April 28, 2017

23Yr Old Gets 28yrs For Kicking Man to Death Because He was Gay






A 23-year-old Idaho man was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Wednesday after he kicked a man to death with steel-toed boots because he was gay.
On Jan. 10 before a federal grand jury, Kelly Schneider pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, otherwise known as the Shepard-Byrd Act. He will serve 28 years in prison, after which he’ll be released under supervision for five years.
Kelly Schneider, 23, was charged with a federal hate crime after he lured Steven Nelson to an open field and assaulted him. Nelson died soon after.

According to the plea agreement, Schneider posted an ad soliciting sex to the website backpage.com on April 27, 2016; shortly after Steven Nelson responded to it, the two met for the first time. During that encounter, Nelson paid Schneider but they did not have sex. Schneider — whose backpage.com profile included a shirtless photo — had previously told his friends that he was not gay, and would not let a gay man touch him.
Schneider contacted Nelson again later that night, and the two met again on April 29, 2016.
This time Schneider convinced Nelson to drive them both to an isolated wildlife reserve called Gott's Point — under the pretense of having sex — with the intention of robbing him. However, once they arrived, Schneider immediately began attacking Nelson, according to the plea agreement.
“While shod in steel-toed boots, the defendant kicked [Nelson] 20 to 30 times, repeatedly saying, ‘Did you think I would fucking do this, you fag?’” the document reads.
The agreement also states that Nelson never resisted the attack and pleaded many times for Schneider not to kill him.
“In fact, S.N. volunteered his ATM number several times, and said, ‘Please don’t kill me. Take whatever you want,’” the document reads.
After the beating, Schneider removed Nelson’s clothes and drove off in his car. Nelson died from his injuries hours later.
“Steven Nelson was assaulted and later died because he was gay,” said Acting US Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez in a statement released by the Department of Justice.
“This is precisely the kind of bias motivated violence that the Shepard-Byrd Act was passed to address. The federal prosecution in this case makes clear that this office, the Civil Rights Division, and its law enforcement partners will pursue justice when a person is violently attacked based on who he loves and how he loves.”
The DOJ used the Shepard-Byrd Act to bring criminal charges against someone for targeting a victim based on their gender identity for the first time on Dec. 14, 2016, when Joshua Vallum beat Mercedes Williamson with a hammer, shocked her with a stun gun, and stabbed her multiple times.

Trump’s Immigration Argument Means His Wife Should be Deported






On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard a case involving a Serbian woman who was deported after it turned out she'd misrepresented a fact about her husband during the process of becoming an American citizen. The Trump administration argued to the court that not only was the woman in question's deportation defensible, but that any inaccuracy on official paperwork, even regarding the most trivial and "immaterial" issues, can justify deportation and the revocation of citizenship. It's a position that even conservative chief justice John Roberts found to be an extreme one. Via the New York Times:
“Some time ago, outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone,” the chief justice said, adding that he had not been caught.
The form that people seeking American citizenship must complete, he added, asks whether the applicant had ever committed a criminal offense, however minor, even if there was no arrest.
“If I answer that question no, 20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you can knock on my door and say, ‘Guess what, you’re not an American citizen after all’?” Chief Justice Roberts asked.
Robert A. Parker, a Justice Department lawyer, said the offense had to be disclosed. Chief Justice Roberts seemed shocked. “Oh, come on,” he said.
What's particularly interesting about the Trump administration supporting such an argument is that Melania Trump appears to have committed just such an ommission on her own naturalization paperwork. In 2016, a lawyer representing Melania—a native of Slovenia who was naturalized in 2006—attested that he had reviewed her immigration documents and found no evidence that she had ever violated U.S. law. Later that year, however, the Associated Press uncovered records showing that she had in fact done paid modeling work for several weeks while she was staying in the U.S. in 1996 on a visitor visa, which would have been a violation of that visa's terms. If, as her lawyer’s statement would appear to imply, Melania did not subsequently disclose this violation on other immigration documents, the Trump administration's current position would thus suggest she—the First Lady of the United States—is subject to deportation.

April 27, 2017

30+ Yrs of Gay Characters, We No Longer Play Second to the Star

Ellen Morgan wasn't the first gay character on TV, but her coming out on the ABC sitcom Ellen, following star Ellen DeGeneres' own declaration — "Yep, I'm gay" — on the cover of Time magazine, opened the door to portraying them more openly and more often. A list of some of TV's more important gay characters, before and after Ellen: 
Bewitched: Paul Lynde plays Uncle Arthur, who wasn't gay then — but probably would be now. (1965)
All In the Family: Archie’s friend Steve (Philip Carey) shocks him by telling him he's gay. (1971)
The Corner Bar:  Vincent Schiavelli plays flamboyant set designer Peter Panama, who is considered TV's first recurring gay character. (1972)
Soap: Jodie Dallas (Billy Crystal) becomes TV's first openly gay main character. (1977)

Love, Sidney: Tony Randall as a confirmed bachelor who was gay in the TV movie Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend , but whose sexuality became ambiguous in the follow-up TV series. (1981)
thirtysomething: Lovers Russell (David Marshall Grant) and Peter (Peter Frechette) are shown in bed together — but don't touch. (1989)
Melrose Place: Matt Fielding (Doug Savant), who's gay, is the only person on this sexy soap opera who never seemed to have sex. (1992)
Friends: Susan (Jessica Hecht) and Carol (Jane Sibbett) wed in “The One with the Lesbian Wedding.” (1996)
Will & Grace: Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes are gay friends in this landmark sitcom — the first big hit with a gay title character. (1996)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara (Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson) become an open, sympathetically drawn lesbian couple, a first for a teen-targeted series. (1999)
Queer as Folk: Gale Harold's Brian and Randy Harrison's Justin are among the more prominent characters in this Showtime series about gay men in Pittsburgh, adapted from a (much better) British series. (2000)
Six Feet Under: Michael C. Hall co-stars as David, the gay brother who eventually finds love and happiness. (2001)
The Wire: Michael Kenneth Williams plays Omar, a tough street criminal who breaks many of TV's gay stereotypes. (2002)

The L Word: Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) is among the L-people in Showtime's female answer to Queer as Folk. (2004)
Torchwood: John Barrowman is the dashing Captain Jack Harkness in this Doctor Who spin-off. (2006)
Brothers and Sisters: Not only are Kevin and Scotty (Matthew Rhys and Luke Macfarlane) a couple, they may have been this ABC family drama's most functional one. (2006)
True Blood: What true True Blood fan didn't love Nelsan Ellis's Lafayette or root for his happiness? (2008)
Grey’s Anatomy: Callie Torres (Sarah Ramirez), one of TV's rare bisexuals, enters into a long-term relationship with Arizona (Jessica Capshaw). (2009)
Glee: Chris Colfer is Kurt, one of TV's first well-adjusted, openly gay teenagers. (2009)

Modern Family: With Mitch and Cam (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet), no show has ever done more to fully incorporate a gay couple into a family story and normalize their relationship and, later, marriage. (2009)
Orange Is the New Black: At one time, lesbians in prison would have been used for horror and shock. Not anymore. (2013)
Scandal: VP-elect Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) is as crazed, corrupt and sexually active as everyone else in this melodrama, which counts as progress. (2013)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Andre Braugher is the justifiably beloved commanding officer Ray Holt on Fox's cop sitcom. (2013)


How to Get Away With Murder: Gay law student Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) has gotten away with murder and then some on this mystery. (2014)
London Spy: Danny's (Ben Whishaw) faith in Alex's (Edward Holcroft) love saves him in this British spy drama. (2015)
American Gods: If your complaint is that TV generally removes the "sex" from "homosexual," you won't be complaining about American Gods' Jinn (Mousa Kraish). (2017)
, USA TODAY

A Transgender Politician in The Philippines Speaks Out



There is an elevated stage in the basketball court community hall that Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman is using to address her constituents, but she chooses not to use it.  Instead she remains on their level, cracking jokes and singing as she outlines her local government platform – emphasizing her education and livelihood programmes and underlining her commitment to a national bill that will outlaw discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.It’s an issue close to her heart, for Roman is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the devoutly Catholic Philippines.
 .Photo: AFP
Years of campaigning for her parents, Antonio (now deceased) and Herminia, who both served as representatives of the first district of Bataan, were like a boot camp for Roman, showing her the importance of engaging on a human level. Geraldine replaced her mother as the district’s representative after the 2016 elections, in which she beat Hermosa mayor Danilo Malana.“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

Symbol of hope

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.But Roman’s win meant most to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti-SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity expression) discrimination bill.
 Photo: AFP
The bill outlaws discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity expression in schools and workplaces. It also prohibits banning access to government services and entrance to commercial establishments on the basis of being gay or transgender.It was first filed 17 years ago, but it wasn’t until this Congress that the version of the bill authored by Roman at the Lower House reached the plenary level.
The Philippines lags far behind Western countries such as the United States and even some parts of Asia – such as Taiwan, which is poised to pass a same sex marriage law – in acceptance of the LGBT community.

Beauty and the Beast gay scene backlash from Singapore to Malaysia

While homosexuality is not criminal, advocates say being gay or transgender is tolerated rather than accepted.“Homophobia and transphobia are very apparent among families, in schools, workplaces, religion and other social institutions. Currently, [the LGBT community is not covered by] protective mechanisms for equal rights and against discrimination in the national level,” said Perci Cendana, commissioner of the National Youth Commission, a government organisation.
  Photo: AFP
“There is a multitude of layers when it comes to discrimination experienced by the LGBT sector,” said Jazz Tamayo, president of Rainbow Rights, an LGBT rights advocacy group.Reports and testimonials received by Rainbow Rights include one transgender person who was denied a job and told, “We don’t employ people like you” and a case where a questioning 11-year-old who refused to wear a school uniform skirt was made to wear curtains to class.Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.“In the killings of trans women ... the manner of killing is very brutal, mutilation of the genital area is often involved,” said Tamayo.

Why Japanese businesses are embracing the LGBT community

The provisions of the anti-discrimination bill are meant to address stigma as the root cause of discrimination by incorporating diversity programmes in schools and corporations and conducting gender sensitivity training in government offices. The women and children’s protection desk at police stations will also be required to act on complaints of violence and abuse against the LGBT community.Of course, the bill has some opposition. Champion boxer Manny Pacquaio, now a senator known for citing Bible verses when debating bills, is among the challengers. According to Pacquaio, cross-dressing leads to crime and is forbidden by the Bible. “What do we do when a man dresses up as a woman ... when the man he is with is shocked by it and goes, ‘You’re actually a man!’ and ends up killing him,” said Pacquiao in an attempt to explain the brutal killing of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in 2014.
It was a comment criticised as insensitive given the country’s record of hate crimes against the LGBT community – in 2011 there were 28 killings.“Well, I don’t really expect much from Senator Pacquaio,” said Roman, 49.
Notwithstanding the expected resistance, the bill has been signed by 145 colleagues and its prospects of becoming a law are bright. Roman has been instrumental in the legislative lobby."It helps that you have an LGBT person who is in a position of power. It’s different for legislators when they hear one of their peers speaking for a cause compared to an advocate,” said Meggan Evangelista, executive director of Babaylanes, an LGBT advocacy group.

Joan of Arc, of sorts

Roman’s image as a standard bearer for human rights was dented when she voted recently to bring back the death penalty. Supporters took to social media to express their disappointment and disbelief.“They placed me on a pedestal and made me a Joan of Arc of sorts,” sighed Roman. “But for all her sainthood, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. A political carcass can hardly work to effect change. I have no intention of being a political carcass.”
T AFP
It was a painful decision for Roman and an about face from her earlier opposition to capital punishment. She insisted surveys showing 85 per cent of her constituents were in favour of the death penalty was the basis of her vote.“Politics is compromise. Our [political] system is imperfect, but for me to effect changes, I have to work within that system. I have chosen a pragmatic and realistic way of fighting for my advocacy.“I have so many dreams for my country. Getting these bills passed are baby steps to an inclusive society where everyone will be made to feel welcome.”
BY ANA P SANTOS
scmp.com/week-asia

Shameful How South Korean’s Pols. are Using Homophobia




“IT IS 2017. Moon Jae-in just opposed homosexuality,” thundered the headline of a newspaper following a live television debate among South Korea’s presidential candidates. Gay sex is legal in South Korea, but stigmatised. Mr Moon, a former human-rights lawyer and the liberal candidate, who leads the polling for the election on May 9th, had just confirmed that he disapproved of it.

Mr Moon’s statement caused a stir on social media, but his view is not that unusual. Of the five main presidential candidates, only Shim Sang-jung of the Justice Party, the only woman running, has expressed support for gay rights. A decade ago a bill outlawing discrimination on various grounds foundered because sexual orientation was one of them. MPs have blocked it twice more since then. Last week representatives of Mr Moon and three rivals attended a “Protestant Public Policy Forum”; all made statements against gay rights, in keeping with the stance of many of South Korea’s influential churches.

Latest updates

See all updates
The denunciations come on the heels of a report from an NGO called the Military Human Rights Centre of Korea, which claims that the army is “hunting down” gay soldiers. The Military Criminal Act bans soldiers, most of whom are conscripts, from engaging in gay sex, which it labels “disgraceful conduct”, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years. At least 32 soldiers are being investigated and one has been charged. That, the report claims, is because the army is actively seeking to weed out gay soldiers. The report alleges that it obliged gay soldiers to reveal the names of gay comrades, combed their mobile phones for leads and even mounted sting operations using gay dating apps—all of which appear to be against the army’s regulations and may also be illegal.

The army protests that the claims are untrue and that it has not broken the law. Its ban on gay sex, it says, is designed to conserve a “wholesome lifestyle” for soldiers. Han Ga-ram, a human-rights lawyer, says the measure is tantamount to criminalising homosexuality. Activists say it violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens. They have challenged it in the constitutional court three times since 2002, to no avail. A fourth complaint is on its way through the courts.

Judges, generals and politicians may be unbending, but public opinion is shifting. Between 2010 and 2014, support for same-sex marriage doubled among respondents in their 20s and 30s; almost three-quarters in their 20s saw gay rights as a human-rights issue. Mr Han says that South Koreans are “less afraid of speaking out” since months of protests led to the impeachment in March of Park Geun-hye, the president, prompting the current election.

Posters have appeared on the walls of universities in Seoul, the capital, calling for the release of the gay soldiers, with the slogan: “Take me away too”. Protesters waving rainbow flags and calling for Mr Moon to apologise disrupted one of his campaign events this week (see picture). In the end, he did, but half-heartedly, saying he should not have been judgmental, but standing by his opposition to greater gay rights. Activists have taken to Gwanghwamun Square, in central Seoul, where, only recently, Mr Moon joined the rallies against Ms Park, presenting himself as a figure of change. Angry banners there now demand of him: “Do you oppose me?”

This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline "Forget North Korea"

Energy Star Efficiency Program on the Trump Chopping Block


The Energy Star program started in 1992 to rate the efficiency of computer monitors and now covers dozens of product categories.   Paul Sakuma/AP

No more Energy Star: Manufactures can built as they wish and the customer would have no choice and no way of knowing which appliance will be better in efficiency helping to save energy and the planet  Appliance manufacturers and home builders  are in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate a  popular energy efficiency program, even as it’s slated for elimination in President Trump’s proposed budget. 
You probably know the program's little blue label with the star — the Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of U.S. households do.
"The Energy Star brand has brand recognition on par with, like, Coke and Pepsi," says Steve Byers, CEO of EnergyLogic. His company, which is among those receiving an Energy Star award at this year's event, inspects buildings to make sure they qualify for the program's seal of approval. "This is a very successful program," he says. "I don't know what more one could want out of a government program."
In fact, the 25-year-old Energy Star program appears to be targeted simply because it's run by the federal government. It's one of 50 EPA programs that would be axed under Trump's budget plan, which would shrink the agency's funding by more than 30 percent. (The U.S. Department of Energy also helps administer Energy Star, and would see a 5.6 percent budget cut.)
Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary. But that argument doesn’t hold sway for the program's legions of supporters, which span nonprofits, companies and trade groups. 

"These cuts make no sense," says Lowell Ungar, senior policy adviser with the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. His group, along with about 80 other nonprofits and companies, has written to Congress urging it to keep the program. More than 1,000 companies have called for strengthening the program in another letter, organized by the Alliance to Save Energy.
"The bottom line is proposed cuts to Energy Star would harm American consumers, they would destroy jobs, and they would make air pollution worse," Ungar says.
The federal government launched Energy Star in 1992 to rate the efficiency of computer monitors. Now it covers dozens of product categories, from washers to electronics and homes.
Here's how it works: The government sets criteria for efficient products. A third party inspects goods or housing, and if they meet the criteria, manufacturers can use the familiar blue sticker to market the product as energy-efficient.
In a North Denver development called Midtown, Steve Eagleburger of EnergyLogic was recently inspecting a home while construction workers put on finishing touches. This part of the Energy Star program has existed since 1995.
"What we're doing here is checking to make sure this attic is insulated," Eagleburger said as he stood on a ladder and peered through a raised attic hatch. "This one is not insulated at all."
He makes a note on a tablet, then he's off to the next thing — a checklist of dozens of items such as fans and air-duct seals. This house won't get the Energy Star label unless it fulfills all the requirements.
Energy Star is a voluntary program. It costs about $50 million a year to run, but punches above its weight in impact. In 2014, the EPA estimates the program helped American consumers and businesses save $34 billion and prevent more than 300 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
A study published last month in the journal Nature Energy found that Energy Star-rated buildings in Los Angeles used nearly 20 percent less energy compared with other buildings.
The little blue label also has an audience in countries such as Mexico and Canada.
"We do see that actually as a distinguishing factor," says Mike Gazzano of Delta Products, which makes fans for bathroom ventilation and other uses. He says customers consider Energy Star the mark of "a premium product" in terms of engineering and technology.
The idea for eliminating Energy Star might have come from conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation, which targets a range of efficiency programs in its own budget blueprint.
"This is something that the private sector can market and sell as a great quality for their product. So why is the government trying to nudge people in one direction when they simply shouldn't need to," says Nick Loris, an energy and environment policy fellow at the foundation.
Another critic is Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and head of Trump's EPA transition team. "It's good that Energy Star is a voluntary program," he says in a statement, "but it's not clear why taxpayer dollars should be used to promote some products over other products."
Energy Star has also weathered a scandal. In 2010, workers at the Government Accountability Office posed as product developers and got the Energy Star label for fictitious products. That launched the third-party certification that exists now.
Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy with the trade group Consumer Technology Association, says that process can take time out of the already crunched product development cycle.
"It's a part of the program that we think should be reexamined," he says. "In fact we've been advocates for improving that part of the Energy Star program."
Johnson says there are other successful federal programs such as EnergyGuide that measure efficiency. Still, he doesn't think the entire Energy Star program should go away.
Ultimately, it will be up to Congress to decide whether shoppers continue to see the familiar blue sticker on goods in the showroom.
Grace Hood is an energy and environment reporter with Colorado Public Radio. You can follow her @gracehood.
NPR.org

Watch how this Ball Player Comes Out Gay to His Teammates










 An American professional baseball player based in Adelaide, Australia came out to his family on TLC’s This Is Life Live on Monday night.


                                                                                                                 




The following is from outsports.com

Baseball player Ryan Jordan Santana came out publicly on live television Monday night, sharing the truth about his sexual orientation with his mother and teammates for the first time. The dramatic coming-out was part of TLC’s series This Is Life Live.
He played college baseball at Azusa Pacific Univ. in Southern California. He closed out his final year at APU winning PacWest Conference Player of the Week honors. Prior to that he played for St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Pheonix, Ariz. During his junior year in high school he hit .449
Interestingly, both of those schools have strong ties to the church. Azusa Pacific has a school policy barring gay sex
Santana told Outsports that playing at Azusa Pacific “was a tough spot for me because I do believe in God. It was challenging time for sure.”
Santana currently plays for the Golden Grove Dodgers in Adelaide, Australia. 
He said he first realized he was attracted to men around the age of 15 but felt he couldn’t tell anyone. 
“I lived a lie my whole life. I was always too afraid to even tell my teammates. But I don’t want to have to lie to them about this part of me anymore.”
The show’s host asked Santana one of the million-dollar questions: why come out to your family on national television?
“I feel like I struggled with it, and I know there are others struggling with their sexuality as well,” Santana said. “And I feel like I don’t want them to feel alone or by themselves. And i want to let them know they are not alone. I want to be some kind of outlet, a light.”
He said he was unable to say the words “I’m gay” out loud just 10 months ago.
Part of that has been his participation in sports. He felt, like so many other gay athletes, that being gay and coming out would end his participation in sports. Add to that living and playing in Australia, where same-sex marriage is still illegal, and previously playing for two Christian schools, and his apprehension was high.
“I always felt...I couldn’t come out and play baseball. I thought as soon as I came out, I’m done playing baseball. But it shouldn’t be that way. They should be able to know that and judge me off of my athletic ability. If I’m a good baseball player if i’m a good teammate.”
When he came out to two of his teammates in a recorded meeting, one of his teammates said before the big reveal that something was “so f******* gay.” 
When he finally told his two teammates, the one who made the gay crack quickly embraced him, literally, and said they’d be mates for life. His other teammate and roommate broke down in tears about the pain Santana must have been feeling.
“It doesn’t change anything between our friendship,” Santana’s roommate said.
Chalk another one up for the athletes.
When it finally came time to come out to his mom, he struggled through tears to share it with her. She took it great and comforted him.
“I’m accepting of anything and everything with you boys,” she said. “You’re still you.”
Chalk another one up for the moms.
“I want to live my life authentically,” Santana told Outsports. “Everyone should be able to. It is important now because I’m at a time in my life where I’m thinking about family and career. I feel like now is a good time and I hope to inspire others to tell their stories.”
This is Life Live continues Tuesday and Wednesday this week on TLC at 10pmET.

April 26, 2017

Stone a Nixon Era Hater Now Trump Man, Alt/News Manufacturer



The Trump era has brought with it a lot of things we wouldn't usually consider "normal." A reality TV star caught on camera bragging about sexual assault being elected president? Not normal. That same president putting trust in fringe websites while ignoring his own intelligence briefings and labeling mainstream news outlets "fake news"? Also not normal. But one of the strangest, most subtle bits of abnormality in this new world is the media renaissance of Trump adviser Roger Stone, who you may recognize from his appearances on cable and network news shows.

Stone chats with the media during a December 2016 visit to  Trump Tower. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

For more than 40 years, Stone played a mostly behind-the-scenes role in Republican politics. After Trump's election, that changed.

Also known as "Nixon's man in Washington" (according to Stone's own book), Stone has a long history as a political "dirty trickster" and purveyor of half-baked conspiracy theories on everything from 9/11 to the Kennedy assassination to Obama's birth certificate. He was also a key player in the election of Donald Trump. And, like the president, he prides himself on not being "politically correct."
He has referred to black and Latino journalists as “quota hires," he once ran an anti-Hillary Clinton organization called Citizens United Not Timid (apparently, he really liked the acronym), and this weekend, he went on a sexist Twitter rant, calling a woman identified as Caroline O. a "stupid ignorant ugly bitch."

Those sexist tweets were not an isolated incident.  His behavior was enough to get him banned from some of the cable news networks. He was banned from CNN (after calling CNN commentator Ana Navarro an "Entitled Diva Bitch," "Borderline retarded," and "'dumber than dog shit"), from MSNBC ("because of his now very well-known offensive comments"), and from Fox News (Stone says, "I'm banned at Fox because I kick their ass"). Stone became a star only to see it all fade once his more extreme views became more widely known.
You might think that would be the last we saw of him. You'd be wrong. While Stone hasn’t been back on any of the networks that banned him, he has been getting a lot of attention from mainstream networks like NBC and PBS since the election.

So why — if nothing about his misogyny, racism, and penchant for conspiracy theories has changed — is Roger Stone on our TVs again?

Stone recently appeared on NBC's "Today" show to discuss the effect Russia had on the 2016 campaign. In January, he appeared in the PBS "Frontline" documentary "Divided States of America." In April, Netflix will premiere "Get Me Roger Stone," a documentary about the man himself, at the Tribeca Film Festival. 
Despite being shunned by major networks during the election, the very same man who quoted Gore Vidal to the New York Times in 2015 — "Never miss the opportunity to have sex or be on television" — seems to be making good on at least the latter half of that statement.

Stone a Nixon Era Hater Now Trump Man,Alt.News Manufacturer

Stone in 1987 during his time as a political consultant for Campaign Consultants Inc. AP Photo/Tom Reed.
So, what is it? Why is Roger Stone being given a platform on our TVs again? And what does it say about what's "normal" in the Trump-era media landscape that a man who tweeted "DIE BITCH" at former New York Times editor Jill Abramson, who he called a "snot-nosed, arrogant, biased liberal — and all around bitch" because the paper didn't review his 2013 book about President Kennedy's assassination, who called former Rep. Michele Bachmann a "tranny," and who called Al Sharpton a "professional negro" is considered palatable for mainstream audiences?
Roger Stone hasn't changed, but maybe we have.

Stone during The New Yorker Festival 2016's "President Trump: Life as We May Know It" panel. Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for The New Yorker.

Stone is the canary in the Trump-era normalization coal mine. He is what happens when the country elects Donald Trump president, and he is evidence of a ripple effect that could continue for generations.

Roger Stone, Milo YiannopoulosAlex Jones, and others were once fringe elements within the media. Their ideas — sexist, hateful, and based in paranoia and conspiracy theories — were rejected for those very reasons. When people like them, whose arguments and careers are built upon a lifetime of bad behavior, are given platforms and aren't held responsible for their actions and attitudes, we start to become numb to just how extreme their views are. When we become indifferent to harmful viewpoints and people, we redefine "normal" — and not for the better. 
This is not normal. 
Hate is not normal. Bigotry, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia are not acceptable "alternative" viewpoints. And people who promote those messages should not become just one more cog in the cable news machine. We cannot let that become our new reality. We're better than that.
So why is Roger Stone on my TV again? 



Share image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Featured Posts

23Yr Old Gets 28yrs For Kicking Man to Death Because He was Gay

A 23-year-old Idaho man was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Wednesday after he kicked a man to death with steel-to...