I’m on the road again, but I won’t leave you hanging without links! Politics * [Colin Powell's foundation and Hillary Clinton's are treated very differently by the media](http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/8/30/12690444/alma-powell-clinton-foundation) -- Can you say "double standard"? * ['No vacancies' for blacks: how Donald Trump got his start, and was first accused of bias](http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/us/politics/donald-trump-housing-race.html?_r=0) -- Trump isn't a guy who says racist things to get votes. He's a genuine racist with a long history of putting it into practice.
Do you remember the Yugoslav Wars of the ‘90s? Kosovo, Bosnia, and all that? If you’re American, you could be forgiven for not remembering. It’s time to bring up a chapter not often discussed in this country. You might be young enough that the name “Yugoslavia” means little or nothing to you. It was a state that existed in Southeastern Europe from 1922 until the early 1990s. Today, the territories that once comprised Yugoslavia are now split up into Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
No figure of the 20th century had more of an influence over China than its Communist leader, Mao Zedong. Years after Mao’s death, his personal physician of over 20 years–Li Zhisui–published a lengthy memoir of his experiences with Mao. The Private Life of Chairman Mao had been sitting on my bookshelf for some time. It’s an intimidating volume, clocking in at well over 600 pages of dense prose. Despite its length, I found it an immensely compelling read.
We live in an age dominated by identity. Progressive politics revolve around identity concepts, on the precept that all politics are identity politics. This piece is in no way a denouncement of identity politics. Instead, it’s meant as an examination and possibly clarification of certain ideas and problems I have noticed. At their best, identities are descriptive. That is, a person adopts an identity–by which I mean a specific word–because they believe it describes them well.
Imagine there’s a state-within-the-state: a shadow government that hides in plain sight. You don’t have to imagine it. It’s real. This isn’t about some vast conspiracy. There’s no Illuminati to be found here. Instead, I’m talking about the vast network of firms and people that act, for lack of a better term, as parasites attached to the American government and, perhaps more importantly, to taxpayers’ wallets. Most of us have heard of the military-industrial complex.
Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein is hoping that, by appealing to as wide a variety of cranks and edgelords as possible, she might somehow make herself and the Green Party relevant. (Note: some content in this post may be NSFW.) This led to the somewhat surreal situation we have now: Jill Stein tweeting about Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla killed several months ago at the Cincinnati Zoo, and that same deceased primate polling ahead of Stein in some states.
Most changes lately have been behind the scenes, but at least the site should be easier to find! One thing I added this week was a mobile plugin. WPtouch took a bit more setup than I would have expected, but it looks pretty good. Check out the site on your phone or other mobile device and you’ll see. One thing I was on the fence about was whether to allow zooming in and out.
It’s not Saturday without links! Science proves it! Social Justice * [White Lives Matter group protests outside NAACP in Houston's Third Ward](http://www.chron.com/houston/article/White-Lives-Matter-group-protests-outside-NAACP-9176142.php) -- This is an awfully polite way of saying a bunch of armed white supremacists stood around intimidating black people because that's Donald Trump's America. * [The racist roots of welfare reform](https://newrepublic.com/article/136200/racist-roots-welfare-reform) -- Nothing especially new to me here, but it's a good roundup of how welfare reform has operated in the US, and the fundamentally racist nature of such efforts.
France made headlines this past week when a small town decided to ban body-covering swimwear known as “burkinis” from its beaches under the guise of security concerns. The measure was already struck down by France’s highest administrative court, but it highlights an ongoing debate in the country, and indeed in the rest of the Western world. To what extent is a government permitted to regulate what its citizens wear? Does that authority also extend to clothing that is overtly religious in nature?
The Associated Press ran with a story about the Clinton Foundation this past week. That story has now been spread far and wide, with spins and hot takes all around. There’s just one problem: there’s nothing there. Entitled “Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State,” the implication of impropriety is obvious in the headline. Doesn’t it sound shady? The Secretary of State met with people who donated to the Clinton Foundation!