Archive for August, 2018

SPLC — Crunching the Numbers — 2018

August 29, 2018

Have you received a donation request from the Southern Poverty Law Center recently? Do you ever wonder how your donations are spent? Thanks to ProPublica, you can review the SPLC’s IRS Form 990 tax returns all the way back to 2001.

With the exception of 2009 and 2012, the company has always taken in significantly more money than was needed to keep the doors open. Some may recall that 2009 was the year after Bernie Madoff’s investment scam was exposed, costing investors and many nonprofit organizations billions of dollars in losses.

To date, there is no evidence that the SPLC was involved with Madoff. It seems that 2009 was simply a bad year all around.

Legal Case Costs 2000-2017

While the SPLC claims that “During the last fiscal year, approximately 68% of our total expenses were spent on program services,” a closer look at the numbers raises some questions to the accuracy of that statement.

One of the biggest red flags is the annual fundraising costs. Each year the SPLC declares a sum directly spent on fundraising outright for the year, $12,626,830 for 2017, as well as a sum spent on “joint costs.” These came to $12,147,345 last year.

The SPLC’s auditor describes “joint costs” as “Activities and the production of materials which combine development, education, and management functions are allocated to the program and supporting services on the basis of the content of the material, the reason for its distribution, and the audience to whom it is delivered.”

In short, “joint costs” are fundraising costs (“development”) attributed to other departments. As the auditor notes: “The Center incurred joint costs of $12,147,345 for educational materials and activities as part of fund-raising appeals during the year ended October 31, 2017.”

For example, SPLC “Management” spent $1,022,000 on postage last year. Since the business of management is arguably to “manage” the company’s 302 employees, that works out nine pieces of first class mail to every employee every single day of FY 2017.

As the graphic above indicates, the SPLC spent 41% of its budget on outright fundraising and “joint costs” last year.

While joint costs accounting is not illegal, and is practiced by many of the largest nonprofits and charities in the country, it is ethically ambiguous, according to Charity Navigator, one of the leading industry watchdogs:

“Although the use of this accounting “trick” is often perfectly in line with the accounting rules for the reporting of joint solicitation costs (AICPA SOP 98-2) these rules allow for many interpretations and judgments that can produce questionable results.”

The graphic also indicates that the Southern Poverty Law Center has never spent more than 6% of its budget on legal case costs this century (and only in one single year, at that), something that the average donor might find surprising, and possibly quite alarming.

After all, shouldn’t the main business of a law center be the practice of actual poverty law?

Mark Potok, the SPLC’s Intelligence Director for 20 years, explained this confusing situation several years ago:

In the 70’s … “poverty law” was actually the phrase … it was a phrase used that just applied to … essentially … civil rights law … to kind of human rights legal actions. I know a couple years ago there was a big discussion internally [at the SPLC], ‘Should we change our name to something else?’

People think, you know, that it’s all about, sort of, defending poor people, and that’s not really, exactly what our mission is. By that time, people knew the name so well that, you know, we made, I think, the obviously right decision not to change the name (Holiday, Track 1).

While the SPLC never did change its name, it did change its mission. In 2014, the company quietly removed the “non-profit civil rights organization” descriptor from its website, press releases and other fundraising materials,  replacing it with “civil rights advocacy group.”

While the two phrases sound similar, they are in no way the same thing. The National Rifle Association is an “advocacy group” for the gun lobby and few, if any, SPLC donors would ever accuse the NRA of being a “civil rights organization.”

It may be simple coincidence, but according to the graphic above, the SPLC has enjoyed some of its most profitable years since making the switch.

You can lead a horse to water, as they say, but putting the SPLC’s financial information in an easy-to-read graphic will probably do very little to dissuade the company’s millions of loyal donors, who believe they are getting great value for their money.

To them, getting the SPLC bumper sticker or lapel pin, or whatever thank you tchotchkies the company sends the faithful is what it’s all about.

Virtue signaling is far more important than doing actual work for civil rights.

Heather Heyer: Manufacturing a Martyr

August 10, 2018

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Unite the Right riots in Charlottesville, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the actions of the Hate Industry as it spun the tragic and needless death of Heather Heyer into media propaganda, or worse yet, into crass fundraising propaganda.

Obviously, any criticism of the canonization of Saint Heather is going to draw cries of “Blasphemy!” from the adherents of the new Social Justice Warrior religion, but our intention here is in no way to criticize, diminish or demean Heather Heyer in any way. Quite the opposite, our intent here is to restore some dignity to the very human Heather Heyer, who was no more prepared for martyrdom that day than anyone else might be.

In December, 2017, James Fields, Jr., the 20-year-old neo-Nazi accused of causing the car crash on Water Street, where Ms. Heyer died, appeared in Charlottesville district court, which did little to answer several basic questions and much to raise other questions still.

Our intent here is in no way to defend Mr. Fields, his philosophy, or that of his ideological companions. Our goal here is to examine the events surrounding the crash in a less hysterical manner than it has been to date. In the process, we have to re-humanize the caricature of Fields and examine the fascist thuggery on both sides of the story, and yes, there is plenty to go around.

First off, this is NOT Heather Heyer. At least it wasn’t on August 12, 2017, the day she died.

Liberty Leading the People

Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix, 1830

While many media accounts of Heyer’s actions that day would have one believe that she was literally scaling the barricades to strike down the fascist enemies with her bare hands in righteous wrath, the truth is not only very different, but it also paints a far more nuanced portrait of the actual woman. The real Heather Heyer is far more interesting, and far more honorable than the profiteers would have us believe.

In many ways, this oft-used photo isn’t really Heather Heyer either.

Heyer

Obviously, millions will recognize this photo of Heyer, which we believe was originally posted on her Facebook account. The photo is practically ubiquitous across the media and progressive websites. Naturally, the nation’s huge Hate Industry found a way to use the iconic image to cash in on Heyer’s death, as we reported on the Southern Poverty Law Center actions, just two weeks after the Charlottesville riots.

The image is always tightly cropped, with some sites opting to to crop off Ms. Heyer’s Christian cross necklace. Wise men will hesitate to guess a lady’s age, but it is quite possible that this image was taken a few years ago. We base that speculation on a remarkable cell phone video taken by Heather Heyer’s friend and co-worker, Courtney Commander.

That video, linked below, is a record of Heyer taken in the last hours, possibly the last minutes, before her death at the corner of 4th and Water Streets.

We should warn viewers that Ms. Commander laces her speech with expletives, and even refers to a group of Blacks as “them n*gg*rs” at the 5:55 mark. As a Black woman herself, Ms. Commander gets a free pass for using “their word” but it is instructive to note that Ms. Heyer did not surround herself with saints prior to her curbside canonization.

(In another video made the previous evening and embedded at the end of this post, Ms. Commander taunts racist participants in the now-infamous torchlight parade across the University of Virginia campus “Your daughters are home f*ck*ng n*gg*rs right now!”)

In Commander’s video we are presented with images of Heather Heyer the human being.

Commander Cody - Charlottesville VA - Part 4 - YouTube

 

Heyer4
The video shows Heyer as she really was that day, not simply as the glamorized, sanitized icon created by those who would exploit her death. Heyer, like tens of millions of Americans, including this author and many readers, was clearly overweight, and apparently indulged in at least one human vice, smoking.

“So what?,” will say many. “What difference does any of that make?” It is very true that a number of web trolls did seize upon Heyer’s weight in crude attempts to dehumanize and “fat shame” her in the days following her death. Sadly, that kind of stupidity is to be expected from that crowd, as ignorant people have a tendency to say ignorant things.

The greater issue, we believe, is that if these images show Heather Heyer as she really was in her everyday life, and if this is the real-life, flesh-and-blood human being that was Heather Heyer, why did the Left and the Hate Industry crop her down to a single glamour headshot?

Far from “fat shaming” Heather Heyer, the Left is clearly “fat ashamed” of their martyr, whose body morphology differed significantly from most of her Progressive co-counter-protesters.

CounterP

Which is worse? Is there any real difference at all? Has the Left dehumanized Heather Heyer any less than the Alt Right? Both sides have used Heyer’s death for their own purposes.

If you watch the Commander video above, you will see what really set Ms. Heyer apart from most other “counter-protesters” that day. Far from running from barricade to barricade, seeking to smash the hate-filled fascists at every turn, Heather Heyer does something that few on either side seem to be capable of. At about the 4:00 minute mark, Heyer approaches a handful of Alt-Right stragglers and speaks to a woman among them.

Courtney Commander, in a December 18 article in the Daily Beast, says that Heyer asked the woman why she wanted to participate in the Unite the Right rally. There is no screaming, no name-calling, no flinging of feces or urine. Nobody even gets smashed on the head with a bike lock. It is a quiet conversation between two women. Between two human beings. Heyer seems to want to understand where the other woman is coming from. It’s doubtful that the two will ever agree on much, but at least it is an attempt to understand.

That sixty second encounter, which ends with the Alt-Right woman’s “no comment” claim when she sees Commander approaching with her phone camera, is what Heather Heyer should truly be remembered for. And it should be the real-life Heather Heyer who should be remembered and not a sanitized image created without any input from the woman herself.

Heather Heyer died instantly at the scene of the 4th Street car crash, not long after that interaction was filmed. Her cause of death, blunt force trauma to the chest, was released by Charlottesville officials back in October, but her actual manner of death has yet to be released, as of this writing. This fact is crucial to the case against James Fields, as it will determine the actual charges brought against him.

It is especially important to determine the manner of Heyer’s death because of the way it has been portrayed in Social Media, and, more troubling, by the Mainstream Media. There are very real civil rights and due process issues in this case that have been completely ignored, mostly by the Left, in pursuit of political and even financial gain.

What we know for sure is that James Fields participated in the Alt-Right rally on the morning of August 12, 2017. Images of him in a crowd of neo-Nazis, holding a borrowed shield bearing the group’s insignia are easily found online. Fields even turns up in documentary footage shot by National Geographic.

Livestream video shot by amateur journalist Ford Fischer shows Fields’ tinted-out Dodge Challenger rolling slowly down East Water Street less than ten minutes before the fatal crash (at about 00:45 in Fischer’s video.)

At roughly 02:40 in the video, Fischer passes the intersection of 4th and Water Streets, about five minutes before the crash. There are a few people on the street, but nowhere near the crowds shown in later crash videos.

Conspicuously, there is a maroon passenger van shown on 4th Street, as if waiting to make a turn onto Water. That van will be in the same position five minutes later. Police drone video will show the driver of the van standing in front of it at the moment of impact, nearly getting run over by her own vehicle.

So far, the media has yet to identify the driver or her passengers. This is relevant as the drone footage shows numerous people being knocked to the ground by the van after Fields allegedly rammed his car into a Toyota Camry waiting behind the maroon van.

News reports say that upwards of 35 people were injured in the crash, but Fields is being charged with one count of first-degree murder and eight counts of malicious wounding.

Under Virginia law (and no doubt many or all other states), in a multi-vehicle accident, all of the drivers are liable for any injuries they cause with their vehicle, whether they were at fault or not. The driver of the maroon van may technically be responsible for the majority of the non-fatal injuries.

Why was she parked there? It couldn’t be to prevent cars from turning onto 4th Street as 4th is a one-way street.

Another alleged player in the events leading up to the crash is University of North Carolina professor Dwayne Dixon, who has released video claiming it was he who turned Fields off Market Street (VA 250) onto 4th Street at rifle point.

Will Prof. Dixon, who heads a self-described Liberal armed militia calling itself “Redneck Revolt,” (“redneck” being the last socially acceptable racial slur, at least by the Left) be called to testify at Field’s trial this coming November? Will he be charged as an accessory?

As the map below shows, Fields turned off Market Street onto 4th Street near the Market Street Market (whether at Dixon’s threat or of his own volition), just two blocks from the crash scene at the intersection of Water Street (directly next to the improbably named Race Jewelers store).

It should be noted that this section of 4th Street is a one-way box canyon with no other outlet than Water Street. Halfway in between is Charlottesville’s trendy Main Street, a brick-lined pedestrian mall lined with restaurants, stores and theaters.

Crash scene video indicates that the crowd of counter-protesters had not progressed very far up the length of 4th Street at the time of the crash. Recall Ford Fischer’s video showing the intersection practically empty, except for the maroon van only minutes earlier.

The same footage shows paramedics performing CPR on Heather Heyer, only a few feet from the corner of Water Street. In short, Heyer had probably turned north onto 4th Street a few seconds before Fields turned south onto it, two blocks away.

Despite the Left-wing claims that Fields deliberately targeted Saint Heather, who was supposedly climbing the barricades to get at the “haters,” there’s little evidence that either of them had any idea the other existed.

4th Street Map

Another point for the jury to consider is that if Fields’ intent was to deliberately mow down people, why didn’t he just turn onto the pedestrian mall and have at it?

At Fields’ preliminary hearing in December, 2017, the prosecution produced security camera footage of his Challenger backing up 4th Street before surging ahead into the Camry at the intersection. The claim was made that this proves that Fields was backing up to gain more space in which to accelerate, but crash video clearly shows Fields swerving around pedestrians, including those stepping into the street to swing clubs at his car, and tapping his brakes.

We won’t know until November, but it is entirely possible that Fields was looking for another exit from 4th Street.

What is undeniable is that it was Fields’ car that slammed into the Camry, tossing numerous people into the air. Crash video shows several people climbing onto the back of Fields’ car to smash out his rear window with bats and clubs within five seconds of the impact.

Fields’ car shifts into reverse, throwing the people on the trunk aside, and backs all the way back to Market Street at a high rate of speed. Moments later, Fields surrenders to police less than a mile from the crash scene.

If James Fields set out to intentionally run down protesters he didn’t do a very good job of it. And if it was intentional, what did he have to lose by making a run for it rather than surrendering to the first police officers he spotted?

It is entirely possible that it was his plan to hit people with his car all along, and it is also entirely possible that he was a 20 year-old driver who panicked. That won’t absolve him from criminal prosecution, nor should it.

What it should do is to change the Left/Media narrative of Fields as an arch-super-racist to something a lot more mundane. They made him a poster boy for Evil for political and fundraising purposes (yeah… same thing… we know…) but his upcoming trial may simply show him to be a spokesmodel for Stupid.

The biggest question, of course, is whether they can make a first-degree murder charge stick. On October 17, 2017, the Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond determined that Heather Heyer’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest.

What has yet to be determined, or publicly released, is Heyer’s manner of death, which will determine the prosecution’s case against Fields. If Fields’ car caused the blunt force trauma directly, then it should be an open-and-shut case.

If something else caused the trauma, such as one of the other vehicles, or, as shown in Ryan Kelly’s Pulitzer Prize photo, below, the flying body of another victim, the verdict may change.

(Some sources claim that Heather Heyer’s face can be seen in the photo, just below the left knee of the airborne man with the tattooed back. We have no way to confirm or deny at this time.)

Cville Pulitzer

At this point, some people may ask “What difference does it make?” The car that caused the carnage is definitely James Fields’. You can clearly see his license plate in the photo. And the man who got out of that car two minutes later to surrender was definitely James Fields.

The difference is the narrative and it is an important difference. By spinning the tragedy as a deliberate kamikaze-style attack by crazed neo-Nazi, the Media and the Hate Industry have denied any possibility of any other explanation, though they may have gotten the story absolutely right on the first try.

If, on the other hand, Fields turns out to be little more than a stupid 20 year-old (albeit a well-documented neo-Nazi idiot) with a long history of violent behavior problems, then why not simply tell the real story?

The Media has made a lot of money from lurid reports about the Charlottesville riots. You can’t ask for better click bait than a violent story with clear-cut bad guys, including the arch-villain Donald Trump, especially in the dog days of August. “If it bleeds, it leads!”

Hate Industry groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, saw unimaginable windfall “non-profits” from the tragedy. The SPLC reported contributions of $132,044,179 for 2017, nearly three times the $50 million it took in for 2016. With Charlottesville riding on the heels of the election of the very unpopular Donald Trump (among the Left, at any rate), the SPLC’s Progressive donor base couldn’t shell out the virtue signalling donor-dollars fast enough.

One has to ask, is this what Heather Heyer died for? Let the woman rest in peace. She didn’t set out to be a martyr that day any more than anyone else did. She was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Stop exploiting her death for profit. Give Heather Heyer back her dignity and her humanity and honor what she REALLY stood for.

One final note, in an already long-winded post, late in the afternoon of August 12, several hours after Heyer’s death, a Virginia State Police helicopter that had been surveilling the crowds in Charlottesville, crashed in a nearby field, killing pilot Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates. Many in the Media and the Hate Industry have deliberately conflated the deaths of the two troopers with Unite the Right riots. This is wrong for several reasons:

At the time of the helicopter crash, the troopers were en route to cover the motorcade of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Nobody in their right minds would blame McAuliffe for “causing” the crash.

The helicopter was built in 2000 and had a history of engine problems, including one hard, unpowered landing in 2010. It wasn’t shot down by neo-Nazis and had every bit as much chance of experiencing the engine failure if it were monitoring rush hour traffic or searching for a lost child.

Responsible sources should not attempt to pad the riot death toll for political/fundraising purposes. It cheapens the memories of these brave officers and those of all the others who die in the line of duty.

Below is the video Courtney Commander shot at the torchlight rally on August 11. Be warned that it contains a continuous stream of expletives and many, many racial slurs. Not Safe for Work.


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