The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Even as tens of thousands of people – black and white, young and old, preachers and presidents – poured into Selma, Al., last weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the voting rights victories that followed, members of the Ku Klux Klan were driving through town, throwing plastic bags stuffed with KKK fliers and rocks onto doorsteps and lawns.
In the last two weeks, Robert Jones, the grand dragon of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, told AL.com that members of his group had distributed some 4,000 fliers to random homes throughout Selma and Montgomery, some 50 miles away. The rocks inside the flier bags were meant to act as paperweights to keep the hate from blowing away.
“We pretty much put out fliers, some against King and some against immigration,” Jones told AL.com. “It’s times for the American people to wake up to these falsehoods that they preach about MLK.”
But that wasn’t all. A few days before the eyes of the country turned to Selma, a neo-Confederate group, Friends of Forrest, Inc., once again put up a racially charged billboard about a half-mile from the Edmund Pettus Bridge – the site of the Bloody Sunday beating of mostly black civil rights marchers on March 7, 1965.
The billboard, with the Confederate flag in the background, depicts Confederate Army General and later KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, astride a warhorse next to his signature battle cry: “Keep the skeer [scare] on ‘em.”
Friends of Forrest has ties to the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group that promotes racial separation, argues that slavery was ordained by God, and advocates modern-day secession. (Lately, LOS has been paying for billboards of its own across the south and plastered with one word: “Secede.”)
Patricia Goodwin, the head of Friends of Forrest, told the New York Daily News, that the billboard “was put there with positive intent to ask people who come to Selma to explore and enjoy our 19th century history.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, a group of young racists at the University of Oklahoma weren’t wearing white sheets as an expression of their racist views. They were dressed in black tie.
Several members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), one of America’s largest college fraternities, were caught on video chanting a racist ditty as they headed for a black-tie affair on a bus Saturday night.
“There will never be a nigger SAE. There will never be a nigger SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a nigger SAE.”
Someone posted the 9-second video to Youtube and by late Sunday night, according to The New York Times, Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its University of Oklahoma chapter. Hours later, university president, David Boren, said at an early morning anti-racism rally that the university had severed all ties with the fraternity and ordered it members out of the frat house by midnight.
In a written statement directed at the frat boys on the bus, Boren said, “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.”
It has indeed been a busy few days in the fairy tale kingdom called post-racial America.
But in the real America, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Saturday, President Barack Obama embraced Congressman John Lewis, whose head was cracked open by a state trooper’s billy club on Bloody Sunday. Then the president addressed the nation.
“In one afternoon 50 years ago,” the president said, “so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham; and the dream of a Baptist preacher – all that history met on this bridge.”
Obama said he and the thousands of people gathered at the bridge with him had come to “honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching towards justice.”
Although the country has come far since that Bloody Sunday, the president said that there is still work to be done.
“We just need to open our eyes,” he said, “and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts a long shadow upon us.”
And just a few blocks away, a plastic bag filled with rocks and hate was tossed on another doorstep.
As family and friends of Gordon Baum, founder and CEO of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), gather to lay him to rest, the future of one of the oldest and most influential hate groups in the United States remains uncertain.
Baum, a former personal injury lawyer in the St. Louis area, formed the CCC in 1985 from the mailing lists of the White Citizens Councils of America (formally called the Citizens Councils of America). At the height of its influence, the CCC reached a membership of 15,000 with real political clout, including the membership of former Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).
The end of Baum’s 30-year tenure at the CCC leaves a major void at the heart of an organization for which he was the bedrock. But, in the wake of Baum’s passing, discord already has emerged.
AL.com: Ku Klux Klan fliers left at Selma homes on 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday.’
New York Daily News: Billboard honoring KKK founder erected near Pettus Bridge in time for Selma march anniversary.
Right Wing Watch: Scott Lively warns that homosexuality is ‘worse than murder and worse than genocide.’
Daily Kos: If you think ‘reverse racism’ is worse than what blacks face, read the Ferguson report.
Raw Story: Oklahoma fraternity investigated after video showing racist sing-along goes viral.
AlterNet: Right-wingers’ secession threats are how they fight tooth and nail on the wrong side of history.
Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee): Milwaukee sheriff compares a Harlem without cops to Nigerian massacres by Boko Haram.
Forward: Louis Farrakhan tells followers that Jews ‘played key roles’ in 9/11 attacks.
Shaken by a year-long spike in LGBT-bashing crimes in their predominantly gay neighborhood, community leaders from Seattle’s Capitol Hill area organized a public forum this week that drew several hundred participants, as well as the city’s mayor.
Ranging from an attempt to kill hundreds of people packed into a bar on New Year’s Eve to a steady stream of assaults and robberies motivated by anti-LGBT animus, the spike in hate crimes on Capitol Hill appears to be a violent backlash against recent gains in LGBT rights in Washington state, including the approval given to same-sex marriage by the state’s voters in 2012.
“I used to live on Capitol Hill, but I don’t anymore,” said Debbie Carlsen of LGBTQ Allyship, a local rights organization, to the crowd on Tuesday, echoing a number of other speakers. “And when I go to the Hill, I don’t feel culturally safe. It’s not a place that I feel safe anymore.”
A number of residents described to the crowd the kinds of assaults that they have endured in the past year, including verbal harassment escalating to physical assaults as they walked through the neighborhood, as well as one alleged assault by a police officer. One man stood up and removed his hat, revealing a large healing wound on his forehead, saying he had been attacked only a week before and had been unable to identify his assailants, “but they were all calling me names.”
Most of those who testified agreed that the worst, most violent attacks seemed to be directed at transsexual people of color.
The meeting, organized by Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant, featured a number of speakers offering a range of solutions. Some proposed more citizen patrols, while others opposed that step as potentially dangerous. Some argued for greater police involvement, while others blamed the police as part of the problem. Sawant spoke at length about how economic disparities often fuel the conditions that make the crimes possible.
Seattle’s openly gay Mayor Ed Murray, who attended the gathering with his husband, said he will help take the lead on this issue. “I think if people don’t feel safe, if they perceive they’re not safe, then we have a problem,” he said. “And we as a city and we as a community have to respond.”
Murray told KING 5 News that he believes the problem is real and substantial. “I think there is an increase,” he said. “I mean, we’ve been here before, we’ve seen this right on this very street before, back in the late ’80s and early ‘90s, when I was a young person. And we’re seeing it again.”
Shaun Knittel, the founder of Social Outreach Seattle, and one of the people who helped douse the attempted arson at Neighbours Bar on New Year’s Eve 2014, an act that eventually brought a heavy 10-year sentence for the perpetrator, told the crowd that it needed to resolve some of its internal differences if the community is going to form an effective response to the challenge.
“We have a perfect storm here on the Hill,” said Knittel, noting the split between people who support the police and those who blame the police. “What kind of message does that send to people who want to do harm to us?”
“We also have a nightlife culture here where everyone that’s opening a business here seems to think they need to be either a bar or a nightclub. How many do you need in one neighborhood?”
Knittel urged victims of bias crimes to resist the temptation to not report the matter to police at all, noting that doing so just encourages repeat offenses and escalation.
“We need to understand better about reporting, and we need to talk about what that looks like,” he said. “If you fear going to the police to report, we understand that. But please, reach out and find and advocate and let people help you report what’s happened. Because I can guarantee you that you’re not their first victim.”
Most of all, he noted, the community needs to make it clear that “bashing queers” is not a free sport for haters anymore.
“We need to lean into this notion that you can come up here and mess with us and we won’t do anything back,” he said. “Those days are over.”
Defying a federal judge’s order, about 40 armed protesters marched onto the outdoor plaza at the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane where one of their leaders was arrested last week for carrying a loaded assault rifle onto federal property – a seemingly scripted event that galvanized concern nationwide from pro-gun, militia and antigovernment groups.
“We will re-take the plaza today,” Anthony Bosworth, the leader of an antigovernment Liberty for All group said just moments before he walked on the plaza with an AR-15 military-style rifle slung over his shoulder on Friday. He was joined by another unidentified man who also was carrying a rifle slung over his shoulder.
As Bosworth spread out his arms at the main entrance, inviting other armed demonstrators on the sidewalk to join him on the plaza, the Iraq War veteran was greeted by uniformed Department of Homeland Security officers.
But instead of arresting Bosworth as they did last week, the officers told the one-time candidate for sheriff in Yakima, Wash., to have the demonstrators move to the western-edge of the plaza and not block doorways. There were no arrests during the three-hour demonstration, but federal law enforcement agents were present in great number.
The rally supporting Boswick drew nationwide attention from assorted pro-gun groups and antigovernment critics ranging from Alex Jones to Mike Vanderboegh, the self-proclaimed leader of the “III percent” movement, a reference to the alleged number of American colonists who stood up to the British.
The demonstrators were part of the same group that earlier protested a new Washington state gun sale law at the capitol in Olympia. They also champion state’s rights issues and the 10th Amendment, and called the demonstration “Our State, Our Rights.”
It wasn’t immediately known what caused federal authorities to balk and not allow the protest in spite of the issuance of a court order on Monday by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson. A public notice released Thursday by U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby and U.S, Marshal Craig Thayer said anyone coming on the plaza or attempting to enter the courthouse with weapons or firearms would be subject to arrest for contempt of court and violating federal law.
“We stood up for our rights and they backed down,” Sam Wilson, a spokesman for the Liberty for All group, shouted through a bullhorn to demonstrators. “My fellow patriots, this is only the beginning.”
The crowd cheered and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Some waved American flags and the Gadsden flag, frequently used by antigovernment activists who favor its “Don’t Tread on Me” message.
Federal officers were vigilant but made no arrests, making use of snipers with spotting scopes on nearby rooftops and a camera-equipped helicopter overhead.
Those in the group included individual gun-rights activists, military veterans, an ex-Marine in a wheelchair with his service dog, members of Oath Keepers and the 63rd Lightfoot Militia battalion from eastern Washington. Some members of the militia group were in combat gear.
Bosworth said federal authorities violated his “God-given birth rights” by arresting him last week for carrying an AR-47 military-style rifle, and that Friday’s demonstration — with no arrests for the same conduct — underscored “the unlawfulness and stupidiy” of that action.
Bosworth was issued a misdemeanor citation for last week’s acts by DHS officers and deputy federal marshals seized his assault rifle and a handgun.
“I want those arms back,” Bosworth told the crowd. “They not only violated my rights, they violated yours.”
Baum’s death was reported on Friday by Kyle Rogers, a key leader at the CCC. Rogers first posted the news on the CCC website, as well as on the racist Internet forum Stormfront. Both posts have since been removed, and Rogers declined to answer any questions when reached on Friday by telephone. A telephone message left Friday at the CCC’s headquarters also was not returned.
By nature a quiet, behind-the-scenes operator, Baum was instrumental in building up the CCC in 1985 based on the mailing lists of the segregationist White Citizens Councils (formally called the Citizens Councils of America) for whom he had been the Midwest field organizer. The CCC grew to include some 15,000 members, mostly in the Deep South, and to have genuine political power in the 1990s.
But most Americans only learned of the CCC in late 1998, when a scandal erupted over prominent Southern politicians’ ties to the brazenly racist group. After it was revealed that former Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) gave the keynote speech at the CCC’s 1998 national convention and that then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had spoken to the group five times, both claimed they knew virtually nothing about the group (although Lott’s uncle told The New York Times that the senator had, in fact, been a member for years).
A Southern Poverty Law Center investigation at the time documented that the CCC was: a hate group that routinely denigrated blacks as “genetically inferior,” complained about “Jewish power brokers,” called LGBT people “perverted sodomites,” accused non-white immigrants of turning America into a “slimy brown mass of glop,” and named Lester Maddox, the baseball bat-wielding, arch-segregationist former governor of Georgia, “Patriot of the Century.”
Phoenix New Times: Neo-Nazis, white supremacists confront ASU protesters out to defend professor over ‘whiteness’ course.
Right Wing Watch: Kris Kobach says it’s ‘not a huge jump’ to think that President Obama could ban criminal prosecution of all black people.
JoeMyGod: African-American pastors’ group to award Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore honor named after MLK for stance on same-sex marriage.
Think Progress: Georgia ‘license to discriminate’ bill forced through committee during bathroom break.
Crooks and Liars: Ben Carson blames CNN for making him look bad after his ‘prison gay sex’ remarks.
Raw Story: Angry ‘American citizen’ wishes beheading on Oregon councilwoman who opposed placing motto in hearing room.
Talking Points Memo: South Carolina’s Laurens County GOP resolves that premarital sex disqualifies you as a Republican.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which took place this past weekend in Maryland, is almost always stacked with white nationalists and extremists. And this year was no different, even though American Conservative Union has sought to shun far-right groups and individuals from its event.
From anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant extremists, to the anti-LGBT activists who paraded halls, a good number of groups and individuals still managed to share the spotlight.
Here are some highlights from CPAC 2015:
• As Little Green Footballs reported, the organizers at CPAC gave press credentials and free access to the Tennessee white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool, a radio program that has been nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) and the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review.
• Nigel Farage, head of the anti-immigrant and right-wing populist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) stated, “We have all in the West mistakenly and I think in a very cowardly manner, we have pursed a policy of multiculturalism. We have pursued a policy of actually encouraging division within our societies rather than pursuing a policy where we should all come together.” Farage went on to say, “We must stand firm and defend our Judeo-Christian culture. We must make it clear that we believe in common law and not Sharia law.”
• ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant group headed by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort, had an exhibitor’s booth. Vandervoort is the former head of the white nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance. The group was affiliated with the New Century Foundation and its publication American Renaissance, published by white nationalist ideologue Jared Taylor.
• A number of anti-immigrant activists attended an impromptu press conference held by Sen. Jeff Sessions, organized by Breitbart Media. Sessions used the press conference to attack President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Rosemary Jenks, Chris Chmielenski and Jim Edwards of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA and Bob Dane with the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) all attended the press conference.
• Frank Gaffney, one of the leading anti-Muslim voices in the country, also attended the Sessions press conference. Gaffney’s group, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) had a booth in the exhibitor’s hall of CAPC. CSP was also a sponsor of the conference. Clare Lopez, CSP’s vice president for research and analysis, also spoke on two panels.
• Sen. Ted Cruz called for IRS to be abolished and said if he was elected President he would instruct every IRS employee to be stationed on the U.S./Mexico border – remark which received a standing ovation.
• The devil is in the details, or in the case of CPAC, the fliers people hand out. One young person passed out a flier for the racist website VDARE.com founded by white nationalist Peter Brimelow that advertised his new book Alien Nation and talked about how “the national disaster of mass Third World immigration” would “spell the eventual doom of the American nation.” Another flier passed out to CPAC attendees warned “We cannot continue to help the world if we are brought to our economic knees by a flood of illegal aliens.” The bottom of the flier read, “Paid for by Chris Phillips. Not coordinated with any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
• Zuhdi Jasser, one of the few Muslim spokespersons within the anti-Muslim movement, called for America to stand up and defeat ISIS during a panel, claiming that the Muslim world is incapable of dealing with the threat. “Within Islam right now is a laboratory that only breeds cockroaches,” he said.
• White nationalists representing a number of groups participated in a protest outside of the CPAC hotel on Saturday afternoon voicing support for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Matt Heimbach of the Traditionalist Youth Network organized the protest, which also included members of the Neo-Confederate group League of the South.
• The Convention of States, a project of the group Citizens for Self Government calling for a convention to propose amendments resulting the a reduction of federal powers, also had an exhibitor’s booth at CPAC. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma recently signed on as a senior advisor for the project. Mathew Staver of the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel is on the Convention of States legal board of reference.
• One U.S. governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, compared his state’s union protesters to ISIS, stating, “I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.” Another, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, used his speech to attack President Obama, claiming the Obama isn’t fit to run the United States as Commander in Chief.
After two days of often chilling testimony, a district court judge in Kansas ruled this week that white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller should stand trial for the murder last spring of three people at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City.
Judge Kelly Ryan, the Associated Press reports, decided Tuesday on the second day of a preliminary hearing that there was enough evidence for the 74-year-old Miller, who has been in custody since the deadly shooting spree on April 13, to go to trial.
Miller told the Kansas City Star from jail in November that he drove from his home in Aurora, Mo., to Overland Park, Ks., where the murders took place, with one thing on his mind: killing Jews.
“I wanted to make damned sure I killed some Jews or attacked the Jews before I died,” he said.
As he was taken into custody that bloody Sunday, Miller allegedly asked the police, “How many f…… Jews did I kill?”
None of the three victims — Dr. William Corporon, 69, his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Underwood, and Terri LaManno, 53 — was Jewish.
Miller’s arraignment is scheduled for March 27, and Kansas state prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.
At the time of the killings, Miller later told the Star he believed he was dying from lung disease.
On Monday, according to Courthouse News Service, Miller was rolled into court in a wheelchair, hooked to an oxygen tank. The news service also reported that during the two days of testimony, Miller made several loud outbursts, including shouting racial and anti-Semitic epithets “aimed at those he believed to be his victims’ families in the courtroom.” At one point, he raised a hand-cuffed hand a few inches from his thigh in what the News Service said, “appeared to be a shackled ‘Heil Hitler’ gesture.”
On the last day of the hearing, the news service said, Miller angrily told the judge that he did not want to participate in the trial if he was not allowed to speak about his request for Internet access.
“You just want to protect the Jews,” he said. “You don’t want me to tell the truth about the Jews.”
At one point, according to the AP, Miller turned the family of Terri LaManno, apparently thinking they were relatives of the 14-year-old, who died shortly after being shot in the head in the parking lot the Jewish Community Center, crowded with teenagers, auditioning for a singing competition.
“I very much regret the little boy,” Miller told the family.
The family said they did not accept Miller’s apology.
Talking Points Memo: Lawyer arguing against Obamacare says statute was written by ‘white women and minorities.’
Think Progress: Ben Carson claims that the behavior of men in prisons is proof that homosexuality is a choice.
East Oregonian: Some Aryan gang members involved in massive bust working to arrange plea deals.
Salon: How Republicans keep blowing their chances of effective outreach to minorities by succumbing to their extremists.
Huffington Post: Conservative columnist Cal Thomas warns that gay marriage is a sign of the ‘end times.’
Associated Press: Judge rules that Frazier Glenn Miller will stand trial for capital murder in Jewish center rampage.
Right Wing Watch: Alex Jones rants that liberals are ‘demonic villains’ who ‘want blood’ and are ‘going to kill everybody.’