Archive for August, 2011

SPLC — Housing Crisis for “Hate Groups”?

August 20, 2011

While doing a little housekeeping recently here at Watching the Watchdogs, we came across a fantastic statistic buried within the Southern Poverty Law Center’s indisputable “hate group” accounting system.

In 2009, WTW noted that of the 926 “hate groups” designated by the SPLC for the previous year, (according to their own spurious definition), fully 127 of them were not affiliated with any known city or town on the map. That’s 14% of the total listed on their “Hate Map” fund-raising tool for 2008, (the “Hate Map” numbers always reflect the previous fiscal year.)

We can all rest assured that those 127 mystery groups are really, really out there, because the good folks at the SPLC tell us they are out there, right? Not that they give any information about the other alleged “groups” beyond a town name. One would think “outing” a hate group by giving its address, phone number and membership list would be a great way to shame the “haters” back underground.

2008 was also the year that Barack Obama was elected president, causing the SPLC’s public relations guru Mark Potok to sputter that this only proved that Americans were more racist than ever, and Mr. Potok predicted that the election of a black president combined with a tanking economy would lead to unprecedented growth in the number of “hate groups.”

As it turns out, for 2009, the first year of the Obama administration and the worst year of the current recession (so far…), the number of “hate groups,” as counted by Swami Potok himself, rocketed from 926 to 932, a terrifying increase of six groups, or six-tenths of a percent. Shocking, but true.

In the big money world of the Hate-For-Profit industry, the number of “hate groups” is NEVER allowed to decline, no matter how much money you throw at them, and since the SPLC is the sole arbiter of the highly lucrative and highly meaningless “hate group” label, we at WTW were mystified as to why Mr. Potok only came up with a 0.65% increase? After all, if you’re the one pulling numbers out of thin air why not make up a number that would at least back up your predictions?

Six-tenths of a percent is the lowest increase in the SPLC’s entire history.

Regretfully, we at Watching the Watchdogs were so bowled over by these anemic returns that we dropped the ball and did not bother to run through the state by state maps to see how many of those 932 groups were officially homeless. For this, we apologize. We took the numbers for granted even though we have known for years that you cannot trust the SPLC’s mathematics. Mea culpa, mea culpa…

In March of this year, Swami Potok released his impeccably researched number of “hate groups” for 2010, and we were relieved to note that Mr. Potok had noted his previous error and arbitrarily jumped the numbers from 932 to 1002, an increase of 70 groups in one year, or a net gain of 7.5%. Now there’s the kind of good hate work we expect from Mr. Potok. Lord knows you can’t scare the old folks with a measly six-tenths of a percent. What was the man thinking?

As it turns out, after reviewing the maps and doing the math, the number of unaffiliated “hate groups” jumped rather significantly, to 262, or 26% of the total right off the top!

What this means is that while the number of “hate groups” increased by 70, the number of homeless “hate groups” increased by 99!! Apparently, not only were every last one of the new “hate groups” phantoms, but 29 other hotbeds of hate got evicted as well.

It’s no secret that the bursting of the housing bubble caused a lot of good, decent Americans to lose their homes, but thanks to Mr. Potok and the SPLC, we can take great comfort in knowing that evil American “hate groups” are faring no better.

Cue the schadenfreude…

Mr. Potok has been the “Director of Intelligence” at the SPLC for more than a decade now, and while some might be alarmed by these shocking lapses in both accounting and judgment, (Six-tenths of a percent, Mr. P.?? What were you thinking??), fear not, for Mr. Potok’s six-digit salary is far from being in jeopardy. In fact, his grateful overseers actually gave him a $7,300 raise last year (“Recession? What recession?”).

Mr. Potok’s spurious “Hate Map” has been instrumental in bringing in more than $86,000 tax-free donor-dollars a day, every day last year. His numbers are crap, but what does he care? It’s not like anyone in the mainstream media is actually going to look at them.

When you’re the one making up the numbers, you can make up any number you want.

A Great Source for SPLC Information

August 7, 2011

Watching the Watchdogs is only one of a myriad number of groups around the country who seek to expose the public relations practices, highly questionable fund-raising tactics and dangerous media manipulations of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

One such group is the Georgia Heritage Council, who have compiled a listing of excellent articles on the SPLC as well as many other players in the alphabet-soup Hate Industry.

Watching the Watchdogs is pleased to share a link to this excellent resource.

Although the Internet has allowed the SPLC to reach more unwitting donors and witless media outlets, the growing body of facts and figures that can be found online may ultimately prove to be their downfall.

SPLC — Every Tragedy Has a Golden Lining

August 1, 2011

We’ll say this for Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees… he’s consistent.

The first of the Norwegian murder victims had not even been buried before Rumpelstiltskin Dees began spinning their tragedy into gold:

Southern Poverty Law Center

July 26, 2011

“Dear Friend,

The terrorist attack that took the lives of so many children in Norway is a sobering reminder that hate and extremism can drive people to commit unspeakable acts of violence.

The problem is just as grave in our country. For the first time, hate groups here have topped 1,000, and the potential for widespread damage is mounting. Just this year, a neo-Nazi was arrested for planting a bomb that could have killed hundreds along an MLK Day parade route in Spokane.

That’s why it’s so shocking that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has bowed to political pressure from conservatives and dramatically cut back the resources it’s devoting to the threat from right-wing extremists. We exposed DHS’ reckless decision in June and have called on the agency to reverse course.

The tragedy in Norway takes me back to the Oklahoma City bombing, the work of a right-wing fanatic that left 168 people dead. Months before that attack, we warned federal officials about the mounting danger from radical extremists. Now, with your help, we’re speaking out again. Too much is at stake to remain silent.

Your voice — your support — is amplifying ours. Thank you for standing with us.”

Sincerely,

Morris Dees
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center

“For the first time,” Dees warns, “hate groups here have topped 1,000.” Little matter that their is no legal definition of  “hate group” or that the SPLC is the sole arbiter of this arbitrary appellation. Dees neglects to mention that his $147,000 donor-dollar a year “Intelligence Director” Mark Potok can’t seem to locate 262 of these groups on the map, or that Potok fails to offer almost any information on the size or location of any of them.

“A neo-Nazi was arrested for planting a bomb that could have killed hundreds…” While no one in their right mind would minimize the very real dangers of a pipe bomb, only a calculating propagandist like Mr. Dees would deliberately exaggerate the deadly potential of the Spokane device.

According to the FBI and news reports:

“Law enforcement sources described the device to ABC News as a “small pipe bomb” designed to be triggered by a radio frequency system.”

“He [FBI agent Frank Harrill] added that authorities believe the device “was potentially lethal and could have had the ability to inflict multiple casualties.”

Again, let no one diminish the danger this device posed to people in the immediate vicinity, but really, Mr. Dees, “… could have killed hundreds?? Nothing like a little groundless hyperbole to pad the numbers, eh, Mr. Dees?

The blood had yet to be scrubbed from the sidewalk in Tuscon, Arizona this past January, after a shooting spree left six dead and thirteen wounded, and there was Mark Potok, on his Huffington Post soapbox, psychoanalyzing accused gunman Jared Loughner. It was only the release of Loughner’s Uncle Fester-esque mug shot that forced Potok to throw in the towel and admit that Loughner was seriously mentally ill.

Jared Loughner

This didn’t prevent Potok from attempting to gain access to Loughner’s “right-wing” psyche by analyzing a short list of books found on Loughner’s YouTube profile. Forget the fact that nearly every book on the list has been required reading for high school students since at least the 1970s, Swami Potok, who has no legal or law enforcement background, and certainly no psychological experience, (at least not as a practitioner), scrutinized the tea leaves, read the chicken bones and pronounced that “… an anti-government thread runs through all those works.”

Among this chilling list were such anarchical works as “Peter Pan,” “The Phantom Toll Booth,” and a personal favorite of Potok’s boss, Klan lawyer Morris Dees, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Basically, there is no tragedy, no lone-wolf psychopath, that cannot be lumped into a fund-raising ploy by the SPLC.

Morris Dees has a long history of exploiting murder victims for cash in this fashion. During the 1986 civil trial of two Klan thugs who had been convicted and sentenced for the murder of Michael Donald, Morris Dees sent out hundreds of thousands of donor letters featuring a photo of Donald’s bloated corpse.

While the jurors in the trial undeniably had every right to see the photo, what possible reason could there be to send this hideous image out to donors who had no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the trial? Well, as Ken Silverstein reported in Harper’s Magazine, Dees’ gruesome gambit brought more than $9 million tax-free donor-dollars into the SPLC’s coffers.

Dees won a $7 million dollar wrongful death suit against the United Klans of America, which promptly turned over its sole asset to Michael Donald’s mother. Mrs. Donald got a barn worth $52,000 dollars, which is definitely better than nothing, but she never saw a dime of the $9 million Dees made by exploiting her son’s murder. Dees even includes the photo in both iterations of his autobiography.

Dees has used the same gimmick in six other show trials since:

1. The SPLC’s multimillion dollar publicity machine kicks into gear.

2. Hundreds of thousands of donor letters go out on cue.

3. Huge damages far beyond the assets of the defendants are awarded.

4. The victims get a fraction of the amount awarded and the SPLC rakes in millions in donations.

It’s bad enough that the SPLC exploits the deaths of adults to make money, but to exploit the murders of innocent children, before their grieving families have even had a chance to give them a decent burial, is reprehensibly low even for the likes of Morris Dees.

Mr. Dees, have you no decency?


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