Republican bigotry

The War on Journalists: When truth is the enemy

Philippine strongman Duterte is out of control:

The award-winning head of a Philippine online news site that has aggressively covered President Rodrigo Duterte's policies was arrested Wednesday by government agents in a libel case.

Maria Ressa, who was selected by Time magazine as one of its Persons of the Year last year, was arrested over a libel complaint from a businessman which Amnesty International has condemned as "brazenly politically motivated." Duterte's government says the arrest was a normal step in response to the complaint.

Bolding mine, because when a civil complaint (Libel), that has yet to be even proven in a court of law, is grounds for incarceration by authorities, you are not living in anywhere that remotely resembles a democracy. You're probably thinking, "This is what happens when you've got somebody like Trump in the White House," but it may actually be the other way around. Yes, Trump was outright abusive with journalists during his 2016 Campaign, but he also got some lessons from Duterte when they met in 2017:

GOP joins Char-O in calling for removal of LaWana Mayfield from Commission

Marching to a different drummer:

Senate Republicans called on Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday to rescind an appointment he gave a Charlotte City Council member who referred to police officers as "homegrown terrorists wearing blue uniforms."

Charlotte Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield is also something of a 9/11 truther, questioning in a Facebook post last year whether planes really hit the World Trade Center in New York. But it was her March 2018 Twitter post on police in America that led The Charlotte Observer to call for her removal from the state Human Relations Commission in an editorial over the weekend. Cooper named Mayfield to the board in December.

One of the core goals of the Commission is to seek equality in justice and government services, and we're not even close to that in the way police deal with people of color. There needs to be *several* people on that Commission who are prepared to speak out on this blatant attack on Constitutional rights, and the rest of the damn Commission needs to be prepared to listen. All that being said, the last thing they need to do is chase conspiracy theories and deteriorate into subjective classifications. Not all black male youths are "thugs," and not all police are "terrorists." We need to work towards removing such preconceived notions, or the violence will only get worse. There are a couple of nuggets in here that work in her favor:

Urban-Rural divide becomes more stark in 287(g) program

And it's increasingly a Republican-led effort:

The sheriffs who joined the program were overwhelmingly small-town or suburban and Republican, Stateline found, though not all counties have partisan races for sheriff. The only urban counties to join were those encompassing Fort Worth, Texas, and Knoxville, Tennessee. None of the new sheriffs to join the program ran as a Democrat in the general election. There were no new 287(g) agreements with city police agencies, which generally aren’t elected positions and usually are not in charge of jails as are county sheriffs.

The expansion came so fast that it caused administrative problems; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) didn’t hire enough new managers to oversee the new programs and train sheriff’s deputies, according to an Inspector General report in September.

Bolding mine, because that lack of training and oversight is a recipe for an authoritarian nightmare. The 287(g) program is supposed to be "incidental" in nature; local law enforcement are only supposed to check someone's immigration status *after* a suspect has been arrested for other crimes. In the absence of a manager to review and sign off on "charging documents" that provide the legal basis for initiating the deportation, the likelihood of racial profiling increases. And it also makes our streets more dangerous because it discourages the reporting of crimes, even violent ones:

Winston-Salem ready to take legal action to move Confederate statue

Move over Silent Sam, this other dude's time has come:

Although the city has offered to pay the costs of relocating the statue to a new site, Mayor Allen Joines said he was told in recent months by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue’s owners, that the group doesn’t believe it can legally move the monument because of a North Carolina law passed in 2015.

The city is threatening legal action to have the statue moved if the UDC doesn’t act on its own by Jan. 31.

Pretty sure that 2015 law does not apply. The statue was originally placed on public property, but that property was sold and converted into downtown apartments. But the statue is still the "property" of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. On the plus side, there is a historic cemetery not far away where Confederate soldiers are actually buried, so hopefully the UDC will see the wisdom of moving the statue to that site. But a looming conflict has already been set in motion. Jordan Green with the Triad City Beat has been tracking potentially dangerous White Supremacists in the region for a while, and he's got some details:

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:

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