Richard Spencer’s white nationalist ‘institute’ gets back its tax-exempt status from the IRS

From The Southern Poverty Law Center:

Brett Barrouquere and Rachel Janik
October 04, 2018

The National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank headed by Richard Bertrand Spencer, has just regained tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Associated Press (AP) today reported the IRS reinstated tax-exempt status for the group, which is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. NPI’s status was revoked in March 2017 after the IRS found the group hadn’t filed a tax return since 2012.

NPI was founded by white nationalist William H. Regnery II in 2005. According to its original mission statement, it aims to “elevate the consciousness of whites,” and “study the consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity.”

Spencer, who became president of NPI in 2011, told the AP that losing the tax-exempt status felt “like persecution.” He also said the organization neglected to file tax returns because of a classification error on the part of the IRS. The AP reported that the racist nonprofit was indeed misclassified at one point in 2006 or 2007.

Along with the tax problems, NPI has been beset by internal turmoil.

In April, the group’s executive director, Evan McLaren, took to Twitter to announce his departure after eight months on the job.

McLaren and Spencer said at the time the departure was part of a shuffling of people at the institute to ensure the right people were in the right spots.

But NPI never announced a successor to McLaren and didn’t acknowledge the departure on the group’s website.

Longtime Spencer ally Greg Conte announced in August that he was walking away from NPI as well as other racist “alt-right” groups.

The resignations covered positions Conte held at the Altright Corporation, another Spencer outfit, and Washington Summit Publishers, a small book-publishing operation that produces alt-right and conservative titles.

The departures followed Spencer’s announcement that his ill-received college speaking tour would come to an end.

Spencer stopped the tour, which saw violence at several appearances, after an engagement at Michigan State University in March resulted in multiple fights and arrests (including of Conte) outside the agricultural arena where a small audience went to hear him.

“In our lives, we always need to be course correcting. We always need to take a step back and think, and ask ourselves honestly, is this the right direction?” Spencer said in a 25-minute video posted on YouTube in March. “We need to do that with regard to my public appearances going forward or really any public appearance involving a controversial, alt-right identitarian figure.”

That same weekend, Spencer’s longtime attorney and alt-right associate, Kyle Bristow, deleted his sometimes-incendiary Twitter account and publicly walked away from his clients and politics (although he has quietly stepped back into representing some racist figures in court).

Facebook dropped two pages related to Spencer in April, although he, McLaren and Conte all maintain a presence on Twitter.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in April that the company tries to keep hate groups off the platform.

“So if there’s a group that, their primary purpose or a large part of what they do is spreading hate, we will ban them from the platform overall,” Zuckerberg told Congress.

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Clinton: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for’

From CNN:

By Rachel Ventresca, CNN
Tue October 9, 2018

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that civility in America can only begin again if Democrats win back the House or Senate this fall.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

Clinton alluded to previous controversies — like the 2000 election recount to the “swift boat” attacks against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election to the confirmation of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh — as evidence of what she sees as hardball tactics by Republicans.

I remember what they did to me for 25 years — the falsehoods, the lies, which unfortunately people believe because the Republicans have put a lot of time, money, and effort in promoting them,” Clinton said. “So when you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, it’s — you can be civil, but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections.”

“The question about impeachment — you know, that will be left to others to decide,” Clinton said. “I want to stop the degrading of the rule of law. The delegitimizing of elections. One of their priorities should be, let’s protect our elections. Let’s make sure that we have electoral security. Let’s end the suppression of voters. So there is a big agenda if the Democrats take over.”

Thousands of people are seeking help after being forced into ‘ex-gay therapy’

From LGBTQ Nation:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

In December 2014, a tractor-trailer traveling down Interstate 71 in Ohio struck and killed Leelah Alcorn.

Alcorn, who identified as transgender, had posted a suicide note on her Tumblr in which she described her isolation, desperation, and depression—feelings she blamed, in part, on the “conversion therapy” her conservative Christian parents forced her to undergo. Alcorn’s parents believed their “sick” child could be forcibly turned back into a boy and “cured” of her attraction to males.

Alcorn’s death triggered international media attention. A little more than three months later, President Obama called for an end to conversion therapy and the White House issued a statement saying conversion therapy was potentially devastating to transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) young people.

Since then legislation has been introduced in many states across the country to ban the practice. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., already have laws or regulations protecting minors from conversion therapy, also known as “reparative” and “ex-gay” therapy, and a movement is underway for a national ban.

The Harmful Effects of Conversion Therapy

Discredited by the mainstream mental health community, including the American Counseling AssociationAmerican Psychological Association, and American Psychiatric Association, conversion therapy is viewed as ineffective, unscientific, and damaging.

“It’s trying to change the essence of the person,” said Dr. Joy Whitman, a licensed professional counselor with expertise on LGBTQ issues and core faculty member in the online Master of Arts in Counseling Program at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. “We know that sexual orientation can be fluid. But it’s the coercion to change that is the harmful nature of it. The basic communication is that there is something wrong with you if you are same-sex attracted.”

In a feature for Counseling Today co-authored by Dr. Whitman, the authors note that there is “no scientific evidence published in psychological peer-reviewed journals that conversion therapy is effective” and no “longitudinal studies conducted to follow the outcomes for those individuals who have engaged in this type of treatment.”

However, they point out that research consistently shows the harmful effects of the practice. Conversion therapy thwarts self-acceptance, causing depression, anxiety, shame, self-hatred, social withdrawal and, like Alcorn, thoughts of suicide.

“There’s a crisis of identities that’s involved here for clients and a potential loss of family. And there is a deep sense of shame born from religion, society, the educational and legal systems, and the mental health systems,” said Dr. Whitman. “Especially for kids, there is a sense of failure in not being able to change that can cause a loss of community and disconnect from family.”

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A Make Or Break Day For Beto O’Rourke’s Attempt To Unseat Ted Cruz

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Andrea Long Chu Is the Cult Writer Changing Gender Theory

From Vice Broadly:

“Heterosexuality is bad,” and other thoughts from a rising-star writer poking holes in how we talk about power, transgender identity, and what to do after you tell the truth.

by Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard
Sep 11 2018

“Change my fucking sex!” Andrea Long Chu bellows. A few glances from nearby laptop users graze us, two trannies cackling over coffee on an oppressively sticky August day. The writer’s outburst isn’t a direct request, of course—she already has a GoFundMe for that. Chu is bemoaning the dismissal of phrases like transsexual and sex change. In scrutinizing the code of how we ought to speak about ourselves, Chu isn’t having the valorization of well-intentioned language like “gender confirmation surgery.” The Brooklyn-based writer finds rigid language around gender to be about as intellectually expansive as a bathroom stall.

Chu writes about gender, desire, and culture. Her early-2018 n+1 essay, “On Liking Women,” a work that she anticipated would ignite “the anger of the other trannies on the internet,” instead spread like wonderous wildfire across the internet. Sandy Stone, the artist and academic regarded as the founder of transgender studies, lauded Chu’s break-out piece for “launching ‘the second wave’ of trans studies.” Chu has since served similarly provocative pieces on diverse topics including the hot mess that is the Avital Ronell scandal and the homoeroticism in Sex and the City.

Chu likes to do many things in her writing. Most notably, Chu likes to pants people—often herself, especially on what she calls “dirtbag Twitter,” a platform on which she has become something of a cult icon for literary types. “I really like a certain genre of female Twitter personality where you let the world catch you with your pants down. There’s a really stooge-ish element. It’s not self-deprecation, and it’s not wry. It’s like, ‘This is a bad part of myself.’ Like, ‘Whatever the discourse is today, I just don’t care about it.’ When the Scarlett Johansson casting decision was trending, I tweeted, ‘Scarlett Johansson could play me in a movie if she wants.’ I like putting things on Twitter that I would hide in real life.”

The pleasure Chu takes in being honest about sticky subjects extends to her prose. Chu has a knack for kissing—maybe biting—the readers with turns-of-phrases that make you wonder why you hadn’t already written that, much less thought of it. She identifies concepts that feel abundantly intuitive, but have been obstructed by the pain of overthinking, like her thoughts on language surrounding transitioning: In a recent Boston Review article titled “Extreme Pregnancy,” she quips, “I’m not even supposed to write sex change; I’m supposed to write gender confirmation surgery, as if all the doctors did was to throw your inner woman a big thumbs-up.”

Which brings us back to yelling about sex changes over chai lattés. Bottom surgery, as it is colloquially referred to, is coveted by many trans people because of its promise of self-actualization, but scorned—at least by the little devil on my shoulder—as a failure to embrace one’s body as it exists without surgery. Bottom surgery is also exactly what its more frowned-upon name describes: a reconstruction of sex organs. The ‘gender-confirmation surgery’ formulation is unfaithful to the model that figures gender as absolutely distinct from sex—the one that states that gender is an internal identity—whereas sex is just between the legs. ‘Gender confirmation surgery’ does not follow at all from that gender-sex schema; if you faithfully subscribed to it, you wouldn’t want to do anything at all to your genitals if gender is completely isolated from them.

“Gender identity is maximally essentialist,” Chu says, reversing the popular claim that gender identity is the liberating escape route from a genital-based logic of gender.”It leaves no room for anything else, because you are [characterized as having been] always exactly what you are. Gender deviance becomes ontologically impossible under the gender identity model—like, ‘Oh, since you were always a woman, you shouldn’t have to—’ It’s like, No, bitch! The whole point of this was to change. That means there has to be a before. Even if that before is uncomfortable.”

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‘I spent seven years fighting to survive’: Chelsea Manning on whistleblowing and WikiLeaks

From The Guardian UK:

Seen as both hero and traitor, the US army analyst turned data activist talks about fitting into the world since her prison release

Carole Cadwalladr
Sun 7 Oct 2018

Perhaps the most revealing part of my conversation with Chelsea Manning is what she doesn’t say. What she can’t or won’t talk about. It’s not that she doesn’t have a whole lot to say – she does, particularly about technology and how it can be used against us. Her job as an intelligence analyst for the US army, using data to profile enemy combatants – to be targeted and maybe killed – gave her an acute understanding of its potential uses and abuses. She understood the power of Facebook to profile and target long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted. “Marketing or death by drone, it’s the same math,” she says. There’s no difference between the private sector and the military. “You could easily turn Facebook into that. You don’t have to change the programming, just the purpose of why you have the system.”

She understands this world; the overlap between military and civilian technologies that has caught us all in its dragnet. It’s her role in it that’s more opaque. She seems, still, at the beginning of a process of understanding what she did, what it all means, where she fits in. How in 2010, then aged 22 and presenting as male, she downloaded and leaked, via Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, 750,000 classified and sensitive documents that revealed America’s secret diplomatic cables and Iraqi and Afghanistan war logs. How she was caught, court martialled and sentenced to 35 years in prison. And how, in one of Barack Obama’s last acts as president, she was suddenly and unexpectedly granted clemency last year and freed.

It’s a story that is as complex, complicated, conflicted and unresolved as perhaps Manning herself. The meaning, the significance, the consequences of what she did are not yet in any way settled or even stable. She was the hero who blew the whistle on the US’s relationship with the rest of the world and its hypocrisy. Or the traitor who committed crimes under the Espionage Act and betrayed her country. For some people, it’s both.

Because Manning was the techie who turned. Turned the technology against the country that had developed it, turned its foreign policy inside out, turned herself into Chelsea and – an unforeseen consequence – turned WikiLeaks from a fringe actor into a new force in global politics. Before Manning, Assange was a leaking organisation without a significant leaker.

Going to WikiLeaks was “instinctual”, she says. “I had this problem reaching out to the Washington Post. There was this lack of understanding about the dangers of [unencrypted] plain text communications at the time.” And she can’t or won’t reflect on what the organisation has become, if or how it’s changed over time and what role she played in ushering in an era of weaponised leaks that has led us to where we are now with Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump-Russian collusion, an investigation that encompasses WikiLeaks’ pivotal role in the US election.

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“Our Job Is To Listen To Our Communities”

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Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism

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