Posts Tagged ‘Richard Cohen’

SPLC Executive Suite 2015 — As White As Ever!

March 1, 2015

The mercurial month of March is often unpredictable weather-wise, but to those of you who take solace in certainty, we offer these unalterable truths: Spring is coming (Really!), the Southern Poverty Law Center will release its IRS Form 990 tax report and the Executive Suite of the “nation’s leading civil rights organization” will be as white as that hip-deep snow drift in your front yard.

Just as when Morris Dees opened the company for business in 1971, the team of the SPLC’s highest paid officers is all white for the 44th year in a row! Here then are your Doyens of Diversity, the Caucasian College of Multicultural Knowledge, those Titans of Tolerance… the 2015 SPLC All-Stars!

Click Image to Enlarge

Click Image to Enlarge

 

You’ll recognize many veterans from previous rosters (here, here and here) but there are also several eager rookies in the lineup:

Richard Cohen — President/CEO — $359,300
Morris Dees — Founder and Chief Trial Counsel — $364,789
Joseph Levin — Director and General Counsel — $196,446

Wendy Via — Development Director — $202,426 — (+$19,308)*

Teenie Hutchison — Secretary — $169,547
Mark Potok — Senior Fellow — $162,755
David Utter — Juvenile Justice Strategist–  $161,379

And the newcomers:

Jerri Katzerman — Deputy Legal Director — $162,549
Lisa Sahulka — Chief Operating Officer
— $53,469**
Heidi Beirich — Director, Intelligence Project — $154,146***

Maureen Costello — Director, Teaching Tolerance — Salary unknown†

We should take a moment to clarify the numbers:

In past years, we have noted any significant increases in compensation, and, while the top three white guys on the team, Cohen, Dees and Levin did pick up minor raises in the $6,000 to $9,000 range (just as you probably did too), and Messrs Potok and Utter actually lost a few hundred dollars each, these changes represent insignificant fractions of their base compensation packages overall.

Wendy Via has good reason to smile on her trading card. This year’s $19,000 bump is her third 5-digit raise in a row! And why not? The SPLC’s Development Department (pronounced: “Fundraising”) has been setting records every year, despite the worst recession since the Roosevelt Administration, and team owner Dees knows how to reward his golden geese. More on those donor-dollars and cents in our next post.

Newcomer Lisa Sahulka’s paltry salary as Chief Operating Officer is not a misprint. These are the numbers reported on the IRS Form 990 but they obviously do not reflect the whole story.

Ms. Sahulka’s predecessor, Michael Toohey, was pulling down $230,000 in 2012, $234,000 in 2013… a year after he’d quit the team, and $148,000 in 2014… two years after he became a free agent!

SPLC COOs eat gooood and we have no doubt that next year’s Form 990 will reflect a significant increase in her salary, whether Ms. Sahulka still plays for the team or not.

While Heidi Beirich is hardly a rookie, having joined the SPLC in 1999, this year marks her debut on the monochromatic Highest Paid Officer list, something we have been actively arguing in favor of for years.

Dr. Beirich steps into Mark Potok’s large shoes (hip waders, actually) as Director of the extremely lucrative Intelligence Report fundraising rag.

Although we don’t think much of Mr. Potok’s propaganda sheet, you cannot deny that the Intelligence Report brings in tons of donor-dollars every year. It’s a necessary vice, just like the beer concession at your local ball park.

We are staunch believers in equal pay for equal work, though, no matter how dubious the output.

Congratulations, Dr. Beirich! You’re very welcome!

This year we have included Teaching Tolerance director Maureen Costello in the leadership lineup. While Teaching Tolerance, which purports to promote diversity in the K-12 classroom, doesn’t agitate the donors in to frenzied fits of giving, the way the Intelligence Report does, it is somewhat influential in the public schools.

While Ms. Costello’s salary doesn’t make the top officer list on the SPLC’s Form 990, she is a prominent member of the SPLC’s Senior Program Team, which we noted recently was only 95% white overall.

In 1994, long before Ms. Costello’s reign, the Montgomery Advertiser ran a story noting that not only was the SPLC’s Senior Executive Staff entirely white, (“Equal treatment? No blacks in center’s leadership“), it also reported:

“The Law Center’s ambitious new project, Teaching Tolerance, which is designed to promote racial and cultural justice throughout America’s schools, is produced by an eight-member all-white staff according to the Law Center.”

Teaching Tolerance does not identify its current staff other than its director, so there is no way of telling if anything has changed since 1994. Obviously nothing has changed in the SPLC’s Executive Suite and so it’s always amusing to read the many press releases Ms. Costello issues each year promoting “Mix It Up Day” in the grade schools, where kids are encouraged to sit with people different from themselves in the cafeteria one day a year.

One wonders what “Mix It Up Day” looks like in the SPLC’s cafeteria? Maybe they swap out the white rice for mashed potatoes or grits?

And that’s the roundup for this year’s SPLC Senior Executive Staff All-Star Team. As usual, it’s an all-white roster, but some “civil rights” outfits are superstitious, just like ball players who always wear the same socks or have a “lucky” bat.

The Caucasian Country Club has been bringing in millions of dollars a year for decades so why change things now? It’s not like anyone in the Media is going to notice.

The Many (White) Faces of the SPLC

January 24, 2015

It’s always informative to peruse the Southern Poverty Law Center’s web site, as you never know what you’ll find. Here’s what the Senior Program Staff page of the Who We Are tab looks like:

Senior Staff1Senior Staff2Senior Staff3

We found it a bit odd that there were so many missing photos, as it sure left a lot of white space on the page. Just out of curiosity we simply Googled the names and found photos for everyone.

So here, in no particular order, are the missing faces of the SPLC’s Senior Program Staff, click on any image to enlarge it:

MissingStaff1MissingStaff2MissingStaff3

As it turns out, if the web designers at the SPLC actually had filled in all the missing photos there would still be a lot of white space on the page.

No doubt even the most die-hard donors would catch on if all of the photos were published.

Twenty-one of the SPLC’s Senior Staffers are white, or about 88% of the team. Seems a bit odd for “the nation’s leading civil rights organization,” especially since its headquarters are located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s own Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the American Civil Rights Movement.

When you account for the fact that four of the Senior Staffers, including two of the three blacks on the team, live out-of-state, the percentage of white staff in Montgomery jumps to 95%. The sole exception is Lecia Brooks, who works as a fundraiser. Ms. Brooks joined the SPLC in 2004 and has never broken into the ranks of highest paid officers, even when the list included salaries as paltry as $70,000 a year.

Still and all, as dismal as the diversity of the Senior Staff is, it’s better than the makeup of the SPLC’s executive officer team, which is composed 100% of white millionaires, just as it has been for every year since the SPLC opened for business in 1971.

Even the SPLC’s “Teaching Tolerance” program, which purports to promote diversity in the K-12 classroom, is led by whites, as it has been since its inception in 1991.

“Diversity,” like taxes, it seems, is for the little people. No hypocrisy here, SPLC.

SPLC 2014 — All White Execs Since 1971

April 28, 2014

Once again the Southern Poverty Law Center has released its annual IRS Form 990 and once again the form shows that the SPLC’s executive suite is as lily-white as when Morris Dees opened for business in 1971.

The SPLC’s 43-year record of no minorities at the top stands unbroken because it stands unchallenged. To date, Watching the Watchdogs seems to have a monopoly on exposing the total lack of diversity at “the nation’s leading civil rights organization.”

It’s a dirty job, as they say…

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Richard Cohen — President/CEO — $349,843
Morris Dees — Founder and Chief Trial Counsel — $354,727
Joseph Levin — Director and General Counsel — $189,769
Mary Bauer — Outgoing Legal Director — $190,509
Teenie Hutchinson — Secretary — $168,487
Wendy Via — Development Director — $183,118 (+$16,358)
Mark Potok — Senior Fellow — $163,315

David Utter — Director — Miami – 
$162,642

Not shown is Michael Toohey, the SPLC’s Former COO for the second year in a row! His paltry $148,385 is down nearly $86,000 donor-dollars from last year’s $234,309.

At this rate he’ll have to give up not working at the SPLC altogether.

Wendy Via scored the only solid raise last year, though her $16k boost was less than the $19,582 raise she got the year before.

And once again, the SPLC’s most highly educated team member, Dr. Heidi Beirich, failed to make the list of top-paid “key employees” even though she’s taken over Mark Potok’s role as primary propagandist.

Same job, different pay. That’s gotta be galling…

Sorry Dr. B. Better luck next year!

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been pointing out this hypocrisy for five years now and not a single journalist or media outlet has picked up the story. Or maybe not so hard to believe.

And as usual, we expect the same questions we get every year about Julian Bond and the SPLC’s board of directors. In an effort to conserve electrons, we will simply redirect the reader to last year’s post on the Caucasian Crusaders that does a pretty good job of explaining how Morris Dees only hired Mr. Bond as an “honorary president” so he could use Bond’s name on fundraising materials and how the Montgomery Advertiser exposed the SPLC’s rubber-stamp board as far back as 1994.

That post explains it all in text, images and video.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’ll have something new to report next year, that the white millionaire owners of the SPLC will finally begin to practice what they preach, but please, don’t anybody hold their breath.

 

SPLC — 2013 — Still No Minorities at the Top After 42 Years

March 22, 2013

Last week, Watching the Watchdogs examined the Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest “hate map” fundraising tool and broke the amazing, astounding, unprecedented news that for the first time in history the number of alleged “hate groups” designated by the SPLC’s Public Relations chief, Mark Potok, (something even the FBI cannot do…), actually DECLINED!!

While this inconceivable turn of events left many investigators gasping in amazement, a quick head-count of the SPLC’s top executives reveals a caucus as Caucasian as it was the day Morris Dees opened the doors of the company in 1971. There are still some unbroken traditions that one can count on in this mad, mad world.

This seeming incongruity was brought to the attention of Mr. Dees 19 years ago by journalists Dan Morse and Greg Jaffe in their week-long exposé in the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, in 1994.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Dan Morse noted in his article, “Equal treatment? No blacks in center’s leadership“:

“Inside, no blacks have held top management positions in the center’s 23-year history, and some former employees say blacks are treated like second-class citizens.”

Last week the SPLC released its IRS Form 990 tax return for 2012, listing the names and compensation packages for its top executives (see pages 7-8). And the winners are:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Richard Cohen — President/CEO — $340,923
Morris Dees — Founder and Chief Trial Counsel — $344,771
Joseph Levin — Director and General Counsel — $185,102
Mary Bauer — Legal Director — $168,819
Teenie Hutchinson — Secretary — $162,644
Wendy Via — Development Director — $166,760 (+$19,582)
Mark Potok — Senior Fellow — $162,206  (
+$10,814)
David Utter — Director — Miami — 
$158,013

And a new (white) face for 2013:
Sheila Bedi — Deputy Legal Director —  $129,893

Not shown is Michael Toohey, the SPLC’s Former COO, $234,309 (+$4,428).  If anyone knows of a public photo of Mr. Toohey, please pass the info along to Watching the Watchdogs.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

 

And what was Morris Dees’ response to Morse and Jaffe’s observations? “It is not easy to find black lawyers. Any organization can tell you that.” Not to get nit-picky, Mr. Dees, but lawyers make up only about half of the SPLC’s highest paid executives. Apparently, it’s not easy to find black accountants, administrators, computer experts or public relations people in 2013, either.

Conspicuously absent from the latest monochromatic rogue’s gallery, yet again… is Dr. Heidi Beirich, the SPLC’s new “Intelligence Director.” Dr. Beirich replaces “Senior Fellow” Mark Potok as the chief fundraiser and go-to media “expert.” Beirich and Potok both started working at the SPLC in 1999, both are public relations pros, though Dr. Beirich boasts two Masters degrees and a Doctorate to Mr. Potok’s B.S. in Poli-Sci, yet Dr. B has yet to be paid as much as her male counterpart.

Beirich

Also missing from the list is Lecia Brooks, the SPLC’s Outreach Director and highest paid minority, though not as highly paid as her white colleagues. In fact, when the Form 990 included salaries as paltry as $70,000, (they are a “non-profit” after all), our Ms. Brooks was nowhere to be found. As Outreach Director, Lecia Brooks’ primary concern is fundraising and she has no influence over the running of the company.

Hopefully, she got a 5-digit raise like the SPLC’s other prime fundraisers, Mark Potok and Wendy Via. It was a record-breaking year, after all.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Lecia Brooks does hold one unique distinction, though. She was allowed to serve as “Interim Director” of the SPLC’s “Teaching Tolerance” program for several months. As Dan Morse noted in his 1994 “Equal Treatment” article:

“The Law Center’s ambitious new project, Teaching Tolerance, which is designed to promote racial and cultural justice throughout America’s schools, is produced by an eight-member all-white staff according to the Law Center.”

“Teaching Tolerance” continued to be led by “whites only” until 2009, when Ms. Brooks was tapped to keep the seat warm during the interregnum until her successor could be selected, the highly diverse Maureen Costello:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

No report on the all-white nature of the SPLC’s leadership would be complete without mentioning the company’s first president, Julian Bond, and its diverse Board of Directors. As Dan Morse pointed out in his 1994 article, “Friendly board: friends, associates fill board,” the SPLC’s board consists of friends and cronies of Morris Dees who rubber-stamp whatever is put before them by Dees. Some of the board members Morse mentioned in 1994 are still on the board today, as is at least one lingerie mogul.

All of the board members are unpaid, which is not unusual in the so-called “non-profit” sector, and almost all of them are located hundreds or thousands of miles from Montgomery. In short, they may be diverse on paper, but they are not highly paid and they have no influence on the day-to-day operations of the SPLC. It’s a classic case of “brownwashing” to dupe the donors.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

And as we’ve mentioned numerous times, Morris Dees wrote in his autobiography, A Season For Justice, that he only offered Julian Bond the “largely honorary position of president” in exchange for the use of Bond’s name on the SPLC’s first fundraising letters. Last year, Watching the Watchdogs produced short video for Youtube that describes the history of the all-white leadership of the SPLC, Teaching Tolerance, the Bond paid endorsement and the rubber-stamp Board of Directors.

The only thing more difficult to believe than the fact that an alleged “civil rights” group headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, sitting literally in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s own Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, could remain lily-white at the top for more than 40 years is the incredible fact that well-meaning people sent the SPLC more than $40 million donor dollars last year.

What could that money have done for real charities closer to home?

SPLC – “Domestic Terrorism” Watershed Moment

August 13, 2012

In the last few weeks a relatively new term has cropped up in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s media and fundraising fear campaigns: “Domestic terrorism.”

Long-time readers will no doubt note that the SPLC’s public relations guru, Mark Potok, never misses an opportunity to link lone-wolf nut jobs, regardless of how tenuous the links, to the Oklahoma City attack of 1995, a true case of domestic terrorism.

But lately, Mr. Potok and his minions, like Dr. Heidi Beirich, have been tossing the term around in an attempt to associate it with their most profitable brand name, the subjective and legally undefined term “hate group.”

The purpose of this is two-fold: First and foremost, “domestic terrorist,” like “hate group,” is what persuasion experts call a “devil term,” which is designed to evoke disgust, revulsion or fear, and ultimately, for the SPLC, donations. That the SPLC is trying to expand its market share and increase profits is nothing new and hardly surprising.

After all, they are down to their last quarter of a billion dollars.

It’s the second purpose that warrants greater scrutiny. Even Mr. Potok concedes that the FBI and law enforcement cannot “track” hate groups, because until they actually do something illegal they are doing absolutely nothing illegal. That pesky old “Constitution” thing is always getting in the way of Mr. Potok’s vigilantism and extra-judicial justice schemes.

In recent years, however, Mr. Potok’s boss, Richard Cohen, has insinuated himself onto a Dept. of Home Land Security advisory board, and SPLC fundraising rhetoric has since turned up in a number of D HS documents. Mr. Potok’s propaganda now has the weight of the highest law enforcement body in the land behind it, and one that hasn’t always been too picky about Constitutional formalities.

It’s bad enough that Mr. Potok designates hundreds of “hate groups,” something even the FBI cannot do, but by branding his arbitrary “hate groups” as “terrorists” Mr. Potok can inflict far more mischief on those whose beliefs and activities, while distinctly unpalatable to many, are nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.

Those who believe that such things cannot happen in a Democracy need only look back to Hitler’s Reichstag Fire Decree, which ultimately spelled the end of the Wiemar Republic:

Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

§ 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Compare it with the with the sweeping powers granted the D HS by the eerily similarly named Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, also known as the USA PATRIOT Act.

“Communist,” “Terrorist,” “Hate Group,” “Conservative,” “Christian,” really, what’s in a name, right? What’s the worst that can happen? Safety first. Stamp out “wrong thoughts” before they become wrong acts. “Nits make lice,” don’t they?

On the plus side, we hear that the winters in Gitmo are rather mild.

You heard about it here first, folks.

SPLC – 2012 – Still Caucasian after all these years

March 12, 2012

Click image to enlarge

It’s 2012, and here are the leaders the Southern Poverty Law Center. Presented here, according to the SPLC’s most recent IRS Form 990,  are “the nation’s leading civil rights group’s” top nine, highest paid executives, their titles and compensation packages and any significant changes in their base salaries from the previous year:

Richard Cohen — President/CEO — $339,764
Morris Dees — Founder and Chief Trial Counsel — $343,676 (-$1,133)
Joseph Levin — Director and General Counsel — $184, 411  (-$58)
Mary Bauer — Legal Director — $164,103 (-$94,566, Ouch!)
Teenie Hutchinson — CFO — $156,623 159,752 (+$3,129)
Wendy Via — Development Director — $148,537
Mark Potok — Intelligence Director — $151,392  (
+$4,116)
David Utter — Director — Miami — 
$155,777 (+$18,521)

Not shown is Michael Toohey, the SPLC’s COO, $230,181 (+$4,416).  If anyone knows of a public photo of Mr. Toohey, please pass the info along to Watching the Watchdogs.

While there is some minor fluctuation in the compensation numbers, these need to be compared to the 4-,5- and even 6-digit raises the execs voted themselves the year before.

If you examine the photos closely, you may note a surprising coincidence: ALL of the SPLC’s highest paid executives are white.

Some people may find it odd that a civil rights organization, headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, the very birthplace of the American Civil Rights Movement and home to Rosa Parks, would be run by white millionaires. Despite being located literally in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s home church, the Southern Poverty Law Center has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power in its entire 41-year history!

Even the SPLC’s laughably named “Teaching Tolerance” program, which preaches diversity to K-12 schoolchildren and their teachers has been managed by “whites only” for 20 of its 21 years!

As long ago as 1994, Dan Morse, an investigative reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser noted the lack of diversity in the SPLC’s executive suite, and the situation has not changed whatsoever in the 17 years since.

(Dan Morse, “Equal Treatment? No blacks in center’s leadership,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 16, 1994.)

“Inside [SPLC headquarters], no blacks have held top management positions in the center’s 23-year history, and some former employees say blacks are treated like second-class citizens.”

The article continues:

“I would definitely say that there was not a single black employee with whom I spoke who was happy to be working there,” said Christine Lee, a black graduate of Harvard Law School who interned at the Law Center in 1989.”

In his defense, SPLC founder Morris Dees offered the following statements:

“There ain’t no plantation mentality. If that was the case, I don’t know what the blacks would be doing in the positions they are…” In 1994, when Dees made this eloquent statement, the SPLC’s highest paid African American employee was in charge of the mail room, where she had worked for the previous 20-plus years.

“It is not easy to find black lawyers. Any organization can tell you that.” This could be true. After all, for decades NFL and NBA team owners made the exact same arguments to explain their all-white executive suites, right?

“Well, we would hire a black head coach, only there aren’t any…”

And not to get nit-picky, but lawyers make up only about half of the SPLC’s top dogs. Apparently, it’s not easy to find black accountants, computer experts or public relations people in 2012, either.

Supporters of the SPLC will often point to the diverse “Board of Directors” posted on the SPLC’s web site as proof of inclusion at the top:


A veritable rainbow of diversity and multiculturalism, however the IRS Form 990 indicates that the board members are unpaid volunteers, which is not uncommon among such boards in the corporate world. The real question is how much influence does the board have over SPLC policies and practices?

During the same week-long investigative report of the SPLC, Dan Morse noted that most of the board members were old friends and cronies of Morris Dees who regularly rubber-stamped whatever the maestro put before them. Some of the board members in Morse’s 1994 report are still on the SPLC board today.

(Dan Morse, “Friendly Board,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 19, 1994.)

Conspicuously absent from the pantheon of highest grossing SPLC Movers and Shakers is Dr. Heidi Beirich. Dr. Beirich began working at the SPLC in the late 90s, around the same time as her boss Mark Potok, yet her longevity and advanced education have not done much to advance her career.

Dr. Beirich holds a PhD and two master’s degrees, compared to Mark Potok’s single Poli-Sci bachelor’s degree, yet even when an earlier IRS Form 990 included execs whose compensation dipped into the mere $70,000s, Dr. B. was nowhere to be found.

In short, it seems that Heidi Beirich, who gets as much face time on the networks as Mark Potok, is paid about half of what her less-educated male boss makes.

Apparently, it’s a man’s world at the SPLC, Dr. Beirich. A white man’s world.

SPLC — Dreaming of a White Christmas

December 31, 2009
A look at the top officers at the Southern Poverty Law Center as named on pages 11 and 40 of the group’s most recent IRS Form 990, and their annual compensation for 2008.

Richard Cohen -- President/CEO -- $351,648

Morris Dees -- Chief Trial Counsel -- $346,919

Joseph Levin -- General Counsel -- $191,756

Jeff Blancett -- Former Oper. Officer -- $185,305

$185,000 donor dollars for the former Chief Operating Officer?)

Rhonda Brownstein -- Legal Director -- $179,983

Teenie Hutchison -- Chief Financial Officer -- $155,144

Mark Potok -- Intelligence Director -- $143,206

Mary Bauer -- Immigrant Justice-- $141,111

Wendy Via -- Development Director -- $140,469

(Not shown is the SPLC’s $142,639 donor dollar Security and IT chief, Thomas Brinkman)

Given the six-digit salaries these folks are pulling down for their never-ending battle against “hate” (however they choose to define it), it’s pretty obvious that Santa is very good to them every year.
It’s also curious that the world’s leading civil rights organization can’t seem to find a single minority whom they consider to be worthy of a top management position.
Funny that an organization that spends tens of thousands of donor dollars promoting “Mix It Up” Day in America’s school cafeterias seems to believe that “diversity” ends at the Boardroom door.
Some things just never seem to change much in Montgomery.
Happy New Year, SPLC, no doubt all your Christmases will continue to be white.

SPLC – “Bah! Humbug!”

December 14, 2009

At this festive season of the year, we are treated to a multitude of iterations of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas“. Everyone from Mr. Magoo to Michael Caine to Jim Carrey has a crack at showing us the error of our greedy ways and scaring us into doing the right thing.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), in its trivia section describing some of these presentations, reminds us of the origins of Mr. Scrooge’s most famous exclamation, “Humbug!”

“The word “humbug” describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity. So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to charity and kindness in an scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves.”

Humbug, therefore, is a perfect description of the endless stream of fund-raising propaganda that issues forth from the Southern Poverty Law Center, like so much steaming stuffing from Bob Cratchit’s Christmas goose. Humbug being, as the French would say,  le mot juste.

The SPLC’s loftiness, and sincerity, are manufactured, not in some polar workshop, but by the highly skilled, and highly paid, efforts of their resident Public Relations elf, Mark Potok. Mr. Potok, who is compensated with more than $143,000 dollars from the donation kettle each year, excels at maintaining the SPLC’s twenty-plus-year-old fear campaign, as well as promoting the SPLC brand.

Whenever you read or hear the statement that the SPLC is “a leading civil rights organization,” or that its founder, Morris Dees, is a “pioneering civil rights icon,” you are reading the words of Mr. Potok or one of his minions. Every press release issued by Mr. Potok, to be picked up and disseminated as “news” by the media, will include one of these phrases or the other.

As mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, any lie, if repeated often enough, becomes truth.

Mr. Potok is quite efficient in his work; last year he helped to bring in over $30 million donor dollars. Of that $30 million, the “leading civil rights organization” spent just over $1.36 million in “legal case expenses,” or over half a million less than the $1.88 million it spent on fund-raising postage alone.

Given that the SPLC is a law center, with top-notch attorneys, interns and paralegals already on the payroll, one has to wonder what these expenses were. Actual court costs, even in jurisdictions larger than Montgomery, generally run in the few hundreds to few thousands of dollars.

In fact, according to their own auditors, the SPLC spent more on office supplies, ($1.4 million), and nearly as much for printing and lettershop expenses, ($1.2 million on each), as they did on “legal case expenses”.  Another $1.2 million donor dollars went just to compensate the top three lawyers, multimillionaires Dees, Cohen, Levin, and PR man Potok.

The SPLC spent more than $5 million donor dollars on “educational materials” and “other educational projects”, or nearly four times more than was spent on “legal case expenses”. It should be noted that “educational materials” can include fund-raising and lobbying materials, as well.

So much for loftiness and sincerity.

Much has already been posted on this blog concerning the SPLC’s other fund-raising techniques and scare tactics, (here, here and here, for example), to bore the reader with a tiresome repetition at this time.

Suffice it to say that any “civil rights law center” that spends more on fund-rasing postage than it does on actual “legal case expenses” is worthy of a heartfelt “Humbug!” indeed.

More “Tolerance” from the SPLC

November 13, 2009

When CNN’s Lou Dobbs announced on November 11 that he was stepping down from that network, one could almost hear the shouts of joy ringing out from Montgomery.

“Damn, if we haven’t done it again!”

The reason for all the glee? The ever-tolerant Southern Poverty Law Center had added its mite to the war on silencing anyone who disagrees with those who are making millions off the backs of illegal aliens.

Yesterday, yet another fund-raising letter from multimillionaire Dick Cohen arrived in the e-mail, crowing about how the SPLC had silenced another dissident.

“Can’t have free speech breaking out around here. It might foment “hate” and so we’ll just have to bludgeon all “wrong thinkers” early and often. Oh, and by the way, here’s how you can send us more money…”

If it were not for the fact that so many elderly people, on fixed incomes, believe the SPLC’s public relations releases and send in tens of millions of donor dollars a year, Cohen’s spiel would be laughable.

Dobbs, it seems, “used his platform to spread myths and propaganda,” sez Cohen, from his platform.

Dobbs was “poisoning the debate over immigration reform,” says the SPLC, which routinely smears anyone who stands to the right of its ultra left-wing policies as “anti-immigrant,” “nativist,” “white supremacist,” and of course, whenever two or more are gathered, as a “hate group”.

And Dobbs was “inciting fear and hate against Latinos,” but no mention is made, either in the PR press release or on the SPLC website, of the fact that thanks to the hate-filled rhetoric of the SPLC, La Raza and others making money off the illegal alien industry, someone fired a shot at Lou Dobbs and his wife in October.

Tolerance is a beautiful thing, baby.

Cohen continues by stating that Dobbs got his information from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, (FAIR), a group the SPLC has designated as a “hate group”. Cohen, realizing full well that the term “hate groups” is meaningless as it has no legal definition, even the FBI doesn’t track “hate groups” for that reason. A “hate group” is pretty much whatever Cohen and his fellow multimillionaires at the Center, Dees and Levin, deem it to be.

(In March 2008, SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok summed up the SPLC’s official definition of what exactly constitutes a “hate” group by stating that “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality[or] potential for violence…” Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”)

Basically, if you disagree with their ideology, the SPLC will smear you as a “hate group”.

Naturally, Cohen’s note ends with a link where folks can send him more money. The SPLC has fallen on hard times, due to the current recession, and is down to its last $156 MILLION, tax-free donor dollars, so your help has never been more important.

Remember folks, the first million donor dollars you send in has to be split between Cohen, Dees and Levin, who have all been multimillionaires for decades.

Only you can fight free speech in America. Give ’til it hurts

—————————————————————————————————

Southern Poverty Law Center
Nov. 12, 2009Dear Friend,

Last night, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced his departure from the network. As you know, we’ve been highly critical of Dobbs because he has used his platform to spread myths and propaganda — poisoning the debate over immigration reform and inciting fear and hate against Latinos.

The SPLC was one of the first groups to bring public attention to Dobbs’ use of false information provided by racist hate groups.

With your support, we exposed his wildly inaccurate reporting about immigrants — such as his insistence that immigrants had brought thousands of new cases of leprosy to the United States during a recent three-year period.

And we condemned his reliance on the Federation for American Immigration Reform as an authority on immigration issues. This is an organization we have named a hate group with longtime ties to white supremacists.

This past July, we called on CNN executives to fire Dobbs after he relentlessly promoted the racist and utterly baseless idea that President Obama is not a native-born American citizen. Soon thereafter, a number of other organizations joined our call.

Immigration reform is an important and complex issue, one that should be debated honestly. We hope that Dobbs’ resignation sends a message to other commentators that the airwaves shouldn’t be used to vent extremist rhetoric and fan the flames of hate. Doing so has serious and sometimes violent consequences, as illustrated by the rise in hate crimes against Latinos and the unprecedented number of threats against Obama.

We are committed to exposing those who disseminate misinformation that foments hate. Together, we took a stand, and our actions made a difference. Thank you for everything you do to combat bigotry and intolerance.

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

You can donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center online.

We welcome your feedback.
Contact us online.

Or by mail:
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

If you no longer wish to receive e-mails from us, please send an e-mail to:
unsub_center@newsletter.splcenter.org

SPLC — Never-ending Threat$

October 30, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then Cohen gets down to business:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

==================================================================

Southern Poverty Law Center
Oct. 29, 2009

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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


%d bloggers like this: