Saturday News: A sign of the times

WHITE SUPREMACIST GANG MEMBERSHIP ON THE RISE IN NC: "We're not sure what's causing it. It's just a trend we're starting to see, and we're trying to figure that out," Taylor told members of the state Emergency Response Commission. "We don't know what's causing it other than this one group that seems to be standing out right now – Bound for Glory." Russell Jackson, a DPS intelligence agent, said national groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Pride also are expanding across the state, including inside the prison system. "Not only are we seeing them increasing in numbers, but we're seeing them increasing in violence and violent behavior," Jackson said. Many white supremacy groups engage in the same criminal enterprises as other gangs, Taylor said, and some gangs have even developed their own dark web apps to communicate out of sight of law enforcement. But he said recruiting is still mostly done via social media or in person.

UNC AUTHOR OF WELLNESS BOOK CRITICIZED FOR DESCRIBING CANCER AS A "DISEASE OF CHOICE": Hager said in an email that the intent of the book is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. He said he and Lockhart “really are trying to make a difference for the better.” A former student in the UNC class, Skye Golann, criticized the textbook, which he said put an extreme emphasis on personal responsibility for health, without enough exploration of societal factors for bad health, such as poverty and lack of access to medicine. Hager also took issue with a News & Observer report’s characterization of the book’s description of a theory by psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. About Frankl, the book says: “He realized deep down that his life had meaning no matter how inhumanely he was being treated by his captors. The people in the camps who did not tap into the strength that comes from recognizing their intrinsic worth succumbed to the brutality to which they were subjected.”

NORTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATS TARGET WEEKENDS FOR DOOR-KNOCKING CAMPAIGNS: North Carolina Democrats committed to ending Republican majorities in the General Assembly say they're formally launching efforts to speak with neighbors about their candidates. The state Democratic Party says 18 "Weekend of Action" events are going on starting Saturday in key House and Senate districts. The party says more than 250 volunteers are prepared to knock on doors and make phone calls this weekend. Democrats are energized thanks to unhappiness with Donald Trump and want to give Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper more leverage in legislation in 2019. Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers and have controlled the legislature since 2011. The state Democratic Party reported $5.8 million in its campaign coffers earlier this month. The state GOP had $1.3 million. Both sides also have funds parked in other accounts.

COHEN HAD TAPE OF TRUMP DISCUSSING PAYOFF TO PLAYBOY MODEL: The FBI seized the recording this year during a raid on Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Trump before the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them. The recording’s existence further draws Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Cohen represents to Trump. Once the keeper of many of Trump’s secrets, Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA (DSA) SEES SURGE IN THE ERA OF TRUMP: The swift evolution is latest evidence of a nationwide surge in the strength and popularity of an organization that, until recently, operated on the fringes of the liberal movement’s farthest left flank. But as Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters. “I stand with the democratic socialists, and I have decided to become a dues-paying member,” Ringelstein told the AP. “It’s time to do what’s right, even if it’s not easy.” There are 42 men and women running for offices at the federal, state and local levels this year with the formal endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, the organization says. They span 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan. The most ambitious Democrats in Washington have been reluctant to embrace the label, even as they embrace the policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.



The dudes in the photo

are the heavy metal band "Bound For Glory," who have become the darling of neo-nazis both here and in Europe. And have apparently sparked a gang movement with the same name. BOLO.

I know, right?

Talk about being clueless and ignoring the obvious. That said, with BergerMoore holding the purse strings for Executive agencies like DPS, I can understand being hesitant to make political statements about Trumpism. But damn. Some things need to be said, regardless of the potential blowback.