For Yiannopoulos, age of consent controversy is a wasted opportunity

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In multiple podcast interviews, Yiannopoulos attempted to defend certain kinds of pedophilia.

When a professional internet troll has to backpedal or apologize, it means he fucked up bad. Milo Yiannopoulos’s living is built largely on characterizing marginalized groups – women, immigrants, Muslims, black people, fat people, the poor – as bullies trying to oppress good, honest, white men. He’s been canceled by event organizers, banned from Twitter, and violently protested against, all of which propped up his brand as a First Amendment provocateur.

Now his provocations have alienated him from this base. During several podcast interviews, Yiannopoulos attempted to minimize and normalize pedophilia. After the remarks were publicized, a planned appearance at CPAC was canceled and a book deal with Simon & Schuster fell through. Yiannopoulos knows he’s in trouble this time, and he’s acting precisely as the free speech crusader he is – by backpedaling and worming out of his own words. Continue reading

Bill Maher grants professional alt-right troll a mainstream platform

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Among the people Yiannopoulos makes a career out of hating are poor immigrants.

A micro-controversy is bubbling in the world of liberal infotainment. Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor and self-described internet supervillain, was booked as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher. In protest, Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor for The Intercept, canceled his own scheduled appearance on the show. Maher responded by saying, in part, “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill.”

Maher further explained, “If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims – and he might be – nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.” But Maher is missing the point. Exposure is precisely what Yiannopoulos craves. It doesn’t matter if he’s revealed as a full-throated Nazi and booed out of the building; he has already won. Continue reading

This is how it begins

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Arsonists set fire to a mosque in Victoria, Texas after President Trump announced a travel ban on select Muslim nations.

According to early reports from Reuters, President Trump plans to refocus a US program called Countering Violent Extremism. The CVE, which combats dangerous ideologies of all stripes, will be repurposed to solely target Islamic fascism and jihad. But as anyone who’s looked at crime data knows, the risk of Islamic terror in the US is infrequent. Trump’s decision to focus on it is not about protecting Americans, it’s about demonizing human beings based on religion and ethnicity. Continue reading

For the love of God, Trump supporters, don’t worship the man

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A popular sub-Reddit devoted to Trump refers to him as a “God Emperor.” It certainly matches Trump’s view of himself.

Countless alarms, both at home and abroad, have been raised by the election of Donald Trump. Not everyone is worried, though. Many of Trump’s supporters are eager to defend his every lie, his every unconstitutional policy, and his every whining tweet. This part of his support base is drawn to him like a cult to its guru and feels he can do no wrong. That’s a dangerous attitude to have about any elected official, and about Trump in particular. Continue reading

America was not ready for a black president

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President Obama convened his controversial beer summit in 2009, after the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

During Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, pundits spent a great deal of time on the question, “Is America ready for a black president?” The question seemed both deeply racist – as though black people had to wait for white America to be ready for them – and insulting to all Americans’ intelligence. But after two terms of President Obama and the rise of Donald Trump, the answer in hindsight seems to have been a decisive “No.” Continue reading

Trump and the far right: America’s real PC bullies

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters through a bullhorn during a campaign stop at the Canfield County Fair in Canfield

The last thing the world needs: Trump with a bullhorn. REUTERS/Mike Segar

If you haven’t been offended by Donald Trump yet, chances are you just haven’t listened to him enough. He’s insinuated that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, that American Muslims protect terrorists in their neighborhoods, and that a female journalist who challenged him over sexist remarks was on her period. Even groups he hasn’t explicitly attacked are subject to profoundly thoughtless remarks – in response to the murder of Nykea Aldridge, a black mother in Chicago, Trump tweeted, “African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”

For his supporters, this is just the kind of no-nonsense tough talk the country needs. Flying in the face of political correctness is regularly cited as one of the Trump’s greatest qualities, as though giving offense was a virtue in and of itself. But the reality is that Trump, and his legions of supporters, are among the most strident PC thugs in the country. Continue reading

How religion determines if a mass shooter is a terrorist

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A vigil in Thailand shows solidarity with the victims in Orlando.

In the wee hours of June 12, during a period of festivity and camaraderie, 49 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured by bullets fired from a military-grade assault weapon legally purchased by a man who had been a suspected terrorist. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, perpetrated by a US-born Muslim who pledged allegiance to ISIS. But if the killer had been anything other than Muslim, the national conversation in the tragedy’s wake might be much different.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump took the tragedy as an opportunity to pat himself on the back for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” Since that widely criticized tweet, most pundits and politicians have characterized shooter Omar Mateen as a terrorist. They did the same for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and San Bernardino killers Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook. But not all mass shooters are called terrorists. Those with names like James Holmes, Adam Lanza and Jared Loughner, for instance, usually aren’t. Continue reading

Against Trump’s fascism, art is the best weapon

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The artist was left with one hell of a black eye after an encounter with Trump supporters.

One of the great pieces of art that’s come out of this presidential campaign is a nude depiction of Donald Trump by artist Illma Gore. In the painting, Trump is cast as unflatteringly as possible. All he’s wearing is a gold bracelet while his fat gut sags almost low enough to cover a button-sized micropenis. Apparently Trump’s supporters are as thin-skinned as the man himself, because on April 29 a group of them assaulted Gore over her art. Continue reading

How bathroom bills create a purposeless wedge issue

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You may have seen this gender-neutral bathroom sign somewhere and felt an overwhelming sense of inclusion.

With the nation having pretty much wrapped up its discussion of gay marriage, conservatives are scrambling to find another wedge issue for future elections. North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 highlights just how desperate they are to find such an issue.

HB2, otherwise known as the “bathroom bill,” requires individuals in public places to use the restroom that matches the sex they were assigned at birth. It is widely seen as deliberately targeting transgender Americans. Because of this, the bill has attracted scathing criticism, including high-profile boycotts of the state by entertainers like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr. Continue reading

White supremacists go PC for Trump

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At a Florida rally, Trump implores supporters to raise their right hands and promise to vote for him. (Photo by Jenna Johnson/Washington Post)

Once upon a time a white supremacist could be relied on to be, if nothing else, upfront. They weren’t shy about their worldview that whites are being systematically driven to extinction by mixed marriages, street crime and liberal politics. But now that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has popularized racist identity politics, some white supremacists are seizing on the opportunity to reach a nationwide audience by toning down their rhetoric and going politically correct. Continue reading