Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville’

SPLC — More Fundraising Shenanigans

October 10, 2019

Skimming through the news feeds and found several articles touting the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center says it has registered over 1,300 new voters in Mississippi. Any effort to increase voter participation is to be commended.

At least one Mississippi news outlet made the dubious claim that:

“The Southern Poverty Law Center doesn’t support any candidate. They are a non-partisan organization. Their message is to educate people about the process.”

“Non-partisan”? Really? Considering the company’s huge donor list was built upon those of the McGovern, Carter, Ted Kennedy and Hart presidential campaigns, it seems likely that they are extremely partial to those of the political persuasion that gave them $122 million donor-dollars in 2018, and another $133 million the year before.

As far as not supporting any candidate, maybe not, but they most definitely denigrate the current occupant of the White House and his party. One need only Google the terms “SPLC” and “Trump” to find several years’ worth of vitriolic rhetoric.

We tried it ourselves and the first hit we got was this impartial plea.

Tell President Trump to Take Responsibility-Header

The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine first noted this web page on August 19, 2017, just a week after the Charlottesville riots, but it was likely posted a few days earlier.

The page makes the damning claim that “President Trump’s campaign and presidency have energized the white supremacist movement in unprecedented ways,” but provides no proof to back up the claim. If the SPLC has a “smoking gun” that Trump has “energized” white supremacists, they need only produce it.

Three years later and we’re still waiting…

The text continues: “At this point, it’s not enough for Trump simply to condemn bigotry. He must take responsibility for the surge in white supremacy and hate that he has unleashed.

The events in Charlottesville demand nothing less.

And what can decent, caring people do to help? Simply fill in a form!

Tell President Trump to Take Responsibility-Submit

And what happens when the Righteous push the big blue “Submit” button? Apparently, nothing that the president will ever see. Not only is there no text box with which to “tell the president” anything, an examination of the underlying source code shows no links to the White House email address or even Mr. Trump’s twitter account. It does show more than two dozen links to “splcenter.org,” however.

Once again, the SPLC has set up a dummy form calling people to some kind of virtuous action only to deliver their personal contact information to their own huge, in-house fundraising machine.

Once again, the company stooped to invoking Charlottesville to whip up fear and outrage to turn a buck. How cynical is that?

Vaya con Dinero, SPLC.

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.

Charity Navigator: SPLC Donations for 2017 Could Reach One Billion Dollars

December 28, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center won’t release its annual IRS Form 990 tax return until February, but preliminary reports indicate that 2017 donations could approach ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Charity Navigator, a nationally respected rating service of non-profit organizations, noted last April that donations to the SPLC during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, from January 20 to April 20, 2017 were up by 1,400%.

Charity Navigator, First 100 Days

Source: Charity Navigator

While we do not have the actual figures for that period, the SPLC’s current Form 990 indicates that the company received just over $50 million in donations for FY 2016, which would average out to $12.5 million a quarter.

Math was never our strong suit, we freely admit, but if our back-of-the-envelope calculations are correct, a 1,400% increase on $12.5 million would come to a staggering $187,500,000 for a single quarter alone.

If there are any mathematicians in the house, or functional numerates of any kind, please speak up if these numbers are off in any way.

IF the figures above are accurate, and we multiply them by four to get a total for a full fiscal year, we come up with a nice, round $750,000,000 overall. That’s three-quarters of a billion dollars to you and me.

Keep in mind that total SPLC receipts from 2001 to 2016 “only” add up to around $624 million COMBINED and you can start to comprehend the magnitude of this statistic.

SPLC profits 2001 to 2016

And these numbers only reflect the increase on an average SPLC fiscal quarter. Charity Navigator’s estimate only extends to April, 2017, and while the country experienced numerous political and social events during the year, both Trump- and non-Trump-related, the real floodgates to SPLC donations opened in August, following the infamous Charlottesville riots.

At that time, major corporations, artists and celebrities threw millions at the SPLC in ham-fisted attempts to out-virtue signal each other as to who really hated “hate” more, and that does not include the uncounted number of individual donors who followed suit.

The SPLC makes it so easy to strike a pose and assuage your white guilt: just write a check.

And, as we noted at the time, it only took the SPLC two weeks to figure out how to cash in on the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville by slapping her photo on their unscrupulous “Wall of Tolerance” fundraising tool.

We won’t have any idea of the actual magnitude of money that changed hands until next February, but as the SPLC’s fiscal year closes on October 31 each year, it is reasonable to predict that the final quarter of August through October will show an increase far in excess of a mere 1,400%.

The good news is that with a billion dollars in cash coming in, the SPLC can finally retire from the odious fundraising business and live off the interest. Granted, that could put hundreds of SPLC employees out of work, but with the nation’s most profitable non-profit on their resumés, it won’t be long before they are snapped up by other hopeful contenders for the title.

You read it here first, folks.

SPLC — Cashing in on Charlottesville

August 19, 2017

While the violence and death at last week’s “Unite the Right” riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a national tragedy and a source of horror for most Americans, it follows as surely as the night follows day that the Southern Poverty Law Center would find a way to make money off it.

It was only a few weeks ago, in June, when the SPLC was writhing under some of the most negative media coverage it had possibly ever seen, in the wake of the GuideStar debacle. Reliable media allies such as Politico and the Wall Street Journal were openly criticizing GuideStar, a leading rating agency of non-profit organizations, for adding the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” label to dozens of its entries.

[The Politico article is one of the best exposés of the SPLC written in decades and well worth a read.]

Then came Charlottesville. The violent idiots on both sides of the fighting were right out of Central Casting and a godsend for the SPLC. Images of torchlight parades across the University of Virginia campus were tailor-made for the endless barrage of fundraising tweets, press releases, and, no doubt, fundraising letters. The cash has been pouring in ever since. The company will probably have to open several more off-shore bank accounts to house it all.

All of that paled in comparison to the tragedy of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer’s death after being struck by a car that careered into a crowd on Saturday afternoon. Video footage of the incident gives an impression that the act may possibly have been intentional, and the driver of the car, James Fields, Jr., who was identified marching with white nationalists earlier in the day, is currently being held on charges of second-degree murder and several other counts.

Once Heyer’s name was released on the following day she was immediately canonized by the media and the Left, for their own financial and political purposes, but none of them could hold a candle to the Southern Poverty Law Center when it comes to monetizing murder.

Less than a week after Heyer’s death, the SPLC announced that it was “honoring Heather Heyer at Civil Rights Memorial Center.”

“Like the civil rights martyrs whose names are inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial, Heather took a stand against hate and bigotry and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the SPLC, which built and maintains the memorial.”

Will Heyer’s name be immortalized on the SPLC’s “Martyr’s Monument,” a black granite disc designed by Vietnam Veterans Memorial artist Maya Lin? Well no, that monument cost the perpetually cash-strapped SPLC $5,000,000 in 1989 (nearly $10 million in today’s dollars.)

Instead, the SPLC is going to honor Heyer on its less-static and infinitely more economical “Wall of Tolerance.” Longtime Watching the Watchdogs readers may recall our 2016 investigation of the Wall of Tolerance fundraising scam. We found that, like the lucrative “Stand Strong Against Hate” map scam that preceded it, the Wall of Tolerance was little more than a fundraising tool designed to recruit new donors.

While invoking the names of the “civil rights martyrs,” the Wall of Tolerance scam is built solidly upon the age-old persuasion technique of “reciprocity,” in which an organization sends out free gifts to potential donors in the expectation that the recipients will feel obliged to make a donation. Many readers may remember receiving packs of return address labels from various veteran’s groups. It’s a simple, cost-effective method that has been around for decades.

In the Wall of Tolerance scam, prospective donors receive a suitable-for-framing certificate from the SPLC thanking them for joining the ranks of the civil rights martyrs by supporting the company in its never-ending “fight against hate.” In addition to the certificate, the recipient will be memorialized forever on the “Wall of Tolerance,” a 20-by-40-foot Jumbotron screen at SPLC headquarters, where hundreds of thousands of names drift autumn-leaf-like across the screen “as the gentle rain from heaven.”

Recipients, honored to be included among such auspicious company, feel obligated to send along a little something in appreciation. Others can add their names simply by passing along their personal contact information to the Fundraising Department.

As our report noted, at least one honoree, Marcus Epstein,  had the dual honor of having his own page on the SPLC website that denounced him as a racist. Oops!

SOFII, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, was hugely impressed by the elegant simplicity of the Wall of Tolerance:

SOFII’s view

The Southern Poverty Law Center, who launched this campaign, is a hugely impressive organisation with a long and well-deserved reputation for effective donor development.

Though we don’t have the results, we think we can presume that this direct mail capital appeal must have worked really very well.

Merits

This is one of the most moving and long-lasting donor involvement campaigns in the USA and represents some of the best that the direct marketer’s art can produce.

It cost the SPLC nothing to add Heather Heyer’s name to the Wall o’ Tolerance Jumbotron but the tax-free donor-dollars will be rolling in by the truckload for weeks and months.

Incidentally, Lecia Brooks, who is quoted above in the Heyer press release, holds two concurrent Directorships at the SPLC. One of the few African-Americans in the SPLC hierarchy, Double-Director Brooks has never been named among the company’s highest paid executives.

One wonders what Heather Heyer would have made of that?


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