US won’t join international agreement against online extremism

The U.S. says it supports an international effort spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron to find ways to stop social media from spreading hate — but won’t take part in it. Signing onto the effort are the UK, Japan, Australia, Italy, India, Germany, and Spain, along with tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube. The White House suggested it has concerns about First Amendment violations.

WaPo: Trump favors democracy’s enemies. An Oval Office meeting Monday makes the point.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a virtual pariah within the European Union because of his dismantling of his country’s democratic institutions, cruel treatment of asylum seekers and anti-Semitic provocations. But on Monday he is due to be welcomed to the White House by President Trump, who appears to prefer crude autocrats of Mr. Orban’s type to the liberal democratic leaders of the United States’ closest allies.

The fringes of the GOP are becoming mainstream

When asked if the “two halves” of America can continue to coexist as a nation, Washington state representative Matt Shea, who’s been exposed in the past for discussing physical attacks on political enemies, said the following. “You know, I don’t think we can, and a lot of people would be kind of stunned maybe by that. I don’t think we can, again, because you have half that want to follow the Lord and righteousness and half that don’t, and I don’t know how that can stand.”

Michelle Goldberg: Trump helps bigots go viral

“It’s tempting to ignore Trump’s tweeting, even if his social media messages do occasionally cause global financial markets to plummet. Yet when Trump amplifies far-right voices, people on the fringes notice. On 8chan, the online hangout of both the man charged with slaughtering Muslims in New Zealand recently and the man charged in the Poway synagogue shooting, a poster wrote, ‘IF POTUS is retweeting something like this, the gloves are really off. It’s ON.'”

Fred Hiatt: Yes, white supremacists are emboldened. But that’s not the whole story.

“Hate crimes small and large seem to be on the rise everywhere. But here’s something else that has been happening: Some 400,000 people have visited a memorial to the victims of racial-terror lynchings since it opened in Montgomery, Ala., about one year ago. People in 300 counties where lynchings took place have started conversations about erecting markers or monuments in their hometowns…It’s a big, complicated country. The hopeful doesn’t negate the baleful. But the hopeful is a part of our story.”

S.E. Cupp: Good riddance to Milo, Jones, and Farrakhan. But is it a false sense of security?

“Suppressing these dangerous voices might give us a false sense of security that if we can’t hear or see them, they no longer exist. They do — they are here. And I’d rather they hide in plain sight so we are better acquainted with our enemies than pretend that taking away their microphones is a solution. Their microphones aren’t the problem. It’s their ideas.”

A former alt-right member’s message: Get out while you still can

Katie McHugh, a writer and editor whose racist rants on social media were so bad, they got her fired from Breitbart News, of all places, claims to have changed her ways, and she has a message for the far right. “There is redemption. You have to own up to what you did and then forcefully reject this and explain to people, and tell your story, and say, ‘Get out while you can.'”

Nicole Hemmer: Charlottesville wasn’t about Robert E. Lee, Mr. President. It was about racism

“There has been more than enough time for reflection and apologies. The president and his allies continue to provide cover for the racist violence in Charlottesville, and the violent ideology propagated there. There is no more need to debate whether support for racism is a feature of the Trump administration; the question is how much longer Americans will tolerate it.”

Trump doubles down on Charlottesville response

In addition to separating migrant families and attempting to ban all Muslims from entering the country, one of President Trump’s most infamously disgraceful choices was to refer to white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” After Joe Biden referenced that ignominious moment in his campaign launch video, Trump defended his comments again on Friday.

UKIP recruit has history of using racial slurs

A YouTuber who is the UK Independence Party’s star recruit to run in the upcoming European elections has a history of using racial slurs, including repeatedly saying the n-word. Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad, was tapped to run by the Eurosceptic, right-wing political party to appeal to younger, more online, far-right voters. Benjamin also sent a disparaging tweet about rape to Labour MP Jess Phillips, and suggested Jewish people use the Holocaust to engage in identity politics.

Why doesn’t Twitter treat white supremacy like ISIS?

In short, because it means the company would have to ban some Republican politicians. A company official said when the platform aggressively enforces against content, it can also flag innocent accounts, and society generally accepts the benefit of banning, say, ISIS for inconveniencing others. But with white supremacy, Republican politicians could get swept up by the algorithms, and banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted as a fair trade-off. So it looks like we’re stuck with @realdonaldtrump.

Rep Steve King plays victim in a big way

Being crucified for the sins of the world and losing committee assignments over racist comments you made are roughly equivalent to Rep. Steve King. Two days after Easter, King compared himself to Jesus Christ at a town hall, saying, “And when I had to step down the floor of the House of Representatives and look at up those 400-and-some accusers, you know, we’ve just passed through Easter and Christ’s Passion, and I have a better insight into what he went through for us.” Um, yeah, okay.

FBI arrests right-wing militia leader

The FBI on Saturday arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, the leader of a right-wing militia group that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico. Operating under the alias Johnny Horton, Jr., Hopkins was arrested on charges of firearms possession by a felon, a relatively minor charge that is likely the start of a deeper investigation into his activities and those of the militia, opening the way for authorities to bring more serious charges like kidnapping.

Armed militia detains migrants at US-Mexico border

Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.

Paris fire spurs Islamophobic conspiracy theories

As firefighters worked to contain the fire that ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, Islamophobic conspiracy theories about the cause of the fire were being pushed on social media by anonymous accounts, known white nationalists, and political pundits. French officials investigating the fire have ruled out arson and terrorism, saying the fire that led to a roof collapse was likely tied to ongoing repairs at the cathedral.

Andrew Yang disavows support from white nationalists

The Democratic presidential candidate provided a reasonable explanation for why white nationalists seem to like his campaign. “In the context of my book, I was saying, how will this tribalism and violence manifest itself. Poor whites who felt like they had no future and then that violence would emerge in large part because that group would become increasingly angry and distressed,” Yang said. “That’s the context of the book.”

Andrew Yang’s extremism problem

Leaked chats show that presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign is struggling to separate online supporters and online radicals. The chats showed the Yang campaign attempting to coordinate some of the online support while keeping out racism and racist slurs. Yang’s tech-driven campaign has found him supporters in all areas of the internet, but he is discovering that the same online places where his supporters can be found are also home to racism, white nationalism, and other radicalism.

FBI director: White supremacy a ‘persistent, pervasive threat’

At a budget request hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “The danger, I think, of white supremacists, violent extremism, or another kind of extremism is, of course, significant.” He said the FBI addresses it through its joint terrorism task forces and via hate crime enforcement. Wray’s comments counter those of President Trump, who recently said that white supremacists were “a small group of people.”

Domestic terror intel unit disbanded

The timing seems…odd. The Department of Homeland Security has disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who focused on the threat from homegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorists, and shared intel with state and local law enforcement officials. “You hear this administration say how domestic terrorism is a clear priority. But you can’t say that and then all of a sudden get rid of the unit that’s there to detect threats. You can’t have it both ways,” said former DHS official Nate Snyder.

Robert Tracinski: Don’t fall for Trumpers’ fake news on Charlottesville

Despite what supporters of Donald Trump may tell you, “Trump’s Charlottesville statement deserves to be remembered as a dangerous sign. It shows the corruption in Trump’s outlook on the world that makes him unwilling to deal with a clear threat to American values — and, in the coiled obfuscations of the ‘Charlottesville Hoax’ myth, it shows how he corrupts the minds and values of his apologists.”

Megan Condis: From Fortnite to Alt-Right

“Rather than waiting for targets to find them, recruiters go to where targets are, staging seemingly casual conversations about issues of race and identity in spaces where lots of disaffected, vulnerable adolescent white males tend to hang out. Those who exhibit curiosity about white nationalist talking points or express frustration with the alt-right’s ideological opponents such as feminists, anti-racism activists and ‘social justice warriors’ are then escorted through a funnel of increasingly racist rhetoric designed to normalize the presence of white supremacist ideology and paraphernalia through the use of edgy humor and memes.”

Bad day for white supremacists

On the same day Facebook announced a ban on white supremacist content on its platform, an indictment unsealed on Wednesday revealed that 18 members and associates of a white supremacist gang have been arrested. Known as the 1488s, the gang members have been charged for their alleged roles in a racketeering enterprise involving narcotics distribution, firearms trafficking, and acts of violence, including murder, assault, and kidnapping.

#MAGA top hashtag among extremists

J.M. Berger, an author who studies extremist movements, says of white nationalism, “We’re seeing a resurgence in various countries. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.” And around the world, Donald Trump is a symbol of the movement. “When we do the social media analysis…what we find is the most common [tag] is ‘#MAGA.’ The most common description of somebody that they use in the profile…on Twitter, is ‘Trump supporter.'”

New Zealand PM calls for global fight against racism

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returned to Christchurch today for the second time since a gunman killed 50 people in an attack on two mosques last Friday. In an interview on the BBC, she issued a global call to weed out right-wing nationalism. “If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world, we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries.”

Joe Scarborough: What Trump has done makes my differences with Obama seem insignificant

“A hundred years from now, [Barack] Obama’s presidency will be hailed as the most transformative of our lifetimes, and Donald Trump’s will be viewed with the same scorn that followed the Dred Scott decision. Like that pre-Civil War Supreme Court case, Trump will forever be condemned as a racial reprobate whose words and actions inspired white supremacists and neo-Nazis.”

Far-right extremism seen as growing threat

Intelligence services in France, Britain, Germany, and Italy are warning of growing tensions and risks caused by extremism in Western societies. Peter Neumann, head of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, said “we’ve seen an increase for four or five years in the number of hate crimes and also right-wing terrorist violence. I attribute that to deepening polarisation which has increased extremism not only on the jihadist side but also on the extreme right-wing side.”

The Southland Times: What the shooter didn’t plan for

“The people he seeks to separate one from the other instead stand shoulder to shoulder to confront and oppose what the world’s great cultures each recognise as the barbarity of extremists who sometimes lurk, sometimes strut, in their midst. … Now the accused is rendered a pixellated presence in our thinking, while those he wrenched from us stand so vividly in our consciousness. Their humanity is seen as what it always was, unassailable. His own is questioned. Those who survived his bullets will be welcomed back into a wider community that is more grateful than before to have them among us. And all those he hurt, physically or not, will find themselves surrounded by so many who want to help, if only they know how. That is a question so many are asking, perhaps more purposefully than in past times.”

White nationalist rep deletes civil war FB post

A controversial meme posted on Facebook by notorious Rep. Steve King was deleted on Monday. The meme depicted battling human figures composed of “red” and “blue” states and said, “Folks keep talking about another civil war; one side has about 8 trillion bullets while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.” King posted it on Saturday night with the comment “Wonder who would win….,” followed by a smirking emoji.