President Barack Obama this afternoon honored sixteen American legends with the highest award that can be given to a civilian: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the recipients were the late astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, the late civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, the late Senator Daniel Inouye, and former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Gloria Steinem.
Tam O’Shaughnessy (image, top), Dr. Sally Ride’s partner of 27 years, told HRC yesterday that the “award sends a message to the world, including to Russia, that equality is important, respect is important.”
â€œThe ideal America is one where no one â€“ regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, — is a second class citizen,â€ said Tam. â€œWith each protection and freedom and equality achieved, I feel safer in my state and prouder to be an American.â€
â€œI wanted to ensure Sallyâ€™s legacy reflected the integrity in which she lived her life, said Tam. â€œFor her not to be open in this one way felt wrong.â€
â€œItâ€™s scary to be open because you donâ€™t realized the impact that it might have on so many aspects of your life,â€ said Tam. â€œYou worry about grants, about whether youâ€™ll be able to continue writing childrenâ€™s textbooks; we were scared that if sponsors knew the founders of Sally Ride Science were two lesbians, if that would affect our organization.â€
â€œIâ€™ve found that people really valued the relationship,â€ said Tam. â€œIt didnâ€™t matter that we were two women; what mattered was our relationshipâ€™s longevity and our love.â€
President Obama at today’s event offered these words:
“Tam Oâ€™Shaughnessy accepting on behalf of her life partner, Dr. Sally K. Ride. Thirty years ago, Dr. Sally K. Ride soared into space as the youngest American and first woman to wear the Stars and Stripes above Earthâ€™s atmosphere. As an astronaut, she sought to keep America at the forefront of space exploration. As a role model, she fought tirelessly to inspire young people â€” especially girls â€” to become scientifically literate and to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. At the end of her life, she became an inspiration for those battling pancreatic cancer, and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The tale of a quiet hero, Sally Rideâ€™s story demonstrates that the sky is no limit for those who dream of reaching for the stars.
“Walter Naegle accepting on behalf of his partner, Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin was a giant in the American Civil Rights Movement. Openly gay at a time when many had to hide who they loved, his unwavering belief that we are all equal members of a ‘single human family’ took him from his first Freedom Ride to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movement. Thanks to his unparalleled skills as an organizer, progress that once seemed impossible appears, in retrospect, to have been inevitable. Fifty years after the March on Washington he organized, America honors Bayard Rustin as one of its greatest architects for social change and a fearless advocate for its most vulnerable citizens.”
Here are some photos and videos of today’s historic event:
Image, top, by Shelly Leslie, via Twitter
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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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