United States

SPLC Report: Corporal punishment in school disproportionately affects black students, students with disabilities

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:53
Corporal punishment in school may seem like a practice that has long since disappeared from U.S. public schools, but every school day there are students who are punished by being struck by an educator – proof that corporal punishment remains a painful reality in thousands of public schools.

SPLC Report: Corporal punishment in school disproportionately affects black students, students with disabilities

Southern Poverty Law Center - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:53
Corporal punishment in school may seem like a practice that has long since disappeared from U.S. public schools, but every school day there are students who are punished by being struck by an educator – proof that corporal punishment remains a painful reality in thousands of public schools.

SPLC Action Fund: Louisiana criminal justice reform bills a good start, but more work remains

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 12:27
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed two bills into law this week that will improve transparency in police activities and save taxpayer money by eliminating lengthy sentences that are not warranted.

Weekend Read: The Changing Demographics of Mass Incarceration

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 11:46
After decades of constructing a system of mass incarceration, it appears that our nation is beginning to turn the tide.

In The PPC, QAnon Conspiracy Theories and Bigotry Appear To Be A Feature, Not A Bug

A few days ago I read an article written by the amazing Caroline Orr concerning the "weaponization" hate propaganda targeting especially Muslims under the guise of a "conservative news" source:

By hiding behind the facade of a "news network," this Facebook page managed to stay active for 3 years and amassed a following of 200,000+ people — all while peddling virulent anti-Muslim hate speech and disinformation.

My latest for @NatObserver:https://t.co/TBeMdwC0fl— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) June 3, 2019

While none of this is a surprise to readers of ARC, it does highlight the concern of the growing polarization that exists in Canada and elsewhere as well as the tribalism that is resulting in the impossibility of finding common ground.

There is a temptation to cry out, "a pox on both their houses" however if one is to be honest one would have to recognize that this is a growing tendency on the right. In the past mainstream conservatives might have called out the conspiracy nutbars as William F. Buckley did the Birchers more than 50 years ago. Now it seems that too many are seeing the mob as a means to win political power.

Take for example the People's Party of Canada:

It seems that the founder and leader of the PPC has decided that promoting a QAnon conspiracy proponent is good politics:

That's @MaximeBernier, leader of a Canadian political party, sharing a video by a QAnon conspiracy theorist, in which she claims that white supremacist murderers were leftists & that Muslims are thinking up ways to destroy Canadian culture, then endorses @MaximeBernier. *perfect* https://t.co/WUdbRibGtw— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) June 7, 2019

from February https://t.co/afhzdZYmwk— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) June 6, 2019In the video that Maxime Bernier shared, 'Amazing Polly' also attacks @Your_AMPAC, saying that "their whole gig is to sit around all day dreaming of ways to undermine Canadian culture"; and thinking "how can we poke holes in Canadian culture" pic.twitter.com/r5mN7TaLZX— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) June 7, 2019'Amazing Polly' liked and pinned a comment from a fan who says that we should blame Jack Layton for the Quebec Mosque shooting pic.twitter.com/5uSnP5auxh— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) June 7, 2019
Here are a few of the more.... shall we say interesting Tweets made by Ms. Polly during the past 24 hours:

She also seems to think that this is perfectly okay and that the arrest of the ass clown proves Canada is a totalitarian state:

Not surprisingly, her support for free speech only goes as far as the speech she personally finds acceptable:

Yep, this is the person whom Max Bernier thinks is a "must watch."
And of course there's more.
Recently, this story about a PPC regional coordinator in BC has been making the rounds:

A former People's Party of Canada organizer claims he accidentally received a racist email from a party exec. The PPC claims it’s a forgery. It's a bizarre twist in an ongoing party feud. FULL STORY: https://t.co/Fb9xh86PV8 #cdnpoli #bcpoli— Ricochet (@ricochet_en) June 1, 2019
When the story from Ricochet came out concerning an email accidentally sent to a former member, now critic, that the executive was attempting to bar people of colour, it was hard not to believe it for reasons that I will explain soon. For a lot of people it didn't quite pass the smell test. Sure enough, evidence came out indicating that the message was fraudulent:

Important update on this story: https://t.co/mCFMfL7vAJ— Ricochet (@ricochet_en) June 2, 2019

On person suggested to me that the email may have been a plant by the PPC who immediately attacked Ricochet for their report to prove the "fake news" narrative when negative stories have been published about them, however there isn't any evidence for this speculation.

Still, one doesn't need emails to see how the PPC is copying up to the far-right:

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Louisiana law will increase transparency in public school discipline and policing

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 13:25
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill today that will help ensure schools are transparent in their student disciplinary practices and school policing programs.

SPLC sues Trump administration for detaining immigrants who cannot afford bail

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 12:25
The SPLC and its allies sued the Trump administration today for holding people in Georgia immigration prisons just because they do not have enough money to pay for bail.

SPLC statement on YouTube’s decision to remove hateful content

Southern Poverty Law Center - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 12:58
YouTube announced plans today to clean up extremism and hate speech on its popular service by removing thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies.

SPLC helps gay Honduran man win asylum

Southern Poverty Law Center - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 11:11
Juan Carlos Herrera-Zapata knew he was gay from the time he was a little boy.

Louisiana bills would increase transparency in law enforcement and public schools

Southern Poverty Law Center - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:32
The Louisiana Legislature this week passed legislation that will help ensure schools are complying with federal anti-discrimination laws, and, in a separate bill focused on law enforcement agencies, create a task force that will improve collection and reporting of data on basic law enforcement activities.

SPLC to Congress: Myth of ‘white genocide’ driving white nationalist terror attacks

Southern Poverty Law Center - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 12:42
The SPLC’s Lecia Brooks testified today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (Committee on Oversight and Reform) about the need for federal action to confront the deadly white nationalist movement. Brooks delivered the following oral remarks to the subcommittee chaired by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, in addition to written testimony.

SPLC sues Arizona groups for harassing churches that help immigrants

Southern Poverty Law Center - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 07:15
As the immigrants stepped off a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus to receive assistance from a local Arizona church, a woman stood on church property and began shouting “fuera” (“get out” in Spanish) and “criminals” at them.

Your Ward News update: James Sears fires his lawyer

Today was supposed to be a good day. James Sears was supposed to be sentenced, which would likely have meant handcuffs and jail for him this morning, May 31st, 2019. But then, yesterday news broke that it wasn't going to happen. At least not yet.

I thought maybe it had to do with LeRoy St. Germain's sentencing delay, due to his late Gladue Report, which is also scheduled for July 15th. Perhaps sentencing them both at the same time would cut down on their shenanigans and otherwise make life easier for everyone.

Nope. Nothing that logical.

The Toronto Star reported yesterday evening that James Sears fired his lawyer, Dean Embry, claiming that he had thrown the case. He also apparently plans to launch a constitutional challenge of S319(2) prior to his July 15th sentencing, and, unless something changes, he will do this without legal representation.

For his part, Dean Embry claims he didn't throw the case, and, despite once being described as "vicious and astute" in Your Ward News, Embry appears not to have understood what he was signing up for when he took Sears on as a client. He had trouble controlling Sears during their last court appearance when he wanted to present a lengthy "allocation." Embry stood by helplessly while Sears, during said speech, brought his friend Johnathan forward as an example of someone who's anger was supposedly redirected away from violence due YWN.

To give Embry some credit, he admitted on record that his client's work did devolve into hate speech and called it repugnant. Outside of court, Embry experienced backlash from the general public when a woman threw hot coffee on him at a shop near court. (I can't find the link right now. I'll add it when I do). I suspect Embry is relieved at being dumped by his client. It's a shame, however, that he did not see fit to dump his client first.

In any event, sometime between now and July 15th, the James Sears circus will begin again, this time without the restraints of legal council. One can only guess how, exactly, he plans to "reason with the judge" since he failed to do that last time. To give you an idea what we're in for, here's a clip published earlier on the blog that illustrates his "thought process" when it comes to legal proceedings. WARNING: n-word used.

Yup. Self-representation will be a disaster.

Weekend Read: Challenging the whitewashed history of women’s suffrage

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 12:48
Last week, members of the U.S. House of Representatives wore yellow roses to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment in the lower chamber on May 21, 1919.

Guest worker sexually harassed at gunpoint, cheated out of pay, and forced to live in dilapidated trailer

Southern Poverty Law Center - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:52
After another week of backbreaking, 12-hour days of raking pine straw and suckering tobacco in the hot sun, Esperanza awoke one night to the sound of Carlos, her boss, banging on the outside door of the dilapidated trailer she called home.

SPLC lawsuit: ICE illegally denying parole to asylum seekers in Southeast

Southern Poverty Law Center - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:30
The SPLC and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed suit today against the Trump administration for categorically denying release to hundreds of people who are languishing in immigration prisons after lawfully seeking asylum in the United States.

Delay of Harriet Tubman $20 bill undergirded by racism, misogyny

Southern Poverty Law Center - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 14:38
Throughout my life, Harriet Tubman symbolized strength, courage, and determination.

Who Is To Blame For Forest Fires? Apparently Muslims, Left-Wing Politicians, Environmentalists, and "Lazers"

It began in Constantinople -- well, to be fair it actually began somewhere along the silk road in Central Asia -- in 1347. By the time the Black Death had run its course between 1/3 and 1/2 of Europeans who contracted bubonic plague were dead. While some kingdoms, duchies, and principalities were hit hard than others, locations as far as Iceland and Greenland were decimated.

We know that the plague was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis contained in the guts of fleas and carried by Black Rats combined with poor understanding about hygiene as the cause now, but at the time other supernatural and superstitious causes were invoked. The plague was thought of as a scourge sent by God to punish the wicked for their evil. Conversely Satan was invoked as the cause when men and women of unimpeachable repute were struck down. People believed that the disease was caused by cold and wet climates, that it could be prevented by opening northward windows, the pestilence was the result of an unusual alignment of the planets, and that one could remain safe with the right combination of herbs and spices stuffed into the beak of a mask that made it's wearer look like a crow:

Many others however looked to scapegoats. One group included wizened old women accused of being witches. Another group was the old stand-by scapegoat of Medieval Europe:
Jewish people were made scapegoats and accused of causing the plague by poisoning wells, food and streams. They were often tortured into confessions, which only fueled the persecutions. Europe saw the mass execution of Jewish men, women and children, with Jews rounded up in town squares. The burning of Jews quickly spread throughout the Low Countries, Spain, France and Germanic areas. A chronicler, Michael de Leone, said that “the Jews deserved to be swallowed up in the flames” for causing the plague with poison. In Barcelona, Jews were killed for the sin of being Jews, not because they were suspected of poisoning. Basel burned their Jewish inhabitants on an island in the Rhine. In Strasbourg, approximately 2,000 Jews were burned in local cemetery on St. Valentine’s Day in an attempt to stop the pestilence. The Jews who agreed to be baptized were saved and some young children were pulled from the fire and baptized against the will of their parents. After the burnings, both the councils of Basel and Strasbourg made an oath that Jews would not be allowed to enter the cities for hundreds of years.

There were those who spoke out against this and suggested more natural causes even if they didn't comprehend how (an understanding of microbiology would be centuries in the future) but these voices in the darkness were invariably ignored, ridiculed, or suffered similar fates to those women and Jews who were burned.

Thankfully, we now live in a much more enlightened time when such superstitious and paranoid claptrap could never result in the scapegoating of an entire ethnic group, culture, or religion again. We're all just too clever.


Notorious Islamophobe Sandra Solomon who has been written about a number of times on the blog already is referring to the forest fires in Northern Alberta. ARC has also discussed the phenomenon of much of the membership of groups such as the III% militia and Yellow Vests accusing Muslims of starting the fires. They claim that these fires, "never happened before 'those people' came" despite the very long historical record of fires that often occur naturally. Rather than accept the possibility the fire is the result of a (a) lightning strike (b) careless, but not necessarily malicious human activities (such as tossing away a still hot cigarette butt, driving an ATV through dry tinder, failing to put out a camp fire, etc) they now seem to automatically view every fire as suspicious.

Now it is true that fires have started earlier and have become more intense as northern boreal forests have become increasingly dry as a result of less snow fall in winters and less rain in the spring. In fact this was predicted by climate scientists as a result of human triggered climate change.

But rather than being convinced by the actual evidence, the members of the far-right ARC has been monitoring consider this proof of a leftist and environmentalist conspiracy to destroy the oil industry, impose new regulations to combat "fake" global warming and open up northern Canada to become a sub-Arctic caliphate. They believe that the current federal Liberals and former Alberta NDP government are working with environmentalists and Jihadists to start fires and that the "real Canadian" need to rise up to stop it:

The same thing is being said on other social media sites ARC monitors, including Yellow Vests Canada, a group with over 100,000 members and a movement that people like Max Bernier and Andrew Scheer are courting:

The thread is long, and one could justifiably perhaps accuse me of giving this hate group undue coverage, but I think in this case it is relevant:

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Weekend Read: Waging a New War on Poverty

Southern Poverty Law Center - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 09:32
The movement for racial justice in America is inextricably linked to the fight for economic justice.