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Concluding a three-week trial that exposed the most unsavory side of Arizona’s militant border vigilante movement, a jury on Monday found Shawna Forde guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the May 2009 killings of Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter in the border town of Arivaca, Ariz.
The jury deliberated for seven hours over two days before reaching a guilty verdict Monday. On Tuesday morning, after hearing arguments from both sides, they unanimously pronounced Forde eligible for the death penalty. They cited the facts that Forde was motivated by money, participated actively in the robbery, and intended the murders to take place as factors that warrant the ultimate punishment.
It is now up to Pima County Superior Court Judge John Leonardo, who presided over Forde’s trial, to review all the arguments and evidence and determine whether Forde should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Forde, head of the border vigilante group Minuteman American Defense (MAD), and two accomplices – MAD Operations Director Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, 34, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a local MAD member – planned the May 30 home invasion because they thought they would find drugs and cash to fund their group’s operation. According to prosecutors, the three broke into the victims’ trailer, where Bush shot Flores, his wife, Gina Gonzalez, and their daughter Brisenia. Gonzalez, who survived, managed to return fire with her own gun. “Oh my God,” she can be heard shouting on a 911 tape. “I can’t believe they killed my family.” Bush and Gaxiola will each be tried separately this spring. ( continue to full post… )
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For much of the last decade, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) has been roiled by an internal civil war between racial extremists and those who want to keep the Southern heritage group a kind of history and genealogy club.
It’s beginning to look like the racists won.
First came the news, originally reported on this blog last August, that the SCV was planning a Feb. 19 march down Dexter Avenue here in Montgomery, Ala., to “CELEBRATE THE BEGINNING OF THE CONFEDERACY” and ensure that it “is remembered and portrayed in the right way.” What the SCV meant by “the right way” was made obvious by its website promoting the event, which insists that “the South was right!” and claims that “there is no difference between the invasion of France by Hitler and the invasion of the Southern states by Lincoln.”
And now, from the Mississippi Division of the SCV, comes this new gem: The group wants the state to issue a special license plate, keyed like the Montgomery march to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest — a millionaire Memphis slave trader before the war, an apparent war criminal who presided over the massacre of surrendering black prisoners at Fort Pillow, Tenn., during it, and the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan afterward, when the Klan’s terrorist violence paved the way to a Jim Crow South. ( continue to full post… )
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The Social Contract magazine, the most overtly white nationalist organ of John Tanton’s network of anti-immigrant organizations, so outdid itself with its fall 2010 edition calling for a ban on Muslim immigration that even some of its readership reacted with distaste.
The 68-page volume was packed with anti-Islamic rhetoric and featured contributions from Muslim-bashers like Stop Islamization of America founder Pam Geller; right-wing attack dog Ann Coulter, who once called Islam a “car-burning cult,” and Stella Paul, who writes about Islam for the far-right magazine American Thinker, where she recently described President Obama as “rapper-in-chief.” It closed with an essay by K.C. McAlpin, who described Islam as a “hostile, intolerant, and totalitarian ideology masquerading as a religion” that “needs to be quarantined in the failed states it has already infected.”
McAlpin, who last July took a new job as a kind of successor to long-time mentor Tanton, apparently got some pushback from readers of the racist magazine — a remarkable thing, given that the journal has published such things as a special issue entitled “Europhobia: the Hostility Toward European-Descended Americans.” The issue railed against multiculturalism, arguing that it was replacing “successful Euro-American culture” with “dysfunctional Third World cultures.” The other journal principals are Wayne Lutton, a one-time member of white supremacist hate groups, and Kevin Lamb, who has written for white supremacist publications. ( continue to full post… )
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This morning, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) hosted his first hearing as chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank. Paul wants to look at the institution’s impact on job creation and the unemployment rate. Paul, a vicious opponent of the Fed, in the past has called for its abolition.
One of the witnesses invited to testify was Thomas DiLorenzo, a longtime activist in the neo-Confederate hate group, League of the South (LOS). The LOS advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “Anglo-Celts” – that is, white people. LOS leaders have called slavery “God-ordained” and described segregation as necessary to the racial “integrity” of black and white alike. DiLorenzo also is an economics professor at Baltimore’s Loyola College.
According to the Washington Post, “when Paul opened up the hearing to questions from committee members, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) directly took on DiLorenzo for his membership in the League of the South,” pointing to the designation of the LOS as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Clay also cited DiLorenzo’s many revisionist works about the Civil War and Lincoln, including “More Lies about the Civil War,” “In Defense of Sedition,” and “The First Dictator-President,” which examines “how Lincoln’s myth has corrupted America.” ( continue to full post… )
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Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for government and public policy at the American Family Association (AFA), has expanded his astounding bigotry to include not just Muslims and LGBT people, but Native Americans as well.
In a post published Monday on the Rightly Concerned blog – a project of the AFA – Fischer railed on native peoples for not being Christian, claiming it’s their own fault that they lost their land and were forced onto reservations to cope with terrible living conditions.
“Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality” morally disqualified Native Americans from “sovereign control of American soil,” Fischer said. That, plus the superior battle skills of Europeans gave the latter “rightful and legal sovereign control” of American land through what he delicately described as “the right of conquest.” Fischer went on to blame poverty and alcoholism on Indian reservations on Native Americans themselves, because they “continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition” and refuse to come into “the light of Christianity” and assimilate “into Christian culture.” How Christianity would have helped Native Americans adapt to confinement on reservations is anybody’s guess. ( continue to full post… )
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Terry Jones, the virulently Islamophobic pastor behind last fall’s barely averted “International Burn a Koran Day,” may have lost a battle or two, but his personal crusade is clearly still on. Having reluctantly canceled plans to burn Islam’s holy book last Sept. 11 – an idea that won him worldwide attention – Jones is now upping the ante with an announcement that Dove World Outreach Center, his Gainesville, Fla.-based church, will host “International Judge the Koran Day” on March 20.
“Here’s your opportunity, all you so-called peaceful Muslims,” he says in a video announcing the event. “We are accusing the Koran of murder, rape, deception, being responsible for terrorist activities all over the world. … Present to us your defense attorney who is going to defend the Koran. Let us really see. We challenge you: do it. Let us not talk. Let us have some action and proof.”
Perhaps hoping to spread the blame if – or rather, when – the Koran is found guilty, Jones has invited the public to vote on the proper form of “execution” via his FaceBook page, “Stand Up America Now.” The four options on offer are burning, drowning, shredding “into little bitty pieces,” or execution by firing squad. ( continue to full post… )
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As if the public record for the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) needed anything more to sully its already disreputable name, the group’s Alabama chapter has highlighted in the “Reminder From The Past” section of its bimonthly newsletter a deceased politician who championed a bill to cane criminals.
The editors of “The Alabamian” reprinted a 15-year-old article from the Daily Mountain Eagle that recounted late Alabama state Sen. Charles Davidson’s meeting with the council to discuss a bill that would call for criminals to be caned. A picture accompanying the article shows Davidson and Kenneth Danner, then-chairman of the North Alabama Council of Conservative Citizens, in front of a Confederate flag. The article went on to note that the CCC presented Davidson with a cane “made to Singapore specifications.” Davidson died of leukemia in 2000; the article was apparently timed as a decade-later nostalgic tribute.
Caning is a form of corporal punishment during which a person’s hands, bare legs or buttocks are struck with a rattan stick. It is a brutal procedure still used in only a handful of Far East countries; it is generally shunned elsewhere as barbaric because the practice can tear skin and rip away chunks of flesh. ( continue to full post… )
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The Dallas chapter of the conservative legal group, The Federalist Society, is holding a debate Friday on “Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Immigrants.” Participating on the panel is prominent white nationalist Peter Brimelow, who runs the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com. Also on the panel are Jim Ho, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk and former Solicitor General for the State of Texas and University of Texas School of Law Professor Lino Graglia, who the Federalist Society announcement describes as “one of the most conservative law professors in America.”
Brimelow is a remarkable choice for such a panel given his unrelenting hostility towards immigrants, in particular those with dark skin. In 1995, for instance, he published Alien Nation, a book that argued that America is historically white-dominated and should stay that way. Although the book was well reviewed in some places, it included strong veins of racism and xenophobia. In its pages, Brimelow described the role of race in society as “elemental, absolute, fundamental.” He said that white Americans should demand that U.S. immigration quotas be changed to allow in mostly whites. He argued that spending tax dollars on anything related to multiculturalism was “subversive.” He called foreign immigrants “weird aliens with dubious habits.”
At one point in the book, he compared an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room to walking into a New York City subway — ”you find yourself in an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored.” In 1997, Brimelow warned that by 2008 the GOP would no longer be able to compete in presidential elections because the racial makeup of the electorate would be changed by non-white immigration. ( continue to full post… )
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The anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) once again is turning to a highly valued traditional device to raise funds: fear and falsehoods.
The Christian Seniors Association (CSA), a front group of the TVC, recently sent out a fundraising letter claiming that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) of 2009, which added sexual orientation to the classes protected by federal hate crime legislation, “makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature.’” The letter further claims that “under this law, criticism of homosexuality is deemed discrimination — just like racism,” and ultimately, the intent of the law is to “outlaw Christianity.”
Scary stuff. Except that none of it is true. ( continue to full post… )