The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
This time, there is no doubt who put up the latest racially charged billboard in Harrison, Ark., a nearly all-white city in the Ozarks that is struggling for its soul.
The Ku Klux Klan did it.
The sign brought national media attention to the city and its history of racial hostility to African Americans. But no one claimed responsibility for the sign. The man who owned the billboard company declined to say who paid to lease the space.
The Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations, which has been working mightily for 12 years improve race relations and the city’s reputation, put up two signs of its own: “Love your neighbor.”
In March of 2014, another racially charged billboard was added just below the yellow sign. It featured a picture of a smiling white family and read, “Beautiful Town, Beautiful People, No Wrong Exits, No Bad Neighborhoods.”
The signs stayed up until about four weeks ago when they were replaced by billboards for the local McDonald’s and a Baptist church, saying everybody was welcome.
The Task Force celebrated, figuring – hoping – that the Harrison billboard wars were finally over, “because there are so many good things and great people in Harrison to focus on,” Task Force member Layne Ragsdale told Hatewatch Tuesday.
But on Monday, a new “pro-white” billboard went up in the city in a different spot, “an even better location than the others,” Thomas Robb, the longtime leader of the Knights Party, one of the longer-lived KKK organizations in the country, chortled on the white nationalist Web forum, Stormfront.
The new sign proclaims, “It’s NOT Racist to [HEART] Your People.”
Below those words is a website address that links to KKKRadio.
Billy Roper, a former neo-Nazi-turned-Klansman, wrote on Stormfront Monday that “the Anti-White elites were celebrating the fact that the previous two billboards were removed in town.”
“Haven’t they heard,” he added, “that you can’t keep a good Klan down?”
The Knights Party, also known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, has long been associated with Harrison, primarily because it uses a Harrison mailing address, although its headquarters is actually 15 miles outside of the city of 13,000 residents. In his Stormfront posts about the new sign, Robb said he wanted the Task Force “to celebrate and do their Hi-Fives” about the racially charged signs coming down before hitting them with the new billboard.
“We could have put the billboards up the next day,” he smirked, “but it is more fun to allow them to be puffed up and then prick their bubble.”
He added that he is looking to put up another sign on Interstate 40 in Russellville, near Arkansas Tech. “I already have the OK from the billboard company,” Robb wrote, “but we need a little of this stuff $$. Anyone want to help?”
Ragsdale of the Task Force told Hatewatch today that when she first heard about the new billboard going up she hoped it was a joke. “But it’s real,” she sighed. “They’re still trying to smear the community with their opinions. They’re trying to pretend they’re the voice of Harrison. It just gets so old. Move on, already.”
A major “documentary” whose executive producer is a radical anti-Semite is set to premiere this Friday in an Illinois cinema complex owned by a firm that was started by a Polish-Jewish immigrant and is still run by his son and grandson.
The film, “The Principle,” has not yet been seen by reviewers, but is billed by its producers as a challenge to the Copernican revelation that the earth is not at the center of the universe, a truth later confirmed by Galileo and now accepted by all major Christian denominations. It has already drawn major controversy, with leading scientists and even its narrator saying they were duped into participating.
The film’s executive producer is Robert Sungenis, a “geocentrist” who co-authored a book entitled Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right. Sungenis is also a “radical traditionalist” Catholic, meaning he rejects that church’s liberalizing reforms of recent decades, who has railed against Jews for much of his adult life.
Sungenis, who started a group called Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) in 1993, is one of the most rabid anti-Semites of the radical traditionalist movement. He has questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, and cited the neo-Nazi canard that there were about as many Jews living in Europe after World War II as before, a plain falsehood. His CAI website has blamed Jews for starting a “New World Order” and referred to the alleged “Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress.”
Sungenis has frequently quoted the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia that “predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry.” He has been a columnist for the radical publication The Remnant, where he wrote a piece entitled “The New World Order and the Zionist Connection” that detailed a Satanic conspiracy to rule the earth and claimed, “Among the major forces in the ascent of the New World Order are the Jews, Judaism and Israel.” Although he once produced two series for EWTN, the Catholic TV network, that ended after he published a 33,000-word, anti-Semitic attack on an official Catholic Church statement on converting Jews. That 2002 attack praised vicious anti-Semites including Father Charles Coughlin, the “radio priest” of the 1930s, as “dedicated Catholic priests who lived impeccable lives.”
The film is to open at the Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Ill., a Chicago suburb. The sprawling 21-screen complex is owned by Marcus Theatres, a division of Milwaukee-based Marcus Corp. that owns or manages some 700 screens across the Midwest. The company was started by the late Ben Marcus, described by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as “the tough, legendary Polish-Jewish immigrant entrepreneur … who opened his first movie theater in Ripon [Wis.] in 1935, then built the company a theater and a hotel at a time.” The firm today is publicly held, but Ben’s son, Stephen Marcus, is its chairman, and Stephen’s son, Gregory Marcus, is its president and chief executive officer, according to its website.
Ann Stadler, vice president and chief marketing officer for Marcus Theatres, told Hatewatch today that the company would go ahead with its premiere: “When identifying films to show, we are mindful that the cinema is a place where ideas have been freely exchanged for generations. Our philosophy is to let the marketplace determine the success of each film. However, playing a film does not mean that Marcus Theatres endorses or shares the views and ideas being expressed therein. We understand that there has been controversy in the past surrounding the executive producer of ‘The Principle.’ As a movie company, we provide choices and diversity based primarily on film content, recognizing that every film isn’t for everyone.”
The makers of “The Principle” have not released their film to reviewers, but they have played up its allegedly explosive claims. “Everyone knows that the ancient idea of Earth in the center of the universe is a ridiculous holdover from a superstitious age, right?” the movie’s website says. “Well …. prepare to be shocked!” The site goes on to say that the movie is “destined to become one of the most controversial films of our time” and that it will detail “astonishing new discoveries.” ( continue to full post… )
Santilli, who lives in San Diego and hosts a program on the Guerilla Media Network, is best known for a violent rant last year in which he called for President Obama and the Bush family to be killed and for Hillary Clinton to be shot in the vagina and “suffer painfully, right in front of me.” His remarks drew scrutiny from the Secret Service.
In April, Santilli rallied his listeners to gather at Cliven Bundy’s ranch and, if necessary, fight to the death with federal agents who were trying to round up cattle that were illegally grazing on public lands. And last October, he rallied his listeners to attend a protest by truckers that threatened to shut down the D.C. beltway. The protest ultimately fizzled.
Santilli’s latest obsession is the Central America refugee crisis and the imprisonment of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi in Mexico (who crossed the border, accidentally he says, with three firearms). In response, he is organizing a protest with a group of bikers, dubbed “Cinco de Julio,” that he hopes will create a “traffic jam of epic proportions” and shut down the Tijuana border crossing:
Americans are fed up with this lawless and criminal administration and are organizing a shutdown of the U.S. Mexico border on July 5th, 2014. The objective is to demand the release of Tahmooressi, as well as shut down the flood of immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S.A. at the encouragement of the now impeachable President Barack Obama.
Last week on his radio show, Santilli whipped himself into a frenzy and denounced President Obama as an “unconstitutional, treasonous bastard.” He called for the president to be impeached immediately and for the border to be kept closed until Tahmooressi is repatriated and refugees are turned away at the border:
Joseph Francis Farah, a leading ‘birther’ who runs the right-wing, conspiracy website WorldNetDaily, was reportedly caught by TSA agents on Sunday with a loaded .38-caliber revolver in his carry-on bag as he passed through security at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.
Farah, who denounced TSA screening practices in a 2010 column, faces a class 1 misdemeanor charge for carrying a gun in an airport terminal, according to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. He was released pending a summons.
The Washington Post first reported the incident yesterday but described the individual in question as Joseph Farah, 49, of Centreville, Va. Hatewatch confirmed with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority today that in fact Joseph Francis Farah, who is 59, was cited for the weapon charge.
Farah founded WorldNetDaily with his wife in 1997 and serves as publisher and editor-in-chief. The site is a leading platform for far-right, fringe conspiracy theories, particularly about President Obama.
Farah and arch-birther Jerome Corsi have used the site to spin wild conspiracies about the president. Corsi not only claims that Obama was born overseas but that he’s gay and Muslim and may have orchestrated the murder of his former gay lovers.
WorldNetDaily, among other things, has blamed gays for the Holocaust, promoted the idea that white Americans should gather together and secede, predicted Obama would meet in person with Osama bin Laden if elected and said that LGBT people seek the “active recruitment of children.” Notably, Farah argued last year that Obama’s proposals to fight gun violence could lead to “mass-murdering tyranny.”
And in a 2010 column entitled “My own little TSA mini-nightmare,” Farah denounced what he described as TSA’s “systematic violations of Americans’ constitutional rights.” He described pat-downs as “gate rape” and said the full body scanners perform “virtual strip searches.”
Farah, who said at the time that he was avoiding flying until TSA changed its procedures, had purchased a “brand new, expensive rolling bag” and was outraged when he saw that “the zipper had been broken off.” He found two TSA inspection notices inside the bag from TSA. And get this, they didn’t even sort and repack his clothes just so:
I had carefully folded my clothes before placing them in my bag. I had carefully separated the clean clothes from the dirty clothes. But what I found in my bag was that someone had pulled everything out and then stuffed it all back in with little regard for my future cleaning and laundering bills.
Farah apparently takes packing very seriously and has thought a great deal about TSA’s screening practices. One wonders then what he was doing with a loaded revolver in his carry-on luggage. Regardless, he just illustrated why we have TSA screenings in the first place.
In the wake of Sunday’s deadly attacks in North Las Vegas, at the hands of two antigovernment “Patriot” extremists, Infowars host Alex Jones warned his listeners that the media would soon start claiming that there’s a connection between his conspiracist media operation and the killers.
As a matter of fact, Jerad Miller – the 31-year-old Indiana man who led the attack, assisted by his 22-year-old wife, Amanda – liked to post on the Infowars member forum. And he constantly promoted Infowars on his Facebook page.
In one of his Infowars posts, Miller even speculated about whether or not he should kill police officers.
“The emerging narrative in the Las Vegas shooting now includes Alex Jones,” the Infowars site complained shortly after news of the shootings broke. In short order, Jones began calling the shootings a “false flag operation” secretly staged by nefarious federal government operatives who set it up to look like it was a crime committed by domestic terrorists.
“The incident is custom-made to demonize the patriot movement,” the Infowars site claimed. “The Southern Poverty Law Center has consistently attempted to forge a link between white supremacists and members of the patriot and constitutional movements.”
Jones became downright imaginative, explaining to his listeners, in one rant, how he would go about setting up the murders if he were a government agent, and then warning that the shootings mean that “civil war is coming”. He also began assigning responsibility for the “false flag operation.” In one rant, he accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being behind the crimes. In another, it was the work of President Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Jones’ wild claims must be intended to distract from the fact that, as Media Matters reported, Miller avidly posted Infowars links on his Facebook page and urged his readers to the website – saying, in one such post, to “get informed or get stupid”.
What those claims fail to explain is why, beginning in May 2012, Jerad Miller became an Infowars forum member and began posting long pieces there. In all, he appears to have published five posts, though one of them titled “A Short Story About Protesting” is no longer available. ( continue to full post… )
Some person or group in rural Missouri with an apparent hatred of President Obama managed to briefly shut down morning traffic on Interstate 70 on Monday by hanging an effigy of the president from an overpass.
According to local news reports, the effigy – a mannequin wearing a rubber Obama mask – was spotted hanging from an I-70 overpass on Lefholz Road, near Grain Valley in the rural outskirts of Kansas City, at about 5:30 a.m. Deputies responded to remove the display and found what they feared might be a bomb attached to it.
“The item that we had, we thought possibly could have been explosive, so we went ahead and shut down I-70 is both directions to ensure that if it was explosive there was nothing that was going to cause a hazard to any passerbys, and once we removed that from the scene we opened up I-70 almost immediately,” Sgt. Ronda Montgomery, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, told reporters.
The item turned out not to be a bomb, and the interstate was reopened after a couple of hours. The sheriff’s office continued investigating the incident.
“We are talking with neighbors and canvassing the neighborhood,” Montgomery said. “We are putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”
Political science professor Max Skidmore of the University of Missouri-Kansas City told WDAF-TV that political dissent is protected by the First Amendment but this action may have crossed the line by threatening the president. “It’s some person who is simply vicious and whose hatred overwhelms what little good sense he or she may have,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, a book by a well-known science writer was published by Penguin Press that seemed to support many of the claims made by academic racists over the years. Because of the importance to the proponents of racism and anti-Semitism of the controversial assertions made in A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, Hatewatch asked Jon Phillips, a graduate student and free-lance writer who studies the history of science with a focus on politics and evolutionary biology, to review the 278-page book and its claims.
Nicholas Wade’s new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, is only the latest in a long line of works arguing that humans can be divided into discrete races, and that between those races, there are differences in behavior, temperament, intelligence, and even political and economic structures. Although the specifics of the arguments change, what remains constant is the idea that white people of European descent are inherently smarter, better, more “civilized” than members of other races, especially black Africans and their descendants. Wade’s work is no exception.
This book’s failure as a work of popular science has been well documented by biologists and anthropologists. This review will focus on another problem with Wade’s book, one just as damning as its scientific errors: its uncritical reliance on and legitimization of fringe racist theories masquerading as mainstream biology.
Wade, a former science writer for The New York Times, attempts to fabricate a sense of scientific credibility for his outlandish theories with the division of his book into two very different sections. The first half is intended as a survey of the history and science of research into human evolution, race, and genetics, and Wade supports most of his claims with citations to scientific literature.
In the second, more ”speculative” half of the book, Wade’s claims about human genetics and evolution continue, but the scientific sources disappear. It is in this part of the book, for example, that Wade explains modern history through the claim that “European populations” have a genetic predisposition to “open societies and the rule of law to autocracies,” while the Chinese are inherently “drawn to a system of family obligations, political hierarchy, and conformity.” He posits that white Europeans and East Asians are innately more intelligent than Papuans or members of other “Stone Age societies” because “intelligence can be more highly rewarded in modern societies because it is in far greater demand.” Although he acknowledges at the outset that these portions of the book are intended to be speculative, in the text he presents these racist, hackneyed ideas as though they are simple facts, uncontroversial and incontrovertible. ( continue to full post… )
Gun Owners of America: USDA Buying Guns, Armor to Prepare for ‘Confrontation with American Citizens,’ Dictatorship
There have been a number of conspiracy theories in recent years about ammunition shortages. More often than not, these theories lay the blame for the low ammo supplies at the feet of, you guessed it, President Obama.
Now a spokesman for Gun Owners of America (GOA), a far-right gun lobby organization, has a new twist on these theories: The government, notably the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is buying up ammunition in preparation for a “confrontation with American citizens,” the next step in establishing an Obama dictatorship.
“We suspect that the federal government is anticipating and preparing for confrontation with American citizens,” Mike Hammond, GOA’s legislative counsel, told the American Family Association website OneNewsNow. Hammond then wondered aloud “if President Obama is preparing for a dictatorship.”
“What are the characteristics of a dictatorship?” Hammond said. “An individual who is bound not by the law, but by his own desires and his own goals. And that may be where we are now.”
According to OneNewsNow, Hammond wondered “if the USDA closely watched the Cliven Bundy confrontation in Nevada” and questioned ammo purchases by the U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration (both of which employ investigators and special agents who work with law enforcement agencies to fight theft and fraud).
Hammond also falsely claimed that “the Obama administration is making it increasingly difficult for American citizens to obtain ammunition,” a claim that was recently discussed at length by conspiracist website Newsmax – in an article featuring GOA.
“There is no doubt that the president’s anti-gun agenda has driven the sale of guns and ammunition through the roof,” Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, told Newsmax. “President Barack Obama can truly be known as the gun salesman of the decade.”
Indeed, increased sales of both guns and ammunition have been closely associated with Obama’s election in 2008 – though not, from the evidence, due to any action on the part of the president, who generally avoided discussion of gun violence issues prior to the horrific massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December 2012.
Instead, the National Rifle Association and other gun-lobby groups, abetted by right-wing pundits such as Glenn Beck, began claiming even before Obama became president that he intended to take their guns away. That immediately resulted in a huge spike in sales of both weapons and ammunition. ( continue to full post… )
How did a bipartisan set of education standards developed by the National Governors Association and state school superintendents get to be one of the most hotly contested issues in public life? A new report out today from the Southern Poverty Law Center – “Public Schools in the Crosshairs: Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core State Standards” – takes a hard look at the extremists behind the right-wing effort to destroy the Common Core, which they’ve dubbed “Obamacore.”
Common Core is being implemented in 44 states and has widespread backing among Republicans, Democrats, educators and big business. Notwithstanding legitimate concerns and questions from many corners, there is a level of consensus around the standards that is virtually unheard of in contemporary politics. But extremists on the far right are fast at work dismantling it. And their ultimate goal is dismantling public education itself.
Common Core sets standards for literacy and math skills that all children in public school should achieve at every grade level – nothing more, nothing less. Contrary to the claims by right-wing pundits, the standards don’t mandate any particular texts or courses of study.
But to the far right, the standards are a Trojan horse intended to set the stage for mass indoctrination of America’s children and the destruction of traditional values. The goal, they say, is to separate children from their parents and communities, render them unable to think for themselves and put them on a path to dependency on big government for the rest of their lives.
The right-wing propagandists have created an alternate universe of lies and deceptions, and not for the first time. Obamacare had “death panels,” and now Obamacore has “government indoctrination camps” to turn children into “green serfs” who will serve the “New World Order.”
It may all sound crazy – and it is – but the anti-Common Core propaganda could have real political consequences. In late March, Indiana became the first state to pull out of Common Core. And roughly 100 bills have been introduced around the nation that would slow or reverse adoption of the standards.
It’s a crucial moment in the political debate over Common Core, and you can’t make sense of it without understanding the lies and distortions coming from the far right as well as their true goal – the dismantling of the public education system itself. Be sure to check out the full “Public Schools in the Crosshairs” report.
After a raucous and jam-packed City Council meeting last night, the mayor of Marionville, Mo., officially resigned early this morning. Dan Clevenger was under fire for making anti-Semitic remarks shortly after his old friend, neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Miller, was arrested for allegedly killing three people at two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City on the eve of Passover.
Clevenger, 59, announced his resignation as the leader of the largely white city of 2,200 residents in southwestern Missouri last night as the Marionville City Council voted 4-to-1 to begin impeachment procedures.
“I’m very proud of my city,” John Horner, a high school teacher and a leader of the effort to remove the mayor, told Hatewatch today. “The meeting was a little bit chaotic because people were so emotionally charged about Marionville being portrayed by the mayor’s comments as a racist place and that’s not who we are.”
Two days after Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, was arrested for the deadly April 13 shooting spree, Mayor Clevenger told television station KSPR that he “[k]ind of agreed with him on some things, but I don’t like to express that too much.”
“There are some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us,” he added. “We’ve got a false economy and it’s, some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there. The fact that the Federal Reserve prints up phony money and freely hands it out, I think that’s completely wrong. The people that run the Federal Reserve, they’re Jewish.”
Those words set off a firestorm.
For a typical Marionville City Council meeting, maybe half a dozen residents attend. Last night, according to the deputy city clerk, there were between 75 and 100 residents crowded into the council chambers. There also was a heavy police presence.
“Supposedly people have been getting death threats on both sides,” Horner said. “People are scared of retaliation, of violence.”
Horner has not received any threats. But if he does, he said he would not back down. “I’m a homosexual man in my 40s,” he said. “I have been bullied my entire life. I am like, ‘Bring it.’”
While most who spoke at the council meeting last night asked for the mayor’s resignation or impeachment, he did have some supporters, defending his First Amendment right to say whatever he wanted.
“I have seen a lot more hatred from some of you people than I have seen out of Dan Clevenger,” resident Gene Smith said, pointing at the mayor’s critics, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “I thought we had free speech in America.”
Clevenger mostly sat quietly while the city debated his fate. When asked by the News-Leader if he was hurt by the criticism and calls for his resignation, Clevenger simply said, “Yes, it does.”
The former mayor, who also runs a local repair shop, has known Miller for years. Miller, 73, lives just outside of Marionville.
About a decade ago, according to the television station, Clevenger wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper in a nearby town in support of Miller. ( continue to full post… )