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Reading news accounts of the past week, you may have thought conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh was merely rebuked for his history of controversial racial comments when he joined a group making a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams. Actually it was something far more serious, according to right-wing writer and commentator Selwyn Duke. Limbaugh was the victim of a “lynching,” Duke wrote in an article posted on the John Birch Society website.
It’s hard to imagine an angry mob storming the gates of Limbaugh’s Palm Beach compound (market value, $48 million) and stringing him up from a palm tree. But twice Duke wrote that Limbaugh was lynched. And in a third reference, he conjured up the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings of 18 years ago, writing that Limbaugh was subjected to a “high-tech lynching.”
An estimated 4,743 people – nearly 73 percent of them black – were lynched between 1882 and 1968, according to the Archives at Tuskegee Institute. Still, Selwyn equates a grotesque and terrifying death at the end of a rope with robust debate over Limbaugh’s views, which Selwyn claims “are in fact very mainstream.”
“It’s quite a bit over the top,” says Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and vice president of advocacy and policy. [The organization took no position on Limbaugh’s Rams ownership ambitions]. “Lynching was one of the earliest forms of domestic terrorism. Not only was it used to wreak havoc and fear, but to kill. It was used to send a chill to other African-Americans. Whatever is happening to Rush Limbaugh, it certainly is overly inflammatory to call this a lynching.”
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Democracia U.S.A. is promoting a nationwide grassroots movement to pressure CNN into restraining Lou Dobbs from continuing to make “disparaging and inaccurate” comments about Latino immigrants.
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It’s no surprise when CNN’s Lou Dobbs bashes immigrants on his TV and radio programs. But recently the factually challenged talk show host has been veering even further toward the far-right fringe.
Last week, as Media Matters documented, Dobbs approvingly introduced conspiracy hound Jerome Corsi as a guest on his radio program. “We’re going to be talking about, obviously, illegal immigration,” Dobbs said on the Sept. 15 show. “We’re going to be talking about border security. And … Jerome Corsi is a pretty good guy to talk to about all of that.”
The “pretty good guy” is a prominent figure in the so-called birther movement, which contends that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office. In addition to proclaiming on talk shows that Obama’s birth certificate is phony, Corsi announced last fall that he was traveling to Hawaii to investigate the matter and predicted that “there’s gonna be something damaging on the birth certificate.” (Dobbs himself repeatedly questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate on air in July, falsely claiming that the document hadn’t been released.) Corsi also traveled to Kenya last October to investigate Obama. The trip didn’t work out too well for him. He was promptly detained by immigration authorities as he headed for a press conference after arriving in that country, then put on a plane back home.
Not only is Corsi pushing a discredited conspiracy theory, but he has made derogatory comments about Muslims and Catholics. He posted a series of bigoted comments on FreeRepublic.com in which he called Islam “a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion” and declared that “boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn’t reported by the liberal press.” (He later apologized for the posts.) Last July, he appeared on “The Political Cesspool,” an overtly racist, anti-Semitic radio show hosted by avowed white nationalist James Edwards. Other guests who have been sympathetically interviewed on Edwards’ show make up a virtual Who’s Who of the radical right, including former Klan boss David Duke, Holocaust denier Mark Weber and neo-Nazi activist April Gaede. ( continue to full post… )
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In July, as you might recall, the SPLC called on the president of CNN to remove Lou Dobbs from the air after he repeatedly used his platform to nurture the totally discredited “birther” movement. The birthers, of course, are the folks who insist that President Obama was really born in Kenya – not Hawaii – and therefore is not eligible to be president. Their attacks are part of a wider, racially tinged campaign to de-legitimize Obama’s presidency by portraying him as some kind of foreign-born, Marxist, fascist, Muslim friend of terrorists.
As Dobbs continued to obsess over Obama’s birth certificate, CNN president Jonathan Klein decreed that the bogus controversy was indeed settled – in Obama’s favor – and that Dobbs would no longer talk about it on CNN. But Klein took no action to stop Dobbs’ further descent into loony land. Klein, in fact, stood firmly behind Dobbs’ authority to set his own agenda and exercise his own editorial judgment.
Well, now it’s time to revoke Dobbs’ journalistic license altogether. He can no longer lay any claim whatsoever to journalistic objectivity or integrity. This week, he’s headlining an anti-immigrant talk radio fest sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been designated a hate group by the SPLC. ( continue to full post… )
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For those two or three people remaining in America who are still uncertain if Lou Dobbs is an immigration extremist, the CNN and radio show host has removed any doubts: He is. Dobbs is a headliner next week when the Federation for American Immigration Reform — FAIR — takes its annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” show to Washington, D.C.
Some 47 radio station talk show blabbers are scheduled to broadcast Sept. 15-16 from Capitol Hill. They will interview members of Congress, immigration reform proponents and — best of all — “high profile media personalities and activists,” according to FAIR. FAIR members also will try to buttonhole elected representatives for a chat about immigration issues, and there will be a reception to recognize those who have made “significant contributions towards true immigration reform.”
Dobbs’ scheduled broadcast at the event prompted Media Matters for America President Eric Burns to write an open letter to CNN President Jonathan Klein on Aug. 28. Burns noted that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR a hate group.
Among other things, FAIR has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups, and promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico’s secretly coveting the American Southwest, and another theory claiming secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. FAIR was founded in 1979 by John Tanton, whose long history of bigotry toward Latinos and Catholics has been well documented by the SPLC.
Dobbs already has damaged CNN’s credibility by the “attention and legitimacy he gave to the ‘birther’ movement” recently, Burns wrote. [SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote to Klein in July calling on him to remove Dobbs from the air because of his lending credence to birthers’ unsubstantiated claims that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and therefore can’t legally be president]. “CNN’s association with FAIR through Mr. Dobbs is nothing less than a stain on an organization that calls itself ‘The Most Trusted Name in News,’” Burns wrote.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Burns and Media Matters hadn’t received a response from Klein. It seems unlikely the CNN honcho will prohibit Dobbs’ participation in the FAIR event. One need only look at the name of last year’s headliner to see why: Lou Dobbs.
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In a promotion for its lobbying extravaganza on Capitol Hill next month, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) asserts that lawmakers must “restore integrity to our immigration system.”
Apparently, such integrity does not preclude the use of deadly force against an unarmed suspect. A featured speaker at next month’s Lobby Days will be Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, one of two former border patrol agents convicted of multiple felony charges in connection with the 2005 shooting of a drug smuggler who was fleeing from them. Ramos is scheduled to speak on Sept. 16 as part of FAIR’s annual three-day lobbying campaign that brings anti-immigrant activists to the Capitol to meet with lawmakers. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR a hate group because of its ties to white supremacists.
Ramos was sentenced in 2006 to 11 years in prison for his role in shooting the undocumented immigrant, but was freed earlier this year after President George Bush granted clemency to him and to former border patrol agent Jose Compean, who was also involved in the shooting. Although Bush commuted their sentences, he did not pardon them, so they remain convicted felons. Nearly all their convictions were upheld last year by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that “[t]he trial of the case was conducted fairly and without reversible error.” ( continue to full post… )
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The SPLC’s report, “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias,” released Aug. 12, has drawn a spirited response. Here’s a representative sampling of E-mails and comments. Names have been removed from all messages except the one from Mr. LUCIFER. A few of the longer ones have been edited for length, but otherwise they’re reproduced just as they came in.
LUCIFER L LUCIFER
999 HELL STREET
U/R DIRTY SHIT EATING COMMIE SLIME MAGGOTS, HATCHED FROM A KARL MARX TURD.
I’M WAITING FOR U DOWN HERE, GET READY, MAGGOTS.
What a load of crap! I think I will list the Southern Poverty Law Center on my list of hate groups.
Sorry I am not a hillbilly racist nazi, just a legal non-violent gun owner that knows your demonizing gun owners is completely evil propaganda… We know who the fall guys are…and as a American who believes in Liberty and Freedom for all can see the same old game the SPLC plays…and I am one of millions waking up to the evil lies that are written by .org’s as this one. You should cringe because your game is so transparent.
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The 1990s saw the rise and fall of the virulently antigovernment “Patriot” movement, made up of paramilitary militias, tax defiers and so-called “sovereign citizens.” Sparked by a combination of anger at the federal government and the deaths of political dissenters at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, the movement took off in the middle of the decade and continued to grow even after 168 people were left dead by the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s federal building — an attack, the deadliest ever by domestic U.S. terrorists, carried out by men steeped in the rhetoric and conspiracy theories of the militias.
In the years that followed, a truly remarkable number of criminal plots came out of the movement. But by early this century, the Patriots had largely faded, weakened by systematic prosecutions, aversion to growing violence, and a new, highly conservative president.
As we report today (see complete report here), they’re back. Almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country. “Paper terrorism” — the use of property liens and citizens’ “courts” to harass enemies — is on the rise. And once-popular militia conspiracy theories are making the rounds again, this time accompanied by nativist theories about secret Mexican plans to “reconquer” the American Southwest.
One federal law enforcement agency has found 50 new militia training groups — one of them made up of present and former police officers and soldiers. Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda. “This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” says one. “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”
A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate. One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama.
At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president’s country of birth.
The latter claims from the so-called “birthers” first gained traction when far-right hard-liners like writer Jerome Corsi, politician Alan Keyes and Watergate felon and radio show host G. Gordon Liddy questioned the validity of the president’s birth certificate. But they have picked up speed thanks to the likes of Lou Dobbs, the CNN and radio host who has repeatedly demanded that Obama “show the documents” proving his citizenship — this despite the fact that the birther claims had been thoroughly debunked by a guest host of Dobbs’ own CNN show and by many others.
As Chip Berlet, an analyst of the radical right at Political Research Associates, said in a recent report: “The current political environment is awash with seemingly absurd but nonetheless influential conspiracy theories, hyperbolic claims and demonized targets. And this creates a milieu where violence is a likely outcome.”
Fifteen years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote then-Attorney General Janet Reno to warn about extremists in the militia movement, saying that the “mixture of armed groups and those who hate” was “a recipe for disaster.” Just six months later, Oklahoma City’s federal building was bombed.
Today, the Patriot movement may not have reached the level of white-hot fury that it did in the 1990s. But the movement clearly is growing again, and Americans, in particular law enforcement officers, need to take the dangers it presents seriously. That is equally true for the politicians, pundits and preachers who, through pandering or ignorance, abet the growth of a movement marked by a proven predilection for violence.
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Since his efforts to take over the board of directors of the Sierra Club with anti-immigration activists failed in 2004, UCLA professor Ben Zuckerman seems to have refocused his energies on his academic specialty, the planet and the stars. But there he was last week on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” warning about the perils of immigration. “The mainstream environmental movement has entirely dropped the ball on this issue,” Zuckerman said in a brief interview for a story about an Oregon State University report showing that having fewer children produces fewer carbon emissions. Books that tell what steps to take to ensure a greener future “don’t even mention population,” Zuckerman complained.
A physics and astronomy professor, Zuckerman was a leader of a Sierra Club takeover effort that began in the 1990s aimed at making the venerable environmental organization adopt an anti-immigration platform. Back in 1986, anti-immigration poobah John Tanton wrote then-secret memos naming the Sierra Club as a potential target for immigration activists. “[T]he issues we’re touching on here must be broached by liberals,” Tanton wrote, because conservatives would be labeled as racists. Ten years later, Zuckerman and others formed Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization – SUSPS – to lobby the Sierra Club to support immigration restrictions.
In 1998, SUSPS spearheaded a ballot proposition committing the Sierra Club to supporting immigration restrictions. Club members voted it down, 60% to 40%. But Zuckerman was elected to the club’s board of directors in 2002, and two SUSPS-supported candidates joined him the next year. ( continue to full post… )
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Immigrant-bashing, conspiracy-mongering CNN host Lou Dobbs has embarrassed his boss and hosted shows that contradict the network’s “No Bias” brand. Now his ratings are slipping. So how does he keep his job?
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