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Week in Review: US “Occupy” Movement Explodes; UK’s Cameron Supports Gay Marriage; CA Dream Act Becomes Law

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The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women advocates of non-violent action; UK’s Prime Minister endorses gay marriage to party loyalists– Tories and religious leaders protest strongly; the American”Occupy” movement exponentially explodes. The New Civil Rights Movement introduces “In Memoriam”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Women for Non-Violent Activism

Ellen Johnson-Sireaf, president of Liberia and Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni media and human rights activist were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 7 “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

President Obama praised the winners stating:   “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. Today’s award honors three extraordinary individuals, and sends a powerful message that the struggle for universal rights and human dignity can only be fulfilled with the full participation of women around the globe.”

European Banks Face New Stress Tests

The European Banking Authority, the top European banking regulator, called for a second round of peripheral Eurozone bank stress tests this past week that could potentially identify capital shortfalls across the banking system that could total as much as $266 billion.  Europe continues to struggle with an Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, teetering on collapse which has been in crisis for weeks and months.  Principal countries of concern are Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (aka the “PIIGS”).

UK PM David Cameron Declares Support for Gay Marriage

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declared his support for legalized gay marriage at a Tory Party conference this past week to less than an enthusiastic audience that was marked by protest, prompting some party delegates walk out.  The Conservative Party leader forcefully expressed his support for gay marriage:  “Conserrvatives believe in ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other.  So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative.  I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative”. Cameron’s endorsement was immediately repudiated by a spokesperson of the Church of England,  joined by various leaders of the British Roman Catholic Church.

U.S. Envoy hosts Eastern European LGBT Human Rights Defenders

Ambassador David Johnson, head of the U.S. delegation that attended the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s annual ‘Human Dimension’ Implementation meeting in Warsaw this past week, hosted a reception for LGBT human rights defenders who continue to face fierce and frequent violent oppostion to gay pride events around Europe, most recently in Belgrade on Oct. 2 when Serbian government officials cancelled a planned pride march due to ultra-nationalistic opposition that threatened violence.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, who also attended the meeting, said in a statement to the New Civil Rights Movement that the U.S. government’s role has proven to be a constructive one, although the 56-member state organization has yet to formalize a systematic review of LGBT human rights in the OSCE region:  “The U.S. government is now working closely with many EU colleagues to raise LGBT concerns in the discussion, even if it is not formally on the agenda.  Ambassador Johnson raised LGBT human rights issues several times during the meeting.”

 

National

Occupy Movement Explodes Across America 

The “Occupy” social and political movement in America continues to expand in the numbers of cities where actions are taking place, as activists increase, compelling organizers to create a second location in New York City at Washington Square Park and growing numbers of new cities join the disaffected ranks as the nacent movement enters its 4th week which began on Sept. 17 with a small group of demonstrators on Wall Street.   Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate economist, among other luminaries made the trek to Wall Street to meet and talk with demonstrators , giving political heft to their disenchantment with American banks and investors,who were bailed out the U.S. government in recent years.

While liberal blogs, like Fire Dog Lake and Wonkette have been regularly reporting and blogging on “Occupy Wall Street” since its earliest beginnings–the movement appears to have gained legitimacy as mainstream media, including all major television networks who are reporting from Wall Street nightly, as well as on the additional 85 cities, who apparently are also “under occupation”.   President Obama acknowledged the demonstrators’ anger during presidential press conference this past week.  Criticism of the demonstrators has been forthcoming from Republican Party circles by presidential candidate Herman Cain who said on Wall Street Journal televison this past week:  “I don’t have facts to back this up, but it appears that these are planned and orchestrated demonstrations” to deflect attention from failed Obama Adminstration policies.  Congressional Majority Leader Eric Cantor has called the activists “mobs”.

Nation observes 10th anniversary of Afghanistan war–longest in U.S. history

Friday marked the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. During  the past decade, more than 2,500 international troops have been killed,  including nearly 1,800  American troops in the ongoing  military effort called “Operation Enduring Freedom.”  Additionally, more than 14,000 American soldiers have been injured, $450 billion has been spent in prosecuting the war that accumulates at $2 billion weekly.  Stanley McCrystal, the Army’s former commanding general in Afghanistan remarked on Friday before an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that the [U.S.] was only halfway through accomplishing its goals there because of “our understanding of Afghanistan is frighteningly simplistic”.  McCrystal also said that the biggest challenge for the U.S. remains to assist Afghanis in the  establishment of  “a stable, legitimate government that is an effective counterbalance to the Taliban”.

California Adopts Dream Act; Alabama’s Immigration Law Creates Humanitarian Disaster

Governor Jerry Brown of California, put the most populated state into the pro-support column for undocumented immigrant students, when he signed the California Dream Act yesterday, giving legal access to these students for tuition assistance enabling them to  attend California state universities beginning in 2013. The Congress failed to adopt a federal version of similar benefits that was included in the the United We Dream Act in 2010, despite a gallant effort.  Supporters continue to pursue a federal remedy.

Meanwhile, the State of Alabama adopted a draconian anti-illegal immigrant law that has resulted in families leaving the state in droves.  The law’s adoption resulted in an immediate shortage of farm workers, compelling farmers to appeal to the State to use prison gangs to bring in this year’s harvest.  The Southern Poverty Law Center declared this week that the new Alabama law is creating a humanitarian crisis for immigrants, legal and undocumented. The SPLC has received more than a 1,000 calls to their immigration telephone hotline since the law was passed.

In Memoriam

Paula Ettelbrick, Gay Rights Pioneer, Dies at 56

Paula Ettelbrick, a lesbian feminist and heralded gay rights activist who had held a number of leadership positions with gay rights groups, sucumbed to an aggressive form of ovarian cancer Oct. 7. Ettelbrick was broadly recognized for her groundbreaking contributions and was honored by a New York Times news obituary in her passing.

Steven Jobs, the “Thomas Edison” of the 21st Century, Dies at 56

Steven Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Computers and considered the  Thomas Edison of the computer age, died on Oct. 6th after losing a battle to a rare form of pancreatic cancer.  Jobs, who had been sick for several years, worked through the last weeks of his life.

Matthew Sheppard, Remembering his Life 13 Years Later

Matthew Sheppard was a 21-year-old college student, when he was lured outside a bar under a ruse, beaten senseless, pistol whipped and left for dead, strung up on an unforgiving Wyoming fence that eventually claimed his life.  Eleven years later, Barack Obama would sign the  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  We remember Matthew, his sacrifice and the work continues.

Fred Shuttlesworth, Co-Founder of the SCLC and Civil Rights leader, Dies at 89

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a major civil rights leader who battled  racisim and the Jim Crow South, who was also a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, died this past week at the age of 89.  He was a key decisionmaker in taking a principled stand against the Jim Crow policies of Birmingham, Alabama–a city that witnessed the use of dogs turned on black children by then-Sheriff Bull Connors, which became a major turning point in turning back racism in Southern United States.

 

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

 

 

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News

‘Big Whop’: Even Right-Wing Critics Are Slamming Elon Musk’s ‘Underwhelming’ Hunter Biden Twitter Escapade

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Right-wing Twitter users are weighing in to express their disapproval of the so-called bombshell “Twitter files” Elon Musk promised to deliver on Friday, December 2.

According to The Daily Beast, Musk was set to address Twitter’s decision to implement a policy that would restrict headlines and reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop from circulating on the social media platform. However, the leak ended up being a failure for many right-wing experts.

Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing radio host who previously served under the Trump administration, offered a critical response to Musk’s release after journalist Matt Taibbi shared a full Twitter thread about the findings.

READ MORE: Trump plotted to trade Mar-a-Lago files for ‘sensitive documents’ about his 2016 campaign Russia ties: report

“So far, I’m deeply underwhelmed,” Gorka said, adding, “We know the Dems in DC collude with the Dems in Palo Alto [Califonia]. Big Whop.”

He went on to reiterate his arguments when grilled by his far-right followers who were convinced that Musk’s Twitter files were some kind of “smoking gun.”

Per the news outlet: “Responding to a user claiming the Twitter company emails were ‘a clear violation of the 1st Amendment,’ the radio host fired back: ‘Err no, it’s not the DNC asking a private company to censor has nothing to do with the First Amendment.’”

Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, New York Post columnist Miranda Devine also disapproved of the release. “I feel that Elon Musk has held back some material,” she alleged. According to The Beast, Devine also claimed: “sinister forces were perhaps controlling Musk after the Twitter chief took a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier in the week.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio: ‘Not a crime’ to break federal law by taking top secret national security documents from the White House

She added, “In particular, there’s a tweet in which Matt Taibbi says he hasn’t seen any evidence that law enforcement specifically warned off Twitter from our story. But that’s just not correct.”

Free Beacon reporter Joe Simonson also echoed similar sentiments on Twitter. “Twitter files [are] underwhelming so far,” Simonson tweeted. “Just revealing what we already knew: Twitter was staffed by democrats who did the bidding of Democrats.”

READ MORE: Lauren Boebert to file defamation lawsuit against PAC claiming that she was once a ‘paid escort’: report

 

Image by Daniel Oberhaus (2018) via Flickr and a CC license

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'HELPING NORMALIZE A NAZI'

Musk’s Twitter Is ‘Welcoming With Open Arms’ a ‘Full-Fledged Nazi’ – and Recommending Users Follow Him: Reports

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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.

READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

As did other Twitter users.

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.”

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 WestNick 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.”

READ MORE: 15-Year Old Campaigning Door-to-Door for Raphael Warnock Shot Through Door– ‘No Indication’ Politically Motivated: Police

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

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

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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.”

READ MORE: 15-Year Old Campaigning Door-to-Door for Raphael Warnock Shot Through Door– ‘No Indication’ Politically Motivated: Police

“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.”

READ MORE: ‘Another Happy Jobs Day’: Economists Thrilled With ‘Amazing’ Report as Jobs Growth Beats Expectations, Wages Increase

Significantly, antisemite Kanye West‘s restored Twitter account was suspended Thursday night, hours after – but not because – the far right rapper told Alex Jones of his support for Adolf Hitler.

“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.”

READ MORE: Chasten Buttigieg Stunned as Nicolle Wallace Reports New DHS Warning Lists LGBTQ People as ‘Targets of Potential Violence’

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 by The Royal Society/Debbie Rowe, Photographer via Wikimedia and a CC license

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