Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

SPLC Attacks Joe Biden

February 24, 2021

Just two months after taking office, President Joe Biden finds himself the target of righteous anger from his voter base for his recent decision to reopen two detention centers built by the Obama administration to house unaccompanied immigrant children. Sensing an opportunity to peddle some fresh outrage to its donor base, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a breathless press release on February 23 condemning both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris by name. The wording of the release is interesting, both for what it says and what it does not.

In a blaring, all-caps headline, the SPLC writes: “SPLC: REOPENING OF MIGRANT CHILD PRISONS MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE AND UNNECESSARY.” The opening line states that “The Biden-Harris administration is reportedly planning to reopen the Homestead detention center to detain unaccompanied migrant children.”

Note the curious use of the phrase “Biden-Harris administration,” something we’ve never seen before and a pairing the SPLC has never made with previous administrations. Since when do vice-presidents get their own “administrations”? The release repeats the phrase three times.

Also note the use of the terms “prisons” and “detention center” for a facility the Obama administration (or was it the Obama-Biden administration?) named the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children. The SPLC didn’t see fit to refer to it by any name when Obama was running it, and they seem to have avoided the “Kids in Cages” trope under Trump, though they have used the term “caged” on many occasions to describe the detention of adult illegal aliens.

The Biden administration claims that the shelters are indeed temporary, just as Obama and Trump did, but many Progressives aren’t buying it. They quite rightly see the hypocrisy inherent in the decision. Since Biden and the SPLC share many of the same donors the company has a built-in market for its outrage product.

The piece offers one other linguistic sidestep when it refers to “… the failed model of child detention of the pre-Trump era…” They cannot even bring themselves to give credit where due to the Obama administration for creating the shelter system in the first place.

As to the “unnecessary” aspect of the plan, blared out in the headline, the author of the press release, who we’ll address below, states: “There are community-based, humane alternatives to detention such as NGOs, nonprofits and community sponsors that are ready to safely care for migrant children from the safety of homes.These options are safer and less traumatizing and will end our reliance on profit-driven private detention corporations.”

The author seems to believe that scattering the children over hundreds of foster homes is preferable to keeping them in one or two locations, where their parents could theoretically locate them should they ever wish to reclaim them in the future.

It also implies that these organizations and individuals would willingly shoulder the cost of feeding, clothing and housing these hundreds of teenagers with no compensation from the government. It’s not an impossible dream, just highly unlikely, though there is one player that could easily take up the challenge and never feel the financial bite in the least.

According to its 2019 IRS Form 990 tax form (2020’s is due out any week now) the SPLC had more than half a billion dollars in cash on hand, 98% of which is designated as “unrestricted” in use. A mere one or two percent of that hoard would be ample for the needs of the undocumented children and would no doubt score major cool points with the donors, who would be thrilled to see their money actually was doing something more useful than hiding out in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Win/Win/Win.

The author of the press release, Oliver Torres, is a new name to us, but considering the enormous hiring binge the SPLC has been on in recent years (from 296 paid employees and 22 volunteers in 2015 to 441 employees and 446 volunteers in 2019) it’s hardly surprising. What is surprising is Mr. Torres’ job title: “Senior Outreach Paralegal for the [SPLC’s] Immigrant Justice Project.”

Considering how important the SPLC claims their work for illegal aliens is, and also considering that half-billion dollars in the bank, the best the company can do is to assign a paralegal to the project? Really? Are there no actual lawyers left at the Law Center?

It would seem that once again the Southern Poverty Law Center is selling image rather than character. No doubt it is going to be “business as usual” with the accent on business as we enter the post-Morris Dees and post-Donald Trump era. As with any huge business organization there is a constant need to devise new products to keep the customers coming back year after year.

It will be worth watching how the “Biden-Harris administration fares with the blowback from this dose of cold political reality.

SPLC — Hate Map 2020 — Trump Crushes “Hate Groups”!!!

February 19, 2021

Recently the Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool, which purports to identify “hate groups” in the US from the previous fiscal year. As usual, it’s full of unvetted claims and outright obfuscations, but like its thirty predecessors, going back to 1990, the “Hate Map” tool is guaranteed to bring in tens of millions of tax-free donor dollars.

The SPLC will be releasing its latest IRS Form 990 shortly, so we’ll get to see how much 2020’s haul from the donors was soon enough. If recent totals are any indication, it should be another hefty year for the company’s coffers:

2019: $117 million
2018: $122 million
2017: $133 million
2016: $53 million*

Before we get into the latest numbers we need to repeat some boilerplate information for our many new readers.

  1. There is no legal definition for a “hate group,” which is why even the FBI does not, cannot designate “hate groups.” There isn’t even a universal definition for “hate,” so what exactly is the SPLC allegedly tracking?
  2. The SPLC’s own spurious definition, “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics” essentially boils down to “All hate groups say mean things about other groups,” is so intentionally elastic that it can be applied to almost anyone.
  3. In 2019, Senior US District Court Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the SPLC’s “hate group” label is merely the company’s “opinion,” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
  4. The Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. is a private 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation. It has no mandate, no authority, legal or moral, to designate anyone as anything. Again, such designations are merely the company’s “opinion.”

    The company receives no external review or oversight
    . In 1994, the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, ran a 10-day exposé of the company which revealed that its Board of Directors was packed with cronies and employees of SPLC founder, Morris Dees. Some of these rubber-stampers were still on the Board some twenty-five years later, at the time of Dees’ firing under allegations of long-term sexual harassment of female employees.
  5. Mark Potok, the SPLC’s Intelligence Director for twenty years and the creator of the “Hate Map” tool has stated repeatedly that:

    Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”

    “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…” Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”

    Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.” (Seriously. The SPLC deliberately conflates six of the most fundamental civil rights protected by the First Amendment with “criminal acts” and “hate group activities.”)

    Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list.” (SPLC Hate Map, 2015)

    “An online presence isn’t enough to be added to the list; a group has to meet at least once a year at a physical location.” (SPLC Outreach Director Kate Chance, Feb. 21, 2019)

    Let me first of all say, that we do the “hate group” map and the counts, and so on, as a very rough measure… It’s an imperfect process.”

    “The numbers are absolutely soft,” said Mark Potok, a Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman. “We are talking about a tiny number of Americans who are members of hate groups – I mean, infinitesimal.” (Arlene Levinson, “Hate Groups, Crimes Said Rare in US,” Associated Press, July 8, 1999).

    “We see this political struggle, right? …I mean we’re not trying to change anybody’s mind. We’re trying to wreck the groups, and we are very clear in our head, this is… we are trying to destroy them. Not to send them to prison unfairly or not take their free speech rights away… but as a political matter, to destroy them.”  (Holiday, 2008, track 13, https://archive.org/details/MarkPotok).

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt that these are human beings and it’s a mistake to regard them as just a bunch of sociopaths… though most of them are. Let me say… our aim… sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate groups and so on. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups. Completely destroy them!” (Sept. 2007,  https://youtu.be/fnTz2ylJo_8)

    So what we really see out there in terms of violence from the radical right is by and large what we would call lone wolves, people operating on their own or with just one or two partners. As opposed to, you know, being some kind of organizational plan.”

And there you have it, right from the experts at the SPLC themselves. By the way, we know that the SPLC is staffed by “experts” because it clearly says so on the company’s website and fundraising literature. Let’s wade in and have a look at this latest “report.”

First off, 2020’s “hate group” count is down by 11% from 2019, from 940 to 838. Ups and downs like this are not unusual for the SPLC. As the sole arbiter of the insanely lucrative “hate group” label, the company can set the level anywhere it pleases and nobody in the Media will ask to see any proof whatsoever.

In 2011, the SPLC designated 1,018 alleged “hate groups,” an all-time record high which they naturally attributed to “A Black Man in the White House.” By 2014, halfway into President Obama’s second term, the number mysteriously plummeted to 784, a loss of 23%.

How can this be? It’s simple. The SPLC is keenly aware of “donor fatigue,” which is why they stopped taking Death Row appeal cases in the 1970s. The donors will gladly swallow claims of 1,018 “hate groups,” but it’s hard to keep the hysteria alive from year to year. Therefore, the SPLC will voluntarily cut back its “hate group” totals so that in a year or two it can sound the alarums about “explosive growth in hate” when they jack the numbers up again in some future campaign.

In 2018, “hate groups” allegedly set a new “all time record high” under President Trump. What the company neglected to mention was that, at 1,020, the new “record” was only two groups higher than President Obama’s numbers in 2011. The donors didn’t remember and the Media didn’t care. The excuse for 2020’s decline was exactly the same as for 2014, “hate groups are going online.”

The sheer beauty of the “online” canard is that there is no possible way to prove or disprove it. This is the same logic behind the SPLC’s oft-repeated claims that Donald Trump somehow “emboldened hate groups.” It’s a throwaway claim that perpetuates the company’s Fear and Outrage campaign with absolutely no risk that anyone in the Media is going to ask to see the evidence (not that anyone in the Media ever would).

Another HUGE fact to remember about the “Hate Map” is what the SPLC likes to designate as “Statewide” groups. “Statewide” simply refers to alleged groups for which the SPLC provides no corroborating information whatsoever. Not so much as a known city or town, or anything that a donor or journalist could use to verify the claim. Nothing.

The SPLC has been using “statewide” phantoms to pad out its numbers for decades. It’s a brilliant fundraising strategy. For example, the SPLC claims 42 alleged chapters of the Patriot Front for 2020, with one in Washington, DC, and the other 41 parceled out as “statewide” entities across various states. No evidence, no proof required. Thirty-five of the SPLC’s 36 Racist Skinhead groups are “statewide” phantoms! That’s 97% of the claim and nobody in the Media will challenge it.

Better still, when compared from year to year, the percentage of “statewide” phantoms in any one category continues to increase. As the chart below indicates (click to enlarge) in 2017 “only” 39% of alleged Ku Klux Klan chapters were “statewide” phantoms, but by 2020 they accounted for nearly half. In 2017, 35% of alleged White Nationalist “groups” were homeless. By 2020 the number had jumped to 61%. The company is losing its “hate groups” faster than it can designate them.

“Statewide” phantoms since 2017 – Click to Enlarge

While the SPLC would prefer that people (donors) forget about previous claims, we like to keep track of such things. You never know what the experts at the SPLC are going to tell you over time. For example, in the chart above, alleged group counts in red indicate an increase from the previous year. Those highlighted in yellow indicate a decline and those in blue indicate no change at all from the previous year. Since 2017 the decreases have outnumbered the increases significantly, and even the increases are fairly minor compared to the previous year, with one glaring exception.

For 2020, the SPLC stopped counting Black and Black Muslim “hate groups” as “Black hate groups.” While it’s perfectly acceptable, even righteous, to count White Nationalist “groups” because they believe that whites are superior to non-whites, and Christian Identity “groups” because they believe that Christians are superior to heathen non-believers, you can’t draw attention to your 70-odd Nation of Islam chapters as “hate groups,” even though their racial and religious identities form the entire bases of their association. It confuses the donors, which is bad for business.

You see, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Black people aren’t like other human beings and must be treated differently. Black “hate” isn’t really hate and the fact that Black “hate groups” are the largest single and fastest growing category on the map was proving to be problematic.

As with previous years, 2020’s 264 alleged Black “hate groups” outnumbered all 252 of the SPLC’s KKK, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead and white nationalist groups for that year COMBINED.

When you strip out the homeless “statewide” phantoms from both sides, that ratio jumps to 3.5-to-1, or 252 to 82. What were the donors to make of that?

The solution was simplicity itself. If “Black hate groups” are the problem, simply call them something else, otherwise you’d have to erase another 32% of your groups from the map.

So for 2020, the SPLC’s 264 alleged “Black hate groups” and 7 alleged Holocaust Denial “groups were shoved into the delightfully generic “General Hate” category. They are still the same groups, with a few extras thrown in, but they’re not Black anymore. Get it?

This creative accounting brings up another fascinating factoid: According to the SPLC’s own dire numbers, and despite five straight years of hysterical claims that “Donald Trump empowers hate groups!!!,” it turns out that nearly every single category of SPLC-designated “hate group” has DECLINED since 2017, i.e., during the Trump administration. Behold!

“Hate Group” declines under Trump – Click to Enlarge

Granted, claiming that all Black and Holocaust denial “groups” simply evaporated during Donald Trump’s watch is inherently disingenuous, but while the Holocausters remained steady at seven alleged chapters, Black “hate groups” actually increased by 4% in 2020 and when those numbers are returned to their traditional categories the bloated General Hate category actually decreased by 21% over the previous year.

Remember folks, these are the SPLC’s own impeccable numbers, not ours.

Speaking of numbers, how many hate-filled individuals does it actually take to compose a “group”? Obviously, the SPLC isn’t going to come right and say “X-number or more” because that would require, you know, proof. Let’s see what the experts have to say, starting off with Mark Potok again:

“Potok says inclusion on the list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.” (www.sanluisobispo.com, March 25, 2009)

“Potok acknowledged that some of the groups may be small and said it is impossible for outsiders to gauge the membership of most of the groups.” (David Crary, Associated Press Online, March 10, 2008)

In 2015, Mark Potok assigned 40 “hate groups” to New Jersey, (a state that doesn’t get enough negative publicity as it is…), giving that state the fourth highest total in the land and causing Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly denounce the SPLC’s bogus counts.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s list is wildly inflated,” said Pitcavage. “They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it’s just a couple of individuals.”

After being publicly outed by the ADL, the SPLC slashed New Jersey’s count from 40 to 21 on the next “Hate Map,” which was not issued until a full fundraising year later.

In 2017, Mr. Potok’s successor as Intelligence Director, Heidi Beirich, read a single online post on a Klan website by an individual who said he lived in the town of Gurnee, Illinois. That was all it took for Gurnee to earn its very own Scarlet H “hate group” designation.

That same year, Ms. Beirich read another anonymous blog post by an individual who opined that Amana, Iowa would be a great place to hold a neo-Nazi meeting and… wait for it… Amana had a “hate group.” That’s all it took. In fact, no meeting of neo-Nazis ever took place in 2017 or since.

What makes the Amana case even more ludicrous is that the village was founded by German Pietist immigrants in the 1840s, who later formed the Amana appliance corporation in the 1930s. The Amana Colonies exist today as a popular tourist destination listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Amana is populated by costumed interpreters who demonstrate 19th century farm life.

Both Amana and Gurnee are heavily dependent on tourism, with the latter employing some 3,000 people at its Six Flags location. Who would take their family to a town with an “SPLC-certified hate group”? According to Politico, when the mayors of both villages complained to the SPLC they were met with indifferent shrugs and informed that the company’s “hate group” numbers are fixed and cannot be changed until the new map comes out the following year.

Amana did receive a reprieve of sorts, when Ms. Beirich reluctantly agreed to move the fictitious neo-Nazi group-of-one from Amana to “Statewide,” but Iowa maintained all four of its alleged “hate groups” for the entire year.

Not only is the “Hate Map” populated by numerous one-man “groups,” the list is also rife with one-man websites, something the company categorically states that it does not count. Remember their claim, “Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list“? Some past and current examples:

Rense Radio Network (Since 2015)
carolynyeager,net (Since 2013)
Casa D’Ice Signs (2010-2015)
Free Edgar Steele (2010-2015)
Christ or Chaos (Since 2011)
Bob’s Underground Graduate Seminar/BUGS (2013-2017)
Sultan Knish a blog by Daniel Greenfield (2011-2016)
White Rabbit Radio (Since 2013)
Bomb Islam (Since 2016)
Wildman’s Civil War Surplus and Herb Shop (2018)

While these are only a few of the many one-man web groups the SPLC has claimed over the years, the top prize has to go to The Daily Stormer, which, to be absolutely clear, was a bona fide neo-Nazi blog, make no mistake about it. The sheer marketing genius of this claim deserves a closer look.

In 2015, Mark Potok told the OC Register “We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity.”

Also in 2015, Mr. Potok described The Daily Stormer to Esquire magazine as “mostly Andrew Angelin, his dog, and a computer,” with one single, one-man “group” based in Ohio.

In 2016, Potok counted 32 iterations of The Daily Stormer one-man website, including the ridiculous “hate group” Heidi Beirich assigned to Amana, Iowa, and one “statewide” phantom in New York State.

By 2017, there were still 32 alleged Stormer “groups,” only now all but the Ohio home base were “statewide” phantoms.

2018 saw the list shrink to 22 iterations, with all but the Ohio “group” listed as “statewide,” and by 2019, the lucrative franchise (at least for the SPLC) collapsed to a mere ten chapters, and even the Ohio iteration had gone AWOL.

As of 2020, The Daily Stormer has morphed back into the one-man blog it has always been and is counted among Ohio’s 21 alleged “groups,” even though Mr. Angelin fled the country to parts unknown in 2016 and the website now sports a .su domain name, which would seemingly put it somewhere in the Soviet Union.

You really have to tip your hat to such marketing ingenuity. Since 2015, the SPLC has counted a single one-man blog, something Mark Potok swore that the company does not count, 98 times and the Media never once questioned it.

And so, there we have it. Another year and another SPLC “Hate Map” fundraising tool. In the aftermath of the near collapse of the company in 2019, with the scandalous firing of its founder, Morris Dees, and the suspiciously hasty resignations of SPLC President Richard Cohen and Legal Director Rhonda Brownstein just one week later, we briefly toyed with the idea that the company might have turned a corner and was heading back to its civil rights roots. It had, after all, finally diversified its Executive Suite after a 49-year “whites only” policy set in place by Dees and rigorously enforced by Cohen and the company’s Board of Directors.

Sadly, it was not to be. While the same Board that had kept Dees and Cohen in power for decades quickly named one of its own, Karen Baynes-Dunning as interim president until it could hire the equally diverse Margaret Huang, the company still saw fit to reward Dees, Cohen and Brownstein with more than a million donor-dollars in severance pay in 2019, despite the shame and ignominy they brought to the brand name.

The simple fact is that the annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool brings in too much money to walk away from, even though the SPLC has more than half a billion dollars in cash reserves. It’s no conspiracy. Like everything else about the Southern Poverty Law Center, the spurious “hate group” designations are simply part of the business of selling fear.


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.

Why Won’t the SPLC Commission “Scientific” Surveys?

May 19, 2019

In the wake of the recent scandals rocking the top management of the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is quite reasonable for the rank-and-file staffers to want to put the past behind them and get back to business as usual. It was therefore no surprise to find a newly-minted SPLC “survey” making the Media rounds in the last week or two.

That “survey,” Hate at School, shares a number of characteristics with previous SPLC “surveys,” especially those conducted by the company’s Teaching Tolerance division, which purports to promote diversity in the K-12 classroom.

Hate at School joins the ranks of The Trump Effect (Spring, 2016) and its updated sequel, After Election Day: The Trump Effect, (Fall, 2016). All three “reports” share the following characteristics:

  1. All of the “surveys” were broadcast online indiscriminately, with no way of verifying the identities of the respondents. Anyone could respond without proving that they were actual educators.
  2. All of the responses cited in all three reports were made by the anonymous likes of “A middle school teacher in Indiana,” “High school teacher, Tennessee,” and “In Arizona, a PreK-8 teacher.”

    Despite nearly 15,000 alleged responses across all three “surveys” combined, not one single “educator” is identified by name. Not one.

  3. Nobody outside of the SPLC has ever seen the alleged responses.
  4. All three “surveys” include disclaimers regarding the methodology used:

    Trump Effect I “Our survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers was not scientific. Our email subscribers and those who visit our website are not a random sample of teachers nationally, and those who chose to respond to our survey are likely to be those who are most concerned about the impact of the presidential campaign on their students and schools,” (p. 4).

    Trump Effect II “The results of this survey are not scientific. The respondents were not selected in a manner to ensure a representative sample; those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not,” (p. 14).

    Hate at School “Respondents were not randomly selected, so we don’t claim they are a representative sample of the national teaching force,” (p. 21).

  5. Despite admitting that the “surveys” were not scientific, Maureen Costello, the head of Teaching Tolerance and the person responsible for the methodology employed, attempts to claim that her tainted data are somehow relevant:

    Trump Effect I
    – “But the data we collected is the richest source of information that we know of about the effect of the presidential campaign on education in our country. And there is nothing counterintuitive about the results,” (Ibid.).

    Well of course there is nothing counterintuitive about the results when you stack the deck from the get-go. You got exactly the alleged responses you were looking for and nobody in the Media will ever ask to see the proof.

    Trump Effect II
    “But it is the largest collection of educator responses that has been collected; the tremendous number of responses as well as the overwhelming confirmation of what has been anecdotally reported in the media cannot be ignored or dismissed,” (Ibid.).

    Actually, if your data are tainted from the outset, they absolutely can and should be ignored and dismissed, whether you are claiming ten unverified responses or a thousand. Unverifiable anecdotal reports, whatever the source, are just that — anecdotes.

    an·ec·do·tal – adjective: anecdotal

    1.  (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.

    Hate at School
    “Our data, though based on an unscientific survey, raises important questions,” (p. 6).

Finally, Ms. Costello, a statement we can all agree on! With more than half a billion dollars in assets on hand, including $110 million donor-dollars in the last fiscal year alone, the most important question is WHY does the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Teaching Tolerance wing have to rely on unscientific surveys?

Why not hire a legitimate polling firm to create and conduct your surveys, such as Gallup, Harris or Pew, so that you do not have to include embarrassing disclaimers and factitious justifications? You have more than enough money and if things are truly as dire as you claim it should be ridiculously easy to verify them in the field.

Why not remove every last shed of doubt from the accuracy of your claims? If, as your “surveys” state, Teaching Tolerance reaches over 400,000 US teachers a month, why do you report so few “survey” responses? Why can’t anyone outside of the company see the results for themselves?

Well, we all know the reasons why. The whole purpose of all three “surveys” is to sell fear and outrage to the SPLC’s often wealthy, often Progressive donor base. Tying all of the anonymous anecdotes to the Bogie-Man-in-Chief, Donald Trump, is money in the bank.

As mentioned, the SPLC took in $110 million tax-free donor-dollars in 2018 and $130 million more in 2017, based largely on spurious “reports” such as these, and the company’s thoroughly disreputable annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

Lurid tales of terrified elementary school lesbians, tearful black kids asking if they are going to be “sent back to Africa?” and terrorized Latinx kids peering out school windows in search of Donald Trump driving up in an ICE van are precisely the product most SPLC donors are looking to buy.

It doesn’t matter that the SPLC itself admits that its anonymous findings are bogus as long as the donors can signal their superior virtue by cutting a check to the company and claim that they are somehow “fighting hate.”

How Fake News is Made

January 15, 2019

First off, a statement of fact: Donald Trump is a lightning rod. People either really, really love him or really, really despise him. There just aren’t that many folks in the middle. Knowing this, companies, institutions and media organizations on BOTH sides of the political aisle exploit these passionate extremes to great profit.

Donald Trump says and does a lot of [insert adjective(s) here] things that get him a lot of attention, both positive and negative. He’s very good at this and really doesn’t need any help at it. This has not stopped the Hate Industry (or Trump supporters) from fabricating stories about the man so they could cash in on the outrage.

In early 2017, just weeks after his inauguration, a wave of bomb threats were made against Jewish community centers across the US. The Hate Industry and their media stooges swore that this was irrefutable evidence that white supremacists and anti-Semites “were emboldened” by Trump’s election, until it was discovered that the real culprits were a Black man attempting to frame his white ex-girlfriend and an Israeli teenage hacker. Whoosh! The Memory Hole opened and swallowed the story. Nothing to see here.

The Ku Klux Klan was “emboldened” to spray paint “Vote Trump” on the side of a Black church in Jackson, Mississippi, before burning it down, and neo-Nazi arsonists boldly painted “Heil Trump!” on the side of a church in Bloomington, Indiana, before setting it ablaze. Heinous hate crimes that could be traced irrefutably back to President Trump, except for the annoying facts that the first church fire was set by a Black parishioner and the second by its openly gay organist.

Do you recall the avalanche of corrections and retractions that filled the media in the following days? Us neither.

The excellent website, fakehatecrimes.org, has logged over a hundred hate crime hoaxes committed since Election Day, 2016, many of which were explicitly claimed to be Trump-related, until they weren’t.

And the beat goes on. Just last week many “legitimate” media sources breathlessly regurgitated a “report” by two University of Virginia academics who claimed that they had proof that teasing and bullying in middle schools across Virginia had “risen by 9%” in 2017, specifically in areas that had voted for Donald Trump. Did any of the media experts actually examine the report before reprinting the claims? Not so much.

And really, why would they? Even if the story turned out to be inaccurate it’s still solid gold click bait. And when these stories are disproved, they simply go away. No messy cleanup required.

Francis L. Huang and Dewey G. Cornell based their claims on a set of three surveys they have administered to roughly 155,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students across Virginia in 2013, 2015 and 2017, that asks the students their opinions about bullying and teasing in their schools. It’s a worthy effort and the data seems to be as good as any these kinds of instruments produce. It’s worth noting that the results are agnostic, with no sign whatsoever of the terms Obama, Trump, Republican or Democrat to be found.

The problem lies in the way in which Huang and Cornell interpreted the data in their subsequent 2018 report, “School Teasing and Bullying After the Presidential Election.” In that report, the pair claimed an increase in responses to the statement: “Students in this school are teased or put down because of their race or ethnicity” in the 2017 survey over the previous one. So far, so good.

The duo then take it one step farther by claiming that they have discovered a correlation between the increase in responses and those schools residing in Republican districts. Here is where things start to break down.

Survey results were broken down by eight separate regions across the Commonwealth and numbered 1 through 8. While the percentages of students who answered yes to the “teased because of their race or ethnicity” prompt did increase significantly, the data shows that this is a trend that began during the Obama Administration and shows sizable increases between 2013 and 2015. Where is that “report”?

According to Huang and Cornell’s own data, teasing in the Shenandoah Valley jumped by 63% in President Obama’s second term. Statewide, teasing increased by 35% under POTUS 44. Where’s the outrage over that?

percentages1

In other news, outright bullying, a separate measure from mere teasing, rocketed under President Obama and actually dropped under President Trump, according to Cornell and Huang.

percentages2

Affirmative responses to the prompts “I have been bullied,” “I have been cyber bullied,” and “I have bullied others,” exploded statewide between 2013 and 2015, by 150%, 167% and an unbelievable 220% respectively!

Obviously, it’s pretty easy to cherry-pick data points to put any kind of slant you want into your “report.” Remember the adage about “lies, damned lies, and statistics”? And as we have stated numerous times on this blog, ANY TIME you see a percent symbol in the media, run, do not walk, to see the source documents. And after you’ve done that, follow the money. Who is going to profit from unsubstantiated claims and what consequences do they face if proven wrong?

This isn’t rocket science, folks. Anyone with an Internet connection can do it, providing they want to get at the truth.

Other inconsistencies not addressed in the Huang and Cornell piece include the facts that the three surveys are not identical (some questions are universal to all three, but not all), the 2017 survey includes sixth-graders for the first time, and that the 2017 survey was administered between February and April, when Donald Trump had been in office for less than 100 days, versus Barack Obama’s eight year administration.

If you’re going to blame Trump for teasing then you’re going to have to blame Obama as well.

Lastly, what conclusions did Huang and Cornell actually reach in their study? Despite the hundreds of headlines proclaiming “Trump Causes Teasing!,” the authors themselves concede:

“These findings are correlational and cannot establish a causal relationship but invite the need for further study.”

“The phrase “teasing and bullying” is used broadly in recognition that there are various forms of peer aggression and that student reports do not necessarily conform to an academic definition of bullying.”

“We did not have measures of the quality and intensity of peer aggression or its impact on victims.”

“It is obviously difficult to demonstrate a causal link between statements by a public figure and schoolyard bullying.”

Nobody, friend or foe, can deny that President Donald Trump says a lot of stupid, irrational and sometimes irresponsible things. There is more than enough controversy to go around without cooking up fake news like this malarkey.

Trust, but verify. It’s what used to be known as “journalism” in the old days.

SPLC — Cashing in on MS-13

May 28, 2018

When you have “tracked” the Southern Poverty Law Center for as long as we have, you take it for granted that the company will find a way to make money off the latest tragedy or controversy du jour. The SPLC now has more than 300 full-time employees, many of them involved in marketing, public relations and fundraising and they are not about to let an opportunity to cash in pass them by.

Just over a week ago, President Donald Trump ruffled feathers by referring to members of the violent and deadly Salvadoran gang MS-13, which has infiltrated many American cities and even smaller towns, as “animals.”

Considering the gang’s lengthy record of brutal murders, decapitation, torture and rape, “animals” is one of the kinder terms that could be used to describe them.

Naturally, Mr. Trump’s comments were clumsy and poorly articulated, as usual. Naturally, the SPLC and other Hate Industry players jumped on a chance to claim that the president was referring to all immigrants as “animals.”

Virtue signalers across the country couldn’t get their wallets out fast enough. Despite all the “outrage” and toga rending, Donald Trump has been a gold mine for these “advocacy groups.” The very mention of his name is guaranteed to agitate the donors and the money will soon follow.

According to its online tax records, the SPLC took in over $132 million in donations in 2017, up from $50 million in 2016. Its cash-on-hand endowment fund grew from $319 million to $432 million over the same period. Fully 98% of the endowment fund is designated as “unrestricted” in use.

Ironically (a term one uses so often when describing the company), the SPLC issued several statements declaring that: “Dehumanizing rhetoric — unacceptable from anyone — is especially dangerous when it comes from the mouth of the president.”

Considering the hundreds of millions of tax-free donor-dollars the SPLC has generated over the past decades specifically through the use of “dehumanizing rhetoric,” such as the ever-profitable “hate group” label, “domestic extremists” and “radical traditionalists” one has to wonder how the company avoids choking on its own hypocrisy.

“Unacceptable from anyone…”

Some readers may remember the SPLC’s longtime spokesman, Mark Potok, who was unceremoniously fired from the company in March, 2017, after 20 years of highly lucrative service, most of which was built squarely upon the use of “dehumanizing rhetoric.” Apparently, this usage was quite acceptable when Mr. Potok was channeling millions of donor-dollars into the company’s coffers.

One prime example can be found in a 2007 speech Mr. Potok gave before a hate crime conference in Michigan:

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that these are human beings and it’s a mistake to regard them as just a bunch of sociopaths… though most of them are.”

That zinger drew a laugh from the assembled anti-haters, oddly enough. Potok continued with the statement:

“Let me say… our aim… sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate groups and so on. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups. Completely destroy them!”

Feel the love. Donate early and often.

This brings us to the SPLC’s latest fundraising scheme. Just as the company found ways to cash in on the Confederate flag controversy in 2015 and the tragic death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017, the SPLC’s growing team of PR professionals have come up with another classic fundraising scam:

“TELL PRESIDENT TRUMP TO STOP USING RACIST AND DEHUMANIZING RHETORIC,” proclaims the page on the SPLC website. “This kind of rhetoric is unacceptable from anyone,” they remind us, in a brief statement that completely omits any reference to MS-13 whatsoever.

How best to do this? A link to the White House website? No. Mr. Trump’s personal Twitter handle? Nope. Maybe a useful email link to your senators or members of Congress? Not seeing any.

Instead, the SPLC has conveniently provided a short online form where you can enter your name, location and email address. That’s all you have to do.

Tell Trump

What happens to your personal information when you hit the blue button? The site doesn’t say. Maybe your name goes on a petition, though wouldn’t you’d think they’d mention that?

No. Just as with the SPLC’s brilliant, though now-retired, “Stand Strong Against Hate” map and its lucrative offspring, the “Wall of Tolerance,” your contact information will go directly to the company’s massive, in-house fundraising machine, and you put it there yourself, of your own free will.

Just as tens of thousands of SPLC donors, new and old, believe that they are “fighting hate” with their annual donations when their money actually goes to third party telemarketers, you haven’t “taken a stand against hate” any more than you have taken a solemn oath to “work for justice, equality and human rights.”

All you’ve done is given the Southern Poverty Law Center’s fundraisers your personal contact information.

Operators are standing by.

SPLC — Hoaxed Again!

December 22, 2016

In another ham-fisted fear campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center has embarked on a series of unsubstantiated, unverified and largely anecdotal “reports” that claim hundreds of “hate incidents” (not to be confused with actual hate crimes) and over a thousand “incidents” have recently been reported across the country at large and hundreds more occurring within the nation’s school systems.

The undeniable cause of this effect? It could only be the hate-filled election of Donald Trump, right? What else could it be (that would still agitate the donors into forking over more money)?

As we have been reporting over the weeks since the election, neither SPLC “report” stands up to the slightest breath of fact checking. The company makes huge claims of receiving thousands of reports over a web page on their website where anyone in the world can “report an incident” and they themselves disclaim that their “Trump Effect” survey of “educators” is not scientific because the respondents were not chosen at random, there’s no mechanism to verify that the respondents were even “educators” and all of the responses were anecdotal.

The results of this survey are not scientific. The respondents were not selected in a manner to ensure a representative sample; those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not.

Opening her report on “election-related bias” in the elementary schools, Teaching Tolerance’s Maureen Costello makes the bizarre claim that:

“Every student, from preschoolers up through high school, is aware of the tone, rhetoric and catch-phrases of this particular campaign season.”

Really, Maureen? Every student glued to the debates, watching Meet the Press over their weekend Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts? Even kindergartners? Really? Costello peppered her report with anonymous quotes to prove that Hell’s hand-basket has arrived. [Caution: Some readers may find the following graphic content disturbing.]

One Muslim girl clung to her kindergarten teacher on November 9 and asked, “Are they going to do anything to me? Am I safe?” – Early Childhood Teacher, Tennessee

A lesbian student’s mother was telling her that life as we knew it was over, and she was quite distraught about her mother. Children are very worried about being deported or killed. – Elementary Counselor, Illinois

Pretty heart-wrenching stuff, no? It’s hard enough being a lesbian in the third grade without Donald Trump sending your mom over the edge, and let’s face it, Elementary Counselor — Illinois has never lied to us before.

On the national scene, more anonymous reports and more disclaimers that the anonymous reports were pretty much all anecdotal.

A Latina woman in Texas reported: I was walking my baby at my neighborhood park and a truck drove by with a male driving and a female passenger. The female yelled “white power” at us as they drove by and then sped away.

It doesn’t get much more Trump-related than that, or more undeniable. After all, it’s “anecdotal,” right?

November 15: “These incidents, aside from news reports, are largely anecdotal.”

December 16: “The SPLC made every effort to verify each report, but many included in the count remain anecdotal.”

 anecdotal
adjective

  1. (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research: ‘while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/anecdotal

The SPLC “reports” do include several media reports, and if the anonymous, anecdotal incidents were not proof enough, “Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”

This time, the SPLC got it right. A growing number of “incidents” really were directly tied to Trump’s election.

ten-days-after

And the suspect is…

andrew-mcclinton-arrested

Unlike the SPLC, we’re not going to jump to any conclusions because the authorities are still working through the case, and unlike the SPLC, we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not a court of public opinion.

The same goes for this gentleman:

philly

And him:

palmer

And this young “activist”:

volk

This young woman says she made her story up because she was late for curfew:

yasmin

Let’s be honest. A lot of hateful, ignorant things have been said before and after the election, with no shortage of them coming from Trump himself, and sadly, there is no shortage of knuckleheads who will commit hoaxes in accordance with the voices they hear in their heads.

One thing you can always count on, the SPLC will find a way to build a classic fearmongering campaign around them.

THIS JUST IN: A gay couple were removed from a JetBlue flight today for allegedly verbally abusing Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her family, who were flying commercial.

According to tweets by one of the men, his husband was upset to find Trump’s family on the flight and was “chasing them down to harass them.” [Who says one spouse can’t testify against another? Someone’s going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do when they get home tonight.]
ivanka

Finally, SPLC, a genuine “election-related hate incident” for your collection. Let’s see if it makes it onto the list.


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