Republican bigotry

UNC students harassed online by associate of Pittsburgh mass-murderer

And apparently he lives in the area, too:

Another one of the website’s more prolific users, known as Jack Corbin, is ideologically allied with the suspected killer, Robert Bowers, 46, who would often repost Corbin. And Corbin -- whose real name is unknown, but has generated a following of more than 2,000 people on Gab -- has been harassing college students online, notably activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, near where Corbin says he lives.

On Gab, Corbin took delight in coming up with a nickname for a graduate student who has protested Silent Sam -- calling her “lampshade.” One of Corbin’s followers had taunted the student, saying he would take her to the lampshade factory, apparently a reference to stories of Nazis who made lampshades from human skin. The student declined to be interviewed but told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Corbin has posted comments about her “looks, ethnicity and background” since August and she had started learning cardio kickboxing because she feared potential violence.

I have nothing but contempt for punks like this who hide behind an alias so they can threaten women with impunity. It's bad enough they have to deal with casual sexism and misogyny on a daily basis from males they do know, but some faceless stranger "joking" about brutal violence is beyond the pale. The 1st Amendment was not written to support predators and bullies, it was written to protect the voices of the oppressed; to keep the government from stifling legitimate complaints. The only thing "legitimate" about this stuff is that it's legitimately disgusting:

The Nazi next door: White Supremacy on the rise

And the mentally ill seem to be more susceptible:

A Cary police officer and an FBI agent met with Warden two days before the incident at the synagogue to discuss fliers that appeared twice in Cary neighborhoods in October, according to the application for a warrant to search Warden's home on Preston Grove Avenue.

On Oct. 16, fliers were found at homes on Roebling Lane that contained a swastika, the words "Aryan Youth" and a link to a channel on the online music-sharing platform Soundcloud that contained neo-Nazi music, the application states. Two days later, at least 60 fliers were in Cary with a swastika and the statement, "White man, are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy at the Daily Stormer."

It's long past time to shut down that particular website. I've held my nose and lurked a few times, and they have mastered the use of code words to (barely) conceal their hatred for blacks and Jews. But that platform (unless I'm mistaken) also provides the capability for private messaging, and even private "group" messaging. I haven't explored either Gab or 4Chan, and don't plan to, but it's safe to say that these platforms serve as an incubator for domestic terrorists. If law enforcement discovered al-Qaeda or Daesh (Islamic State) operating sites like this in the U.S., there would be a fricking task force rounding them up for an express trip to Guantanamo. But this dude will probably get probation:

Senator Dan Bishop helped create Alt-Right platform GAB

And he needs to answer some questions about that synagogue massacre:

A Republican politician is an investor in Gab, the now-shuttered social media network used by the Pittsburgh synagogue gunman, DailyMail.com can disclose. Dan Bishop, a state senator in North Carolina who is up for re-election next week, boasted in August 2017 that he had backed the site because he was 'about done with SF [San Francisco] thought police tech giants.'

Bishop is one of the only known investors in the tech startup, which had billed itself as 'a free speech platform' for anyone who wanted to join.

And one of the many questions he needs to answer is: How much money did you earn by capitalizing on hatred and anti-Semitism? After what happened in Pittsburgh, we're just going to go ahead and call that blood money. The synagogue shooter (Robert Bowers) not only announced his intent on GAB, he has a history of posting anti-Semitic rants on there, including the personal information of Jews:

Maya Little walks out of Honor Court over biased student-judge

Recusing himself would have been the honorable thing to do:

Maya Little and her supporters walked out of the second half of her Honor Court hearing Friday afternoon after Little expressed concern over the fairness of the trial.

The Graduate and Professional Honor Court gathered at 3 p.m. Friday for the second half of the hearing that will decide Little’s fate for painting Silent Sam with red paint and her own blood in April after Thursday's hearing ended with tension. Audience members found pro-Silent Sam material on adjudicator Frank Pray’s social media, and deliberations ensued concerning his ability to be impartial.

Okay, aside from the fact that Pray is an outspoken Silent Sam supporter, he's also the Chairman of UNC's College Republicans. He shouldn't even be on the honor court, and the same goes for political leaders from the left. It may seem like a trivial exercise when compared to the real criminal justice system, but it's far from trivial. Decisions made there will follow students for the rest of their lives, and those adjudicators need to be as objective as is humanly possible. And after Pray brought anti-Muslim extremist David Horowitz to campus a few years ago, his objectivity is literally non-existent:

Trump wants to define transgenderism out of existence

We're back to the whole birth certificate thing again:

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

And just like that, another freedom is arrogantly stripped away. In other contexts, we might say a "definition" is merely a mundane classification, with no real-world consequences. But in the context of the Trump administration, where putting toddlers in concentration camps is considered "sound" policy, that definition becomes a lot more sinister. How far away from the further step: "You don't meet our definition of a human being, so human rights are no longer applicable" could we be? Not far enough, that's for sure. And we can now put to rest the presumption that right-wing think tanks are relatively harmless:

Piqued by the lack of attention, Dan Forest makes some noise

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Revealing the obvious, that he's running for Governor in 2020:

A big piece of North Carolina’s 2020 race for governor fell into place Thursday when Dan Forest gave his clearest signal yet that he’s running. This raises a number of questions, including: Who is Dan Forest? What has he accomplished that makes him qualified to serve as governor? And what’s next for Pat McCrory? Forest is North Carolina’s lieutenant governor and a Republican. On Thursday, he issued a statement reacting to the latest news on the I-77 tolls project.

“The I-77 toll road contract was a colossal mistake started by the Perdue administration, signed by the McCrory administration, punted by the Cooper administration and would be fixed by a Forest administration,” he said.

Bolding mine, because there aren't enough LOLs to cover how funny those questions are. The answers: Dan Forest is a marketable product with no actual utilitarian function. He's an artifact, created by political craftsmen to be the ideal (1950's) candidate. What has he accomplished? Less than nothing, but since it's hard to explain how his very presence has eroded the integrity of both his office and the voting public's discretionary skills, we'll just stick with "nothing." And I have to give a hat-tip to Taylor Batten, who is one of the few reporters acknowledging that lack of accomplishment:

The company you keep: Thomas Farr's roots in White Supremacy

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His now-deceased business partner was a champion for segregation:

The recent death of Raleigh lawyer and political strategist Tom Ellis at 97 marked the passing of perhaps the last prominent North Carolinian who once advocated for the white supremacist views of Wesley Critz George of Chapel Hill. George believe blacks were biologically inferior to whites and that “the protoplasmic mixing of the races” would diminish the white race, hurting its ability to survive.

“As good citizens, we should do all we can to insure that ten generations and more from now we shall have a breed of people in this country capable of maintaining American civilization,” George wrote in 1956. “Integration and amalgamation of the two races is not the way to insure having such a breed of people.”

While this story is mostly about Tom Ellis and the racists he admired and supported, it's also about how mainstream Republicans have absolutely no problem ignoring white supremacist backgrounds. At best, that's what we're supposed to assume about Thomas Farr: That he was simply a business partner of Ellis and did not automatically share his opinions. But these guys worked together for over thirty years, so spare me that painfully thin legal argument. Here's more if you can stomach it:

Counterpoint: LGBTQ-friendly companies should *not* boycott states like North Carolina

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Locating here might be just what the doctor ordered:

In my late 20s, I followed a Sapphic North Star to Seattle, one of the nation’s most progressive cities. There, I met my wife at a coffee shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we would later share our first home together. We were represented by a gay mayor and two gay state legislators, while benefiting from robust statewide nondiscrimination protections—a lucky situation we only occasionally thought about.

Safeguards like these are far too rare for far too many. Only 44 percent of all LGBTQ people nationwide have these same guarantees today, and none of them live in the South—where we now live, in North Carolina. Here, we and all LGBTQ people are keenly aware of the potential vulnerabilities we face in the eyes of employers, landlords, and others. With the differing experiences of Washington and North Carolina in mind, it’s clear what is and is not useful in advancing equality nationwide—and ill-considered corporate relocation boycotts are definitely in the latter category.

I recently got into a pointless argument with somebody who basically said, "If you're a straight white male you should STFU and let marginalized people lead the discussion." And I get most of that. But I also know if I don't speak out in certain venues and media (like this one), the issues won't be addressed at all, or at best very infrequently. With that said, the opinion expressed above has been on my mind for some time also. The thing about boycotts is, they "isolate." The intention to isolate a state as punishment for discriminatory practices, in order to generate a loss of commerce, seems like a valid approach. Hurt 'em in their wallets, as it were. But that isolation comes at a cost to the LGBTQ folks who could have found employment and solidarity working at these companies. And those opportunities are desperately needed here in the South:

Trump's EO will create numerous "family" detention centers

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Out of the fire and into the frying pan:

Trump's executive order directs the attorney general to promptly file a request with U.S. District Judge Dolly Gree in the Central District of California to modify the Flores Settlement and allow detained migrant families to be held together "throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings ... or other immigration proceedings."

The president directed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to maintain custody of detained families during criminal proceedings and as their asylum claims are adjudicated. Also, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies are ordered to find or construct facilities to house the detained families. Finally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directed to prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.

"Finding" such facilities won't be that difficult, considering all the big-box retail stores like Wal-Mart that were closed and virtually abandoned. No doubt many developers and banks holding the notes on these dinosaurs are rubbing their hands together in glee, anticipating that monthly lease payment. And of course these people will have to be fed, so there's a lot of money to be made there, too. And as for those 2,000+ children already caged up, this order does absolutely nothing for them:

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