The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Despite claiming its success this election cycle came from expunging extremists from its ranks, the GOP managed to let a fair number of candidates with extremist views rooted in conspiracy theories and far-right fears slip through the cracks.
“Little was left to chance,” The New York Times reported earlier this week. “Republican operatives sent fake campaign trackers — interns and staff members brandishing video cameras to record every utterance and move — to trail their own candidates. In media training sessions, candidates were forced to sit through a reel of the most self-destructive moments.”
But when all the ballots were counted, not even that was enough to stop the GOP from embracing candidates with fringe views, extremist connections and embarrassing backgrounds.
Consider Michael Peroutka, the onetime Constitutional Party presidential candidate and a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS). Peroutka, running as a Republican, was elected to the Ann Arundel County Council in Maryland, garnering 15,531 votes against Democratic candidate Patrick Armstrong’s 13,638.
Peroutka is an avid Southern secessionist and radical Christian Reconstructionist, as he made clear during his presidential campaign for the Constitution Party in 2004. He has long been an active figure in the LOS, serving on its board until recently. However, as the Capital Gazette in Annapolis noted, Peroutka campaigned almost entirely on local issues, emphasizing his desire to repeal the county’s storm water fees, dubbed by local critics as “the rain tax.”
Peroutka eventually renounced his LOS membership, telling reporters he had discovered that the organization held racist views “contrary to my beliefs.” In spite of that mea culpa, Peroutka has continued to share his extremist views in far-right media outlets. In one media appearance, Peroutka warned that the “gay deathstyle” was intent on recruiting the nation’s children. In another interview, he made clear that his extremist politics will color how he conducts county policy, proclaiming nondiscrimination laws a plot to replace God with government “idolatry.”
While it might be easy to say that Peroutka is alone on the Republic roster with his extremist ideology, there were many other candidates elected Tuesday with similar baggage.
- Joni Ernst, U.S. Senate, Iowa: Ernst has supported state nullification of federal laws, claimed the president is a “dictator” who should be impeached, and given credence to Agenda 21, a right-wing conspiracy theory that claims the United Nations is building a blueprint for the “New World Order” intent on taking away U.S. citizen’s land and possessions.
- Jody Hice, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia, 10th District: The anti-Islam Hice (who is also a radio talk show host) has said that Muslims shouldn’t get First Amendment protections, has claimed that a satirical piece written in the 1980s is “proof” of a “gay agenda” and said in 2004 that it was okay for a woman to run for office as long as she’s “within the authority of her husband.” He also said on his radio show that “blood moons” are a sign of world-changing. Strangely, Hice’s radio shows have been scrubbed from the Internet.
- Gordon Klingenschmitt, Colorado state legislature, District 15: Best-known for his claims of casting demons out of LGBT people, Klingenschmitt heads up the anti-LGBT hate group The Pray in Jesus [sic] Name Project. He was court martialed by the Air Force in 2006 for disobeying an order. He has claimed that gay people sexually abuse their own children and they should be discriminated against because they’re not going to heaven and only people who go to heaven are entitled to equal treatment.
- Gary Glenn, Michigan state legislature, District 98: Glenn, the author of Michigan’s amendment banning marriage equality, is a former director of AFA-Michigan, an affiliate of the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group. Glenn has expressed desire to recriminalize homosexuality, which he claims is a “proven threat to health and human safety.” He has expressed reservations about businesses hiring LGBT people because of the “severe medical consequences” of homosexuality, which indicates they’re “not the best and the brightest.”
Ryan Lenz, David Neiwert and Evelyn Schlatter contributed to this article.
Last Friday, a jury in an Orlando, Fla., federal courtroom found William “Bill” White guilty of sending death threats to officials in May 2012. Sentencing is set for Nov. 21, when White, 37, will face the possibility of decades in prison.
White is already incarcerated in Florida for sending threats to other individuals. Before he was arrested in 2008, White had held posts in neo-Nazi groups and ran the movement gossip site, Overthrow.com. White is a particularly obnoxious racist, frequently using the most crude racial slurs available and constantly harassing people he doesn’t like by calling for their lynching or worse. He once put President Obama on the cover of his publication, the National Socialist, with a gun sight over his face. The text read, “Kill this Nigger?”
The charges against White stemmed from emailed threats against FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Agent Kelly Boaz, Circuit Judge Walter Komanski and then-State Attorney Lawson Lamar, prominent officials in the case against the American Front white-supremacist group whose Osceola County compound was raided in May 2012. ( continue to full post… )
In recent weeks, it has seemed as if the American Family Association—already listed by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group—has been on a mission to transform its public image from that of ordinary family-values advocates to a pack of wild-eyed radicals foaming at the mouth about their perceived enemies.
AFA spokesperson Bryan Fischer has been leading the way. In recent weeks on his radio program, Fischer has:
- Declared it will be “the end of America” if Congress does not impeach President Obama.
- Denounced anyone who uses the word “racist,” then insisted that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “racists.”
- Sided with radical Islamists in Iraq in calling Obama a “devil worshiper.”
- Suggested on Twitter that accepting homosexuality leads to people to commit acts of necrophilia.
- Said that LGBT people are inherently disqualified from holding public office.
- Written an article in which he wonders if Robin Williams will go to heaven and insults Williams’s mother’s belief system (she was a Christian Scientist, Fischer says, and that is “a counterfeit form of religion that is neither Christian nor scientific”)
It’s not just Fischer, though. A couple of AFA analysts recently decried the recent editorial direction of Archie Comics, saying they now promoted “the occult and homosexuality.”
But as absurd as all these declarations might be, Fischer may not be the only one from AFA making such spurious claims. Kevin McCullough, a fellow AFA pundit who contributes at the organization’s commentary site, The Stand, recently published the following headline and article:
The ALS Challenge is a wildly popular fundraising stunt for the ALS Association in which people are encouraged to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, record it on social media and then challenge other people to otherwise join them or make a donation to the association.
The stunt has become an Internet sensation, with participants including movie stars, pop singers and politicians, as well as a wide range of others. It has also inspired some moments of accidental low comedy on the Web.
But according to McCullough, the fun and frivolity is overshadowed by his view that “this very challenge is contributing to the on going destruction of human life – intentionally.”
The ALS association is actively now funding embryonic stem cell research and admitting that they likely will continue to do so in the future.
The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with.
Embryonic stem cell research has proven zero percent effective in combating diseases like ALS and other neurological degenerative diseases.
Stem cell research has proven to be a controversial issue for years, with many conservative Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, viewing it as akin to abortion. The embryos used for the research are fertilized in the laboratory, and there has never been a baby born or created in such conditions.
The ALS Association also claims to have produced substantial scientific research that, contrary to the AFA’s claims, indicates progress toward finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the progressive and fatal neuromuscular malady commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
ALS afflicts about 30,000 Americans, with about 5,600 new cases diagnosed annually. More than 5,000 people die each from the disease. The ALS Association reports that so far more than $31 million has been raised by the ice-bucket challenge.
OXFORD, Miss. –– In response to the University of Mississippi’s recent decision to distance itself from its contentious confederate past, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the Mid-South Flaggers joined the racist League of the South (LOS) to rally under the guise of protecting “southern heritage.”
Billed as a protest, members of all three groups waved Confederate flags alongside the LOS Southern Nationalist flag and signs proclaiming that “Anti-racism is the brainchild of racism” as they marched last weekend through the center of Oxford, Miss.
The event was organized to protest the University of Mississippi’s recent decision to rename Confederate Drive –– a street that cuts through the center of campus –– and install plaques at racially divisive sites to better contextualize them. The changes came after three students hung a noose and a pre-2003 Georgia state flag around the neck of a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
But, at an event billed as a rally in defense of Confederate heritage, one has to wonder if the event’s true intent was merely another moment to hide hate behind heritage. ( continue to full post… )
Fred Phelps, America’s most rabid gay-basher and a man who drew almost universal contempt from the far right to the far left, has reportedly died at age 84. Timothy Phelps, one of his 13 children, told WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kan., that the vitriol-spouting pastor of Westboro Baptist Church died before midnight Wednesday in a local hospice.
Phelps and his extended family, which made up the bulk of Westboro’s congregation, spent almost a quarter of a century issuing vulgar and incredibly spiteful rhetoric against LGBT people and their supporters. The group was especially loathed for picketing the funerals of American soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying God was punishing a “fag-enabling” nation.
That’s not all. Phelps and his followers attacked school children killed in bus crashes, victims of crazed killers, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, schools, synagogues, and a whole host of others for supporting homosexuality, typically in the most tangential of ways. When Al Qaeda attacked the United States in 2001, Phelps’ response was to savage the murdered pilot of one of the downed airliners as “the filthy face of fag evil,” among other things. He also attacked Jews, picketing synagogues and saying Jews’ “vermin ancestors” had killed Christ.
Phelps’ reported death came amid a flurry of reports, based on statements from one of his estranged sons, saying that Phelps had been ex-communicated last fall from the Topeka church he started in 1955. The reports claimed that others in the church had formed an all-male board of elders, thrown out longtime spokeswoman and heir apparent Shirley Phelps-Roper, and tossed Phelps out of his own church because he said that he thought congregants should be kinder to one another. If true, it was an exceedingly ironic end for a man who was not known for his kindness in any way. ( continue to full post… )
After four years of stunning growth, the radical right declined significantly for the first time in 2013, according to the latest count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, released today. But with a total of more than 2,000 groups, the extreme right remained at historically high levels.
The decline was due to an improving economy, dismay at the re-election of President Obama, law enforcement crackdowns, and the co-optation of the far right’s issues by purportedly mainstream politicians. It also reflected internal difficulties in the radical groups themselves, along with the failure of a whole series of their apocalyptic predictions to materialize.
Hate groups declined by 7% last year, from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013, and from an all-time high of 1,018 in 2011. But by far the most significant drop came among antigovernment “Patriot” groups, including armed militias, which fell 19%, from 1,360 groups in 2012 to 1,096 in 2013. While those drops were significant, the total number of groups was still almost twice as high as in 1996, when the first wave of the militia movement peaked while hate groups were also relatively high.
As reflected in a number of right-wing terrorist plots uncovered last year, the decline did not seem to dampen the violence coming from the movement. In fact, the movement seemed to grow more hard-line as more moderate members dropped out.
“The radical right is growing leaner and meaner,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the report. “The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high. Moreover, there is a disturbing dynamic at play. At the same time that the number of extremist groups is dropping, there is more mainstream acceptance of radical right ideas.” ( continue to full post… )
Bill Morlin, a Hatewatch blogger and the journalist who covered the Aryan Nations longer and better than virtually anyone else, has a great piece up about that group in the Blue Review, a journal of popular scholarship published by the Boise (Idaho) State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Bill’s thought-provoking piece recounts the history of the neo-Nazi group that haunted northern Idaho for three decades, until founder Richard Butler’s death in 2004. In particular, it focuses on how Aryan Nations and kindred groups gave Idaho a reputation for white supremacy that it is still battling today.
A Louisiana-based faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, headed by a man with his own checkered criminal past, has severed its ties in a rather public, name-calling way with an Illinois-based motorcycle club, the Sadistic Souls, headed by a former Ku Klux Klan leader.
Morris L. Gulett, the Louisiana man who calls himself “Aryan Nations World Leader,” accused the Sadistic Souls Motorcycle Club and its president, Dennis “SS Lightnin’” McGiffen, of being “drunks and race-mixers” who do little more than post pictures of themselves on social media with their middle fingers raised.
Not one to hold back, McGiffen responded with his own Internet posting late last year, calling Gulett a “rabbi,” a “costume Nazi” and a “worthless welfare king” deserving of the “Sadistic Souls MC Asshole of the Year 2014” award. McGiffen’s posting comes complete with an obscene Photoshopped image of Gulett appearing in a body orifice of an African-American woman.
The tumultuous marriage between Gulett’s white supremacy organization and the equally racist Sadistic Souls MC lasted less than two years — yet another example of strife and infighting between various splinter remnants of the Aryan Nations that developed after the 2004 death of Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler.
In the 1990s, the Aryans Nations was perhaps America’s most visible neo-Nazi group, but it started to fall apart after the Southern Poverty Law Center sued it in 1999, winning a $6.3 million judgment the following year for its clients, who had been terrorized by Aryan Nations security guards. Since Butler’s death, a range of former members have claimed to be his rightful heir as Aryan Nations chieftain, but none has succeeded in bringing the group back to prominence, and most spend the bulk of their energies attacking one another as undeserving pretenders and worse. ( continue to full post… )
National Alliance (NA) Chairman Erich Gliebe has shut down his neo-Nazi group’s websites, ended recruiting of members, and moved to liquidate many of the embattled NA’s remaining assets, including 289 acres of its West Virginia headquarters compound, where founder William Pierce was buried almost a dozen years ago.
But now two former senior NA members have announced their intention to bring what was once America’s most influential hate group back to its glory days by relaunching it in another state under their own leadership. One of them is William (Will) W. Williams, 66, a retired Army Special Forces operator, and the other is broadcast engineer Kevin Alfred Strom, 57, a convicted child porn enthusiast with a long history on the racist right.
The announcement comes at a time when Gliebe’s failed leadership seems to be driving the remnants of the NA into oblivion. But Williams, an outspoken and self-described “biological racist,” remains one of the most respected former NA officials in the history of the group, and he has high hopes of bringing it back. Williams has a reputation for being a fearless close quarters brawler on racist forums and an absolutist when it comes to Pierce’s unique brand of National Socialism. He also is known as someone ready and able to attack enemies both outside and inside the racist movement. ( continue to full post… )
There is blood in the water.
In the aftermath of the identities of several high-profile racists being exposed on this blog (here and here), the most prominent Internet hate forums have become embroiled in bitter infighting and petty allegations of cooperating with the enemy.
Tension and fear has pitted racist against racist. One commenter on White Nations, a prolific racist who calls himself “Smoky,” claims to have investigated Hatewatch’s outing of Fred O’Malley, who runs White Nations.
O’Malley is really Stanley Diggs of Houma, La. He created White Nations after being booted from the anti-Semitic hate forum Vanguard News Network (VNN) for what he described as his attempt to get rid of an “SPLC mole.” Since that time, Diggs has been attacking VNN relentlessly, and his most devout followers have followed suit. ( continue to full post… )