, a rally was held at Markwand Parka part of Schuylkill River Park in Fitler Squareon Saturday to bring attention to the movement. The event was put on by Fitler Square Neighbors, as well as the Rename Taney campaign and the local community organization 5th Square.

The street was named after Taney in 1858. The southern portion of the street runs through Fitler Square, while the northern portion stretches from Fairmount to Brewerytown.

Taney has come under fire for writing the majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme Courts 1857 decision in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, which held that African-Americans had no standing in court because they were not and could not be citizenseven if they were free.

There is just no reason for this divisive figure to continue to be celebrated in our city, the petition organizers wrote.

Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland have removed statues of the former Supreme Court justice, according to the petition organizers.

The movement to take down Taneys name is the latest in a string of actions taken by city residents and officials to reassess statues, monuments, and murals honoring controversial figures across Philadelphia.

A statue paying tribute to former Philly Mayor Frank Rizzo outside of the Municipal Services Building in Center City was taken down earlier this month after it became a focus of the protests that have taken place in the wake of George Floyds death in May.

Additionally, a mural honoring the former mayor and police commissioner in the Italian Market of South Philly was painted over earlier this month too. The blank canvas that replaced the mural will soon be turned into new artwork.

Both the statue and mural have served as symbols of racism and police brutality for many residents. The late Rizzo has been scrutinized for his treatment of the city's black and gay communities during his time as mayor and police commissioner from 1967-1980.

Similar actions are being considered for the Christopher Columbus statue that sits at Marconi Plaza, as well as the Columbus Monument at Penns Landing.

The city ordered the South Philly statue be boarded up until its fate is determined, while the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has covered the base of the monument at Spruce Street Harbor Park until a final decision is made.

Monuments honoring the Italian explorer have fallen under greater scrutiny in recent weeks.Some cities, including Camden, have removed them, viewing them as symbols of oppression committed against indigenous people. Supporters of the statues claim they are a historic marker and symbol of Italian heritage.

While these are symbolic actions, they strongly demonstrate that our city has the potential to evolve into one where everyone feels they are not only welcome but valued, the petition organizers wrote.

The petition calling for the removal of Taneys name can be viewed here.

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Philly residents call for Taney Street to be renamed - PhillyVoice.com

What to Cook Right Now – The New York Times

Good morning. I had a dream I was in Dan Tanas in Los Angeles and the place was packed. There was no coronavirus pandemic, just sweating martinis and jovial laughter, and I persuaded my guest, to order the shrimp parmigiana: best thing on the menu, exactly the sort of thing youd never make at home. The shrimp was delicious in my dream, but those words at home brought reality into my consciousness. Things went circular. I woke up in a sweat.

I miss complicated restaurant dishes, the ones a single cook works on for the whole shift: quick-frying the shrimp in batter, napping it in tomato sauce and mozz, running the dish under the salamander broiler so that it goes leopard-spotted at exactly the moment the shrimps perfectly cooked. You can make that 30 times an evening for a couple months and shrug: Its easy to make. Do it once at home, and youll see the lie in the sentiment. Its not.

So Ill wait for my shrimp parmigiana, my double consomm, my Peking duck. Well be able to eat those again, someday, I hope. In the meantime: Simplicity, ease, deliciousness squared.

Its neat. Setting yourself up for a lo-fi night of cooking oven-roasted chicken shawarma, say, with a side dish of charred shallots with labneh can actually hint at some of the joys we experienced in restaurants, when we could go to them. A vegan cheeseburger, courtesy of J. Kenji Lpez-Alt, could remind you of In-N-Out, back when you ate meat, back when you could sit in a booth at the shop on Sepulveda near LAX, first or final meal in Los Angeles. A Screaming Eagle cheesesteak sub might take you back to college dining halls, to how you could eat then, as if for two people or three. Steak au poivre from David Tanis? Is this now Raouls?

There are other recipes Id like to make real soon. Jerrelle Guys any-fruit drop biscuits (above), for instance. And Davids pasta with fresh tomato sauce and ricotta. Not to mention Melissa Clarks pasta with fried lemons and chile flakes. I could do those back to back!

(By the way, none of this is to say a cooking project cant be enjoyable right now. Angela Dimayugas beef empanadas prove that plain. So, too, Marcus Samuelssons quinoa with broccoli, cauliflower and toasted coconut, which is only laborious in the shopping. Try those, as well.)

Thousands and thousands more recipes to cook right now are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Many more than usual are free to use even if you arent yet a subscriber to our site and apps. Please consider subscribing anyway, though. Your subscriptions support our work.

And please get in touch if anything gets squirrelly along the way, in your cooking or our technology. Were at cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you.

Now, its nothing to do with buttermilk or hand pies, and I wont bother you with the back story that led me to the site, but via The New York Public Library I came across this digitized collection of old New York magazines, dating back to the titles birth in 1968, another watershed difficult year for America. There is some really good browsing and reading to be had there.

Speaking of magazines, Essence turned 50 this year, and its editors have put together a marvelous hub that lets you explore its history through the lens of its covers and cover stars.

Finally, in case you missed it, heres A.O. Scott on Wallace Stegner, the first installment in a series hes writing for The Times on American writers, some well known, some forgotten, some overlooked. Its very good. Ill be back on Wednesday.

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What to Cook Right Now - The New York Times

The Voice Of America Is Not The Voice Of Trump – The Pavlovic Today

On Monday, leadership at VOA changed almost entirely. The Senate confirmation of President Trumps appointed head of USAGM Michael Pack was followed by the resignation of two top executives, Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara, both deemed experienced independent journalists.

In her farewell message, Bennett said, "Michael Pack swore before Congress to respect and honor the firewall that guarantees VOA's independence, which in turn plays the single most important role in the stunning trust our audiences around the world have in us."

Pack, a conservative filmmaker who previously ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is also an ally of alt-right icon Steve Bannon and under investigation for potentially channeling money from a nonprofit to his film production company. He has already fired four directors across the organizationa purge that does little to ease concerns about editorial meddling. These firings include: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia; Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting; and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund.

Though those fired by Pack show no distinction along party linesFernandez and Fly were both Trump appointeesthe replacements of their bipartisan boards are now largely filled by Trump administration appointees. Packs decision has been criticized by congressional officials as an attempt to change the nonpartisan nature of the news outlet.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on Wednesday saying, The wholesale firing of the agencys network heads, and disbanding of corporate boards to install President Trumps political allies, is an egregious breach of this organizations history and mission from which it may never recover.

Brett Bruen, director of global engagement on President Barack Obamas National Security Council, said that VOA does notpresent a Republican or Democratic voice to the world, He added that VOA has always put forward an American, a credible voice.

Founded in 1942, VOA is the largest US international broadcaster, delivering news and information to an estimated weekly audience of 280 million people. Its name comes from President Franklin Roosevelts speechwriter and American playwright, Robert Sherwood, who in 1939 prophesied:

"We are living in an age when communication has achieved fabulous importance. There is a new decisive force in the human race, more powerful than all the tyrants. It is the force of massed thought--thought which has been provoked by words, strongly spoken."

The force of mass thought would be represented by VOA, whose charter also states they will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.

VOA is not a device of the government; it is, in fact, created to be a tool to amplify and share American voices to people around the world. Key to the purpose of VOA is its firewall, which prohibits interference by any US government official in the objective and independent work the journalists do. The firewall protects VOAs ability to make final decisions on what stories to cover and how to cover it, even if it is government-owned.

VOA is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media and is government-funded, but its core mission has always been to provide reliable and accuratethis also means unbiasednews.

The USAGM, previously called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was founded to counter propaganda from countries with repressive regimes, offering its audience independent and reliable sources of news. It currently oversees VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia, ensuring that content on these platforms remain independent of political influence.

On the Voices of America website, there is a specific header for Press Freedom. The page monitors news of media repression in foreign countries and states that VOA is committed to press freedom around the world. Looking at this page after the events of the past week, one might suggest VOA start at its home base, the US.

In April, the VOA ran a story about the reopening of Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 outbreak first emerged. After months of lockdown, the city reopened with a light show, which VOA documented and shared on social media.

This story was condemned by Trump and his social media director Dan Scavino Jr. The White House website ran an article under the headline Amid a Pandemic, Voice of America Spends Your Money to Promote Foreign Propaganda. Scavino chimed in, tweeting, American taxpayers paying for Chinas very own propaganda, via the U.S. government-funded Voice of America! DISGRACE!!

At a news briefing on April 15, Trump only had bad things to say about the broadcaster. "If you heard what's coming out of the Voice of America, it's disgusting. What things they say are disgusting toward our country," Trump said. "And Michael Pack would get in and do a great job."

VOA also received criticism for using widely watched and reputable data from Johns Hopkins University tracking COVID-19 cases and deaths around the world. The White House accused VOA of creating graphics with Communist government statistics to compare Chinas coronavirus death toll to Americas.

These attacks took the VOA executives by surprise. Rarely have they been called out by an administration in this fashion.

Im afraid I cant tell you what prompted it, said Bennett, then Director. I dont actually know. It just came out of the blue.

Though these attacks took Bennett by surprise, the Trump administration had been planning to make significant changes at VOA since 2018. Packs nomination to head the U.S. Agency for Global Media was stalled for two years.

It may be too early to tell what will come of Packs changes, but the direction he is taking VOA and USAGM may undermine their entire purpose. As head of USAGM, Pack is prohibited from interfering in VOA editorial processes. But as he has shown, he can dismiss and hire new members, those who can change the content and stories produced.

The voices of America might now be the voice of the American government. And this change will be noticed around the world.

In 1942, in its first broadcast, announcer William Harlan Hale said, We bring you Voices from America. Today, and daily from now on, we shall speak to you about America and the war. The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.

The world was listening then as America fought Nazi Germany and a leaders grasp for tyrannical power; the world is listening now.

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The Voice Of America Is Not The Voice Of Trump - The Pavlovic Today

Destroying the Statues of Slavers to Rewrite History – Morocco World News

The globalization of the anti-racist movement inspired the same symbolic and polemical gestures in the United States, England, Belgium, France. Statues and monuments are shot down or tagged, signs of a memory that remains conflictual and of a non-consensual historical narrative.

Anti-racism demonstrations have found an echo outside of the United States; in Europe and the West Indies, in particular, where the memory of slavery and colonization still resonates with todays discrimination. Among the images that circulate, one means of action strikes peoples minds: The unbolting of statues that embody this past.

In several countries, protests are rising against the representation in public spaces of former figures linked to slavery or colonizationin the United States with the Confederate monuments, in England with the statue of a slave merchant thrown into the water in Bristol, in Belgium with the removal of the bust of Leopold II, or in France with the toppling of Colbert and Victor Schoelcher statues.

America: The memory of slavery, pain, and racism

The US South is still very much marked with symbols of the Civil War (1861-1865), 155 years after the end of the conflict that claimed 600,000 livesmore than all American deaths in the First and Second World Wars. Across the Southern states that had left the union to form their own country and maintain slavery, there are still many monuments and statues paying tribute to figures of that era: Generals, political leaders Some schools even continue to bear their names.

The Confederate flag also remains a symbol for some to express pride in their Southern identity, with the pattern pasted on roadsides, as stickers on the back of cars, or even waving alongside the current state flags. By 2015, the Washington Post had counted seven states that continue to use this emblem on their official banners: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

But these symbols are now arousing ever more indignation, especially since they have become rallying signs for the racist extreme right.

Dylann Roof, the perpetrator of the attack on a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, had taken a photo in front of this flag shortly before murdering nine worshippers.

In 2017, the Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia intended to denounce the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies during the Civil War. This rally brought together white supremacists, members of the alt-right and even neo-Nazis.

The weekend was marked by clashes and ended with the death of a counter-demonstrator killed by the battering ram car of a white supremacist.

In 2020, the issue is still sensitive and returns to the forefront with the death of George Floyd. Several statues have been taken down, vandalized, or dismantled in Virginia and Alabama, but the gesture that caught the most attention was the removal of a General Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederate States.

Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced on June 4 the removal of the equestrian statue, welcoming the support of the generals descendants, the Reverend Robert W. Lee, who sees the statue as a symbol of oppression.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, also called for the removal of Confederate statues from Capitol Hill.

The statues which fill the halls of Congress should reflect our highest ideals as Americans. Today, I am once again calling for the removal from the U.S. Capitol of the 11 statues representing Confederate soldiers and officials. These statues pay homage to hate, not heritage, she wrote on Twitter.

Most of these monuments were indeed erected at the end of the 19th century when these American states were implementing a policy of racial segregation. For the governor of Virginia, they also helped to spread a falsified reading of history, according to which the Confederates had fought above all for the right of the states in the face of aggression from the North, a vision that denies or diminishes the importance of slavery in the entry into the war.

In 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of human beings, explained Governor Northam.

The question today is how to build a memory of the South that is meaningful for its inhabitants, but also reconciliatory, around common symbols. Because the majority of black Americans live in the southern states, which were once slavery and segregationist, explains historian Francois Durpaire, a specialist on the United States and professor at the University of Cergy and co-founder of the Bonheururs laboratory.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an association that fights discrimination, 114 Confederate monuments have been removed since 2015 but the racial and political divide remains. The removals take place mainly in places where there are large Black populations with active associations and a majority of Democratic voters.

England: The memory of colonization and dehumanization

Other countries are not spared by this inventory of figures from the past. In England, the video of the unbolting of the statue of Edward Colston made the rounds of social networks on June 7.

This monument was erected in 1895 in Bristol in homage to the Member of Parliament and merchant who financed many of the citys institutionsbut it turned out that he owed his fortune to the slave trade.

The maintenance of this statue had been the subject of debate for years and its toppling was ultimately decided by a crowd of demonstrators. In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that George Floyds death had aroused anger and an undeniable sense of injustice but condemned those who break the law, attack the police and vandalize public monuments.

While regretting the manner in which the statue was demolished, Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer said it should have been removed years ago . You cant have a statue of a slave trader in Britain in the 21st century. According to the mayor of Bristol, it should end up in a museum.

But other statues are in the sights of activists, such as Cecil Rhodes on the Oxford campus. The businessman, born in 1853, was the prime minister of the Cape Colony in South Africa, convinced of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons, one of the great architects of British imperialism and colonialism.

Much more sensitive, the statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also targeted in front of the Parliament in London with the inscription was a racist added to the base.

The memory of slavery in Europe and Martinique

In Belgium, the equestrian statue of King Leopold II was removed from a square in Antwerp on June 9 after it had been defaced. It is now stored in the reserves of a local museum, the city council announced. Leopold II was the second King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909, promoter of Belgiums civilizing mission to the Congo, where he established a brutal regime based on forced labor.

Frances figures of Jules Ferry or Colbert were not spared. The former gave his name to countless streets and schools and is immortalized with several statues for having established secular, free, and compulsory education for all. But Jules Ferry was also a convinced supporter of colonialism, especially in Indochina.

As for Colbert, this minister of Louis XIV was the author of the code noir which legislated slavery in the French colonies. On June 6, demonstrators, belonging in particular to the Black African Defence League, called for his statue in front of the National Assembly to be unblocked.

In any case, the historical inventory of public places related to racism is not finished. In 2019, the city of Bordeaux which prospered like Nantes and other cities thanks to the slave trade decided to put up plaques mentioning the slave-owning past of people who gave their names to streets. On June 8, the association Memoire et Partages also wrote an open letter to the President of the Republic calling for further changes in Biarritz, La Rochelle, Le Havre, and Marseille.

However, in overseas French territories, Martinique has indeed long done a job of remembrance, in particular thanks to Aime Cesaire, deputy of the island from 1945 to 1993 and mayor of Fort-de-France from 1945 to 2001. He was a staunch anti-colonialist and he reflected that position in the Martinican public agenda.

A militant group decapitated the statue of Josephine de Beauharnais in the 1970s. She was the wife of Napoleon, who re-established slavery after his first abolition during the Revolution. She was Martiniquean and belonged to the clan of slave settlers. But Cesaire had the great intelligence to leave the headless statue and cover it with red paint, symbolizing the blood of slaves, to offer it as a narrative of the history of Martinique.

Reconciling a painful past with a hopeful future

The events we have seen in recent days are not new. Both ancient and recent history has often witnessed acts of vandalism and even destruction of memorial objects, generally for reasons of denial of their legitimacy by a section of the population. This is even more evident when these objects of a symbolic nature are placed in public view.

Faced with certain sensitive subjects such as slavery, the political authorities sometimes take the lead in rewriting history. As such, the city of Bordeaux has been encouraged to look into its slave past by installing explanatory plaques in certain streets bearing the names of slavers as well as a sculpture in the gardens of the city hall in order to pursue a work of remembrance.

In this way, historical facts, without intrinsically changing, are made and re-made according to the times, the issues at stake, and the evolution of consciousness. Since it is men who make history, sometimes under conditions that they themselves have chosen, we should read the sequence of real historical events against the yardstick of a reasonable ideal.

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter: @Ayurinu

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Destroying the Statues of Slavers to Rewrite History - Morocco World News

New Boss May Test Voice of Americas Credibility – The New York Times

In its evening newsletter then, the White House blasted the service under the headline Amid a Pandemic, Voice of America Spends Your Money to Promote Foreign Propaganda. The crime, as described by Dan Scavino, Mr. Trumps social media director, was positive reports on how China had handled its coronavirus outbreak. Mr. Trump promptly picked up the chorus. If you heard whats coming out of the Voice of America, its disgusting, he told a White House news briefing on April 15. What things they say are disgusting toward our country. And Michael Pack would get in and do a great job.

What evidently rankled the White House was a clip showing people celebrating the lifting of the lockdown in Wuhan, which accompanied a straightforward account by The Associated Press. V.O.A. officials were dumbfounded. It just came out of the blue, said Amanda Bennett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran of Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer, who announced her resignation Monday as director of the V.O.A. The deputy director, Sandy Sugawara, formerly of The Washington Post and United Press International, also resigned.

Ms. Bennett and Ms. Sugawara did not link their departures to the long-delayed confirmation of Mr. Pack, who becomes head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the parent organization of the V.O.A., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and some regional foreign broadcasters. In her farewell message, Ms. Bennett assured V.O.A. staffers that Michael Pack swore before Congress to respect and honor the firewall that guarantees V.O.A.s independence, which in turn plays the single most important role in the stunning trust our audiences around the world have in us.

It may be that Mr. Pack will respect the firewall he is sworn to maintain. His past is patchy he hired Mr. Bannon, an icon of the alt-right, as a consultant on two documentaries, including one about Adm. Hyman Rickover. He is also under investigation by the District of Columbia attorney general for possibly channeling money from a nonprofit group he oversees to his for-profit film production company. And he was confirmed along party lines. Before that, he had worked at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Council on the Humanities and served as president of the conservative Claremont Institute.

None of that confirms that if left to his own judgment, Mr. Pack would do Mr. Trumps or Mr. Bannons bidding, especially if it meant flouting the V.O.A.s legally mandated independence. What is certain, given Mr. Trumps record and his statements about V.O.A., is that this is what the administration expects and will forcefully demand. Mr. Trump wants a bullhorn, not a diplomatic instrument, and he insists on loyalty.

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New Boss May Test Voice of Americas Credibility - The New York Times

License to Analyze Media – The Dispatch

This was worth the time to listen to, as I have been grappling with this as an intellectual. I also appreciated the (I assume) spontaneous questions Steve asked. I would have to read the book to digest the point of this material more adequately. A couple of things though ...

Gurri is correct, the amount of information out there is just overwhelming and growing geometrically every day. Working in the sciences, it really is impossible to be fully informed on a topic because there is just so much material even in rather narrow disciplines. So to understand any topic, even a Ph.D. level of research would only give you a general perspective on a narrow aspect of a culture, or a particular topic. On the other hand, a Ph.D. does make you more aware of how little you know, so it tends to lead to a little more humility.

On Science:

I think one thing the general public doesn't understand is that people like Fauci are basically saying "this is what I know and these are the best recommendations I have at the moment". At least as a trained scientist, I recognize that models trying to estimate events where we don't have all the information will get things wrong. So what? Do you want nothing, or do you want to get __some__ idea of what is happening with the best models we have? If you don't understand geometric growth, well, SARS-CoV-2 is a good lesson. If you don't understand how frightening it could be, try modeling this kind of stuff for your own self! You are getting the digested information of someone who has been working on this stuff for years, and the inaccuracies, be them as they may, are just a reality. Well digested knowledge is still a lot better than listening to someone snake-oil salesman tell us to drink bleach -- even if drinking bleach ultimately does turn out to be the right answer after much study (which I most certainly doubt).

I think part of the problem is that we have taught science in undergraduate courses as a collection of facts. I do recall that undergraduate physics and chemistry was filled with "we know, we know, we know". The master's degree was "we basically know, we basically know", and the PhD was, "we don't know a darn thing except for a couple of puny islands of knowledge, and even that we don't fully understand". Few people get that far, so they get out with the "we know" nonsense, and they find later than it can be shot full of holes.

On Alternatives:

I grant that we scientists don't always get it right. Evidently, this is where the pseudo-experts have seized the moment (pseudo-experts: people who know some of the language and have read a limited foundation of the literature but do not have the kind of discipline that comes from really having to do science all their life and research a topic at some of the deepest levels). They don't say "I don't know". They have "THEeeeeeeeee answer". ... and since they don't have any reputation to lose, if they fail, they go on to the next answer.

When you do science for a living, you come to appreciate some general consistencies and patterns that occur that are helpful signposts. Any particular solution to any specific problem will details that we can get wrong, but the over-arching features will not be wrong and when the details become available (in a year or two from now with SARS-CoV-2), those facts will become properly refined.

Summary then ...

I see that Steve (and Sarah) are asking some of the right questions. One notable goal of The Dispatch is that there is some effort in the short term (1 week - 2 weeks) to digest information and provide an intelligent summary. That is, I think, an important goal of journalism, is it not? Not merely to whittle out snippets of news, but to contextualize it within a framework and to try to get the different perspectives. Gurri does point out that you need to listen to views left and right and understand them. It does pass through your conservative filters, but that is like passing things through my scientific filters. There are liberal filters, but it is important for liberals to also understand what conservatives think. I don't think I can go all the way to listening to alt-right or communists, but right- or left-leaning is something everyone can do. As more of a liberal than a conservative, I'd say that whereas I don't always agree with Steve, or Jonah, or David, or Sarah, at least I can listen to them. The extremes of the right and the left get a bit intellectually dishonest and I can only listen to it for a short time before I have to turn it off.

At any rate, I think the goal is right, in this time of information overload, to provide some level of digested information that helps people gain some bearing. I do hope that it will finally slow down a little bit because I feel pulled in all different directions without any sense of bearing presently.

Originally posted here:

License to Analyze Media - The Dispatch

Down with symbols – The News International

As protests and uprisings sweep across the nation and world, Americas profane aesthetics face extinction desecrations of Christopher Columbus, Robert E Lee and Frank Rizzo, all symbols of whiteness and white supremacy, force imperialism, racism, and capitalism to see further days of reckoning and perhaps one day, The End of Policing.

In Darkwater, W E B Du Bois wrote the discovery of personal whiteness is a 19th and 20th century matter This assumption that all whiteness alone is inherently and obviously better than browness or tan leads to curious acts Whats the effect on a man or a nation when it comes passionately to believe such an extraordinary dictum as this?

E Frances White compared James Baldwins and Toni Morrisons perspectives on white identity construction: For Baldwin, whiteness was about a false claim on innocence that depended on the demonization of blackness. Both Baldwin and Morrison expose the fragility of whiteness, and in the process disrupt any notion of pure whiteness, distinct from, and in opposition to, blackness.

In regards to white privilege, Toni Morrison remarked, So scary are the consequences of the collapse [of it] that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.

Statue desecration strikes a nerve and makes the knees tremble for many white supremacists that believe in protecting the permanence of white superiority found in unassailable figures. On May 31, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument was removed in the city of Birmingham. Just one day later in Fort Myers, Florida, the Sons of Confederate Veterans removed a bust of Robert E Lee. By weeks end, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, and North Carolina all implemented speedy plans for monument and statue removal in their respective cities.

After protesters toppled an eight-foot statue of Jefferson Davis, he was hauled onto a tow truck like a heavy piece of trash. This and more removals created a backlash of alt-right counter-protesters prepared to defend remaining statues around the country. More moderate citizens defended their right to comfort through expressing their own pride of heritage and history as seen in the defense of Davis monuments elsewhere.

Excerpted from: 'In Praise of the FloydRebellion and Statue Desecration'.

Counterpunch.org

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Down with symbols - The News International

Neil Gorsuch Stuns the Nation, Does the Right Thing – The Nation

Gay pride flag. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo)

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The LGBTQ community has officially and emphatically been included in the protection offered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In three consolidated cases called Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Civil Right Acts Title VII prohibition of discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex includes a prohibition against discriminating against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people.Ad Policy

Archconservative Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as the four liberal justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Often, when you have one of these opinions signed by both liberal and conservative justices, the decision is very narrow. In such situations, its not unusual for one side or the other to write whats called concurring opinions, in which they will agree with the outcome but offer their own, usually more expansive, reasons for arriving at the conclusion.

Not this time. Gorsuch wrote a civil rights opinion whose main substance could have been written by Sotomayoror Thurgood Marshall or Harvey Milk. Here are two sentences from the opinion that I never expected to hear from a conservative justice appointed by Donald Trump and approved by Mike Pence: The statutes message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individuals homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. Thats because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.

That is no half measure. Those sentences are a complete victory for the activists and advocates and lawyers and allies who have long said that discrimination against the LGBTQ community is illegal. It is also, by far, the biggest legal win for the transgender community, ever.

It is not a perfect ruling. While any of the liberal justices could have written the same opinion in substance, the chief justices decision to let Gorsuch write it gave Gorsuch a chance to lay intellectual cover for future bad decisions he will make. Gorsuch is doing whats called a textualist reading: Hes saying that when the text is clear, he doesnt have to go back to the original intent of the lawmakers. Which sounds good, until you remember that Gorsuch claims special powers to know when the text is clear and when it is unclear.Current Issue

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In this case, Gorsuchs interpretation of the text comports with a modern understanding of the law. In another case, however, Gorsuch might decide that an archaic definition is clear, while in still another he might decide the text is unclear and look at what Thomas Jefferson would have wanted. Gorsuchs interpretation of the text is going to work against a robust protection of rights more often than it works to promote them.

But that can be a problem for another day. Today, Gorsuch divined that the text of Title VII clearly protects gay and trans people, which is a happy conclusion and the right conclusion. It is also, it must be said, the same conclusion a mere mortal could have come to by simply looking at the last 30 years of legal precedent.

Despite the seismic nature of the ruling, no new rights were granted in this case. Thats because many lower federal courts have deemed that the LGBTQ community is functionally protected by Title VII since the 1989 case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. In that case, the court ruled that employers could not discriminate against people who didnt conform to the sexual stereotype preferred by their employer. Its basically the no, she doesnt need to smile more case.

The Bostock case came about all these years later not as part of a progressive effort to make those Title VII protections apply explicitly to the LGBTQ community, but as the result of decades of conservative activism, led by groups like the Federalist Society and the judges they support, to get the LGBTQ community excluded from the protections many judges and scholars think they already enjoy. The conservative goal has been to force Congress to rewrite Title VII to explicitly include LGBTQ people, thus giving conservative political candidates another culture-war issue to fight about, while trusting total gridlock in Washington to prevent any such rewrite from ever happening.

The majority opinion shifts the burden away from the courts and puts it squarely on anti-LGBTQ politicians to continue this fight. If conservatives want to change the law, they are now free to organize and elect congresspeople and senators who oppose LGBTQ rights and want to run on a platform rewriting the Civil Rights Act to exclude them.

One way to know that this was a major victory for the LGBTQ community is that alt-right forces are having a meltdown over the decision. (Ben Shapiros tears taste particularly delicious right now.) While Gorsuchs majority opinion was just 33 pages, Justice Samuel Alitos dissent was 54 pages, and included 172 pages of appendices that he offered as evidence, clear as I can tell, of the importance of genitalia over time. Trying to include all of this supposed evidence briefly crashed the Supreme Court website when the opinion was initially released. Anything that makes Alito this mad is, almost by definition, very good.

Still, the more important dissent might have been written by alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh. Yes, the justice that Susan Collins vouched for dissented from an LGBTQ rights opinion, something that Collins herself pretended not to notice when she tweeted out support for the courts decision in Bostock. Kavanaugh argued that whether or not he thinks the LGBTQ community should be included in Title VII protections is irrelevant, since we are judges, not Members of Congress. Under the Constitutions separation of powers, our role as judges is to interpret and follow the law as written, regardless of whether we like the result. He, like the conservative lawyers who argued this case, pretends that Title VII does not already include the LGBTQ community, and argues that it is not the role of the court to extend the scope of that law.

This is significant, because it is exactly the same argument John Roberts made in his dissent from the marriage-equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges. In that case, Roberts wrote: Understand well what this dissent is about: It is not about whether, in my judgment, the institution of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. It is instead about whether, in our democratic republic, that decision should rest with the people acting through their elected representatives, or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law.More from Mystal

I dont know if Roberts has changed his mind on marriage equality. But I do know that when Kavanaugh effectively read Robertss own argument against marriage equality back to him, Roberts declined to go in for another round.

Robertss decision to switch sides is an important sign. Given the polarization of American politics, its unlikely that new LGBTQ rights laws are going to be written any time soon. Conservative politicians are very good at stoking MAGA fears over which bathroom people use, while many purple-state Democrats would rather hope for gay and trans rights than fight for them. If were not going to get new, robust laws about equality, then were going to need courts to continue including the LGBTQ community in what equal rights laws already exist.

Bostock is a significant civil rights victory and, with Gorsuch and Roberts on board, it feels durable as well. But make no mistake: Anti-LGBTQ discrimination has not been defeated. To risk a war analogy: This case is like surviving the Battle of Britaininvading Normandy and kicking the fascists off the continent is still a long way off.

Republicans will try to use this judicial defeat to motivate their base to show up to vote on November 3. Liberals have to be equally motivated to turn out in November and defend this victory.

Originally posted here:

Neil Gorsuch Stuns the Nation, Does the Right Thing - The Nation

The Voice of America Will Sound Like Trump – The Atlantic

Eventually, some of the same principles also came to apply to the Voice of America. VOA is a U.S.-based radio station that was originally created in 1942 to rally the troops. Long perceived as an arm of the U.S. government, it was less successful as a news operation than RFE/RL and the BBC World Service, which maintained reputations for impartiality. To better compete, in the 1970s it was given more independence. But from the beginning it was always intended, as its mission statement still clearly says, to represent America, not any single segment of American society. VOA was never meant to be the tool of one political party, but rather to present America from a broad, nonpartisan perspective. Its most successful programs by far had no politics at all: VOAs Jazz Hour at one point had 30 million listeners and a cult following inside the Soviet Union.

Compared with the cost of a nuclear arsenal, these tactics were dirt cheapand yet they probably did more to undermine communist ideology than all of the U.S. military put together. Over time, the American-backed broadcasters in Europe and Russia built up the trust that helped break the spell of communism and bring down the regimes.

When the Cold War ended, many forgot about these tools. But through the 1990s, the 2000s, and the 2010s, VOA and RFE/RL kept working; Radio Free Asia, along with sister stations broadcasting into Cuba and the Middle East, were added to the group. They kept doing the same job, using the same principles, only in more countries than before. On relatively small budgets, sometimes in difficult conditions, they have kept operating as surrogates in countries that dont have a free press, where journalism is dangerous and governments are not transparent, putting out hundreds of reports in dozens of languages. Through them, and thanks to them, some parts of the world learn about America, and sometimes about their own countries, too.

All of these institutions gathered under the U.S. Agency for Global Media umbrella have had their ups and downs. They have had better and worse leaders; there have been arguments about how much popular programming to do on the native-language stations, and how much serious news. There have been periods of low morale, staff problems, oversight issues. Last year, Radio Mart, which broadcasts into Cuba, put out some conspiratorial, anti-Semitic material about George Soros, after which eight people were fired. Successive White Houses tried to shape the broadcasters in various ways, and sometimes became annoyed by the output of one network or another. Until this week, however, no U.S. administration had actually set out to destroy Americas international broadcasters or remove their independence. But now, finally, one has.

The author of this action is Michael Pack: colleague of Steve Bannon, producer of a documentary film on Clarence Thomas, and a person so indifferent to the subject of international broadcasting that several people who have met him told me they thought he didnt really want the job. (Because they still work with him, they asked to remain anonymous.) The Trump administration nominated him as the CEO of the Agency for Global Media two years ago, but his nomination languished in the Senate, not least because Republican senators were unenthusiastic; one congressional staffer who met Pack told me that he seemed to know nothing, had not bothered to read a 101 on the agency. Asked about his priorities for the complex broadcasting services, he would respond, according to another interlocutor, with vague phrases like Give me some time and I need to think about it. Pack is also under criminal investigation for allegedly misdirecting money from a nonprofit to his private company, normally the kind of thing that gives the Senate pause. But for reasons that are still unclear, President Trump finally got interested in his nomination this spring, started making calls, and leaned hard on the supine Republican Senate leadership to vote him in.

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The Voice of America Will Sound Like Trump - The Atlantic

Canceling Joe Rogan Would be the Left’s Worst Nightmare – Here’s Why – CCN.com

Twitter is turning up the heat on podcast superstar and the Bro sen One, Joe Rogan. His buddy Joey Diaz is also facing the music.

Rogan has long drawn the ire of far-leftists. He uses his massive podcast following to promote, among others, left and right-leaning speakers.

He describes himself as a mostly liberal. Yet liberals see him as a toxic man whos giving a platform to dangerous, alt-right ideas.

But now that several of his comedian friends are facing sexual misconduct allegations, liberals on Twitter are taking their shot.

They should pray they dont succeed.

Joe Rogans friends keep getting caught with their pants down.

First, it was Louis CK.

Last week, Chris DElia was accused of predatory sexual misconduct involving multiple underage girls.

Allegations now surround roastmaster Jeff Ross.

Rogans good friend Joey Diaz is also facing the music after this misogynistic rant, which Joe Rogan, sadly, indulges:

It is nothing short of awful, and Rogan should have to answer for this enabling behavior (and Joey Diaz? Youre on your own). But to call for the mans job would be akin to firing every person whos ever laughed at a racist joke.

But theres more.

This clip of comedian Bill Burr clapping back at Rogan for not wanting to wear a mask just went viral:

These examples give liberals every reason to see Rogan as a problematic meathead. But hell be the first person to tell you hes stupid.

Joe Rogan is not easy to peg down. He fits multiple conflicting archetypes. Hes an MMA fighter and commentator who has a jujitsu grip on the minds of bros all across the country.

But the comedian is also a loud proponent of psychedelics, and he has a curious mind that enrages people who want him to choose a side. He doesnt like Donald Trump. He doesnt like Joe Biden.

Hes interviewed alt-right demigods like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens. But hes also publicly endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Liberal publications like Slate call his podcast:

a rambling, profane interview program in which the host is often high, loves to talk about cage fighting.

Within the same article, author Justin Peters quotes Rogan as saying, I go left on everything. Basically except guns.

But he pushes back on key ideas of the left, like the illusion of gender, the reality of the wage gap, and what he deems as outrage culture. That already put progressives in a frenzy. And then, the clips above pushed them over the top.

But, as bad as those clips are, they should realize he serves a bigger purpose in the ecosystem.

While some would argue that Joe Rogan is a gateway to the alt-right, I would argue that hes an even larger gateway away from the alt-right.

The idea that hes converting out-loud male-feminist types over to the Darkside is laughable. But he does appeal to the silent majority who are witnessing the battle between sides and trying to decide. In that way, his left-leaning sentiments nudge many in the liberal direction.

Essentially, hes like progressive training wheels. Hes the one guy who might be able to reach someone in a red state whos supporting Trump by default and get them to understand the progressive ideas touted by Bernie Sanders or Andrew Yang.

If liberals someday actually managed to cancel him, these undecided people could go full-MAGA. And there could be a lot of them, considering hehas the most popular podcast in the world.

And as crazy as both extremes can be at times, whats so wrong with swaying to the middle?

Try to cancel him if you want, but theres another option: encourage him to have guests that you want to see. Like him or hate him, Joe Rogan is open to new ideas as long as your outrage doesnt end up radicalizing him, too.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

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Canceling Joe Rogan Would be the Left's Worst Nightmare - Here's Why - CCN.com

Why human beings are so irrational, and never learn podcasts of the week – The Guardian

Picks of the week

Cautionary TalesWhat is the value of a life? How much can scientists learn from the search for a smallpox vaccine? And why dont humans listen to warnings until its too late? The new season of Tim Harfords podcast about lifes big mistakes asks some timely questions in six mini-episodes. There are lessons to be learned along the way, with tales of people sitting in a packed cabaret bar while a fire spread through a hotel and the danger of relying on other people to guide you to safety. Hannah Verdier

Rabbit HoleIf youve not yet fallen down the rabbit hole that is the Rabbit Hole podcast from the New York Times, prepare to be enlightened and a little freaked out. Alongside producer Andy Mills (Caliphate), the tech columnist Kevin Roose examines whether the internet is doing something to us that is profoundly changing who we are, from radicalisation via YouTube to all-knowing algorithms and PewDiePies rise from online celebrity to hero of the alt-right. Perfect for fans of the similarly brain-wobbling Reply All. Hannah J Davies

Chosen by Max Sanderson

During the past couple of months, as horror stories emerged from Italy of doctors forced to choose which patients receive ventilation, and politicians debate whether to prioritise the health of their citizens or the economy, Ive often asked myself the same question. Who defines how much a life is worth?

Its a question that is explored immaculately in one of my favourite pieces of audio; the aptly titled Playing God from Radiolab. With the journalist Sheri Fink as our guide, the story focuses on a single hospital in New Orleans ravaged by Hurricane Katrina (which is also the focus of Finks book Five Days at Memorial). What follows is a masterclass in how audio can be used to recreate a moment in time.

As usual, the Radiolab team bring the unfolding narrative to life with simple scripting and subtle sound design to create a sense of tension that, at times, verges on unbearable. Added to this is their use of space something Ive written about before which leaves you alone to writhe in contemplation, much like I imagine the healthcare workers in that hospital had to.

Its definitely not an easy listen and is one some may find distressing but its an incredibly important story, to try to give us a sense of what happens, what should happen, when humans are forced to play God?

The Guardians new podcast, Innermost, begins on Tuesday. Hosted by Leah Green it will journey into the secret lives of listeners around the world, as they tell their stories in their own words.

Why not try: In Weird Cities | The Rewatchables | 27 Club

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Why human beings are so irrational, and never learn podcasts of the week - The Guardian


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