Archive for October, 2009

Elizabeth Wright – Exposing the charlatans at the SPLC

October 31, 2009

Superb analysis of one of the most profitable “non-profits” on the planet.


Issues & Views – The Blog

A black conservative’s place for independent thinking and common sense — A little oasis for those who got caught up in the momentum of the civil rights movement, but failed to discern the false from the true

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exposing the charlatans at the Southern Poverty Law Cente

The term “social engineering” never fit an entity better than it does the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This intrusive, tenacious organization has spent years attempting to recast and transform American society to fit its own peculiar ideals. Its directors are missionaries in the full sense of the word, in that they relentlessly work to stamp onto the hearts and minds of the public a distinctive belief system, which teaches what is evil and what is not.

This month, the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) has published an excellent analysis of the SPLC’s attack on FAIR and other immigration reform groups, entitled, Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Immigration Debate.” It offers much-needed insights.

Besides giving the ordinary citizen an opportunity to view the insides of this “watchdog” group, the report should become a reference guide for members of the media, who generally take the easy way out when covering stories about race and/or immigration.

Reporters, editorialists, and feature writers are notorious for accepting, without further investigation, reams of data and materials disseminated to them by a cluster of self-appointed overseers of American society, among the most prominent, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. [See also here and here.]

Thanks to the fawning acceptance granted them by the establishment media, these groups, and several more like them, have acquired an almost quasi-governmental status in the public mind. When they spread lies, there are few people who will risk inevitable public denigration and stand up to challenge them. In regard to the SPLC, FAIR’s new report does just that.

FAIR was founded in 1979, and is the country’s largest immigration reform group. It has more than 250,000 members whose aims are to improve border security, stop illegal immigration, and promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest. Sensible immigration reform would enhance national security, improve the economy, preserve our environment, and protect jobs for American citizens.

Such goals have earned FAIR the designation of a “hate” group by the SPLC. Other immigration reform organizations also have incurred the wrath of the SPLC. They include, but are not limited to the two next largest groups, i.e., the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA. These groups are reputable organizations that handle in a respectful manner what has become a volatile subject. Yet, the SPLC makes it clear that any individual or group that emphasizes the need for immigration reform of any kind is a “hater” and, hence, an enemy of American society.

Although the SPLC claims to take no position on immigration policy, for more than a decade it has acted as a bully by attacking citizens who even suggest that our borders should be monitored, or that the immigration population should be limited. According to the FAIR guide, “In countless articles and ‘investigative reports,’ the SPLC concluded that just about everyone actively opposed to amnesty and mass immigration was a ‘nativist’ a ‘white supremacist,’ or had ties to such groups and individuals.”

The SPLC is well known for its ever-growing list of “hate groups” and individual “haters,” often referred to as the SPLC’s “hit list.” Lacking an objective criteria for what constitutes “hate,” the SPLC uses its own inscrutable standards. There are some hints, however, that point to a consistency in its multicultural emphasis. Not satisfied with customary, voluntary activity between races, its directors give the impression that they would like to engineer more aggressive policies, in order to bring about greater racial interaction.

In the SPLC’s universe, race and how one deals with it, is an important component in determining who is good and who is bad. In order to put the full kibosh on perceived enemies, the SPLC will slap the “racist” tag on them, just for good measure. This was never clearer than in the case of the Mormon polygamous sect in Eldorado, Texas, where, last year, over 400 children were temporarily kidnapped by the government and removed from their parents. With all the troubles faced by these people in just trying to navigate around the intrusions by outsiders, while coping with a system they did not understand, the SPLC came along and declared the group “racist.”

In trying to figure out the SPLC’s bizarre intervention in this case, one might wonder if the charge of racism was based on the early history of the Mormon church (the sect still adheres to the church’s early beliefs on race) or, given the SPLC’s propensity for racial meddling, was the charge based on the fact that the men in this sect apparently had no colored wives? Might the lack of any bi-racial children disturb these diversity-minded social engineers?

SPLC leaders are relentless in their venomous attacks on those who they claim try to “retreat from the government and press.” On the SPLC “hate” list, there are dozens of little religious groups that do not subscribe to establishment religion. Some believe in their group’s special “chosenness” by the Deity. They each wish to have the freedom to worship in accord with their beliefs. You know, exercising the kind of freedom that Americans possessed in an earlier time – even to living separately, if they so determined – before it became mandatory to stay in view of the government and the press.

Groups like the ADL and SPLC, however, refuse to leave such gatherings alone. Instead, these religious sects (some with only a handful of members) are added to “hate” lists and brought to the attention of the public. Members of such faiths are suspect, not for their peculiar doctrines, but because, according to the “watchdogs,” no citizens should be allowed to operate on the outside or fringe of what is considered “mainstream” society. Outsiders who prefer to behave in such a manner are clearly not engaging in “inclusive” practices and, hence, could very well be haters of members of other groups and, therefore, “dangerous.”

This is the heart of the SPLC philosophy that it conveys in its massive, annual fundraising mailings to thousands of subscribers, in which fearful scenarios are painted of a society ridden with racists, xenophobes, and potential domestic terrorists.

This month, black Professor Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hit list. Deemed an “apologist for white supremacists” by SPLC’s Mark Potok, Swain earned this ad hominem attack because she had dared to offer a favorable review of the documentary film, A Conversation About Race. [See my review here.]

The film, produced by Craig Bodeker, is focused on interviews with a diverse group of people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds. They each get to offer their opinions on the racism that they supposedly observe in the world around them. It is Bodeker’s suspicion that genuine racism in today’s America is a “myth.” Many of the responses offered by the interviewees in this film inadvertently appear to confirm this suspicion. In spite of the SPLC’s attempt to shame her, Professor Swain stands by her assertion that Bodeker’s film would be useful in classrooms to stimulate honest discussions on the subject of race.

It is understandable why the SPLC does not want the Bodeker film, or anything like it, disseminated too widely. The results of the interviews, right from the mouths of ethnics themselves, suggest that blacks are not held back by a pernicious racism driven by white society.

For its purposes, the SPLC does not want America’s race story shifted away from that of black victimology — that is, the tale of blacks caught in a system that prevents them from improving their circumstances in a racist society. After all, where would that leave the SPLC and its ability to raise those millions of dollars annually in the name of “social injustice?”

If racism is not preventing a black person from going about his business, or living his daily life as he chooses, and places no life-threatening obstacles in his path, as in the days of a 1930s sharecropper, then what are we talking about?

Those who are familiar with the history of the SPLC know that this organization does not seek honesty. Like its other counterparts, it is determined to remain entrenched in its self-appointed role as caretaker and guardian of Americans’ thoughts and social habits. Professor Swain is yet another target to have encountered the SPLC’s tactic of character assassination. In the coming days we will learn to what extent it will follow through with its usual “link and smear” maneuvers and poisonous press releases. (Of course, as a vocal critic of open borders immigration policies, Swain could never win the approval of the SPLC.)

The FAIR guide cites several investigative articles that have been done on the SPLC. They include critical pieces in The Nation magazine, Harper’s magazine, and the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser newspaper. Each describes how the SPLC skews, exaggerates and manipulates data to fit its biased perspectives on race, along with information about its questionable fundraising tactics.

As the FAIR guide suggests, an honest analysis of the immigration issue is possible if, after receiving press releases and other data from SPLC directors, journalists would feel obligated to test the accuracy of their information, question their motives, seek out responses to their allegations about other citizens and, most primary, distinguish between advocacy and news reporting.

SPLC — Never-ending Threat$

October 30, 2009

When your entire multi-million dollar operation relies on donations, it is imperative to maintain a never-ending fear campaign that will convince your gullible donors that the only thing standing between themselves and utter doom, is their righteous generosity.

No organization is better at the classic fear campaign than the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In its most recent fund raising appeal, (see below), issued, appropriately enough, on the eve of Halloween, SPLC president, Richard Cohen, warns that more money is urgently needed to protect the lives of Morris Dees and others at the Center.

While it is absolutely true that Dees has been threatened in the past, and these threats need to be taken absolutely seriously, let’s take a closer look at the “facts”.

Cohen’s warning begins with ominous testimony from an unnamed “former neo-nazi”:

Q: What were the instructions?
A: The instructions were to kill [Morris Dees].

Q: How close did you get to killing Mr. Dees?
A: Within days.
– Testimony of former neo-Nazi, Nov. 12, 2008

The testimony is dated November 12, 2008, implying that the threat was quite imminent. What Mr. Cohen neglects to mention is that events described by Klansman Kale Kelly actually took place in 1999!

Again, it is important not to downplay threats of bodily harm against anyone, but the carefully crafted wording of Cohen’s  fund raising propaganda is disingenuous, at best.

Cohen continues with the usual repetition of the SPLC’s unsubstantiated claims that “hate groups have increased by 50%,” which of course, doesn’t explain that the SPLC is the sole arbiter of who gets on the list, (there is no legal definition for the term “hate group”), and that in many cases the “group” is nothing more than a post office box, or simply a name slapped on the list to pad the numbers.

The stories of the murder of the security guard at the Holocaust Museum and five policemen, all at the hands of “lone wolf” lunatics, are invoked, as if they were some sort of connection between the crimes, or with Dees.

Then Cohen gets down to business:

“Our security costs are staggering, but they’re a measure of the threat that we face.”

According to page 11 of the SPLC’s most recent IRS Form 990, the Center spent just over $135,000 on security services, and another $142,000 donor dollars on Thomas Brinkman, its Director of Security and IT.

These combined costs, less than $300,000 donor dollars, represent less than 1% of the $35 MILLION donor dollars in cash the SPLC took in that year, and less than two tenths of a percent of the $156 MILLION donor dollars in the the SPLC’s “Endowment Fund“.

As Ken Silverstein pointed out in Harper’s Magazine in 2007, the SPLC is already “richer than Tonga” and several other sovereign nations.

Tell us again, Mr. Cohen, about how tough times are at the SPLC?

Here’s a suggestion: If you and your fellow multimillionaire, Morris Dees, would  return just 10% of the nearly $700,000 donor dollars you will pay yourselves this year, out of the donor pot, you could boost the SPLC’s security funding by 25% without soliciting another dime from your donors or touching your bloated “Endowment Fund”.

Better still, why don’t the two of you “fight hate” pro bono in 2010 and REALLY make a difference?

After all, it’s not like you two are in this noble pursuit for the money, right?


Southern Poverty Law Center
Oct. 29, 2009

Q: What were the instructions?
A: The instructions were to kill [Morris Dees].
Q: How close did you get to killing Mr. Dees?
A: Within days.
– Testimony of former neo-Nazi, Nov. 12, 2008

Dear Friend,

Thankfully, this plot to kill Morris was thwarted by an FBI informant. But according to the same informant, there are many other white supremacists bent on seeing Morris dead because of his courtroom victories against violent hate groups.

That’s why I’m asking you to make a special contribution to help us pay for our critical security measures. We need your help to keep Morris, the SPLC, and our staff safe so that we can continue to do our vital work.

Just since 2000, hate groups have increased in number by 50 percent. As the number of hate groups grows — currently 926 active groups — so does the threat against us.

Help us ensure the safety of our staff.
Donate today.

President Barack Obama’s historic election has boiled white supremacists’ anger to a new level, resulting in real violence — such as the murder of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the killing of five other law enforcement officers by white supremacists.

Our security analyst, a former CIA agent, has stressed the need for enhanced security measures at the SPLC, “in light of recent attacks in 2009 against high profile targets associated with Civil and Human Rights causes.”

Our security costs are staggering, but they’re a measure of the threat that we face.

Please be as generous as you can and make a special, tax-deductible contribution today to help protect Morris and the staff.

Thank you for standing with us at this critical time. Given the reactionary forces that are determined to set us back, it’s more important than ever that we continue to stand together. Please speak out against the day-to-day bigotry and incivility that threatens to divide our country. Be a champion for justice in your community.

Richard Cohen photo Thank you for your support,
Richard Cohen
J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center

P.S. We’ve increased our security measures because of the rise in violent attacks by fanatical extremists. An additional gift now will go a long way toward helping us meet our security needs. Thank you again.

Brian Levin and his one-man”Center for the Study of Hate”

October 28, 2009

Earlier posts on this blog pointed out how groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center use public relations press releases to craft their public image and propagate their ideology. While the SPLC pays its PR guru a six-digit salary to keep the tens of millions of donor dollars coming in, not every “watchdog” group has such deep pockets.

Take the case of Brian Levin, a professor and self-described “Director” of the “Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism” at California State University at San Bernardino (CSU/SB). That’s an extremely impressive title, however, all signs indicate that Mr. Levin is the entire staff of the “Center for the Study of Hate.”

There just doesn’t seem to be anyone else there for the “Director” to direct.

A brief view of the evidence does little to dispel this impression:

  • The “Center’s” web site languished for 8 years with virtually no updates since 2001.
  • Mr. Levin eventually updated the site in August, 2009, although, as of this writing, not much has changed on this site either.

Given that this is allegedly an academic center at a prestigious university, does it not seem just a little bit odd that in eight years the “Center” couldn’t assign a single staff member, intern or extra-credit seeking computer geek to maintain its most important public asset?

  • The staff directory, located on the home page of the web site, indicates NO staff.
  • The contact information listed on the site includes a telephone number to the main office of the Department of Criminal Justice at CSU/SB, not to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, and the only e-mail address is to Mr. Levin’s free AOL account.
  • The “Center’s” only other public manifestation, its blog, is hosted on a free blogger site, rather than a CSU/SB server.

Granted, I’m no expert on academic centers, but I’m pretty sure that if they have actual staff, at least one person would be tasked with answering the phone calls coming in to the center’s OWN telephone number, and e-mails would go to a address and NOT to a free AOL account.

Obviously, there is much to be said for free blog sites, (like this one), but you’d be hard put to find another academic center that relies on them.

  • Mr. Levin also issues press releases, much like his mentors and former employers, the SPLC, which tout his expertise and willingness to comment on the “hate” topic du jour, such as this one, dated October 21, 2009.
  • This “academic center” produces very little in the way of academic studies. When pressed, (see below), Mr. Levin can produce a string of articles published chiefly between 1992  and 2006, as well as a couple of book chapters, but all of them are authored by B. Levin.

Is there no one else at the “Center” producing academic research?

In August, 2009, I had a rare opportunity to discuss these issues with Mr. Levin, albeit indirectly. After posting the same observations made above in the comment section of an article featuring Mr. Levin’s comments in OC Weekly, I was surprised and gratified that the Director took time out of his busy day to rebut my accusations. (See the “comments” section here)

While not addressing me directly, Mr. Levin explained his side of the story.

  • “I don’t list a lot of the people who assist us (both professional and interns) because I don’t need them to be harassed by bigots too.”
  • “I won’t get into much detail about why I use my personal email or blogs, but it relates to web security and convenience.”
  • “I don’t think we put out many press releases, probably less than a dozen in ten years is my guess, but I haven’t checked.”
  • Mr. Levin produces an impressive list of university board members, (no one doubts that his “Center” is part of CSU/SB, just that it’s more than a one-man show), and an even longer list of distinguished advisers, none of whom have written anything under the aegis of the “Center for the Study of Hate.”

At the end of the day, after some rather clumsy efforts to smear the messenger, (“bigot,” “shadowy,” “white nationalist,” dishonest, etc.), Mr. Levin STILL fails to produce a single iota of proof that his “Center” is anything more than a classic Bernaysian front group.

What is so remarkable about Mr. Levin’s “Center” is that he doesn’t need it. Brian Levin is one of the most experienced people in his field, his recent work on the plight of homeless people is admirable.

Unlike his mentors at the SPLC, to my knowledge, Brian Levin has never solicited a single dime for himself or his center. Whatever his “Center” is doing for him, it’s not making him rich.

What Mr. Levin’s “Center” is doing for him is lending an aura of authority to his own personal opinions. There’s no real crime in this, perhaps, but any real news organization should be suspicious from the get-go. The front group is one of the oldest tricks in the PR book.

It’s also entirely possible that I’m completely wrong about the “Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism,” but given the available evidence, either Mr. Levin’s “Center” is a one-man show, or he has gone to great lengths, shunned all academic orthodoxy, in order to make it appear as one.

Mr. Levin… tear up this paper “Center”.

“Dirty Money” and the SPLC

October 26, 2009

Southern Poverty Law Center propaganda loves nothing more than to smear groups and individuals who disagree with Morris Dees’ left-wing vision of the world. One of its favorite targets is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, (FAIR), and its founder, John Tanton.

Among FAIR’s crimes against humanity, according to the SPLC, were such heinous acts as:

  • Encouraging states and localities to adopt “English Only” statutes for official business
  • Campaigning in favor of California’s Prop 187, which would deny welfare benefits to illegal aliens
  • “Celebrating the passage” of federal laws aimed at reducing the number of  illegal aliens entering the country and requiring asylum seekers to remain in custody until the status of their claims could be determined

Pretty dark stuff, no doubt, but it paints a very clear picture of Morris Dees’ political ideology, and hence, the ideology of the SPLC. No matter that all of the above activities are entirely legal and represent the epitome of  simple civic participation; Mo doesn’t like it and therefore FAIR is a “hate group.”

The SPLC makes great noise over the fact that FAIR received $1.2 million dollars in donations during the 1980s and early 90s from the Pioneer Fund, a think tank that advocated the entirely legal and legitimate science of eugenics. Every farmer and rancher has employed eugenics since the dawn of civilization, but when applied to humans, feelings are hurt, and therefore a desire to improve human society is stamped “hateful” by Dees & Co.

If the Pioneer Fund’s money is “dirty,” then by extension so is John Tanton and, by association, so is FAIR, under SPLC logic.

On October 25, 2009, Reuters reported the death of Jeffry Picower, a close friend of arch-thief and convicted embezzler, Bernie Madoff. Madoff was convicted of running the largest Ponzi scheme of all time, which ultimately swindled $65 BILLION dollars,  mostly from Jewish investors, including Eli Wiesel and Steven Spielberg, wiping out life savings and bankrupting numerous charitable organizations.

Jeffry Picower was identified as the biggest winner in the Madoff scheme, and was accused of pocketing over $7 BILLION from the swindle.

Out of that $7 billion, as described by a recent article by Matthew Vadum on the American Spectator website, (see below), $2.9 million dollars were donated to Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center.

If FAIR is somehow tainted by donations made 25 years ago by an entirely legal and legitimate private group, what does this say about the SPLC, which accepted twice as much money, just since 2005, from a man who made billions from swindling Holocaust survivors and Jewish philanthropic organizations?

Ever since Morris Dees cashed the $5,000 dollar check from the Montgomery KKK in 1962, he’s proven that no money is “too dirty” as long as it’s green.


Madoff Associate Picower Dies

By on 10.26.09 @ 12:21AM

Jeffry Picower, 67, an associate of embezzler Bernard Madoff, was found dead in his swimming pool.

Picower is alleged to have profited handsomely from Madoff’s record-breaking pyramid scheme but that same fraud put Picower’s charity, the Picower Foundation, out of business.

The left-leaning Picower Foundation gave away almost $213 million since 1999, according to a philanthropy database.

The giant foundation had the misfortune to choose Madoff to manage its more than $1 billion in assets.

A sizeable chunk of its funding has gone to abortion groups, including NARAL ($3.2 million), Center for Reproductive Rights ($2.5 million), Planned Parenthood ($2.4 million), and Center for Reproductive Law and Policy ($625,000).

Picower Foundation gave $2.9 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a public interest law firm that uses politically skewed definitions of racism to indoctrinate children while smearing conservatives who question racial preference programs. The foundation also gave $200,000 to Project Vote (a.k.a. Voting for America), an affiliate of the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Diversity at the SPLC

October 22, 2009

One would naturally assume that any entity that bills itself as “a leading civil rights organization” in all of its press releases would be one of the most diverse outfits around, right?

A look at the top officers at the Southern Poverty Law Center paints a very different picture. According to pages 11 and 40 of the group’s most recent IRS Form 990, none of the SPLC’s top ten players are minorities.

Name and Compensation

Richard Cohen — President/CEO                                $351,648

Teenie Hutchison — Chief Financial Officer                  $155,144

Joseph Levin — General Counsel                                $191,756

Morris Dees — Chief Trial Counsel                              $346,919

Jeff Blancett — Former Oper. Officer                          $185,305

Rhonda Brownstein — Legal Director                           $179,983

Thomas Brinkman — Security & IT                             $142,359

Wendy Via — Development Director                            $140,469

Mark Potok — Intelligence Director                             $143,206

Mary Bauer — Immigrant Justice Prog.                        $141,111

The Form 990 also includes the names of a few token minorities, such as Julian Bond and David Wang, but they serve only as unpaid “advisers” and have no real responsibility.

Otherwise, it reads like the directory of any New York law firm.

In 1994, the local newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, ran a series of articles on the SPLC, including one in which former black employees describe a “plantation mentality” that drove them from the nation’s “leading civil rights group.”

What is left is a decidedly non-diverse team of key players who establish policy and make all of the important decisions. Not very southern and certainly not impoverished.

To paraphrase the late Leona Helmsley, it would seem that SPLC founder Morris Dees believes that diversity, like paying taxes, “is for the little people…”

SPLC — Selective Indignation

October 20, 2009

When is a “hate group” not a “hate group”? When it affects the bottom line, of course.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which bills itself ceaselessly in its public relations press releases as “a leading civil rights” organization, is willing to turn a blind eye toward some of the most blatant and egregious forms of discrimination to avoid alienating their all-important donors.

One of the first domestic controversies President Obama encountered came in March, 2009, when he was offered the honorary presidency of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), an honor bestowed upon every president since William Taft. Gay rights groups rallied to urge the President to reject the title, as the BSA bans gays from becoming scout leaders.

According to the BSA’s official web site: (Note: This is an archived memo from the Internet Archives. It may take a few moments to load.)

“The BSA reaffirmed its view that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the traditional moral values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that these values cannot be subject to local option choices.”

Seems clear enough: “Gays are not moral enough to be scout leaders.”

On its official web site, the SPLC states that:

“All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Again, fairly plain English: “Hate groups malign entire classes of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

If ever there were a job custom made for America’s “leading civil rights organization,” this would be it. The PR spin practically writes itself:

  • The Boy Scouts accept federal funding, yet discriminate
  • Indoctrination of impressionable children
  • Paramilitary uniforms, weapons and survival training
  • The SPLC has some of the most prominent “anti-hate” lawyers in the country on its payroll and a war chest of over $151 MILLION donor dollars on hand

And yet, nary a word about this textbook “hate group” on the SPLC’s web site. They don’t even recognize the BSA as one of their 11 anti-gay groups.

In 2008, SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok, received a Media Award from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), for his reporting on gay issues in his “Intelligence Report.” Obviously, Potok cannot claim to be ignorant of the BSA’s blatantly anti-gay bias, so what gives?

The simplest answer is that many of the SPLC’s mostly elderly donor base were once Boy Scouts, as were their sons and grandsons. These donors send in tens of millions of dollars every year, over $30 million in the last fiscal year. Calling the BSA “haters” would reflect badly on all those former scouts.

Fighting “hate” is all well and good, until it threatens the bottom line.

In September, 2009, Potok began playing up the senseless murder of Marcelo Lucero on Long Island. The Ecuadorian immigrant was attacked by a group of teenaged thugs on the night of November 8, 2008, and Lucero died from the assault.

Less than a month later, and only a few miles away from where Lucero fell, another Ecuadorian immigrant, Jose Sucuzhanay, and his brother were walking home from a bar in Brooklyn when they too were attacked by a group of young thugs. The Sucuzhanay brothers were walking arm-in-arm on the cold night of December 7, which led the thugs to mistakenly believe that the two men were gay.

As the thugs beat Jose with an aluminum baseball bat, his brother Romel was able to escape and call the police. Jose died five days later in the hospital.

Two heinous crimes against Latino immigrants, one of which was incited by the mistaken belief that the victim was gay, and yet you will find almost nothing about the second case on the SPLC’s website. Why?

Because Jose Sucuzhanay’s murderers were black.

The SPLC rarely reports on crimes where the perps are non-white, and their donor base has no interest in hearing about attacks on gays, even when the victim is straight.

So the SPLC shoves the entire story down the Memory Hole and that’s the end of it.

Hypocrisy and greed triumph once again.

SPLC — Damned Lies and Statistics — Part 1

October 16, 2009

Mark Twain is credited, among others, with the observation that, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” As demonstrated in an earlier post on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” the SPLC is not above a little creative accounting when it comes to maintaining the flow of tens of millions of donor dollars every year.

As the number of actual “hate groups” dwindles, the SPLC is forced to either create new ones out of thin air or find something else with which to tug at the heart- and purse-strings of its mostly elderly donor base. In recent years the SPLC has been mining the plight of illegal aliens in the US to that end.

In April, 2009, SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok, announced the release of a new study undertaken by the Center that examined living conditions for these people.

Under Siege: Life for low-income Latinos in the South claims to document the wide range of crimes and discrimination inflicted on illegal aliens, and there is no doubt whatsoever that those residing in this country illegally are exposed to many such dangers. The fault with the “report” lies not in its premise, but in its methodology and intentionally misleading language.

Some of the claims made by the report include:

  • “Forty-one percent of those surveyed had experienced wage theft where they were not paid for work performed. In New Orleans, an astonishing 80% reported wage theft.”
  • “Overall, thirty-two percent of Latinos surveyed reported on-the-job injuries.”
  • “Sixty-eight percent of respondents say they suffer racism in their daily lives.”
  • “Key finding: 47% of respondents know of someone treated unfairly by the police.”

Pretty damning charges and no doubt based on true events. Who could read such shocking statistics and not be moved? A little closer reading of the same document, however, paints a different picture.

First, the key phrases in the charges listed above are “surveyed” and “respondents”. Without knowing how many people were actually surveyed, statistics such as “41%” are meaningless.

Second, it is also imperative to know how the survey sample was selected and how the survey was conducted. How can you interpret a response without knowing what the question was and how it was asked?

Fortunately, Under Siege includes a section that explains the methodology employed in this report.

  • “Researchers visited five locations in the South for this report: Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, rural southern Georgia and several towns in northern Alabama.”
  • “More than 500 Latinos — approximately 100 in each location –were interviewed.”

How many are “more than 500”? 501? 599? The SPLC knows exactly how many surveys it conducted. Legitimate surveys state the exact number of respondents.

Chapter 7 of the report, Key findings, indicates that surveys took place in 11 locations in Georgia and 6 in Alabama, meaning as few as 9 to 16 people, on average,  were interviewed in a given area. Not exactly a representative statistical sample.

The most damning revelation of the methodology states that “Because the targeted population is difficult to identify and contact, we used the snowball sampling method, in which study subjects refer researchers to additional subjects. Because study subjects were not chosen randomly, estimates from the survey may be biased.”

“May be biased”?? The link to, above,  gives an extensive description of the inherent  biases built into the “snowball” method, wherein interviewees are asked to refer friends and relatives to take the survey as well.

In addition, the Methodology section also mentions that, “Respondents were asked questions from a standard survey. Based on their answers, some respondents were asked by a Spanish-speaking researcher to elaborate on their experiences.”

The survey does not include a list of the questions asked, nor does it indicate which answers would trigger the second-tier interview.

“Some of the stories told in the report come from plaintiffs in lawsuits filed by the SPLC.”

So, not only did the SPLC cherry pick its survey sample, including references from people who were already plaintiffs in SPLC lawsuits, some of those respondents were treated differently from the others. This is NOT the standard scientific method of survey sampling.

It’s like a cereal manufacturer commissioning a survey on consumers’ breakfast habits. An unspecified number of people are asked what they had for breakfast and ten respond “cereal.” These ten are then singled out and  asked, “Do you prefer cereal or waffles for breakfast?” to which seven people reply “Cereal.”

The next day the press release goes out announcing “70% of breakfast eaters prefer cereal.”

The SPLC’s statistics in this report are worthless and serve solely to solicit monetary donations. And the media lapped it up and dutifully regurgitated it on command thousands of times over, without ever having read the “report”.

  • Interestingly, some of the forms of discrimination documented by the “report” include “hostility,” ranging from “looks” to “physical abuse,” although no accompanying numbers describe the distribution or define “abuse”.
  • “Anti-immigrant” housing codes that limit the number of unrelated people who can live in a single residence.
  • Many areas in the South charge substantial fines for driving without a license.
  • “A number of jurisdictions use minor traffic offenses to funnel immigrants into deportation proceedings as well.”

These are discriminatory laws?

And of course, being an SPLC “report”, the assumption going in is that all of the abuses endured by illegal aliens are at the hands of “racist” whites. No mention is made of brown-on-brown or black-on-brown crimes, which predominate.

Under Seige is just one more example of the the public relations fund raising propaganda of which Mr. Potok is a master craftsman.

“Bringing the Klan to its knees” — Part 1

October 15, 2009

One often reads about how the SPLC uses “strategic law suits” to “bring the Klan to its knees.” This is more PR rhetoric, written by SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok and parroted in the media. The actual facts behind these publicity stunts are less impressive.

In the much publicized article, “The Church of Morris Dees,” published in Harper’s magazine in 2000, author Ken Silverstein elaborates on the details behind the SPLC’s most famous case to date.

There is no dispute regarding the basic facts in the case.

In 1981, two Klansmen in Mobile, Alabama, angry that a black suspect had not been found guilty in the murder of a White policeman, deliberately set out to find and murder a black in retribution. Henry Hays, 26, and Robert Knowles, 17, spotted 19-year-old Michael Donald on the street, kidnapped, beat and strangled him, and hung his corpse from a tree.

The SPLC likes to portray this horrendous crime as a “lynching,” when in fact it was a classic case of first degree murder. Lynching implies that extrajudicial punishment is meted out to the accused when, in this case, neither Hays nor Knowles ever implied that Donald was guilty of anything. The SPLC uses the term “lynching” purely for emotional effect.

Hays and Knowles were found guilty of murder, (not “lynching”) and Hays was executed in 1997, while Knowles received a life sentence.

Morris Dees and the SPLC played no part whatsoever in the arrest and conviction of Hays and Knowles, but knowing a good public relations opportunity when he saw one, Dees contacted the victim’s mother, Beulah Mae Donald, through her attorney.

On page 215 of his autobiography, A Season for Justice, Dees states that he didn’t know exactly what he was going to sue the United Klans of America for, but he would find something. Dees had nothing to lose by trying and a lot to gain if he pulled it off.

Dees came up with an innovative and intriguing concept: If a legitimate corporation is responsible for damages caused by its employees, could the United Klans of America be held to the same standards?

Undoubtedly, this was a brilliant strategy, and there was little doubt that the two Klan thugs were acting as members of the UKA. In 1984, the SPLC filed a suit against the Untited Klans of America, on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, in the amount of $10 million dollars.

The suit was ultimately succesful, with the judge awarding damages in the amount of $7 million dollars to Mrs. Donald, in 1987.

SPLC fund raising press releases generally end the story right about here, with a coda that mentions that, with the money she received from the Klan, Mrs. Donald was able to buy her own home and that the UKA had been “brought to its knees.”

Ken Silverstein follows up on the story, however, in his Harper’s article. During the years that the SPLC’s law suit was moving through the judicial machinery, the SPLC highlighted the case in its steady stream of fund raising letters. At least one letter included a photo of Michael Donald’s beaten and bloated corpse (GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING). Dees even included the photo in his autobiography.

Not surprisingly, the UKA did not have $7 million dollars worth of assets to pay to Mrs. Donald. The only real property the group had was a warehouse, the sale of which brought Beulah Mae Donald a check for just under $52,000 dollars.

Meanwhile, as Silverstein reports, the SPLC’s fund raising efforts, including the photos of Michael Donald’s corpse, had brought in a total of $9 million donor dollars, of which Mrs. Donald received exactly nothing.

Multimillionaire Dees writes that the Center did generously front Mrs. Donald the money to buy her new home, until the warehouse could be liquidated. Mrs. Donald, who would only live in her new home for a few months prior to her death in 1987, duly repaid the loan. Dees made sure he was on hand when Mrs. Donald moved in, however, and included photos of the event in his press releases and his book.

As for the United Klans of America, now “brought to their knees” by the loss of their $52,000 warehouse, not much changed for them. The two murderers were already in prison. Not one other Klan member went to jail because of the Donald suit.

They just had to find another place to keep their stuff.

The SPLC’s “Hate Map” — The Biggest Lie

October 12, 2009

There are two old truisms regarding propaganda, (occasionally attributed to Hitler and Goebbels, respectively): “The people will accept a big lie more readily than a small lie, and “A lie, told often enough, becomes truth.”

Such is the case with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s infamous “Hate Map“.

The “Hate Map” is the primary responsibility of the SPLC’s public relations guru, Mark Potok, and is one of the keystones of that group’s multimillion dollar fund raising apparatus. The map serves as a simplified visual aid intended to document the SPLC’s “hate group” allegations, and is referenced frequently in media releases.

These claims are picked up by others and repeated, ad infinitum, with almost nobody bothering to actually look at the “data” provided.

  1. SPLC founder, Morris Dees, is the sole arbiter of what constitutes a “hate group”
  2. Even the FBI does not track “hate groups” as there is no legal definition for that term.
  3. Mark Potok has claimed on numerous occasions that “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…”Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”
  4. On March 25, 2009, Potok told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that “…inclusion on the list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.”
  5. On July 6, 2009, Potok reported to that the “Intelligence Report, which Potok also writes and is the source of “data” for the “Hate Map,” …relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SLPC [sic] staff.”

So basically, the “Hate Map” primarily documents legal, non-violent groups whose only crime is to run afoul of Mo Dees’ ideology. “Groups” are identified by such scanty evidence as PO boxes and second hand information gleaned by Mark Potok’s glorified, $143,000 donor-dollar-a-year newsclipping service.

The 2008 iteration of Potok’s “Hate Map” makes the claim that SPLC has identified 926 “hate groups” in the US, based on the scrupulously scientific methods mentioned above. Almost every state in the union has at least one “hate group” according to Potok.

Even more alarming, Potok reports “a 54% increase since 2000.” Pretty scary stuff, until you realize that Potok’s job is to increase the numbers by 4-6% each year, whether the “groups” exist or not. Over the course of 8 years of this constant padding, hitting “54%” is no great feat.

Donors might be even more justifiably alarmed if they realized that the SPLC’s top three officers, Dees, Cohen and Levin, split between themselves more than $7 million donor dollars from the donation pot since 2000.

A small price to pay, no doubt, for such valuable information.

If one actually looks at Mr. Potok’s “Hate Map” for California, however, the state with the largest collection of alleged “hate groups,” you will immediately notice that the first 14 “groups” on the list are not affiliated with any locale. They merely exist in Mr. Potok’s mind, and serve to pad California’s alleged total by 17%.

One phantom group, the Golden State Skinheads, actually appears on the list twice!!! Remember the last time YOU saw an actual Skinhead?

Where exactly are the first 14 "groups" located?

Fourteen percent of Number 2 ranked Texas and 11% of Number 3 Florida‘s languish in limbo as well.

In some states, such as Wyoming, New Mexico and Maine, the number of unaffiliated, “phantom” groups is 100%. We know that these “hate groups” are really, really there, because the SPLC are experts, as Potok reminds us in every one of his PR press releases.

In all, 127 of Mr. Potok’s “hate groups” are homeless. They exist solely to pad the numbers.

On July 21, 2009, Potok commented in the  “Still, [Potok] said the public should remain vigilant about the activities of hate groups, even though individuals are responsible for the majority of hate crimes in America.”

So every year the number spurious “hate groups” rises predictably according to the SPLC’s rigid legal standards, (“It’s all about ideology!”), and every year Mark Potok dutifully records the latest round of second- and third-hand reports of marauding post office boxes, even though Potok admits that “lone wolves” are the biggest threat, not “hate groups.” And every year the media and the SPLC’s aging donor base lap up these spurious numbers as truth.

The lie gets bigger every year and is repeated ever farther afield and more often each year.

Every year the number of donor dollars increases, with more than $31 MILLION of them rolling in last year.

Somewhere, in the Seventh Level of Hell, Joe Goebbels is laughing.

%d bloggers like this: