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OptOut's Weekend Picks (Oct. 10, 2020)

Here's what our independent media partners have been up to this week.

Hi there, OptersOut!

Another slow news week, huh?

As a white militia plotted to kidnap the governor of Michigan and Donald Trump tweeted through the early days of his COVID-19 infection while high on steroids, our more than 70 independent media partners put out some great stories, podcasts, and videos as always.

The loose theme of this newsletter is far-right extremism. Several items we feature below focus on race and racism. White nationalist and anti-government groups have thrived under Trump, and extremist violence is likely to break out around our upcoming elections. Please read, listen to, and watch our partners’ important work on these topics below.

Development continues on our nonprofit news app for independent media, which we hope to launch in March!

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News

Mainer: Law Enforcement Distracted by Facetious BLM Tweets as Rightwing Extremists Run Rampant

Leaked documents reveal bias and incompetence plaguing the government’s scrutiny of social media, Mainer’s Nathan Bernard reports.

“In this case, seemingly random Twitter posts were selected not because they went viral or were sent by a well known figure, but because it inflamed the political biases of law enforcement,” McQuade said. “At a time when the entire criminal legal system is facing a legitimacy crisis, these reports use a single tweet to create a profile of potentially violent protestors for local police and rationalize aggressive monitoring of Black Lives Matter protests.”

Read the article

Support Mainer, which is published by the Mainer News Cooperative, a worker-owned enterprise.

Also on RIGHTWING EXTREMISM:


The Flashpoint: Anger at Mass Dems as Fallout From Alex Morse Scandal Continues

This year, college Democrats and the upper echelons of the Massachusetts Democratic Party colluded in a smear campaign against progressive Alex Morse, a young mayor who was challenging centrist incumbent Rep. Richard Neal. Eoin Higgins’ latest post in The Flashpoint explains the newest developments.

“While I appreciate the party’s investigation, at the end of the day, the party is investigating itself,” said Morse. “I don’t trust Gus Bickford. This is the same chair that took me to lunch and discouraged me from challenging Neal. Essentially, the investigation is an attorney talking to various people and taking everyone’s word. People can choose not to talk, and she has no access to anything that people don’t willingly provide.”

Read the article

See a related event listing at the end of this newsletter!

Support The Flashpoint.

Image credit: Alex Morse for Congress


Sludge: Blue Dog-Affiliated Group Runs Ads for Big Pharma

Center Forward, a "dark money" group with major funding from Big Pharma, is running a Facebook ad campaign touting the pharmaceutical industry as its super PAC spends millions to re-elect conservative Blue Dog Democrats. Sludge’s Donald Shaw reports.

Read the article

Support Sludge, an investigative news site focused on money in politics.


Analysis

Jacobin: We Can’t Ignore Rural Voter Resentment

Jacobin’s Meagan Day interviews political scientist Katherine J. Cramer about her study of rural Wisconsinites and voter resentment. While racism plays a part in Donald Trump’s appeals to these voters, Cramer says,

It is possible to reach out to rural people and validate their feeling of forgottenness in a way that doesn’t involve pointing your finger at a target population and saying, “They’re the ones to blame.”

Read the interview

Support Jacobin, a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.

Image credit: Dan Keck/Flickr


Africa Is a Country: How We Normalize Racialism

South African writer Rekang Jankie argues that some progressive approaches to the concept of race reinforce the artificial constructs they seek to dismantle.

This large and understandable focus on racism from all corners has had the unfortunate consequence of reproducing a distinct and even morally righteous yet ultimately harmful racialism.

Read the piece

Support Africa Is a Country, a volunteer-driven non-profit.

Image credit: Ivan Radic/Flickr


The Daily Poster: Harris Did Not Need To Defend Fracking

At Wednesday’s debate, Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris made it crystal clear that Joe Biden will not ban fracking, a gas extraction process that releases methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon, into the atmosphere. David Sirota and Andrew Perez show why this conservative stance on climate change isn’t politically expedient.

Polls show Pennsylvania voters back fracking restrictions—and yet, Dems’ VP nominee touted Biden’s support for fracking as Beltway reporters keep falsely portraying it as a necessity to win the Keystone State.

Read the piece

Support The Daily Poster, an investigative journalism project led by award-winning reporter David Sirota.

Image credit: C-SPAN.


The Airwaves

Belly of the Beast Cuba: The War on Cuba — Episode 1

Belly of the Beast Cuba is out with the first episode of its documentary, The War on Cuba, which offers an inside look on the effects of U.S. sanctions on Cuban people.

This first episode explores how U.S. policy impacts people’s lives through the eyes of young Cuban journalist Liz Oliva Fernandez.

Help Belly of the Beast complete this film project.


Behind the News: A History of the White Power Movement feat. Katherine Belew

On Doug Henwood’s Behind the News podcast, History professor Kathleen Belew, author of Bring the War Home, talks about the history of the white power movement from the Vietnam War through the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, which can help us understand the present moment.

I highly recommend reading or listening to Bring the War Home.

Listen on Left Business Observer | KPFA | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Support Doug through his website, LBO News.

Image credit: Democracy Now!


Gravel Institute: Capitalism vs. Freedom

The Gravel Institute, a progressive think tank with a mission to challenge rightwing propaganda outfit PragerU, is out with its second video. Law professor and author Zephyr Teachout explains how capitalism puts us at the whims of employers, bosses, and huge corporations, despite its claims.

Support the Gravel Institute.


Reply Guys: Sick and Twisted Leftists with Talia Lavin

Kate and Julia talk to Talia Lavin, author of the book Culture Warlords, which is out on Tuesday. The book lays out what Lavin found when she dove into “a byzantine online culture of hate and learned the intricacies of how white supremacy proliferates online.”

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Support Reply Guys.


Events

Jacobin: Their Democracy and Ours with Angela Davis

On Tuesday, Jacobin and Haymarket Books will present a discussion between renowned activist and writer Angela Davis and journalist, film-maker, and activist Astra Taylor about how a diverse, multigenerational coalition of activists can work together to map a path forward.

Get tickets


Corruption and Homophobia in the Democratic Party: The Smearing of Alex Morse

Massachusetts Peace Action will host Eoin Higgins for a talk on Monday. Higgins will address questions such as:

How involved was the Democratic Party? Why did they weaponize homophobic smears against a gay candidate? Was the national and local media complicit in reporting unverified accusations and potentially ruining an innocent life? Did they correct their reporting when new information came out? Why were prominent leftist groups and individuals so susceptible to believing bad faith smears? Were the homophobic smears effective? What does this mean for progressives in politics going forward?

Register


That’s all, folks. Stay safe, and please wear a mask!!

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