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In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It ‘Horrible’ – New York Times


New York Times
In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It 'Horrible'
New York Times
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks anti-Semitic activities, said the wave of threats was really worrying, especially because of the tendency on the part of this administration to completely overlook
Sohn: Trump could be – if he would be – the antidote for hateChattanooga Times Free Press
MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE… – Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect | FacebookFacebook
Trump at African-American History Museum Denounces Anti-Semitism and Racism: 'It Has to Stop'NBCNews.com

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In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It ‘Horrible’ – New York Times

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February 21, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

‘You Can Get Out’: Groups Helping White Extremists Shed Hate – NBC 6 South Florida

The Celtic cross tattoo on Shannon Martinez’s leg gives away her past.

A victim of sexual assault at age 14 and never quite able to meet her parents’ expectations, Martinez sought out other angry teens. By 16, she was a skinhead spouting white supremacist rhetoric, giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and tagging public property with swastikas. She favored racist fashion statements like the symbol on her right calf.

Fortified by the love of an adopted family, Martinez left the skinheads behind. Today she’s helping others do the same as part of an emerging U.S. movement that helps people quit hate organizations.

Modeled loosely upon organizations that formed in Europe years ago to combat extremism, groups and individuals are offering counseling, education and understanding to extremists seeking a way out.

Now a 42-year-old mom who homeschools her kids at their house in Georgia, Martinez volunteers with Life After Hate, a leading organization dedicated to helping people leave white supremacy. On Facebook, she shares her story with others who’ve left or are looking to leave extremism.

“We act as a group of people who understand each other,” said former skinhead Christian Picciolini, an old friend of Martinez who founded the Chicago-based Life After Hate. “We understand the motivations of where we came from and why we joined. We understand what keeps people in. And we help each other detach and disengage from that ideology and provide a support system for them as they go through that transformation.”

Founded in 2009, Life After Hate was awarded a $400,000 Justice Department grant in the closing days of the Obama administration funding that could be endangered if the Trump administration decides to refocus a federal program combatting violent extremism solely on Islamic radicals, as is being considered.

While several other grant recipients are dedicated to countering radical Muslim ideology, Life After Hate concentrates specifically on showing white extremists there’s another way.

The group operates a website where people who want to explore leaving white extremism can submit contact information. It also conducts educational and counseling programs including the Facebook group where members sometimes chat with extremists trying to change their lives, Picciolini said.

“I started the organization … because it was so difficult to leave that movement,” he said. “Even though I’d abandoned the ideology, I wasn’t ready to give up my community and my power and my identity, and I knew how hard it would be for other people to leave this type of ideology or this type of movement.”

Another group, One People’s Project, was started by Daryle Lamont Jenkins of Philadelphia. Aside from monitoring racist groups, Jenkins who is black confronts white nationalists at public gatherings and talks one-on-one with willing white supremacists as he can, trying to show them there’s a way other than hate. Some have never met a black person, he said.

Jenkins’ work is similar to that of Daryl Davis, a black musician from Maryland who has gained notice for trying to talk people out of the Ku Klux Klan.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow with the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, said it’s hard to determine exact numbers, but around 100,000 people might be members in hate groups and several hundred thousand could be linked informally.

Potok said exit organizations began in Europe in the 1980s to counter the rise right-wing militants there.

“I do think that this is a particularly important moment for this kind of exit work to be happening because we have seen in the last year, year and a half, a real legitimization of these views,” he said.

President Donald Trump’s election with the support of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan has lent a new sense of urgency to opponents of white supremacy.

“The Trump election has absolutely lit a fire under the butts of the white nationalists,” Martinez said. “It is like, ‘Our time is coming.'”

Martinez said she grew up in metro Atlanta in a relatively normal family but rebelled after being sexually assaulted at a party. She got involved in the punk scene, which led to the skinhead movement.

Martinez said she was on a path to prison or an early death when she moved in with the family of her skinhead boyfriend, who was away for Army training. His mother showed unconditional love that pulled her out of the abyss, Martinez said.

Today, she looks at photos of herself from her skinhead days and fights back tears.

“I was filled with rage and anger and the skinheads were the angriest people that I knew and I was kind of like, ‘Those are my people.’ And the ideology was a means of taking something that was ethereal, something that was unnamable, an anger and a rage that I felt, and giving it a focal point,” she said.

Shane Johnson was born into extremism. His father and many of his father’s relatives were part of the Klan, he said, so there was only one real way for him to go as a youth in northern Indiana.

“We were known as the Klan family,” he said. “I got my first Klan robe when I was 14.”

Johnson eventually joined a skinhead group in addition to the KKK but finally decided to quit after getting arrested, stopping drinking and meeting the woman who is now his wife. Leaving was a real fight, though, as even relatives jumped him at a gas station one night after learning he wanted to quit.

“When I dropped out they beat the holy hell out of me,” he said.

Since then, Johnson has tried to cover some of his racist tattoos with new ones and wears long sleeves to hide remnants of the past he regrets. Life After Hate is helping him numerous ways, Johnson said, including showing him how to read the Bible without seeing it as a treatise on racial separation, as he had been taught.

Johnson, now 25 and living in rural Indiana, isn’t ready to begin counseling others about leaving extremism; he still sometimes longs for his racist buddies and their ways. But he said his own story is proof that hate doesn’t have to be permanent.

“You can get out,” he said.

Associated Press video journalist Teresa Crawford contributed to this report from Chicago. AP photographer Michael Conroy contributed from Indiana.

Published at 7:03 AM EST on Feb 21, 2017 | Updated at 8:03 AM EST on Feb 21, 2017

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‘You Can Get Out’: Groups Helping White Extremists Shed Hate – NBC 6 South Florida

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February 21, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

New York State Of Hate | WAMC – WAMC

The Southern Poverty Law Center is out with an updated version of its “Hate Map.” The group ranks New York state fourth in the nation for the number of active hate groups.

Marking what Senior Fellow Mark Potok attributes to “a surge in right-wing populism,” he writes “the radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century.” According to the SPLC, the number of what it classifies as hate groups operating in the U.S. in 2016 remained at near-historic levels, rising from 892 in 2015 to 917. “I think that slight rise is not the most important information out of that report. I think what really is important is that that number, 917 hate groups, is just about a hundred short of our all-time high of 1,018 hate groups back in 2011.”

The highest population states have the most: “California has 79 groups, Texas has 55, Florida has 63, and New York comes in fourth with 47.”

Potok believes the count understates the number of the radical right. “We’re seeing increasing numbers of people who are in the world of white supremacy but are not members of brick and mortar groups. They are generally people who lurk on the internet.”

He cited Charleston mass-murderer Dylann Roof as an example: “He was simply someone who read propaganda on the internet and one day decided that he needed to murder black people.”

Although its sometimes unclear whether local people are actually affiliated with organized hate groups, some like the Ku Klux Klan have been active in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys: Fort Plain police last week arrested someone for placing KKK recruitment fliers on car windshields.

Others have been trying to instill fear by targeting Jewish Community Centers across the land: the Sidney Albert JCC in Albany has received two bomb threats in recent weeks. Adam Chaskin is the Albany JCC’s Executive Director: “We have great faith because we know the FBI is working diligently to solve the case. It certainly has brought to attention, not just in the Jewish JCC community, but in the community at large of some of the unfortunate incidents that’ve happened of various types of form of hate. One of the great benefits, if that’s an appropriate word, of the bomb threats here, has been the outpouring of support that we’ve received from the community. Here at the JCC, we provide a place that is a safe place for everyone to come no matter what their background, what their beliefs are, to come and interact.”

So far in 2017, the JCC Association of North America says that there have been 69 incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province.

Potok points out that by far the most dramatic change in the Hate Map was the enormous leap in anti-Muslim hate groups. “They in fact rose by 197 percent, in other words, they almost tripled from 34 groups in 2015 to 101 of these groups in 2016.”

SPLC finds different kinds of hate groups in different parts of the country in different kinds of environments. “Black seperatist hate groups are almost uniformly found in cities. Most on the East Coast, some on the West Coast. If on the other hand you look at Klan groups, they are universally rural, there are virtually none of them in cities.”

The SPLC named 47 groups in New York, where the upstate versus downstate scenario comes into play: “And it is in such situations that we often see real conflict, and typically the number of hate groups goes up in states like that. A similar thing is true of Florida. South Florida is very different. It is very worldly, very cosmopolitan, very Jewish, very black, very Latino. And that is not at all true of northern Florida, which is very white and very conservative. So that is part of the reason for the high count in Florida, and I think a similar thing is going on in New York.”

In preparing its Hate Map and report, the SPLC used information furnished by the hate groups along with police and media reports from around the country.

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5 important stories that were lost in last week’s news overload – PBS NewsHour

Children play soccer Feb. 5 at the Olympic park which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters

This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, President Trump said at an emotional roller coaster of a news conference last week.

The Washington establishment reeled at that metaphor. Trump lost his national security advisor, Mike Flynn, to a scandal involving Russia, while his immigration ban stood frozen by the judiciary. But Trumps supporters saw a different picture.

He doesnt need the media to chide him to make the right decisions, Kevin Felty told the Associated Press. Its something hes been doing well for decades.

While the country may not be able to agree on what happened last week, and the Russia questions still linger, here are five stories everyone can agree were overlooked.

1. Six months later, Rios fate after the Olympic Games doesnt look golden.

An aerial view of Maracana Stadium, which was used for the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, shows the turf being dry, worn and filled with ruts and holes, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Picture taken on Jan. 12, 2017. Photo by Nacho Doce/Reuters

Prior to the Rio Olympic Games last year, organizers repeated the assurance that there would be no white elephants.

Officials signaled there would be careful financial steps to prevent all the infrastructure constructed for the event from falling into disrepair. Granted, several past host cities have seen these Olympics projects, like the ski jumps from the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games, are easily forgotten and difficult to translate into useful infrastructure.

A view of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is seen Feb. 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Several international cities dropped out of the bidding to host the 2020 Olympics because the Games looked more and more like an expensive investment not worth the risk.

Arranging a Winter Olympics would mean a big investment in new sports facilities, for example for the bobsleigh and luge, Stockholm officials in 2014 said of its decision to drop its bid. There isnt any need for that type of that kind of facility after an Olympics.

There were hopes in Rio that the projected heavy tourism would help Brazil climb out of its debilitating recession.

So, six months after the Rio Olympic Games, how did the city fare in the aftermath?

Presumably, not great.

Why its important

A woman carries a baby in front of the Deodoro Sports Complex, which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is seen Fb. 7 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The clapboard reads: We are in recess for maintenance of the pool, we will return in January. Merry Christmas and Happy new year. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Before the scheduled Games in August, the list of woes for Rio included: concerns over the citys security forces following budget cuts, the Zika virus, contaminated waters and other pollution problems, displacement of favelas and, at one point, parts of a mutilated corpse that had washed ashore on the Copacabana Beach.

These concerns were largely muted as the sporting event got underway as the feats of Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, among others, grabbed headlines.

However, a check-in from The New York Times concludes that Rio has quickly become the latest, and perhaps the most striking, case of unfulfilled promises and abandonment.

Olympic Park failed to attract any investors, meaning the city will now have to foot the bill to maintain it. Currently, the Times reported, the park is in shambles, as are many other structures built for the Games. And although city officials said there were plans to re-purpose some of the structures for public use, no time frames were given.

Camila Felix Muguet, who partially lost her home to construction for the Olympics, said her community of Deodoro, one of most affected by the projects, will be forgotten.

The government, business people they tricked us, she told the Times. They came, they robbed, and they said goodbye. Now theyre gone, and where are our upgrades?

2. The number of hate groups rise, new report says

Community members take part in a protest Aug. 15 to demand stop hate crime during the funeral service of Imam Maulama Akonjee, and Thara Uddin in the Queens borough of New York City. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The number of operating hate groups in the U.S. rose from 892 to 917 in 2016, according to an annual census from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group, which monitors extremism in the U.S., also found a spike in anti-Muslim and white nationalist groups, which it says was fueled in part by rhetoric in the presidential campaign.

2016 was an unprecedented year for hate, said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the centers Intelligence Report. The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress weve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists.

The report also said the number of Muslim hate groups in particular nearly tripled, jumping from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016.

Why its important

A newspaper left as a sign of support is pictured at a makeshift memorial at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old with a criminal record, faces sentencing after he was convicted of killing nine people at a Bible-study meeting in the historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, in an attack U.S. officials investigated as a hate crime. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The SPLC said it has documented more than 860 bias-related incidents in the first 10 days after President Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the country. More than 300 of those targeted immigrants or Muslims.

Since then, there have been more bias-related incidents. A fire that destroyed a Texas mosque was ruled an arson, although authorities are still investigating whether it was a hate crime.

Jewish Community Centers across the nation reported receiving nearly 60 bomb threats in January.

And days before the inauguration, Asian American Advocating Justice launched a website that tracks hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. The civil rights group cited a rise in crimes against this community as the catalyst for the website.

When you have moments of crisis, communities often consolidate themselves by scapegoating others, Eddie Glaude, chair of the Department for African-American Studies at Princeton University, told the NewsHour in November. And, usually, that scapegoating, at least in the context of the United States, has taken violent form.

When asked last week at a press conference about the rise in attacks on JCCs, Trump said some of it is written by our opponents. You do know that? Do you understand that? You dont think anybody would do a thing like that?

The response to this level of hate will be messy, Glaude said, adding that the efforts would include civil disobedience and voting, offering one solution to the crisis.

What we need to do is kind of organize ourselves to put forward a vision of America that runs counter to what were seeing now. And thats going to be hard But we have to do it, he said.

3. The long road to recovery for giant tortoises in the Galapagos

A young Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is seen together with its mother Nigrita (back) and father Jumbo (R) at an enclosure at the zoo in Zurich in December 2014. Photo by Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

The Galapagos Islands are known for their biodiversity and being home to species not found anywhere else on the planet. The island was named after its most famous inhabitants: giant tortoises, which can live past 100 years old.

Since the 1880s, however, the several species of giant tortoises on the island drastically declined, to extinction, in some cases. Initially, hunters were blamed for the dwindling numbers, while invasive species, like the non-native black rat, also threatened the tortoises and their habitats.

Writing for The Conversation, conservationist James P. Gibbs noted several ways decades-long efforts to protect these vulnerable tortoises have walked them back from the brink of extinction.

Most recently, giant tortoises on the Pinzon Island of the Galapagos successfully bred in the wild, a first in a century.

That moment was made possible by conservationists in the 1970s who insulated the remaining tortoises from threats like the rats that feasted on their eggs and hatchlings. There was also a large-scale effort to eradicate the rats from the archipelago that began in 2011.

Why its important

The sole surviving giant Galapagos tortoise known as Lonesome George walks away from a pool on Santa Cruz island, May 9, 2009. Photo by Teddy Garcia/Reuters

One of the most famous inhabitants of the Galapagos and cautionary tale for conservationists was Lonesome George.

The Pinta Island giant tortoise, the last known of his subspecies Geochelone abingdoni, died in 2012 after decades of failed attempts to continue his lineage. George didnt fertilize any eggs when in close proximity with different females.

Researchers thought his subspecies was extinct until he was found on the Pinta Island in the 1970s.

After he died, conservationists decided to preserve the tortoise through taxidermy.

Video by American Museum of Natural History

Rick Schwartz of the San Diego Zoo told National Geographic that Lonesome George could act as a reminder of the human impact on the future, while the tortoises own history is an opportunity to educate about other species and conservation efforts as a whole.

4. Three Olympic athletes reported abuse. It took years for someone to react.

A member of USA Taekowndo competes with a member from the Netherlands team in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Photo by REUTERS/Issei Kato.

Three aspiring Olympic taekwondo athletes told the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2014 that they had been sexually abused by their coach. But the USOC never intervened, according to an investigation published last week by The Washington Post.

In a document addressed to the USA Taekwondo Ethics Committee and published by The Washington Post, athlete Yasmin Brown described how her coach, Marc Gitelman, or Master G, repeatedly abused her over the course of three years as she competed in tournaments across the country. Brown writes that she was first abused by Gitelman, then 44, in May 2010 while in a hotel room. She says Gitelman gave her alcohol and she quickly became intoxicated. She did not have the motor control to get him off of her when he started making sexual advances.

Two other athletes described similar accounts in letters to USA Taekwondo, alleging abuse by Gitelman and urging the committee to open an investigation.

USA Taekwondo, which acts as the Olympic national governing body for the sport, never launched an investigation, prompting Brown to seek help from the United States Olympic Committee. When they did not intercede, as the Post reports, the three athletes took their case to court.

In late October 2015, the three athletes filed suit against Gitelman in Los Angeles County Superior Court, as reported by The Orange County Register. The judge involved in the case, Bruce Marrs, ordered Gitelman be registered as a lifetime sex offender and sentenced him in September 2016 to more than four years in state prison for sexually abusing children, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Why its important

A U.S.A. Olympic Flag, hangs inside the Pettit National Ice Center and U.S. Olympic Training Facility lobby in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images.

This case is years old. But despite calls for more awareness and oversight, allegations of sexual abuse specifically within Americas most prominent Olympic organizations continue.

Multiple instances of abuse within USA Gymnastics which includes 148,000 athletes and more than 25,000 professional, instructor and club members were uncovered last year by an IndyStar investigation, including a case in Georgia in which a coach reportedly preyed upon athletes for seven years after USA Gymnastics dismissed the first of four warnings against him. Other national governing bodies, including USA Swimming and U.S. Speedskating, have faced allegations as well.

Part of the problem: To the best of my knowledge, theres no duty to report if you are a third party to some allegation, USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in a 2015 deposition.

Though USA Gymnastics would not disclose the total number of sexual misconduct allegations it received each year, IndyStar independently reported USA Gymnastics collected complaints of improper conduct by more than 50 coaches between 1996 and 2006 and consistently declined to forward them to authorities. The paper documented abuse of at least 14 underage gymnasts even after warnings were issued.

But steps to combat sexual abuse are underway. In 2010, after allegations of abuse in USA Swimming, the U.S. Olympic Committee organized the creation of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit that responds to abuse claims from the national sports organizations that fall under USOCs umbrella according to USA TODAY.

The center requires national governing bodies of Olympic sports to forward all sexual misconduct complaints to the organization immediately, without any sort of screening process.

The center was expected to open in 2015, but was delayed because of difficulty raising the additional $16.7 million the organization needed to operate, the Post reports. Its now slated to open in April of this year.

Sexual abuse is obviously a societal issue, not just something happening in the world of youth sports, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said during the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly. But as leaders in the world of sport, we have to do everything in our power to keep athletes safe.

5. Fly me to the moon again

The SLS Five-Segment Solid Rocket Motor, that will launch NASAs Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft to deep space, undergoes a static test fire in 2016 at the Orbital ATK facility in Promontory, Utah. Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout via Reuters.

In late 2018, NASA is planning its first launch of the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, equipped with an Orion capsule that will orbit the moon before returning to Earth.

Now, that mission, known as EM-1, could include astronauts.

In a letter to NASA employees last week, acting agency director Robert Lightfoot asked that human spaceflight be included in EM-1, Buzzfeed reported.

EM-1 was intended as a test of only the SLS/Orion system, according to Wired; humans werent included on the timeline until several years after the initial launch. This letter could change that.

Why its important

In 1968, Apollo 8 made history as the first manned spacecraft to leave the Earths orbit, circling the moon 10 times before it splashed into the Northern Pacific ocean. It paved the way for Apollo 11 to bring Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon in July 1969 one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Those were the glory days.

Many people believe that Americas role in global space research has dimmed over the past few decades. Some of that has to do with mixed messages from U.S. presidents and Congress.

A Pew Research study in late 2015 showed that 48 percent of U.S. adults believed the federal government should play a minor or no role in advancing space exploration. But 47 percent said the federal government should have a major role.

Plenty have wondered: whats next for Americas space travel?

The Washington Post speculated on a return to the moon after Trump won the presidential election in November.

Why? It sends a message that America is still serious about space. China, Japan and Russia, among other countries, have all said they want to send humans on a lunar mission. Articulating a similar priority could be a tool for diplomacy, experts say.

NASA handout photographs from the various Apollo missions between 1968 and 1972 are shown in this collage. The photographs are some of more than 12,000 from NASAs archives aggregated on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. Photo by REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters.

Still, NASA tends to take its time, spending years to create plans and specific timelines for its missions. Comparatively, this would be a rushed addition to a long-planned orbit around the moon, experts told the Post.

Experts at a House Committee Hearing on NASA last week showed enthusiasm for the project. But NASA itself is at a crossroads, as The Atlantic wrote last week. NASAs Apollo-era budget accounted for 4.5 percent of the federal budget, it said. Todays budget is less than half a percent.

Many experts dont think NASA has the resources to achieve those goals, according to ArsTechnica. Congress is re-evaluating the agencys budget and priorities and Politico has reported Trump also wants to explore the privitization of some space stations and the large-scale economic development of space.

Not to mention NASA is currently without a permanent chief.

The bottom line: Keep an eye on the sky this story is far from over.

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5 important stories that were lost in last week’s news overload – PBS NewsHour

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The Rise of Hate Groups in the Trump Era – Highbrow Magazine


Highbrow Magazine
The Rise of Hate Groups in the Trump Era
Highbrow Magazine
2016 was an unprecedented year for hate, said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. The country saw a resurgence of White nationalism that imperils the racial progress we've made, along with the rise of a president whose

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group … – Bangor Daily News

BRUNSWICK, Maine A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, operate statewide, according to the organization.

Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005.

The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal.

Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson.

Heath did not return a call Friday seeking comment. Later Friday afternoon, Camenker called on his behalf.

Its only conservative, pro-family, tea party groups that are labeled hate groups and put on the map among Nazi and KKK groups so it looks like theyre all the same, Camenker said. Their only crime is having a conservative opinion why is the Southern Poverty Law Center taken seriously? No one takes them seriously except the mainstream media. Its so aggravating. If you have a different opinion, you get labeled a hate group by this stupid group in Alabama, and the mainstream media guys just lap it up.

Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath.

In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have.

The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine.

The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups.

The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map.

The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas.

Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again.

Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group … – Bangor Daily News

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – Bangor Daily News

BRUNSWICK, Maine A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, operate statewide, according to the organization.

Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005.

The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal.

Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson.

Heath did not return a call Friday seeking comment. Later Friday afternoon, Camenker called on his behalf.

Its only conservative, pro-family, tea party groups that are labeled hate groups and put on the map among Nazi and KKK groups so it looks like theyre all the same, Camenker said. Their only crime is having a conservative opinion why is the Southern Poverty Law Center taken seriously? No one takes them seriously except the mainstream media. Its so aggravating. If you have a different opinion, you get labeled a hate group by this stupid group in Alabama, and the mainstream media guys just lap it up.

Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath.

In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have.

The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine.

The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups.

The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map.

The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas.

Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again.

Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – Bangor Daily News

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – WGME

by Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

Michael Heath (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

BRUNSWICK, Maine (BDN) — A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, both operate statewide, according to the organization.

Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005.

The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal.

Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson.

Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath.

In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have.

The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine.

The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups.

The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map.

The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas.

Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again.

Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – WGME

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Watchdog: Number of anti-Muslim hate groups on the rise – Pueblo Chieftain

WASHINGTON (AP) The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States has nearly tripled since 2015, due in part to radical Islamic attacks and the incendiary rhetoric of last year’s presidential campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center says.

The number of anti-Muslim groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016, the SPLC said in a report released Wednesday. The number of hate groups overall tracked by the watchdog group also increased to 917 last year from 892 the previous year, the report said.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The report blamed the increase in part on “incendiary rhetoric” from the campaign of now-President Donald Trump, which included threats to ban Muslim immigrants and “mandate a registry of Muslims in America.” It also cited as factors “the unrelenting propaganda of a growing circle of well-paid ideologues” well-paid employees of anti-Muslim groups, the group said and radical Islamist attacks such as the June 2016 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The SPLC’s findings come as anti-Muslim posters were discovered this week at a mosque in Bossier City, Louisiana, and on the campuses of the University of Texas and Rutgers University.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants campus officials to assure the safety of Muslim students and to investigate the mosque posters as a hate crime. “It is clear that these signs, which were used to vandalize a house of worship, are part of a nationwide campaign by racists and Islamophobes to intimidate the American Muslim community,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, monitors the activities of hate groups and other extremists across the country. The SPLC defines hate groups as those that vilify entire groups of people based on immutable characteristics such as race or ethnicity.

“Patriot” or anti-government groups are on the downswing, according to the report. “The groups had skyrocketed from a low of 149 in 2008 to a high of 1,360 in 2012, in large part as a reaction to the November 2008 election of Barack Obama,” the report said.

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But now the number of Patriot groups is falling, dropping from 998 in 2015 to 623 last year. Militias, which the report called the “armed wing of the Patriot movement,” also fell from 276 to 165 groups.

Black separatist groups grew from 180 in 2015 to 193 last year, as did neo-Confederate groups, which rose from 35 to 43 groups.

The number of Ku Klux Klan groups fell from 190 in 2015 to 130 in 2016. The report said contraction was expected among Klan groups, which had more than doubled from 72 in 2014.

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Watchdog: Number of anti-Muslim hate groups on the rise – Pueblo Chieftain

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In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It ‘Horrible’ – New York Times

New York Times In First, Trump Condemns Rise in Anti-Semitism, Calling It 'Horrible' New York Times Mark Potok , a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks anti-Semitic activities, said the wave of threats was really worrying, especially because of the tendency on the part of this administration to completely overlook … Sohn: Trump could be – if he would be – the antidote for hate Chattanooga Times Free Press MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE… – Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect | Facebook Facebook Trump at African-American History Museum Denounces Anti-Semitism and Racism: 'It Has to Stop' NBCNews.com all 368 news articles »

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‘You Can Get Out’: Groups Helping White Extremists Shed Hate – NBC 6 South Florida

The Celtic cross tattoo on Shannon Martinez’s leg gives away her past. A victim of sexual assault at age 14 and never quite able to meet her parents’ expectations, Martinez sought out other angry teens. By 16, she was a skinhead spouting white supremacist rhetoric, giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and tagging public property with swastikas. She favored racist fashion statements like the symbol on her right calf. Fortified by the love of an adopted family, Martinez left the skinheads behind. Today she’s helping others do the same as part of an emerging U.S. movement that helps people quit hate organizations. Modeled loosely upon organizations that formed in Europe years ago to combat extremism, groups and individuals are offering counseling, education and understanding to extremists seeking a way out. Now a 42-year-old mom who homeschools her kids at their house in Georgia, Martinez volunteers with Life After Hate, a leading organization dedicated to helping people leave white supremacy. On Facebook, she shares her story with others who’ve left or are looking to leave extremism. “We act as a group of people who understand each other,” said former skinhead Christian Picciolini, an old friend of Martinez who founded the Chicago-based Life After Hate. “We understand the motivations of where we came from and why we joined. We understand what keeps people in. And we help each other detach and disengage from that ideology and provide a support system for them as they go through that transformation.” Founded in 2009, Life After Hate was awarded a $400,000 Justice Department grant in the closing days of the Obama administration funding that could be endangered if the Trump administration decides to refocus a federal program combatting violent extremism solely on Islamic radicals, as is being considered. While several other grant recipients are dedicated to countering radical Muslim ideology, Life After Hate concentrates specifically on showing white extremists there’s another way. The group operates a website where people who want to explore leaving white extremism can submit contact information. It also conducts educational and counseling programs including the Facebook group where members sometimes chat with extremists trying to change their lives, Picciolini said. “I started the organization … because it was so difficult to leave that movement,” he said. “Even though I’d abandoned the ideology, I wasn’t ready to give up my community and my power and my identity, and I knew how hard it would be for other people to leave this type of ideology or this type of movement.” Another group, One People’s Project, was started by Daryle Lamont Jenkins of Philadelphia. Aside from monitoring racist groups, Jenkins who is black confronts white nationalists at public gatherings and talks one-on-one with willing white supremacists as he can, trying to show them there’s a way other than hate. Some have never met a black person, he said. Jenkins’ work is similar to that of Daryl Davis, a black musician from Maryland who has gained notice for trying to talk people out of the Ku Klux Klan. Mark Potok, a senior fellow with the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, said it’s hard to determine exact numbers, but around 100,000 people might be members in hate groups and several hundred thousand could be linked informally. Potok said exit organizations began in Europe in the 1980s to counter the rise right-wing militants there. “I do think that this is a particularly important moment for this kind of exit work to be happening because we have seen in the last year, year and a half, a real legitimization of these views,” he said. President Donald Trump’s election with the support of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan has lent a new sense of urgency to opponents of white supremacy. “The Trump election has absolutely lit a fire under the butts of the white nationalists,” Martinez said. “It is like, ‘Our time is coming.'” Martinez said she grew up in metro Atlanta in a relatively normal family but rebelled after being sexually assaulted at a party. She got involved in the punk scene, which led to the skinhead movement. Martinez said she was on a path to prison or an early death when she moved in with the family of her skinhead boyfriend, who was away for Army training. His mother showed unconditional love that pulled her out of the abyss, Martinez said. Today, she looks at photos of herself from her skinhead days and fights back tears. “I was filled with rage and anger and the skinheads were the angriest people that I knew and I was kind of like, ‘Those are my people.’ And the ideology was a means of taking something that was ethereal, something that was unnamable, an anger and a rage that I felt, and giving it a focal point,” she said. Shane Johnson was born into extremism. His father and many of his father’s relatives were part of the Klan, he said, so there was only one real way for him to go as a youth in northern Indiana. “We were known as the Klan family,” he said. “I got my first Klan robe when I was 14.” Johnson eventually joined a skinhead group in addition to the KKK but finally decided to quit after getting arrested, stopping drinking and meeting the woman who is now his wife. Leaving was a real fight, though, as even relatives jumped him at a gas station one night after learning he wanted to quit. “When I dropped out they beat the holy hell out of me,” he said. Since then, Johnson has tried to cover some of his racist tattoos with new ones and wears long sleeves to hide remnants of the past he regrets. Life After Hate is helping him numerous ways, Johnson said, including showing him how to read the Bible without seeing it as a treatise on racial separation, as he had been taught. Johnson, now 25 and living in rural Indiana, isn’t ready to begin counseling others about leaving extremism; he still sometimes longs for his racist buddies and their ways. But he said his own story is proof that hate doesn’t have to be permanent. “You can get out,” he said. Associated Press video journalist Teresa Crawford contributed to this report from Chicago. AP photographer Michael Conroy contributed from Indiana. Published at 7:03 AM EST on Feb 21, 2017 | Updated at 8:03 AM EST on Feb 21, 2017

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New York State Of Hate | WAMC – WAMC

The Southern Poverty Law Center is out with an updated version of its “Hate Map.” The group ranks New York state fourth in the nation for the number of active hate groups. Marking what Senior Fellow Mark Potok attributes to “a surge in right-wing populism,” he writes “the radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century.” According to the SPLC, the number of what it classifies as hate groups operating in the U.S. in 2016 remained at near-historic levels, rising from 892 in 2015 to 917. “I think that slight rise is not the most important information out of that report. I think what really is important is that that number, 917 hate groups, is just about a hundred short of our all-time high of 1,018 hate groups back in 2011.” The highest population states have the most: “California has 79 groups, Texas has 55, Florida has 63, and New York comes in fourth with 47.” Potok believes the count understates the number of the radical right. “We’re seeing increasing numbers of people who are in the world of white supremacy but are not members of brick and mortar groups. They are generally people who lurk on the internet.” He cited Charleston mass-murderer Dylann Roof as an example: “He was simply someone who read propaganda on the internet and one day decided that he needed to murder black people.” Although its sometimes unclear whether local people are actually affiliated with organized hate groups, some like the Ku Klux Klan have been active in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys: Fort Plain police last week arrested someone for placing KKK recruitment fliers on car windshields. Others have been trying to instill fear by targeting Jewish Community Centers across the land: the Sidney Albert JCC in Albany has received two bomb threats in recent weeks. Adam Chaskin is the Albany JCC’s Executive Director: “We have great faith because we know the FBI is working diligently to solve the case. It certainly has brought to attention, not just in the Jewish JCC community, but in the community at large of some of the unfortunate incidents that’ve happened of various types of form of hate. One of the great benefits, if that’s an appropriate word, of the bomb threats here, has been the outpouring of support that we’ve received from the community. Here at the JCC, we provide a place that is a safe place for everyone to come no matter what their background, what their beliefs are, to come and interact.” So far in 2017, the JCC Association of North America says that there have been 69 incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province. Potok points out that by far the most dramatic change in the Hate Map was the enormous leap in anti-Muslim hate groups. “They in fact rose by 197 percent, in other words, they almost tripled from 34 groups in 2015 to 101 of these groups in 2016.” SPLC finds different kinds of hate groups in different parts of the country in different kinds of environments. “Black seperatist hate groups are almost uniformly found in cities. Most on the East Coast, some on the West Coast. If on the other hand you look at Klan groups, they are universally rural, there are virtually none of them in cities.” The SPLC named 47 groups in New York, where the upstate versus downstate scenario comes into play: “And it is in such situations that we often see real conflict, and typically the number of hate groups goes up in states like that. A similar thing is true of Florida. South Florida is very different. It is very worldly, very cosmopolitan, very Jewish, very black, very Latino. And that is not at all true of northern Florida, which is very white and very conservative. So that is part of the reason for the high count in Florida, and I think a similar thing is going on in New York.” In preparing its Hate Map and report, the SPLC used information furnished by the hate groups along with police and media reports from around the country.

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5 important stories that were lost in last week’s news overload – PBS NewsHour

Children play soccer Feb. 5 at the Olympic park which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, President Trump said at an emotional roller coaster of a news conference last week. The Washington establishment reeled at that metaphor. Trump lost his national security advisor, Mike Flynn, to a scandal involving Russia, while his immigration ban stood frozen by the judiciary. But Trumps supporters saw a different picture. He doesnt need the media to chide him to make the right decisions, Kevin Felty told the Associated Press. Its something hes been doing well for decades. While the country may not be able to agree on what happened last week, and the Russia questions still linger, here are five stories everyone can agree were overlooked. 1. Six months later, Rios fate after the Olympic Games doesnt look golden. An aerial view of Maracana Stadium, which was used for the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, shows the turf being dry, worn and filled with ruts and holes, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Picture taken on Jan. 12, 2017. Photo by Nacho Doce/Reuters Prior to the Rio Olympic Games last year, organizers repeated the assurance that there would be no white elephants. Officials signaled there would be careful financial steps to prevent all the infrastructure constructed for the event from falling into disrepair. Granted, several past host cities have seen these Olympics projects, like the ski jumps from the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games, are easily forgotten and difficult to translate into useful infrastructure. A view of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is seen Feb. 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters Several international cities dropped out of the bidding to host the 2020 Olympics because the Games looked more and more like an expensive investment not worth the risk. Arranging a Winter Olympics would mean a big investment in new sports facilities, for example for the bobsleigh and luge, Stockholm officials in 2014 said of its decision to drop its bid. There isnt any need for that type of that kind of facility after an Olympics. There were hopes in Rio that the projected heavy tourism would help Brazil climb out of its debilitating recession. So, six months after the Rio Olympic Games, how did the city fare in the aftermath? Presumably, not great. Why its important A woman carries a baby in front of the Deodoro Sports Complex, which was used for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is seen Fb. 7 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The clapboard reads: We are in recess for maintenance of the pool, we will return in January. Merry Christmas and Happy new year. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters Before the scheduled Games in August, the list of woes for Rio included: concerns over the citys security forces following budget cuts, the Zika virus, contaminated waters and other pollution problems, displacement of favelas and, at one point, parts of a mutilated corpse that had washed ashore on the Copacabana Beach. These concerns were largely muted as the sporting event got underway as the feats of Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, among others, grabbed headlines. However, a check-in from The New York Times concludes that Rio has quickly become the latest, and perhaps the most striking, case of unfulfilled promises and abandonment. Olympic Park failed to attract any investors, meaning the city will now have to foot the bill to maintain it. Currently, the Times reported, the park is in shambles, as are many other structures built for the Games. And although city officials said there were plans to re-purpose some of the structures for public use, no time frames were given. Camila Felix Muguet, who partially lost her home to construction for the Olympics, said her community of Deodoro, one of most affected by the projects, will be forgotten. The government, business people they tricked us, she told the Times. They came, they robbed, and they said goodbye. Now theyre gone, and where are our upgrades? 2. The number of hate groups rise, new report says Community members take part in a protest Aug. 15 to demand stop hate crime during the funeral service of Imam Maulama Akonjee, and Thara Uddin in the Queens borough of New York City. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters The number of operating hate groups in the U.S. rose from 892 to 917 in 2016, according to an annual census from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group, which monitors extremism in the U.S., also found a spike in anti-Muslim and white nationalist groups, which it says was fueled in part by rhetoric in the presidential campaign. 2016 was an unprecedented year for hate, said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the centers Intelligence Report. The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress weve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. The report also said the number of Muslim hate groups in particular nearly tripled, jumping from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016. Why its important A newspaper left as a sign of support is pictured at a makeshift memorial at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old with a criminal record, faces sentencing after he was convicted of killing nine people at a Bible-study meeting in the historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, in an attack U.S. officials investigated as a hate crime. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters The SPLC said it has documented more than 860 bias-related incidents in the first 10 days after President Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the country. More than 300 of those targeted immigrants or Muslims. Since then, there have been more bias-related incidents. A fire that destroyed a Texas mosque was ruled an arson, although authorities are still investigating whether it was a hate crime. Jewish Community Centers across the nation reported receiving nearly 60 bomb threats in January. And days before the inauguration, Asian American Advocating Justice launched a website that tracks hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. The civil rights group cited a rise in crimes against this community as the catalyst for the website. When you have moments of crisis, communities often consolidate themselves by scapegoating others, Eddie Glaude, chair of the Department for African-American Studies at Princeton University, told the NewsHour in November. And, usually, that scapegoating, at least in the context of the United States, has taken violent form. When asked last week at a press conference about the rise in attacks on JCCs, Trump said some of it is written by our opponents. You do know that? Do you understand that? You dont think anybody would do a thing like that? The response to this level of hate will be messy, Glaude said, adding that the efforts would include civil disobedience and voting, offering one solution to the crisis. What we need to do is kind of organize ourselves to put forward a vision of America that runs counter to what were seeing now. And thats going to be hard But we have to do it, he said. 3. The long road to recovery for giant tortoises in the Galapagos A young Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is seen together with its mother Nigrita (back) and father Jumbo (R) at an enclosure at the zoo in Zurich in December 2014. Photo by Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters The Galapagos Islands are known for their biodiversity and being home to species not found anywhere else on the planet. The island was named after its most famous inhabitants: giant tortoises, which can live past 100 years old. Since the 1880s, however, the several species of giant tortoises on the island drastically declined, to extinction, in some cases. Initially, hunters were blamed for the dwindling numbers, while invasive species, like the non-native black rat, also threatened the tortoises and their habitats. Writing for The Conversation, conservationist James P. Gibbs noted several ways decades-long efforts to protect these vulnerable tortoises have walked them back from the brink of extinction. Most recently, giant tortoises on the Pinzon Island of the Galapagos successfully bred in the wild, a first in a century. That moment was made possible by conservationists in the 1970s who insulated the remaining tortoises from threats like the rats that feasted on their eggs and hatchlings. There was also a large-scale effort to eradicate the rats from the archipelago that began in 2011. Why its important The sole surviving giant Galapagos tortoise known as Lonesome George walks away from a pool on Santa Cruz island, May 9, 2009. Photo by Teddy Garcia/Reuters One of the most famous inhabitants of the Galapagos and cautionary tale for conservationists was Lonesome George. The Pinta Island giant tortoise, the last known of his subspecies Geochelone abingdoni, died in 2012 after decades of failed attempts to continue his lineage. George didnt fertilize any eggs when in close proximity with different females. Researchers thought his subspecies was extinct until he was found on the Pinta Island in the 1970s. After he died, conservationists decided to preserve the tortoise through taxidermy. Video by American Museum of Natural History Rick Schwartz of the San Diego Zoo told National Geographic that Lonesome George could act as a reminder of the human impact on the future, while the tortoises own history is an opportunity to educate about other species and conservation efforts as a whole. 4. Three Olympic athletes reported abuse. It took years for someone to react. A member of USA Taekowndo competes with a member from the Netherlands team in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Photo by REUTERS/Issei Kato. Three aspiring Olympic taekwondo athletes told the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2014 that they had been sexually abused by their coach. But the USOC never intervened, according to an investigation published last week by The Washington Post. In a document addressed to the USA Taekwondo Ethics Committee and published by The Washington Post, athlete Yasmin Brown described how her coach, Marc Gitelman, or Master G, repeatedly abused her over the course of three years as she competed in tournaments across the country. Brown writes that she was first abused by Gitelman, then 44, in May 2010 while in a hotel room. She says Gitelman gave her alcohol and she quickly became intoxicated. She did not have the motor control to get him off of her when he started making sexual advances. Two other athletes described similar accounts in letters to USA Taekwondo, alleging abuse by Gitelman and urging the committee to open an investigation. USA Taekwondo, which acts as the Olympic national governing body for the sport, never launched an investigation, prompting Brown to seek help from the United States Olympic Committee. When they did not intercede, as the Post reports, the three athletes took their case to court. In late October 2015, the three athletes filed suit against Gitelman in Los Angeles County Superior Court, as reported by The Orange County Register. The judge involved in the case, Bruce Marrs, ordered Gitelman be registered as a lifetime sex offender and sentenced him in September 2016 to more than four years in state prison for sexually abusing children, according to The Los Angeles Times. Why its important A U.S.A. Olympic Flag, hangs inside the Pettit National Ice Center and U.S. Olympic Training Facility lobby in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images. This case is years old. But despite calls for more awareness and oversight, allegations of sexual abuse specifically within Americas most prominent Olympic organizations continue. Multiple instances of abuse within USA Gymnastics which includes 148,000 athletes and more than 25,000 professional, instructor and club members were uncovered last year by an IndyStar investigation, including a case in Georgia in which a coach reportedly preyed upon athletes for seven years after USA Gymnastics dismissed the first of four warnings against him. Other national governing bodies, including USA Swimming and U.S. Speedskating, have faced allegations as well. Part of the problem: To the best of my knowledge, theres no duty to report if you are a third party to some allegation, USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in a 2015 deposition. Though USA Gymnastics would not disclose the total number of sexual misconduct allegations it received each year, IndyStar independently reported USA Gymnastics collected complaints of improper conduct by more than 50 coaches between 1996 and 2006 and consistently declined to forward them to authorities. The paper documented abuse of at least 14 underage gymnasts even after warnings were issued. But steps to combat sexual abuse are underway. In 2010, after allegations of abuse in USA Swimming, the U.S. Olympic Committee organized the creation of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit that responds to abuse claims from the national sports organizations that fall under USOCs umbrella according to USA TODAY. The center requires national governing bodies of Olympic sports to forward all sexual misconduct complaints to the organization immediately, without any sort of screening process. The center was expected to open in 2015, but was delayed because of difficulty raising the additional $16.7 million the organization needed to operate, the Post reports. Its now slated to open in April of this year. Sexual abuse is obviously a societal issue, not just something happening in the world of youth sports, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said during the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly. But as leaders in the world of sport, we have to do everything in our power to keep athletes safe. 5. Fly me to the moon again The SLS Five-Segment Solid Rocket Motor, that will launch NASAs Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft to deep space, undergoes a static test fire in 2016 at the Orbital ATK facility in Promontory, Utah. Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout via Reuters. In late 2018, NASA is planning its first launch of the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, equipped with an Orion capsule that will orbit the moon before returning to Earth. Now, that mission, known as EM-1, could include astronauts. In a letter to NASA employees last week, acting agency director Robert Lightfoot asked that human spaceflight be included in EM-1, Buzzfeed reported. EM-1 was intended as a test of only the SLS/Orion system, according to Wired; humans werent included on the timeline until several years after the initial launch. This letter could change that. Why its important In 1968, Apollo 8 made history as the first manned spacecraft to leave the Earths orbit, circling the moon 10 times before it splashed into the Northern Pacific ocean. It paved the way for Apollo 11 to bring Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon in July 1969 one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. Those were the glory days. Many people believe that Americas role in global space research has dimmed over the past few decades. Some of that has to do with mixed messages from U.S. presidents and Congress. A Pew Research study in late 2015 showed that 48 percent of U.S. adults believed the federal government should play a minor or no role in advancing space exploration. But 47 percent said the federal government should have a major role. Plenty have wondered: whats next for Americas space travel? The Washington Post speculated on a return to the moon after Trump won the presidential election in November. Why? It sends a message that America is still serious about space. China, Japan and Russia, among other countries, have all said they want to send humans on a lunar mission. Articulating a similar priority could be a tool for diplomacy, experts say. NASA handout photographs from the various Apollo missions between 1968 and 1972 are shown in this collage. The photographs are some of more than 12,000 from NASAs archives aggregated on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. Photo by REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters. Still, NASA tends to take its time, spending years to create plans and specific timelines for its missions. Comparatively, this would be a rushed addition to a long-planned orbit around the moon, experts told the Post. Experts at a House Committee Hearing on NASA last week showed enthusiasm for the project. But NASA itself is at a crossroads, as The Atlantic wrote last week. NASAs Apollo-era budget accounted for 4.5 percent of the federal budget, it said. Todays budget is less than half a percent. Many experts dont think NASA has the resources to achieve those goals, according to ArsTechnica. Congress is re-evaluating the agencys budget and priorities and Politico has reported Trump also wants to explore the privitization of some space stations and the large-scale economic development of space. Not to mention NASA is currently without a permanent chief. The bottom line: Keep an eye on the sky this story is far from over.

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February 21, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

The Rise of Hate Groups in the Trump Era – Highbrow Magazine

Highbrow Magazine The Rise of Hate Groups in the Trump Era Highbrow Magazine 2016 was an unprecedented year for hate, said Mark Potok , senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. The country saw a resurgence of White nationalism that imperils the racial progress we've made, along with the rise of a president whose …

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February 21, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group … – Bangor Daily News

BRUNSWICK, Maine A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, operate statewide, according to the organization. Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005. The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal. Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson. Heath did not return a call Friday seeking comment. Later Friday afternoon, Camenker called on his behalf. Its only conservative, pro-family, tea party groups that are labeled hate groups and put on the map among Nazi and KKK groups so it looks like theyre all the same, Camenker said. Their only crime is having a conservative opinion why is the Southern Poverty Law Center taken seriously? No one takes them seriously except the mainstream media. Its so aggravating. If you have a different opinion, you get labeled a hate group by this stupid group in Alabama, and the mainstream media guys just lap it up. Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath. In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine. The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups. The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map. The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas. Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again. Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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February 19, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – Bangor Daily News

BRUNSWICK, Maine A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, operate statewide, according to the organization. Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005. The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal. Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson. Heath did not return a call Friday seeking comment. Later Friday afternoon, Camenker called on his behalf. Its only conservative, pro-family, tea party groups that are labeled hate groups and put on the map among Nazi and KKK groups so it looks like theyre all the same, Camenker said. Their only crime is having a conservative opinion why is the Southern Poverty Law Center taken seriously? No one takes them seriously except the mainstream media. Its so aggravating. If you have a different opinion, you get labeled a hate group by this stupid group in Alabama, and the mainstream media guys just lap it up. Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath. In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine. The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups. The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map. The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas. Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again. Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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February 19, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Anti-LGBT group led by Michael Heath added to Maine hate group map – WGME

by Beth Brogan, BDN Staff Michael Heath (Troy R. Bennett | BDN) BRUNSWICK, Maine (BDN) — A Lewiston-based anti-LGBT organization leading an effort to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act has been identified as a hate group in the 2016 Hate Map released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maine Resistance, led by former Christian Civic League of Maine director Michael Heath, joins two groups identified as being actively racist, according to the Alabama-based civil rights center. Those groups, Crew 38 and the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, both operate statewide, according to the organization. Heath of Chelsea, a longtime opponent of protections based on sexual orientation or identity, is leading a petition drive to force a statewide referendum that, if successful, would remove the words sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act in numerous places where the act discusses protections for Mainers in place since 2005. The groups website identifies sex out of marriage as wrong, and it states, Legal rights for individuals or groups who choose evil are special especially evil not equal. Listed on the website as advisers to the group, in addition to Heath, are Portland attorney Steve Whiting, Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker, the Rev. Dallas Henry, Scott Lively, Dave Daubenmire and the Rev. Chris Wilcoxson. Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, on Thursday characterized Maine Resistance as a fringe group of radical extremists led by Michael Heath. In 2005 Maine voters made it very clear that they do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, Moonen said in a statement to the BDN, referring to the vote that rejected a peoples veto attempt to prevent the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected class. Michael Heath needs to accept the fact that this debate is over and move on; the rest of us already have. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiles a new Hate Map annually based on hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Spokesman Mark Potok said Thursday that information was not immediately available about what sources identified the three groups as active in Maine. The 2016 Hate Map documents 917 hate groups in the United States, including 663 antigovernment patriot groups and 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups. The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, named on fliers found in South Freeport driveways and other towns in January, was not listed on the map. The center also found a 197 percent increase in the total number of anti-Muslim hate groups over the previous year, a surge attributed in part to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas. Hate groups are defined by the center as having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since 2000, which accelerated when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, then declined, and in the past two years has risen again. Crew 38 also is active in New Hampshire, according to the list, as are five other groups: a racist skinhead group known as Eastern Hammerskins and the anti-Muslim Soldiers of Odin, both statewide; the anti-Muslim group ACT for America based in Nashua; and two radical traditional Catholic groups, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM Media, both based in Richmond.

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February 17, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Watchdog: Number of anti-Muslim hate groups on the rise – Pueblo Chieftain

WASHINGTON (AP) The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States has nearly tripled since 2015, due in part to radical Islamic attacks and the incendiary rhetoric of last year’s presidential campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center says. The number of anti-Muslim groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016, the SPLC said in a report released Wednesday. The number of hate groups overall tracked by the watchdog group also increased to 917 last year from 892 the previous year, the report said. “2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report blamed the increase in part on “incendiary rhetoric” from the campaign of now-President Donald Trump, which included threats to ban Muslim immigrants and “mandate a registry of Muslims in America.” It also cited as factors “the unrelenting propaganda of a growing circle of well-paid ideologues” well-paid employees of anti-Muslim groups, the group said and radical Islamist attacks such as the June 2016 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The SPLC’s findings come as anti-Muslim posters were discovered this week at a mosque in Bossier City, Louisiana, and on the campuses of the University of Texas and Rutgers University. The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants campus officials to assure the safety of Muslim students and to investigate the mosque posters as a hate crime. “It is clear that these signs, which were used to vandalize a house of worship, are part of a nationwide campaign by racists and Islamophobes to intimidate the American Muslim community,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, monitors the activities of hate groups and other extremists across the country. The SPLC defines hate groups as those that vilify entire groups of people based on immutable characteristics such as race or ethnicity. “Patriot” or anti-government groups are on the downswing, according to the report. “The groups had skyrocketed from a low of 149 in 2008 to a high of 1,360 in 2012, in large part as a reaction to the November 2008 election of Barack Obama,” the report said. +5 +4 But now the number of Patriot groups is falling, dropping from 998 in 2015 to 623 last year. Militias, which the report called the “armed wing of the Patriot movement,” also fell from 276 to 165 groups. Black separatist groups grew from 180 in 2015 to 193 last year, as did neo-Confederate groups, which rose from 35 to 43 groups. The number of Ku Klux Klan groups fell from 190 in 2015 to 130 in 2016. The report said contraction was expected among Klan groups, which had more than doubled from 72 in 2014.

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February 17, 2017   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed


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