Part I: That Was Then
â€œThey used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?â€
So many of us worked hard, fought hard, in our own ways. We gave our money. We gave our time. We gave what felt like our souls. All for building a dream, with peace and glory ahead. All because this honorable, poetic, honest, and at times, challenged man embodied our dreams of a better world, a new world. We knew he could build a better America. We knew he could save us from Republican greed and dishonesty and bigotry and hate. We knew he could save us from Republican empire and class building and warfare. He told us we were building a dream, and so we followed him. He knew how to use the tools of today to bring us a smarter, better, more human tomorrow. And he promised us something no one else ever had: inclusion. He spoke to us. By name. He spoke to us as if we were (almost, at least) just as good as he was. We gave him everything we had. Some gave all they could just to ensure that, together, we would realize the promise of Obama. But now, many are wondering if his were false promises. Many are seeing promises broken. And many are answering, â€œNO,â€ to the question, â€œBrother, can you spare a dime?â€
â€œOnce I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now itâ€™s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now itâ€™s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?â€
â€œOnce in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!â€
We were all kids with drums. We all felt like kids. We all felt like children of the 60â€™s. Standing together, singing in perfect harmony. We had a dream. His dream. Our dream. We sang our dreams to each other through emails and phone calls and heard his name grow louder and louder. We were his army. Manning phone banks. Knocking on our neighborsâ€™ doors. Wearing his â€œObamaâ€ and â€œChangeâ€ buttons on our khaki suits, our tee shirts, his bumper stickers on our cars, his magnets on our refrigerators. We were his half a million, hell, we were his million-man army. We were successful. Obama was elected. By a strong margin. He gave us the tools and we made them work. We made our own tools. We networked like crazy. We responded to all his emails. â€œPlease, just $25.â€ We gave him our money. We built his railroad. We built his shining tower. And once it was done, once he was elected, we gave him time and space to do the nationâ€™s business, putting our needs, our hopes, on hold. And we stood in line, waiting for bread. But then he took our hopes and threw them in our face. He ignored our dreams, our needs. And if that werenâ€™t bad enough, last week he compared our relationships to those of marrying children and to incest. We have to wonder, why? Why invoke incest and marrying children to defend DOMA, a law you claim you want to repeal, Mr. President? Why? Donâ€™t you remember us, and your promises to us? Werenâ€™t we buddies? Werenâ€™t we pals?
â€œSay, donâ€™t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why donâ€™t you remember, Iâ€™m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,â€
â€œHalf a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say, donâ€™t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, donâ€™t you remember, Iâ€™m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?â€*
Part II: This Is Now
As another song goes, money makes the world go round. And in many respects itâ€™s true. But money, withholding money, also makes people stand up and take notice. The gay community is strong. And rich. Very rich. Look at our demographics. Gays are more likely (thanks to the establishment we fight against) to be single, childless, with a greater disposable income, and greater say over where we invest both time and money than our married, child-raising, heterosexual counterparts. Make no mistake, many, a great many of us would like to be afforded the right to marry, many of us donâ€™t even have the right to raise children, and weâ€™re working for those rights, but as it stands now, stripped of that which defines many, marriage and families, we are in a sense a class of privilege: financial privilege. And President Obama and DNC Chair Tim Kaine, would do well to remember that.
The Presidentâ€™s gay agenda is all but invisible. Certainly, there is no actual plan to bring the gay community the rights we have fought for. So many are fighting back. At the June 25 Democratic National Committee Fundraiser, several key gay Democrats will be conspicuous in their absence: award-winning gay blogger Andy Towle, and author, political strategist and civil rights activist David Mixner were the first. Now, Human Rights Campaign’s National Field Director Marty Rouse and Executive Director of New York’s Empire State Pride Agenda, Alan Van Capelle, as well as Clinton White House advisor Richard Socarides has joined the dropping-out in protest list.
Pam Spaulding of Pamâ€™s House Blend is asking others to drop out in protest:
“If you feel so inclined, pleaseÂ politely contact our out LGBT representatives on the Hill to ask them why they still plan to hold the event in the wake of lack of leadership re: DADT repeal and the horrible DOMA brief and 2) do they see anything problematic about financially supporting a party that runs for cover when our issues come up on the Hill.”
She then lists contact information for Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis, three openly-gay Congressmen.
But if withholding money from the DNC to highlight our power and remind people the importance of our cause isnâ€™t enough, perhaps this is: Forbes Magazine, that bastion of capitalism, the icon of industry, Tuesday ran an article titled, â€œThe $9.5 Billion Gay Marriage Windfall.â€ They write, â€œIf half of the same-sex couples got hitched, Forbes estimates that the industry would reap nearly $10 billion in additional revenue.â€ And continue with,
â€œThere are 781,267 same-sex couples living together in the U.S., according to the Census Bureauâ€™s 2005-07 American Community Survey. The Williams Institute, a research arm of UCLAâ€™s law school, predicts that if gay marriage were legalized nationwideâ€‰â€”â€‰only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Iowa and (as of earlier this month) New Hampshire allow it nowâ€‰â€”â€‰about half of those couples would tie the knot within three years.
Talk about a stimulus package.â€
Our lawmakers need to understand the following:
DOMA is unconstitutional. It violates not only our Constitution but our principles of fairness and equality. And it is unacceptable.
DADT actually weakens our nation by putting at risk the tens of thousands of gays and lesbians serving in our military. Imagine trying to do a good job, putting your life and career on the line every day, only to go to sleep each night knowing tomorrow you could be fired just for being gay. Imagine sending your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend off to war, not knowing if youâ€™ll ever see them again, and knowing if you never do, the knock on the door, the call in the dead of night, wonâ€™t be on your door, wonâ€™t be to your phone. It is unacceptable.
ENDA will protect millions and millions of gay and lesbian Americans who simply want to continue to do their jobs without harassment or fear of termination just because they are gay. That it is not yet law is unacceptable.
The gay community isnâ€™t the problem. Weâ€™re the solution. Enact Hate Crimes (reportedly it will happen this week.) Enact ENDA. Repeal DADT. Repeal DOMA. Watch the economy strengthen. Watch families being formed. Watch families get stronger. Watch children being raised in loving households by two parents. And watch our military men and women grow even stronger and more secure.
Or donâ€™t. And see what happens to the Obama Administration and to the Democratic party. Obama has the ability to change this all. We spent our political capital on him. He needs to spend his political capital on us. Not later, not in a possible second term. But soon. And, he needs to apologize. Or there may not be a second term. And that would be a shame. Because, despite his obvious blind spot for the gay community, I still believe Obama can become the greatest American president in decades. We elected him for a reason. Because he is the right man for our time. But if he fails the gay community, it will be his fault, no one elseâ€™s. His fault, but the results of that failure will be our burden. We need to force his hand – he wonâ€™t act if we don’t act. We need to tell Obama, and the DNC, until they cast their vote for civil rights, for a stronger nation, we canâ€™t spare a dime.
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Musk’s Twitter Is ‘Welcoming With Open Arms’ a ‘Full-Fledged Nazi’ – and Recommending Users Follow Him: Reports
Elon Musk‘s Twitter on Friday allowed Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi behind the infamous Daily Stormer website to return to the social media platform after a nine-year ban. Several Twitter users reported the social media platform is now recommending they follow him.
“Anglin has publicly indicated that the goal of his operation and adherence to white nationalist ideology is to ‘ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government. Many people also believe that the Jews should be exterminated,'” reported Rolling Stone on Friday. “Anglin is a staunch supporter of Nazi ideology and regularly espouses Holocaust denail. In 2018, Anglin wrote that he ‘[hates] women. I think they deserve to be beaten, raped and locked in cages.'”
WUSA 9 investigative reporter Jordan Fischer tweeted a screenshot of the Twitter recommendation.
Twitter is currently recommending I follow neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin. Incredible stuff. pic.twitter.com/F2f9c75Tla
— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) December 2, 2022
As did other Twitter users.
— Camas Defense Alliance (@CamDefAlliance) December 2, 2022
Last month veteran journalist Nick Martin, who investigates hate and extremism, reported that “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene shared a thread calling on Elon Musk to reinstate an array of racists, conspiracy theorists and serial harassers. The list includes fugitive neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, white supremacist David Duke and British neo-Nazi Mark Collett.”
Earlier today, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene shared a thread calling on Elon Musk to reinstate an array of racists, conspiracy theorists and serial harassers. The list includes fugitive neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, white supremacist David Duke and British neo-Nazi Mark Collett. pic.twitter.com/FadEr3ZcUm
— Nick Martin (@nickmartin) November 23, 2022
At the top of that list is Milo Yiannopoulos, a right wing extremist and provocateur who has advocated for older men having sex with underaged teen boys. Yiannopoulos is also Greene’s intern who was reportedly part of the Kanye West–Nick Fuentes dinner with Donald Trump.
“Andrew Anglin is the founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, which takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as Der Stürmer,” the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported. “True to that vintage, Anglin is infamous for the crudity of his language and his thinking, a contrast to his sophistication as a prolific internet troll and serial harasser. Anglin’s organizing and harassment on the Daily Stormer led to lawsuits, and courts have awarded millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs suing Anglin in recent years. But with his whereabouts unknown, Anglin has so far escaped full accountability for his actions.”
Indeed, just last month a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Anglin, who is “accused of ignoring a $14 million judgment against him for orchestrating an antisemitic harassment campaign against a Montana woman’s family,” The Billings Gazette had reported.
SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah responded to Anglin’s return to Twitter by reminding him he still owes him “$4.1 million dollars for sending your Nazis to kill me. Do you have the $?! I want to donate it groups that counter the very hate you spew!”
“Musk is helping normalize a Nazi,” he adds.
Amy Spitalnick, the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA) called Anglin “a full-fledged Nazi who runs the Daily Stormer and, among many other things, was found liable for the Charlottesville violence in our lawsuit. A perfect example of the vile, violent extremists Musk is welcoming with open arms.”
Image: Elon Musk, photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr
Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports
In the wake of the Colorado Springs hate crime mass shooting last month at an gay nightclub’s drag show event that left five people dead, the anti-LGBTQ slur “groomer” and other anti-LGBTQ hate speech posts on Twitter skyrocketed, “peaking at 885% over their highest level before the shooting,” NBC News reports.
“Barely 24 hours after the Colorado Springs hate crime attack,” Salon reported last week, “Elon Musk’s new Twitter responded to the massacre by reinstating the account of James Lindsay, the right-wing activist responsible for popularizing the anti-LGBTQ slur ‘OK groomer,’ which over the last 10 months has been used to imply that demands for LGBTQ rights or representation are tantamount to child molestation. In August, Lindsay was banned from Twitter for using a variation on the term, which under Twitter’s old regime was prohibited as a form of hateful conduct. But by Monday night, not only was Lindsay back, but ‘OK groomer’ was trending on the platform under its new ownership.”
Slurs against gay men on Twitter have increased by a daily average of 58% in the weeks following Elon Musk taking the critically influential social media platform private, firing its board, and welcoming back thousands of previously-banned accounts, according to information from NBC News and The New York Times.
“Travis Brown, an independent software developer in Berlin who tracks Twitter suspensions and screen name changes as part of a project studying extremism,” NBC News reports, shared data “that showed a wide variety of far-right accounts had been reinstated since Musk’s announcement” of a so-called “general amnesty.”
“In that time, Brown has logged an estimated 12,000 reversals of past bans, in a set that, while not a definitive list of reversals, provides a window into the types of users being welcomed back to the platform and leaving experts alarmed.”
In addition to “spammers, copyright rule-breakers, adult-content creators and high-profile accounts, Twitter has reopened the door to a growing and emboldened community of trolls, white nationalists, conspiracy theorists and extreme right-wing activists,” NBC adds.
Musk’s general amnesty “has restored hundreds of accounts of right-wing activists and QAnon adherents, according to data reviewed by NBC News. The reinstatement of far-right accounts has coincided with a series of bans of left-wing accounts, leaving users unsure of how the company is now applying its rules.”
The New York Times adds, “Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.”
“Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day,” The Times reports. “And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.”
“I see good things about Hitler,” West told Jones. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
Musk apparently personally had West’s Twitter account suspended when the artist who goes by “Ye” posted an image of a Jewish six-pointed star embedded with a Nazi swastika. The account, at least for now, remains suspended.
The Times reporting, which includes information from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups, calls the increase in hate speech on Musk’s Twitter “unprecedented.”
“Accounts that Twitter used to regularly remove — such as those that identify as part of the Islamic State, which were banned after the U.S. government classified ISIS as a terror group — have come roaring back. Accounts associated with QAnon, a vast far-right conspiracy theory, have paid for and received verified status on Twitter, giving them a sheen of legitimacy,” The Times reveals.
Musk himself set the stage. At the end of October he retweeted a false, anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory involving Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, who had recently been bludgeoned in a “near death” attack in their San Francisco home, allegedly by a man who has promoted far right extremism. He later removed that retweet.
Just last week Bloomberg News reported Musk was “restoring a string of accounts previously suspended for harassing transgender people, rolling back protections for the LGBTQ community as the country confronts the aftermath” of the Colorado Springs mass shooting. “Advocates say the shooting… highlights the potential real-world violence that can stem from rhetoric against the trans community. They noted that anti-trans abuse has been mounting on the platform since the shooting.”
As Musk welcomes back thousands who were banned for various reasons, from hate speech to disinformation to spamming to attacks on minorities and more, NBC’s reporting makes clear that left wing activists are finding their accounts suspended for apparently no legitimate reason.
“Chad Loder is an independent journalist in Los Angeles with more than 137,000 followers whose reporting on the Jan. 6 riot has been cited in Justice Department charging documents. Loder, who uses they/them pronouns, recently had their account suspended, briefly reinstated and then suspended again without a clear reason.”
For his part, Musk took to Twitter to refute reports hate speech has increased dramatically.
Image: Elon Musk by Duncan.Hull via Wikipedia
15-Year Old Campaigning Door-to-Door for Raphael Warnock Shot Through Door– ‘No Indication’ Politically Motivated: Police
A 15-year old boy campaigning door-to-door for U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was shot by a 42-year old man through the front door, according to Savannah Police who claim “there is no indication the shooting was politically motivated.”
The man was arrested after police responded to the shooting on Thursday around 5:35 PM, “and discovered a 15-year-old male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg.”
His injuries are not life threatening.
“According to the preliminary investigation, the teen was campaigning for Raphael Warnock for the upcoming run-off election when the incident occurred. While at the front door of one of the residences on Hartridge Street, the suspect fired a shot through the closed door, striking the teen,” according to the Savannah Police statement.
The 42-year old man “was booked into the Chatham County jail on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery.”
“I am saddened to learn about this incident,” said Sen. Warnock, who faces off against Herschel Walker in the U.S. Senate runoff Tuesday, as WSAV-TV reports. “I am praying for the victim and their family and wish them a full recovery.”
Watch the video from WSAV below or at this link.
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