Southern Poverty Law Center

The Need For Strong Backing Of Journalism To Hold Trump’s “Feet To The Fire”!

It is urgent that all Americans realize the overwhelming importance of strong backing of major newspapers and magazines, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN and MSNBC to hold government leaders’ “feet to the fire”, to hold them accountable on government policy.

Donald Trump’s attack on the news media is an alarm bell in the night.

Without a free press, specifically print media and electronic media, our democracy can be taken away from us, and no journalist or media source can allow themselves to be intimidated, and must pursue the truth about government leaders and policies without fear of retribution.

If we lose freedom of the press, then our basic civil liberties are threatened, and that is why such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center and others like them, must be fully supported in fighting in court to prevent the loss of freedom in any form.

There are cynics about the news media, but such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and major journals of opinion, both in print and online, must be vigilant and not allow themselves to be threatened, as they are the first line of defense for all Americans.

At the same time, CNN and MSNBC must work at being more accurate and less motivated for profit, as many Americans who do not read news online regularly, rely on them to do the job that we used to expect automatically from such media luminaries in the past, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and others, including Diane Rehm on NPR, who just retired, and will be greatly missed!

The Capture Of The Republican Party By Right Wing Zealots: A Threat To America’s Future!

Sadly, as has been stated in many posts on this blog, the Republican Party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Ford, Reagan, and the Bushes, has been taken captive by right wing zealots, who have managed to make Mitt Romney follow their lead, and add ideologue Paul Ryan to his Presidential ticket for 2012.

The fact that Romney and Ryan are peddling propaganda, lies, and myths at an extraordinary rate, and managing to fool millions of Americans to think that the party represents their interests, is mind boggling.

This week, at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, we have an opportunity to explode the myths that have been built up by the GOP, and to show just how dangerous the party has become, as it has left the mainstream and become a party no one with intelligence and a sense of history could possibly endorse.

There is a need to purge the evil elements of the party, in order to save it for the future competition for power, or else a new party will have to replace it sometime soon!

When a party can allow religious conservatives to control a woman’s future even on the subject of rape as suggested by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, and to demand vaginal probes before an abortion will be allowed, as Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia promoted, then we know that the party has been seized by the extremism of Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council.

And the Family Research Council, judged a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its extreme promotion of hatred toward LGBT people, and lacking concern for teenagers harassed for their sexuality to the point of suicide, adds concern for the future of tolerance and open mindedness in America.

The growing influence of a supposed historian, David Barton, who is rewriting the history of America as a “Christian” nation, and has been denounced by reputable historians for his distorted views of all kinds of personalities and issues, is having an effect on the Texas schoolbook adoption of standards of what is taught, which affects the whole nation. Barton has no credentials to be called an “expert” on the truth and reality of American history, but carries a lot of weight in GOP circles, nevertheless.

Meanwhile, Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, has gained a lot of influence in promotion of anti immigrant legislation, including the laws in Arizona and Alabama. He has also been a leader in voter suppression activities, action against gay rights, support of no limits on guns, and has also promoted hysteria against so called “Sharia” or Muslim religious laws, which actually have no effect or impact, but are talked about to stir up insecure citizens to think we are about to be taken over by Muslims.

Additionally, Dick Armey, former GOP House Majority Leader in the 1990s, has worked to promote Tea Party takeover in the House and Senate, and is actively involved now in the races that led to Richard Mourdock, Debbie Fischer, and Ted Cruz winning Senate nominations in Indiana, Nebraska, and Texas.

Additionally, the no tax increase crowd, no matter what the circumstances, continues to hold sway with the power and influence of Grover Norquist of Americans For Tax Reform, as his group is called.

The dangers represented by what Bob McDonnell, Todd Akin, Tony Perkins, David Barton, Kris Kobach, Dick Armey, and Grover Norquist promote is massive, and Americans need to understand the threat to our social, economic and political future represented by the right wing zealots in the Republican party that has fallen on difficult times, and needs to be cleansed!

The Greatest Danger Of All: Right Wing “Patriot” Groups Which Are Encouraged By Republican And Conservative Anti Obama Propaganda

The Southern Poverty Law Center does an annual report on the status of hate groups on the right, which represent a dire threat to American freedom and liberty.

In 2008, there were 149 groups, increasing in 2009 to 512, increasing again in 2010 to 824, and jumping to 1,274 in 2011. That is 755 percent growth in three years!

These “Patriot” groups emerged during the 1990s with the rise of domestic terrorism, including the attack in Oklahoma City in 1995. But the economic collapse of 2008, along with the growing minority groups in America, and the election of Barack Obama, further accelerated this right wing surge.

While we must be concerned about terrorism from abroad, in many respects our domestic terrorist threat is far greater, and these are not Arabs or Middle Easterners, but rather traditional white Americans who promote conspiracy theories about government taking away private guns, and planning concentration camps formed by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency!

Militia groups also believe that Mexico is going to take back the American Southwest, and that the government will be unable to stop them on this matter, as crazy as that sounds!

With many Republicans and conservatives still spreading rumors and gossip about Barack Obama being from Kenya, and being a secret Muslim, they are actually abetting the instability of our nation in political, economic and social terms. Their recklessness is mind boggling!

Are Muslim Citizens Threats To Homeland Security? The Peter King Committee Hearings And The Real Threat To The Nation!

New York Republican Congressman Peter King, a member of the House since 1993, is the new Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and is about to conduct hearings on what he calls the Islamic threat to America presented by disloyal Muslims in American society.

King can certainly give several examples of Muslims in America who have been proved to be engaged in terrorist activities, fortunately stopped by excellent intelligence activities by cooperation between federal and state government officials. With the tragic exception of the Fort Hood massacre by a Muslim soldier, all of the attempts have been prevented.

But are we to say, for instance, that all community college students should be considered dangerous and worthy of investigation by the Homeland Security Committee, because of Jared Lee Loughner shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, which led to six deaths and thirteen wounded?

Are we to say that all white Christians who had been in the military should be investigated because of Timothy McVeigh blowing up the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995, killing 168 people and wounding nearly a thousand people?

We cannot allow the Islamic haters in this country, many of them Christian fundamentalists, to anger and provoke good, law abiding Muslims, several million among us and growing, into hating the nation they willingly migrated to or have grown up in as citizens, to feel they are being persecuted or scapegoated, particularly when Muslim soldiers are fighting for us, and in many cases, have helped report and crack plots by the miniscule number of Muslims who have conspired against us!

What Peter King is doing is really the new McCarthyism, loose labeling people as Communists, and now substituting Muslims for Communists!

It is also important to point out that Peter King has a “skeleton” in his closet, his strong advocacy for the terrorist Irish Republican Army in its long war against British control of Northern Ireland. Can a person who supported terrorism actions against America’s strongest ally, Great Britain, be taken seriously when he claims to be fighting terrorism by promoting insecurity among law abiding Muslims, who are certainly over 99 percent of all Muslims?

And it should be pointed out that IF King really wishes to investigate terrorism threats, look to the hundreds of such groups listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, including neo-Nazis, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, and Ku Klux Klansmen!

The number of such groups are at an all time high of 1,002, with many of them so called “Patriot” groups that have grown dramatically since Barack Obama became President, and believing that the federal government is the “enemy”!

And if one counts groups that go beyond just hate groups and Patriot groups to include nativist extremist groups which are a threat to ethnic, racial, religious and sexual orientation minorities, then the total is 2,145, a 40 percent increase from 2008-2009 and a 22 percent rise in 2009-2010!

Also realize that many Republican politicians and talk show hosts on radio and television use loose rhetoric, and are encouraging the paranoia and hate by their loose use of language!

So only when Peter King is willing to investigate and publicize the far greater threat from right wing hate groups would his committee be seen as doing something worthy of our support!