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Posts tagged: Southern Poverty Law Center

More On Richard Mack’s Fight w/SPLC

Kathryn M. DeLong, of the conservative Human Events mag, offers more insight into the ongoing battle between Richard Mack and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mack, an Arizona sheriff in the 1990s and board member of the relatively new Oath Keepers group, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day dinner. He may have filed a suit against the SPLC, alledging defamation, libel, and slander. In the article, SPLC spokesman Mark Potok says that the Oath Keepers pledge to uphold the Constitution is simply a facade to cover “very specific conspiratorial fears which are absolutely groundless” of militia and Patriot groups. Stewart Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, said such characterizations by opponents of Oath Keepers are “smear tactics.” You can read the article here.


SPLC, Richard Mack At Odds

For those keeping score at home, Richard Mack, controversial speaker of the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, is listed among the “Patriots” spotlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a summer 2010 Intelligence Report. Of Mack, the SPLC says: “It seems hardly a day goes by without another Mack attack on the evils of the federal government. This one-time sheriff of a rural county in Arizona and present-day icon of the Patriot movement has parlayed his antigovernment ardor into a full-time job doing speaking gigs at county fairgrounds, high school auditoriums and hotel banquet rooms.” The SPLC, which is being sued by Mack claming slander, libel & defamation, also notes that the prospective speaker hasn't been a sheriff in Arizona since 1996 and that he co-authored a book with Ruby Ridge figure Randy Weaver. More here. In a fall 2009 Intelligence Report, SPLC describes Mack as part of the Oath Keeper movement and a hero of the militia movement. You can read that report here. (Wikipedia photo of Richard Mack)


Idaho Teacher Wins Tolerance Award

A teacher in southwestern Idaho is among a five educators nationwide being recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center's anti-bias education project. The law center issued a statement Monday saying Sonia Galviz of Nampa and four other educators will be the first to receive its Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching. A ceremony is planned Dec. 9 in Washington, D.C. The Alabama-based organization says the award recognizes educators who have demonstrated excellence in teaching students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Galviz and the other winners will each receive $1,000. Galviz teaches in the Nampa School District/Idaho Statesman.

Question: Are you surprised/delighted that an Idaho teacher would win the first Teaching Tolerance Award from the Southern Poverly Law Center?

Trib: Idaho Is Responsible For Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the not the only hate monger out there. But Fischer got where he is because the state of Idaho extended him its imprimatur. When are the Idaho leaders responsible for giving Fischer his stepping stone as one of the state's official clergymen a decade ago going to withdraw their implicit endorsement? Since leaving Idaho in 2009, Fischer has been working as “director of issue analysis” for the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association. Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the AFA a hate group for its “use of known falsehoods” to vilify gays and lesbians. This month, it released a white paper documenting Fischer's broadcasting and blogging activities/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Marty Trillhaase that Idaho launched Fischer into national prominence?

SPLC Issues Report On Fischer

Former Idaho Values Alliance leader Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association (AFA) are the subject of a 21-page report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The report quotes former Cole Community Church Pastor Roper on Fischer's departure from the church. It also features Idaho Family Forum founder Dennis Mansfield on why he left the church Fischer subsequently founded, Community Church of the Valley, and how Fischer overtook him as the leading evangelist-politician in Idaho. Fischer left Idaho in 2009 and now hosts a radio show for the Mississippi-based AFA. On Saturday, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized Fischer for using “poisonous language.” Fischer retorted that Romney's comments were “tasteless and tawdry” and that Romney allowed the SPLC, New York Times and People for the American Way to dictate his remarks at the Values Voters Summit where both men spoke/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you make of the SPLC report?

Popkey: UI, BSU Racist Claims Wrong

Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman columnizes this morning that the respected Southern Poverty Law Center missed the target when it sounded the alarm about Boise State and University of Idaho. Seems Boise State and UI  have two of the 10 “active” chapters of the racist Youth for Western Civilization. But Popkey discovered “active” might be a stretch re: what he found on the two Idaho campuses. Popkey: “The BSU chapter was founded in March 2010 and vanished by fall term. … At the U of I, YWC is not recognized as a student group. Last school year, a single U of I student, Alexander Rowson, worked with an official chapter at Washington State University, erecting a chain-link fence to protest illegal immigration and selling “Straight Pride” T-shirts to counter Gay and Lesbian Pride month. At the U of I, four people protested the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s visit. More here.

Question: What do you make of the SPLC claim that Idahoans should be alarmed at Youth for Western Civilization activity at UI and Boise State?

Hate Groups ♥ Montana, INW

Finally, Idaho has moved up — or down, depending on your perspective — the ranks in one category it didn't want to lead: concentrations of hate groups per capita. Believe it or not, Montana takes top honors, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, with the greatest concentration of hate groups — 13.8 groups per million people. Idaho isn't even second. That honor falls to Mississippi (13.7 per million), followed by Arkansas (10.3), Wyoming (9.7), and finally Idaho 8.9), in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. You can read Richard Florida's report in the Atlantic re: how home-made hate groups are booming in the U.S. Seattle Weekly reports on the phenomenon in the article, “Washington is only 85 miles from American's foulest and most festering pool of hate” here. (SR file photo, from July 3, 1999, the late Richard Butler, center, founder of the Aryan Nations sect, salutes during a neo-Nazi rally in Coeur d' Alene. H/T: Orbusmax

Question: Do you consider Montana to be a place of hate?

White Nationalists On WSU Campus?

Since its creation last fall, a conservative student group at Washington State University has set up a chain-link fence on campus to protest illegal immigration, launched a controversial newspaper, and rallied in favor of “Straight Pride.” Those public events have brought attention to the local chapter and its parent organization, Youth for Western Civilization. The goal of the seven-member chapter is to revive Western civilization and make it the dominant culture in the U.S., according to Phil Tignino, the student coordinator for the WSU chapter. “I don't think the U.S. should be known as the country that is home to every culture, language and belief system in the world,” said Tignino, a 22-year-old political science major from Los Angeles/Andrea Castillo, WSU Murrow News Service. More here. H/T: Obusmax

Question: The Southern Poverty Law Center says Youth for Western Civilization is promoting white nationalism at Washington State. Do you agree? Or do you consider this group relatively harmless?

WSU Group Extols Western Culture

From the Microsoft Fan Club to the Breakdancing Club to the Humans vs. Zombies Club, students at Washington State University have a broad choice of extracurricular activities. One of the more controversial clubs is WSU's chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a national group headquartered in Arlington, Va. YWC member Phil Tignino, a senior political science major, said he and other members have been called racists and bigots. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights firm, he calls “a shake-down racket that just likes to scold people who are right of communist,” said YWC is a hate group. According to an online description, the club's purpose is to preserve and advance western civilization and culture while exposing and combating the destructive elements that are trying to bring the West down, including liberalism and neo-conservativism/Kelsey Husky, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Is a campus organization, like Youth for Western Civilization, automatically racist, if it advocates for western civilization and culture?

43SB: Send Message To Race Pickets

Last week, white supremacists associated with the Aryan Nations decided to picket two Mexican restaurants in Coeur d'Alene with signs which encouraged passerby's to “Honk if you want Idaho White.” The organizer, Shaun Winkler, is an odious little toadie well known to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He opted to join the ever popular Phelps family when they protested against teh gay last October in Coeur d'Alene. Now I dunno why Winkler decided to target Messicans with his hate. Perhaps Winkler was encouraged from the open hostility shown Hispanics by one of the local Republican parties who objected to the word “Fiesta” used by the Bonner County Fair committee during the contentious debate surrounding Arizona's race baiting immigration reform attempt. Maybe it was the thinly veiled dog whistle race baiting ads in our last congressional election/Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Question: Sisyphus goes on to encourage his readers to support the two Mexican food stands picketed by racists last week. Or similar ones in the Boise area. Which Mexican food stand in Coeur d'Alene is best?

Sis: Idaho’s Most Notorious Export

Hard to fathom that someone is giving Larry Craig a challenge as undisputed champion, but the Village National Idiot has launched himself, and the American Family Association (AFA), the social conservative organization Bryan Fischer was selected to represent, into notorious territory by its addition as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). As the watchdog organization instrumental in taking down the Aryan Nations compound in northern Idaho, the SPLC now lists the AFA, along with the Family Research Council (FRC) in the same category as the KKK and the Aryan Nations, which unfortunately is still active in Idaho. Their leader just last year described Obama’s election as “the greatest recruiting tool ever”/Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the listing of the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center?

AM: Celebrating Aryans Bankruptcy

Norm Gissel, a Coeur d’Alene attorney who assisted Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Morris Dees in the legal case that bankrupted the Aryan Nations, receives applause after addressing the crowd at the Veterans Memorial Plaza in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday. Alison Boggs’ SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Would the Aryan Nations still be a significant presence in Kootenai County, if Richard Butler and his organization hadn’t been sued into bankruptcy?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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