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As if Arizona wasn’t already unfriendly enough territory for immigrants, now they have to face angry, armed neo-Nazis. Incredibly, a small group of heavily armed racists patrolled for migrants and drug cartels last week on the Southern border.
Led by J.T. Ready — a recent member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) — the group, who call themselves Ready’s Rangers, took to the desert armed with semi-automatic rifles and clad in fatigues, military style helmets and Kevlar vests. The “rangers” ended up holding 11 immigrants at gunpoint, according to participant Harry Hughes, NSM’s media spokesman.
It wasn’t the first time out on the border for the group, which is mostly made up of NSM members. In June, Ready reported on the neo-Nazi forum New Saxon, which is run by NSM, having “captured” a total of “[t]hree live UDA’s (Undocumented Aliens) … and one UDA corpse” in Pinal County’s Vekol Valley. And we should expect more patrols. NSM Region 11 Director Jeff Hall promises “future large scale missions” in both California and Arizona.
Ready is a racist and an anti-Semite. His frequent postings on New Saxon are remarkably crude. Among other things, he has written that “the Jew is a two-headed cancer which corrupts and putrefies all that is natural and noble upon this earth.” Today, Ready made incendiary comments to Gawker about the Judge who placed an injunction on Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB1070, saying, “Perhaps [Judge Bolton] should step her ass outside the air-conditioned courtroom sometime and see what is really happening as Rome burns and barbarians with AK-47s are in gun battles twenty miles from the gates of Phoenix.”
But as scary as J.T. is, his pal in this endeavor, Harry Hughes, might be scarier. Hughes really, really doesn’t like Mexicans, citing approvingly on his blog an article that says: “Mexican illegal aliens are revolting. And they know it. It is their purpose to disrupt us, interfere with us and give us diseases that we haven’t had in this country for 100 years.” In September 2007, in a thread on the racist forum Stormfront.org that was devoted to getting Mexicans to move out of a neighborhood, Hughes provided the following observation: “Back where I’m from they would just get into a hunting accident but that might not work here as there are too many of them.”
Hughes’ anger, by his own account, sometimes spills over into action. In July 2007, Hughes posted under his moniker “vandal52900” to Stormfront that he had shot a Mexican family’s dog. “The dog with the bullet belonged to Mexicans. I legally shot it, but was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because I yelled at the Mexicans.” Hughes said the charges were later dropped and “the Mexicans [sic] home mysteriously burned down.” In a September 2007 post that was later removed from Stormfront, Hughes wrote: “Does getting arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for shouting at a latrino neighbor count? I was unarmed at the time and the cop was a spic.” ( continue to full post… )
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After a four-month hiatus that many hoped would be permanent ended in June 2008, James Edwards’ hate-fueled radio show, “The Political Cesspool,” has reestablished itself as a leading forum for neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and white supremacists. Since launching in 2004, the show — the history of which is chronicled here — has also become an occasional forum for these radicals’ more mainstream admirers, such as “Political Cesspool” guest (and MSNBC commentator) Pat Buchanan. Edwards himself has netted several appearances on CNN.
Now, it appears, the show’s host sees himself as mainstream enough to engage in a conservative talk radio host rite of passage: the patriotic manifesto. And from a distance, Edwards’ newly self-published effort might be confused with any number of Conservative Book Club bestsellers. As with recent titles by commentators Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, the cover displays the author’s face set against a giant rippling American flag.
But such confusion is only possible at a distance, and then only briefly. Very little further examination is required to detect all the hallmarks of an amateur self-publishing effort with an assist from CreateSpace — beginning with a title devoid of wit, even by the standards set by Edwards’ radio program: Racism, Schmacism: How Liberals Use the “R” Word to Push the Obama Agenda. Then there is the cheap Photoshop job of the cover, above which is the megalomaniacal boast that its author is “the most controversial talk show host in America.”
The premise of Racism, Schmacism, to the extent that it has a coherent premise, is that liberals have defined “racist” to mean “any conservative white person.” Thus, any attempt by conservatives to shake off or avoid the racist label is bound to fail. Given this inevitability, Edwards believes, conservatives should embrace race consciousness and get aggressive. Edwards early on stresses his agreement with Rush Limbaugh in the view that John McCain could have won in 2008 if only he hadn’t run such a timid and racially sensitive campaign. Writes Edwards: “Just imagine how different the campaign would have turned out if McCain had been running TV ads focusing on Obama’s shockingly frank hatred of white people.” ( continue to full post… )
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A proponent of multiple wives, polygamous prophet Warren Jeffs appears destined to have multiple trials. The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed Jeffs’ two convictions on charges of rape as an accomplice and ordered that he be tried again.
“He was thrilled,” said Jeffs’ attorney, Wally Bugden. “He believed his prayers, and the prayers of many others, have been answered.” Despite a “media lynching,” Bugden added, “he felt the rights of an individual were protected by the Constitution.”
Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), with an estimated 10,000 followers. The sect first split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — commonly known as the Mormon Church — in 1890 after Mormon officials renounced polygamy under pressure from the U.S. government. The FLDS captured national attention in 2008, when authorities acting on reports of sexual abuse of a minor raided its El Dorado, Texas, compound and placed 219 children and women in protective custody. Jeffs is considered a prophet in the FLDS, which has compounds in several western states, Mexico and Canada.
After spending nearly two years on the run, Jeffs was tried in 2007, convicted and sentenced to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison. The charges stemmed from his arranging the marriage of an unwilling 14-year-old girl, Elissa Wall, to her 19-year-old cousin, Allen Steed, in 2001. Wall testified at Jeffs’ trial that she implored him to release her from the marriage. Instead, he instructed her to give herself to Steed “mind, body and soul, and obey him without question,” she said. That action by Jeffs was the source of the second rape as an accomplice count filed against him. The first was alleged to have occurred soon after Wall and Steed were married and first had sex.
It was Jeffs who performed her marriage ceremony to Steed, Wall testified at trial, ordering her to “go forth and replenish the Earth and raise good priesthood children.” ( continue to full post… )
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The American Family Association (AFA), one of the nation’s most obsessed anti-gay crusaders, launched a boycott of The Home Depot a week ago today because the home improvement and construction retailer “promotes the homosexual agenda.” Rather than “remain neutral in the culture war,” AFA wrote, “The Home Depot has chosen to sponsor and participate in numerous gay pride parades and festivals.”
That alone wouldn’t be an earth-shaking accusation; plenty of major corporations, including Home Depot, sponsor gay pride events. But AFA’s announcement strongly implies – with clever wording and misleading “evidence” – that the home-improvement retailer is helping gay sexual predators stalk children.
A letter posted on AFA’s website and signed by its president, Tim Wildmon, declares that a photograph “taken during recent homosexual events sponsored by The Home Depot show[s] children being encouraged to visit gay sex websites.” In the photo, children presumably attending the Southern Maine Pride Festival and parade in June, are seen holding orange Home Depot cups with small red-and-white flags stuck in them. The AFA caption reads, “The flags in these Home Depot cups promote a gay website which proclaims itself as ‘the men’s social group for men who have sex with men.’” The caption goes on, “The cups were given to children by The Home Depot gay parade marchers, while homosexual activists followed up by introducing them to gay sex websites.”
Read carefully, AFA’s post never accuses Home Depot of having anything to do with the flags. But AFA nevertheless concludes, “The Home Depot has no problem aligning itself with gay activist groups who target children with a pro-homosexual message.” The impression is inescapable: Home Depot pals around with lustful gay activists as they recklessly invite kids to visit a gay porn site.
But what about those mysterious flags? The writing on the flags can’t be read in the photo, and AFA conveniently never identifies the offending website — and for good reason, as it turns out. ( continue to full post… )
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Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center has released a new report, “Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism and the Hypocrisy of Hate.” The report documents a sweeping, renewed attempt by anti-immigration activists to convince environmentalists that they, too, must oppose immigration if they are to save the environment from the ravages of a growing population.
Because such efforts typically have been organized by anti-immigration activists whose leading concern is not the environment — men and women who attempt to recruit conservationists and other “progressives” to their cause, sometimes even while simultaneously working with nakedly anti-environmental forces — this strategy has come to be known as “greenwashing.” The efforts are essentially cynical, aimed at deflecting charges of racism by cloaking anti-immigrant views in green.
This recent campaign is not the first. For years, nativists have been trying to manipulate environmentalists and, in 2004, anti-immigrant activists came close to achieving a majority on the Sierra Club’s board of directors, a catastrophe that would have drastically altered the mission of America’s largest environmental organization. The continued efforts reveal how persistent nativists are in trying to recruit environmentalists to their cause by blaming immigrants for a host of environmental ills.
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Are the organizations that make up the Tea Party movement fundamentally racist? If not, are they too lackadaisical about addressing hard racist elements among their overwhelmingly white memberships?
Controversy over these questions was recently sparked anew when Ben Jealous of the NAACP accused Tea Party leaders of not sufficiently repudiating bigoted rhetoric and imagery in Tea Party events and online forums. As if to prove Jealous’ point, Mark Williams, the bilious former leader of Tea Party Express, popped up to post an online missive that fit his habit of throwing racially charged insults (he once called Barack Obama an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug”). Williams’ rebuttal to Jealous’ challenge, posted to his personal blog, marktalks.com, took the form of a fictional letter to Abraham Lincoln sent from “the Coloreds,” in which the latter claim to “have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing.”
To its credit, the National Tea Party Federation, the movement’s umbrella group, responded quickly by expelling Williams. But this welcome move does not settle the matter of Tea Party racism. Williams remains active in the Tea Party Express, one of the nation’s largest Tea Party groups, and the diffuse nature of the movement makes it difficult if not impossible to gauge Williams’ support among the grassroots that has over the last year heartily welcomed Williams to dozens of Tea Party events around the country.
Whatever Williams’ official expulsion signifies—a genuine sign that Tea Party leaders will no longer tolerate bigotry from activists who work under the Tea Party banner, or simply a realization that it has an image problem on its hands—the fact remains that the Williams kerfuffle was hardly the first instance of racist rhetoric emanating from Tea Parties. From homemade signage to racist email blasts, there has been plenty to condemn dating back to April of 2009. Much more often than not, this racist behavior has generally been met by Tea Party activists with either silence or denial.
The most notable example of this silence and denial is the complete lack of recognition that white supremacist groups increasingly view Tea Parties as rich recruiting grounds. The average Tea Partier may not be interested in joining a hate group, but hate groups have not been shy about their interest in the average Tea Partier. For over a year, racist groups have lurked on the periphery of the Tea Party scene seeking to exploit the fact that, as MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan recently noted with satisfaction, “For the first time in our lifetimes, outside the South, white racial consciousness has visibly begun to rise.” ( continue to full post… )
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It had the makings of a dramatic story: Members of a Mexican drug cartel on Saturday took control of two ranches in Laredo, Texas, as the ranch owners fled for their lives.
If only it were true.
The tale, reported by Dan Amato, a Pennsylvania anti-immigration blogger, gained traction throughout the blogosphere. Amato, who blogs under the name of Digger, claimed that members of Los Zetas — dangerous Mexican gunmen heavily involved in the international drug trade and other criminal activities — had crossed from Mexico into Texas and taken over the two ranches in the border city of Laredo. “The source is law enforcement in the area,” Amato wrote from his perch some 1,800 miles away.
In truth, Amato’s source was Jeff Schwilk, the bellicose leader of the virulent San Diego Minutemen anti-immigration group, as Amato subsequently revealed. Schwilk’s home base is about 1,300 miles from Laredo. And Schwilk’s source? Another San Diego anti-immigration diehard, Kimberly Dvorak. She wrote on Saturday at Examiner.com that the so-called ranches takeover “could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States.”
No such pronouncements were forthcoming from the White House or the State Department. Perhaps that’s because the Amato-Schwilk-Dvorak troika appears to be trafficking in pure fiction. ( continue to full post… )
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Sometimes, pictures really are worth a thousand words.
In the 1980s, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — a restrictionist group that insists it is not bigoted despite a small mountain of evidence to the contrary — put out an untitled, undated booklet of cartoons that featured on the cover what looks like Fidel Castro strangling the Statue of Liberty and lighting his cigar in the flaming torch she holds.
Not surprisingly, given FAIR’s track record of demonizing immigrants, the group’s pamphlet is filled with provocative drawings by professional cartoonists that are accompanied by often bigoted or defamatory subtitles written by FAIR. FAIR’s commentary is particularly vicious when discussing refugees who arrived in South Florida from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.
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After years of having the field all to himself, Westboro Baptist Church leader and gay-basher extraordinaire Fred Phelps might finally have some competition for the title of America’s most media-hungry hate-church preacher.
On Sept. 11, Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center will hold the first “International Burn a Koran Day” ceremony on the steps of his church in Gainesville, Fla. According to the church’s website, the event was organized “in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”
If you recognize Dove World, it’s likely from the media outcry (including heavy play on CNN) that met their placement of lawn signs earlier this month proclaiming just that: “Islam is of the Devil.” We’ve also written about it frequently on this blog (here and here and here).
As of this writing, nearly 500 people have clicked “like” on the event’s webpage, which also features Photoshop images premised on the nuking of Iran and Mecca. One of these shows Mecca’s Grand Mosque full of pilgrims, with the simple tag: “Nuke It.”
At least some of the page’s supporters seem to have learned much of what they know about Islam from Fox News’ distortive hyping and conspiracy mongering regarding the case of a conservative mole at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). A person who identified herself as Fran Ingram, for example, posted a video of Fox News’ coverage of the CAIR story with the title, “No Moderate Muslims.” ( continue to full post… )
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The entire Shirley Sherrod affair is so disgusting, such a stomach-churning episode of right-wing lies, propagandists posing as “journalists,” and craven political cowardice and gullibility, that it’s hard to know who to be most enraged at.
Andrew Breitbart, a particularly vile propagandist of the American right who presented a severely edited videotape of a speech by the Agriculture Department official to falsely label her an anti-white racist? Fox News, several of whose miserable excuses for journalists relentlessly plugged the entirely false story before and after Sherrod was fired? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who had a minion call Sherrod on a cell phone and insist that she pull over to the side of the road and text in her resignation before any of the relevant background facts about the “scandal” emerged? The White House, which, apparently frightened of appearing in any way linked to black racism, stood by the forced resignation even when it became clear that Sherrod’s speech was nothing like what Breitbart suggested? Even the NAACP acted poorly in this sorry episode, saying it was “appalled” by Sherrod’s words and later “concurring” with her firing. (To its credit, the civil rights group quickly recognized its error, retracting its comments yesterday and saying it had been “snookered” by Breitbart and Fox’s falsehoods.)
Here’s the story in brief, for those few people who still don’t know about it. On Monday, Breitbart — the same loathsome character who publicly called Ted Kennedy a “pile of human excrement” a few hours after the senator’s death — aired a video of Sherrod speaking to an NAACP banquet in Georgia last March. In his edited version, Sherrod is shown talking about initially not wanting to help a white man who was facing the loss of his farm because of her anger toward white racists. But the tape presented by Breitbart, who was furious about the NAACP’s recent criticism of racism within the ranks of the Tea Parties, left out the crucial conclusion of what was really Sherrod’s tale of redemption — that in the course of the 1986 case she was discussing, she came to realize that “the struggle is really about poor people,” and that her anti-white feelings were wrong. She said the case changed her entire outlook. (And in fact the farmer and his wife were all over the media yesterday, saying that Sherrod had saved their farm, was a fine and caring woman, and should get her job back.)
FoxNews.com and Fox Nation, both parts of Fox News, immediately picked up Breitbart’s fairy tale and began plugging it, as did Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (who demanded Sherrod’s resignation in taped comments run after she quit) and a number of other right-wing media outlets. (Many of these reports, following Breitbart, claimed that Sherrod’s actions in the 1986 case had occurred while she was an Agriculture employee — a complete falsehood.) That prompted Vilsack to have her thrown out of her job as the department’s director of rural development in Georgia (to the applause of an array of Fox hosts and guests) — an act that Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen rightly described today as pure political “cowardice.” Vilsack didn’t bother to hear Sherrod’s side of the story first, and he didn’t watch the full videotape. Incredibly, even as the true story began to emerge, Vilsack said he was sticking by Sherrod’s ouster, because, “rightly or wrongly,” perceptions about her comments could make her job more difficult. Then, early this morning, the Associated Press quoted an unnamed White House official saying President Obama had been briefed on the situation but was supporting Vilsack’s decision.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of wilting of White House officials under pressure from the political right. They fired Van Jones, a White House environmental advisor, after Fox’s Glenn Beck made false claims that he was a “black nationalist” and former “radical communist” who was using green jobs as a form of “stealth reparations.” They repudiated an accurate 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that was leaked and then attacked by right wingers for supposedly defaming conservatives — a charge that was patently false. ( continue to full post… )