southern poverty law center

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC, Mark Potok, Morris Dees, Heidi Beirich)

Left-wing group co-founded by Morris Dees. In the past has sued the Klan and taken other legitimate actions towards civil rights. However, since the near-demise of the KKK, they've lately spent some time spreading scare stories about a rise in "hate", naming "hate groups", and strongly supporting illegal immigration; those keep the donations rolling in.

Past or current member of the Border Human Rights Working Group headed by the Mexican government-linked Peter Schey. Frequently cited by the mainstream media as a credible source. Their Mark Potok misled about hate crime statistics, with his claims since repeated countless times by the MSM.

See also "The church of Morris Dees" from Harpers Magazine (link, link), the quotes from Jim Tharpe of the Montgomery Advertiser here, a "watch" site here, "Southern Poverty Law Center Pushes Twisted Definition of 'Hate'" (link), this, Mark Potok, and Heidi Beirich.

Last modified May 6, 2012
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

FBI delinks SPLC, Anti-Defamation League; ADL not at all happy - 03/26/14

On their hate crimes page [1], the FBI previously [2] linked to two supposed anti-hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League as "Resources". Some time recently, the FBI silently removed those two organizations from the set of links in that Resources section.

Evangelical Immigration Table supports bad personal and public policy (Sojourners, Focus on the Family, Richard Land) - 06/12/12

A group of evangelical leaders have formed the "Evangelical Immigration Table" (evangelicalimmigrationtable.com) to support, among other things, legalizing millions of illegal aliens. A list of those involved is here.

Their policies are an example of false compassion: some might think their ideas would make things better, but they'd wind up making things worse for most people. They want a "bipartisan solution" that:

Is SPLC legal director Mary Bauer credible? (Alabama, immigration) - 06/01/12

To help you answer the titular question, take a look at the following quote from Mary Bauer of the Southern Poverty Law Center (link):

Wade Henderson, UAW, SPLC join to harm Alabama over immigration law (LCCHR, Cindy Estrada, Mary Bauer) - 06/01/12

Yesterday, two self-styled civil rights groups and a union held a conference call to announce actions they'll be taking against Alabama's new immigration law (HB 56).

Their actions will include "escalating pressure on top companies operating in Alabama" and taking actions "through international tribunals" [1].

Brave New Foundation, Rachel Maddow think you're gullible (FAIR, immigration, SB1070) - 04/25/12

The video below shows Rachel Maddow and Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films thinking you're a gullible sucker in at least two ways.

ACLU, SEIU, SPLC, NILC, MALDEF, PRLDEF sue South Carolina over new immigration law - 10/12/11

Just as they have in other states, a coalition of far-left, illegal immigration-supporting groups have sued South Carolina over that state's new Arizona-style immigration law. The groups involved in this case are:

Mexico, 15 other countries file brief against Alabama immigration law; Mexico/DOJ/ACLU/SPLC/churches all on same side - 08/05/11

The Mexican government and 15 other countries [1] have filed a brief supporting those suing Alabama to block that state's new immigration law.

SPLC, ACLU, NILC sue Alabama over new immigration law (HB56) - 07/09/11

Just as they have in other states, a coalition of far-left groups have sued Alabama over that state's new Arizona-style immigration law.

Mexico, other countries file briefs in ACLU /SPLC suit over Georgia immigration law - 06/16/11

The Mexican government and 10 other countries [1] have filed amicus briefs in a lawsuit that seeks to block Georgia's new immigration law. As previously discussed, three of the far-left groups involved in the suit are directly linked to the Mexican government, making that country's direct involvement just the icing on the cake.

Ask SPLC to denounce racism involving ACLU's Georgia immigration suit (Workers United, SEIU) - 06/04/11

The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the groups suing Georgia over that state's new immigration law; see the link for the details. A leader of one of the SPLC's compatriots in the suit has made a racist (and ageist) statement about the suit. Let's try to get the SPLC to denounce his comments, despite the fact that he's on their side.

Mexico-linked groups, ACLU, NILC, SPLC, SEIU sue Georgia over Arizona-style immigration law (+ADL, Mexico join) - 06/03/11

A group of far-left, pro-illegal immigration groups are suing Georgia over that state's new Arizona-style immigration law. And, at least three of the groups have direct links to the Mexican government.

Supreme Court upholds 2007 Arizona immigration enforcement law; eVerify; losing: US Chamber, DOJ, Berman, NCLR, ADL, SPLC, AILA, SEIU, LULAC - 05/26/11

In a major victory for states that want to reduce illegal immigration, the US Supreme Court has upheld Arizona's 2007 "Legal Arizona Workers Act" employer enforcement law that requires the use of eVerify and that allows Arizona to pull the business licenses of companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens. Note that the 2007 law and the decision have no relation to Arizona's more recent immigration law. A Los Angeles Times article is here, and links to legal documents are here. Sonia Sotomayor voted in dissent; see her name's link.

Those who opposed Arizona's law in court and who lost today include the Obama administration's Department of Justice (see Obama immigration) and the US Chamber of Commerce (see their name and this).

Others who filed briefs in the case and who lost today include (see each link for more on that group):

* Rep. Howard Berman
* National Council of La Raza
* Anti Defamation League
* American Immigration Lawyers Association
* PRLDEF (a former associated group of Sotomayor)
* Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (a former associated group of Barack Obama)
* Southern Poverty Law Center
* Service Employees International Union
* National Day Laborer Organizing Network(NDLON)
* National Immigrant Justice Center
* American Immigration Council
* Asian American Justice Center
* Asian American Institute
* Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
* Asian Law Caucus
* Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
* League of United Latin American Citizens
* Legal Aid Society
* Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
* National Employment Law Project

Others on the losing side were former senator Arlen Specter and Ron Mazzoli (of the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty fame).

UPDATE: Thomas Saenz of MALDEF (which doesn't appear to have been involved in the suit) weighs in. He got one thing right: just because the 2007 law was upheld doesn't mean SB 1070 will prevail. In my opinion, states should just simply copy Arizona's 2007 law for now.

In any case, here's what Saenz says (maldef.org/news/releases/az_evrfy):

"Today's regrettable decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting is a tortured product of judicial activism responding to perceived political views of the moment. The majority proclaims itself unable to find implied preemption of an Arizona law that plainly impedes a federal scheme of exclusive enforcement of longstanding immigration-related employment law, and then, with a facile shift, easily finds an implied permission for Arizona to mandate E-verify, a power that Congress denied the federal government itself. All of this is accomplished through providing talismanic significance to the word 'licensing' even though Arizona's use of the term violates any plain-language or historical understanding of the term."

"Despite this egregious outcome, today's decision provides little predictive value as to the constitutional issue of preemption with respect to Arizona's SB 1070 and similar laws recently enacted in other states. Laws that encroach on exclusive federal immigration enforcement by mandating or permitting untrained local police officers to engage in racial profiling will find little refuge in today's decision. Wise state and local lawmakers must continue to tread carefully in areas touching on immigration. As has been the case for well over 200 years, federal action remains the sole legitimate avenue to address immigration issues."

UPDATE 2: The ADL weighs in with a bit of a muted press release (adl.org/PresRele/SupremeCourt_33/6050_33.htm). They're "disappointed":

The law increases the legal risks for businesses that employ undocumented workers but fails to provide sufficient \safeguards to protect those workers against unlawful treatment. It undermines federal efforts to balance discrimination concerns with control of illegal immigration.

The Arizona law also requires state use of E-Verify – a federal pilot program that allows employers to verify the eligibility of newly-hired employees – even though the program relies on records that are prone to error. That is one reason Congress has decided to hold off on making participation in the program mandatory.

Although the Court has upheld Arizona's law, we hope other states will show greater concern for the potentially discriminatory impact such laws can have, and choose not to follow Arizona's lead.

And, I hope they do follow Arizona's lead. We'll see how that works out; I tend to think several will.

DHS uses Giffords shooting to push loose borders political agenda (Jared Lee Loughner, American Renaissance) - 01/09/11

[IMPORTANT UPDATE: AmRen has been cleared, and Fox's memo wasn't even from the DHS. See the updates below.]

The Department of Homeland Security and various media sources are using the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords by Jared Lee Loughner as an opportunity to try to smear opponents of illegal immigration, focusing on the higher-level white racial separatist group American Renaissance (DHS memo at [1], report at [2]). Not only do they get that group's ideas wrong, but they mislead about what was in Loughner's videos and what appears to have been on his MySpace page.

From the memo at [1]:

no direct connection - but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance. Suspect is possibly linked to this group. (through videos posted on his myspace and YouTube account.). The group’s ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic.

I didn't see Loughner's MySpace page, which has since been taken down. There's a supposed picture of it here, with nothing I can see about AmRen. I watched (and saved) his Youtube videos and there was nothing in there about AmRen. Further, AmRen responds here:

American Renaissance condemns violence in the strongest possible terms, and nothing that has ever appeared in it pages could be interpreted as countenancing it.

AR is not anti-government, anti-Semitic, or anti-ZOG, as is clear from the 20 years of back issues that are posted on our website. The expression “ZOG” has never appeared in the pages of AR, and we have has always welcomed Jewish participation in our work. Many of the speakers at American Renaissance conferences have been Jewish.

Not only did the memo get their ideas wrong, but Google shows just eight other pages mentioning Giffords at their site; none of those focus on her or contain any questionable mentions of her.

This latest smear is of a piece with the DHS' rightwing extremists report, something that they were even criticized for by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson. In this case, you don't have to be an AmRen supporter to oppose smears of them, especially when done to push a loose borders agenda.

The DHS has always been a highly political agency, whether under George W Bush or under Barack Obama, and the goal of their leadership is the same under both: look like they're doing their job while - at least when it comes to immigration - trying not to do the job they should be doing.

The entry point of the smear was a blog posting by Greta van Susteren of Fox News [1]. A later Fox News report [3] subtly changes the provenance of the memo, and an Associated Press report by Eileen Sullivan refers not to the memo but an anonymous source [4].

1/10/11 UPDATE: From Greg Sargent of the Washington Post (link):

a DHS official tells me that the department has not established any such possibility [as outlined in the memo], undercutting what appears to be the primary basis for this claim...

But DHS has not officially provided any such information to any law enforcement officials, the DHS official says.

"We have not established any such possible link," the official says...

The official cautions it's conceivable that a law enforcement official got unofficial info from a DHS official somewhere along the lines of what Fox reported. But he emphasizes that DHS has not even concluded in any official way that even the possibility of such ties exists. The official adds that it wouldn't be DHS's place to reach any such conclusion in the first place, since the FBI is leading the investigation.

1/11/11 UPDATE 1: On the ninth (before Sargent's post above), Patrik Jonsson of the Christian Science Monitor offered "American Renaissance: Was Jared Lee Loughner tied to anti-immigrant group?" (link). While it includes AmRen's denial and a "hate" monitor questioning whether there could be a link, the article also smears by asking the titular question and not, for instance, by questioning the DHS over what they were thinking.

David Greenberg of The New Republic links (link) to the article with the following, reaching a conclusion that even Jonsson was unwilling to make:

Jared Lee Loughner, is reported to have admired Mein Kampf and claimed ties to the anti-Semitic hate group called American Renaissance.

If he had claimed such ties, we certainly would have heard about it; Greenberg apparently can't read.

1/11/11 UPDATE 2: AmRen has been cleared and Fox's memo wasn't even from the DHS. From this:

David Denlinger, commander of the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center acknowledged that the document came from his agency, but contained errors and overstated the link between Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old charged with shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others outside a Tucson supermarket, and American Renaissance.

“I do have no reason to believe in anything that we did that (Loughner) had any direct connection or was being directed by American Renaissance,” Denlinger, an Arizona state police major, told POLITICO Tuesday.

The ACTIC - also known as the "Arizona Fusion Center" is per azactic.gov "a joint effort between the Department of Public Safety, Arizona Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other participating agencies".

There's much more about this at the link above; while past reports from Kenneth Vogel of The Politico have shown bias, he seems to have done a good job with this report.

ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation
* first post on Gabrielle Giffords shooting

-------------
[1] From this:

Below is a note from my FNC colleague Jennifer Griffin: (by the way, the fact that my blogs focus on Congresswoman Giffords in no way is meant to take away from the other victims and their families. The tragedy is immeasurable and words inadequate.)
----

Per Griffin

This is an internal memo obtained by Fox News put out by DHS compiling facts known so far about the case - new - shooter's mother worked for Pima board of supervisers and the suspected anti-Semitic motivation of the shooter.

MEMO:
"The investigation has been taken over by the FBI, and is being run through the Tucson Command Post. Here's what can be confirmed at this time (1800 hrs)... * Gabrielle Giffords Is in ICU.* Federal judge John Roll is deceased. He did rule on a 32 million dollar civil rights lawsuit in February, 2010. That ruling brought death threats to Roll and his family, and for a time he was given a protection detail.* 6 deaths attributed to the shooting. 19 total people hit by gunfire.* suspect’s mother works for the Pima County Board of Supervisors* the suspect has multiple arrests ... But no criminal record? Intervention by someone?* no direct connection - but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance. Suspect is possibly linked to this group. (through videos posted on his myspace and YouTube account.). The group’s ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic. Gabrielle Gifford is the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government. She was also opposite this group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate.* DHS have a list of names and dates of birth of all victims.* the ACTIC is still playing a major role in the investigation... Computer forensics is cleaning up the surveillance videos, and images from around the scene, and involved in the investigation - working together, was MCSO, DPS, Phoenix PD, ICE, and of course the FBI. It did just come in from the command post, that the federal judge was Not originally scheduled to attend the meeting, according to wife. She stated that he received a phone call about an hour before and was invited to attend. Wrong place - wrong time. For the planning side, there are impromptu memorials popping up all over the state, but the largest one is downtown phoenix, at the capital."

[2] politico.com/news/stories/0111/47308.html by Maggie Haberman of the Politico.

A Department of Homeland Security memo quoted by Fox News says the agency is looking into whether Loughner is “possibly linked” to the fanatical group American Renaissance... The group promotes views that are “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), anti-Semitic,” the memo says... Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of Loughner’s firing frenzy, is “the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the U.S. government. She was also opposite the group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate,” according the memo.

Haberman even works in a quote from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center who, to his slight credit, admits that Taylor isn't anti-Semitic.

[3] A newer report by Fox (link) only refers to the memo as a "law enforcement memo based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security".

[4] From this:

An official familiar with the Arizona shooting investigation said Sunday that local authorities are looking at a possible connection between accused gunman Jared Loughner and an online group known for white supremacist, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said local authorities were examining the American Renaissance website for possible motives for Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, several others shot; Palin, Tea Party candidate - 01/08/11

UPDATES BELOW

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others were shot earlier today and there are conflicting reports on whether she and others were killed. Per this:

The gunman, who may have come from inside the Safeway, walked up and shot Gifford in the head first, "point blank". According to [an eyewitness, Steven Rayle], who is a former ER doctor, Gifford was able to move her hands after being shot... After shooting Gifford, the gunman opened fire indiscriminately for a few seconds, firing 20-30 rounds and hitting a number of people, including a kid no older than 10 years old... The gunman was young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down, although he struggled at first. He was "not particularly well-dressed"; he didn't look like a businessman, but more of a "fringe character," Rayle said.

There are certainly many possible motivations, and just one of the many is that the shooter is affiliated with the tea parties or libertarians movements. Both of those groups haven't shied away from painting their opponents in the worst terms possible and engaging in apocalyptic language. Sometimes that's included implied violence, such as in the two following graphics.

The first is from Sarah Palin's website and shows several Congressmen's districts in what appear to be gun crosshairs. Palin has since removed this from her site.

In March, Giffords spoke out about a window being broken at her office and various death threats, saying (link):

"Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action."

The second is from Giffords' former opponent, Jesse Kelly announcing a June 12, 2010 campaign event:

"Get on Target for Victory in November
Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office
Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"

Once again: this might be completely unrelated to the teaparties, to Palin, or to politics at all. However, the atmosphere of implied violence that the teaparties have helped create is not helpful to those who want to oppose the far-left in constructive ways such as with the question authority plan.

1pm UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that the suspect's name is Jared Laughner.

1:12pm UPDATE: The suspect's name might actually be Jared Lee Loughner.

1:25pm UPDATE: The video below appears to be from the suspect (cached in case it's deleted). In it he says:

You don't have to accept the federalist laws... read the United States of America's Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws... I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar... No! I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver... No! I won't trust in God!

3:15pm UPDATE: @caitieparker claims she "went to high school, college, & was in a band with the gunman". I was skeptical because she initially spelled his name "Laughner", but she now says "it's loughner just checked my year book". She also says (in successive tweets):

He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in '07, asked her a question & he told me she was "stupid & unintelligent"
he was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix,The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven't seen him in person since '07 in a sign language class
As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy
he had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in '06, & dropped out of school. Mainly loner very philosophical.
more left [wing]. I haven't seen him since '07 though. He became very reclusive.
I haven't seen him since '07. Then, he was left wing.

1/9/11 UPDATE: Doctors are optimistic that Giffords will recover, however six other people are dead. The gunman had a second magazine that jammed; otherwise it might be even worse.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is using this as an opportunity to try to smear opponents of illegal immigration, stupidly focusing on the higher-level white racial separatist group American Renaissance (Maggie Haberman, Politico, link).

A Department of Homeland Security memo quoted by Fox News says the agency is looking into whether Loughner is “possibly linked” to the fanatical group American Renaissance... The group promotes views that are “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), anti-Semitic,” the memo says... Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of Loughner’s firing frenzy, is “the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the U.S. government. She was also opposite the group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate,” according the memo.

Haberman even works in a quote from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Meanwhile, from this:

Jared Taylor called DHS' views "scurrilous" and took especial issue with the reference to his group being "anti-ZOG."

"That is complete nonsense," he said. "I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term 'ZOG.' We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."

Taylor, who earned a BA in philosophy from Yale in 1973 and a master's degree in international economics from the prestigious Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris ("Paris Institute of Political Studies," in English) in 1978, says he had never heard of Loughner until yesterday. Taylor says he checked his organization's records going back twenty years and Loughner never subscribed to AmRen's publications.

Taylor says he also has no indication that Loughner ever attended any of AmRen's events, all of which have been held on the East Coast.

I'm not that familiar with AmRen, but any ties Loughner had would probably be to libertarian-oriented groups on the far fringes. The DHS is just showing yet again how incompetent they are.

Also, Giffords' announcement of the event is here. She doesn't mention anyone else who'd be attending, and cops have said that she was the target. One of those killed was Judge John Roll who was involved in immigration issues (including deciding against rancher Roger Barnett, link). Death threats were made against Roll over that, but at least at this time it doesn't appear that it was public information that he was going to be at the event.

1/9/11 UPDATE 2: AmRen responds here:

American Renaissance condemns violence in the strongest possible terms, and nothing that has ever appeared in it pages could be interpreted as countenancing it.

AR is not anti-government, anti-Semitic, or anti-ZOG, as is clear from the 20 years of back issues that are posted on our website. The expression “ZOG” has never appeared in the pages of AR, and we have has always welcomed Jewish participation in our work. Many of the speakers at American Renaissance conferences have been Jewish.

Google shows just eight other pages mentioning her at their site and none focus on her or contain any questionable mentions of her.

1/9/11 UPDATE 3: Loughner's first Youtube video was uploaded on November 22, 2010. That's the anniversary of the JFK assassination; whether it's just a coincidence isn't known.

And, Giffords' Youtube account (youtube.com/user/giffords2) has just two subscriptions, one to Rep. Ike Skelton and the other to Loughner. Image attached. How exactly that happened is not clear.

ADDED: See also
* FAQ: Is Jared Lee Loughner linked to Tea Party, conservatives, or libertarians? (Gabrielle Giffords shooting)
* Jared Loughner: anti-Bush, pro-small government? Intellectually dishonest Tea Party defenders
* Claims by Tea Party enablers that Pima Sheriff Dupnik could have stopped Loughner are false
* Loughner's "Genocide school" video
* Friend's claim that Loughner wasn't political is two years out of date
* Jared Loughner's AboveTopSecret postings show no clear political slant
* Arizona state Fusion Center uses Giffords shooting to smear American Renaissance)
* Glenn Reynolds denies Tea Party's history of intimidation

Southern Enrichment Law Center: pics of Morris Dees' house - 08/07/10

On April 1, 2010, the Montgomery Advertiser offered a "Houses of the Rich and Famous"-style article about the manse of Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

SPLC promoted Bill Ayers, didn't reveal terrorist past - 07/15/10

In 1998, "Teaching Tolerance" - a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center - offered a laudatory interview with Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist.

Linda Sanchez bases smear of laws like Arizona's on non-credible SPLC, Andrea Nill - 06/03/10

Rep. Linda Sanchez recently spoke out against laws like the new Arizona immigration law, saying (report here, audio here):

"There's a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups.. It's been documented. It's not mainstream politics."

Obviously, in her mind effective immigration enforcement isn't "mainstream", despite the fact that the great majority of Americans (i.e., the mainstream) support it. But, it gets worse:

...Sanchez told the newspaper after her speech that she based her accusation on online stories, particularly a blog written by Andrea Nill, an immigration researcher for ThinkProgress, an offshoot of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Nill wrote that the Immigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), helped write the law. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled FAIR a hate group, a designation that the organization disputes.

The groups that Sanchez considers credible sources are in fact not very credible at all. Please refer to the dozens of posts at the following links to find out just how little credence one should give to the opinions of those listed:

* Southern Poverty Law Center
* Center for American Progress
* Andrea Nill

Meet the 'Patriots': SPLC lies and misleads (Bachmann, Al Garza, Joseph Farah, Taitz...) - 04/18/10

If you trust the Southern Poverty Law Center to tell you the truth - and to be interested in getting the truth in the first place - please see the following as well as the other posts at the last link. The latest example of how you can't trust them comes from "Meet the 'Patriots'" (splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/the-patriots?page=0,0) which lies about at least two of the people on the list. They also show little interest in real journalism. (Note: there's also another possible lie by them here, and there are probably other lies on the list about people I'm not familiar with).

1. The SPLC falsely accuses Al Garza of the Patriots Coalition of wanting to "[keep] Mexicans out of his country" and refers to him being "[a]sked about the irony of a Mexican American leading efforts to prevent Mexicans from setting foot on American soil". Both of those imply that Garza doesn't want any Mexicans to come here, period. Yet, Garza's group is actually in the "illegal immigration bad, legal immigration good camp", and the quotes the SPLC attributes to him refer to the illegal variety of immigration. That runs counter to the SPLC's claims. See the following page (note: this is direct link to a shockwave movie): link; that says: "The mission of Patriots Coalition is to influence the national debate on border security and illegal immigration. We support reasonable and orderly legal immigration but oppose amnesty for those millions who are currently in our country illegally."

2. They discuss Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily and say that that site, 'spices up its "news" reporting with "WorldNetDaily Exclusive" articles like this March's "Girl Scouts Hiding Secret Sex Agenda?"' Now, go take a look at the article: link. Would you say that's an example of "spice", or do you think - even if you're on Planned Parenthood's side of the fence - that there might be some sort of story there? Why would the SPLC seek to minimize the concerns of parents about such issues? Why wouldn't they encourage some sort of follow-up?

Of Farah they also say:

"He is a leading fomenter of the baseless claim that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in Africa, and so is not qualified to be president. Farah has repeatedly demanded that Obama release a full-form birth certificate. "It'll plague Obama throughout his presidency," he said. "It'll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration."

While there's an excellent chance that Obama was born in Hawaii, where he was born hasn't been definitively proven (see the Obama citizenship page). All the evidence so far provided is full of holes; the SPLC has no interest in trying to actually prove it, but instead simply smears those who have questions.

Their use of "fomenter" is certainly interesting, because as far as I know Farah has not said that he believes that Obama was born in Kenya. He's run articles about that, but his position is to demand the birth certificate and to ask whether Obama is eligible based on various possibilities (their article archives on this topic here). Many people might miss the word "fomenter" and think that Farah holds a position different from what he appears to hold.

3. Of Orly Taitz, they say:

As one judge wrote in dismissing one of Taitz's lawsuits: "Unlike Alice in Wonderland, simply saying something is so does not make it so."

Once again, the SPLC shows a great willingness to push the official line and a complete unwillingness to do anything remotely balanced. If they were interested in the latter, they would point out that the judge in question (Clay Land) showed a good deal of bias in that case, giving Obama the benefit of the doubt while not extending the same to Taitz. I don't have a high regard for Taitz, but even those who don't should support judges being impartial rather than showing favoritism.

The SPLC also says: "Taitz has called for an insurrection to remove the president", when in fact she didn't go that far. Before making such an outrageous claim, a reputable organization would be sure to have a clear, unambiguous statement backing it up. Instead, even TalkingPointsMemo was confused over what she meant. See "Orly Taitz Seems To Suggest Call To Arms Against Obama" in which they say: "It's not entirely clear what Taitz means here, though it does sound a lot like a call for armed militias to rally against the president." (link). This is the quote, aren't there other explanations besides the SPLC's claim?

Seeing targeted destruction of our economy, our security, dissipation of American jobs, massive corruption in the Government, Congress Department of Justice and Judiciary, it might be time to start rallies and protests using our second amendment right to bare arms and organise in militias.

4. Rep. Michelle Bachmann lucks out and is only called an "enabler" of the others on the list. Of her they say:

While some people might complain about answering Census questions, Bachmann sees a sinister plot hearkening back to World War II. "They used the U.S. Census information to round up the Japanese and put them in the internment camps," she said during an interview with Fox News' Glenn Beck last year. "Americans were told that they wouldn't have their information used against them. They did."

Whether Bachmann's fears are well-founded in this case or not, Census Bureau data was used in the case she describes and others (link). See also July 30, 2004's "Homeland Security Given Data on Arab-Americans" (link) from the scaremongers at the New York Times.

They also say:

The AmeriCorps community service program? There's much more to it. "The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward," Bachmann warned. Never mind that her son joined an AmeriCorps program.

You can hear the April 2009 audio where she said that here: peekURL.com/vghoc7w . The SPLC conveniently leaves off the last part of the quote:

"It's under the guise of -- quote -- volunteerism. But it's not volunteers at all. It's paying people to do work on behalf of government... I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."

Indeed, it's hard to imagine the Obama administration supporting programs that wouldn't be politically correct, and it's easy to imagine the Obama administration arranging programs so that they're more in line with the administration's agenda. Not to mention the fact that the bill in question originally included a provision to investigate mandatory public service (factcheck.org/2009/03/mandatory-public-service) and the November 2008 questions surrounding that issue.

The SPLC lists Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, and Andrew Napolitano as other enablers and has many others on their list; discussing the credibility of those entries is left as an exercise.

Andrea Nill promotes false Obama claim in smear of Lou Dobbs - 03/03/10

In May, 2008, Barack Obama smeared Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, falsely claiming that hate crimes against Hispanics had "doubled" the year before. In fact, they only went up 7.8%. Not only that, but they've decreased as a percentage of the Hispanic population between 1995 and 2006.

Given that, you might not expect Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress to write the following, unless you were familiar with that site and her work. In that case, you - like me - would realize just how truth-challenged both she and the others associated with that site are. Referring to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (perhaps more on that later), she writes (thinkprogress.org/2010/03/03/dobbs-splc-hate-groups):

While campaigning in 2008, Obama himself accused Dobbs of "ginning things up" to such an extent that hate crimes against Latinos soared.

The last sentence links links to the contemporaneous Huffington Post report at huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/23/
obama-rush-limbaugh-lou-d_n_103315.html which, of course, doesn't even hint at how much Obama was lying.

If Nill had even a smidgen of intellectual honesty she would note that Obama lied. As it is, I strongly suspect that her use of "soared" instead of what Obama said ("doubled") is an outright attempt to deceive her readers but at the same time not raise red flags by repeating something so obviously false.

LULAC, Mark Potok of SPLC, NCLR, America's Voice, MMFA cheer & smear over Dobbs leaving - 11/12/09

There's a round-up of reaction from far-left groups to Lou Dobbs' announcement that he's leaving CNN here.

Howard Kurtz is still not a reliable source (Lou Dobbs) - 11/12/09

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post offers "Anchor Lou Dobbs resigns from CNN" (link). Let me show some ways that he's still not a reliable source:

Lou Dobbs, the most opinionated and divisive anchor at a cable network that bills itself as a straight-news oasis, resigned from CNN on Wednesday night...

Some of the other CNN personalities - such as Rick Sanchez, Soledad OBrien, and Anderson Cooper - seem to be quite opinionated, and the first two do so publicly. If Kurtz can't see that, perhaps he's a bit like someone who lives next to the train tracks: after a while they get used to the noise. In his case, he thinks of the left-leaning Beltway establishment as "normal" and thinks that those who hold views held by others inside the Beltway aren't opinionated: they're just normal. Kurtz is incapable of understanding that. And, if Dobbs is "divisive" perhaps it's because, unlike CNN's milquetoast personalities, he's willing to rock the boat: "fight the power" as the kids used to say. Dobbs is willing to at least to a certain extent try to monkeywrench attempts by powerful forces - including the major political parties and business interests - to profit from illegal activity. Challenging those who want to profit from illegal activity is a foreign concept to Kurtz.

Justice Department investigating Suffolk County (NY) Police (treatment of Latinos; follows SPLC report) - 10/08/09

Just over a month ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report alleging anti-Latino policing in Suffolk County (Long Island, New York). Now the Department of Justice has launched an investigation (link):

Justice Department investigators “will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law” by the police, said Alejandro Miyar, a spokesman for the department. The agency notified Suffolk police authorities of the investigation on Sept. 30.

The police commissioner, Richard Dormer, said in a telephone interview that he welcomed the federal investigation into his police force and denied that there had any police discrimination against Latino crime victims.

The report mentions the SPLC, and also quotes someone from Sonia Sotomayor's former group the PRLDEF:

"For a long time Latinos in Suffolk County felt that the Suffolk County police have been hostile or indifferent to their well-being and that they have not been treated as white residents have been treated,” said Foster Maer, senior litigation counsel for LatinoJustice P.R.L.D.E.F., an advocacy group based in Manhattan that had been pressing the Justice Department for the inquiry.

Liza Mundy /WaPo lies about Obama certificate (+SPLC joins in) - 10/06/09

Liza Mundy of the Washington Post offers "Burden of Proof on Obama's Origins" (link), a three-screen, mostly smear piece on Orly Taitz of the "Birthers" movement. Leaving aside Taitz' various claims, Mundy has a problem with the truth. (Note that she's also the author of a presumably sympathetic biography of Michelle Obama; she whines about the lack of cooperation from the Obama camp at slate.com/id/2202261).

Mundy quotes Taitz as saying of Obama's records "Nobody has seen proper documents. Period." and follows that with this:

Another breathtaking statement, or rather misstatement. After initially trying to ignore the controversy, Obama's staff has indeed provided an official record showing that the president was born in Hawaii. The document is a computer-generated official certification of live birth attesting to the fact that Barack Hussein Obama II was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. The director of Hawaii's Department of Health also has stated, rather wearily, that she has viewed the underlying vital records and that they are valid.

All Obama has provided is a picture of what looks to be an official document; he hasn't provided the document itself as Lisa Munday states. The picture has never been authenticated by any government agency, and thus there's no proof that anything on it is accurate. While Chiyome Fukino of the Hawaii Department of Health did say in 2008 "the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures" and then in July she said that she's "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai'i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen", she didn't say anything about the picture on Obama's site, as Mundy is implying.

Mundy also (of course) plays the race card and the extremist card:

At a minimum, organizations who monitor extremist groups say that the fantasy of Obama's ineligibility is now a central tenet. "The birther conspiracy itself is now totally widespread among military and paramilitary [militia] groups and new, what we would call quote-unquote 'patriot' groups, which are groups that are virulently anti-government," says Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Beirich says that a popular conspiracy theory among such groups is that the government is going to round up citizens and put them in camps operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Drop Dobbs: illegal activity-supporting racial power groups and far-left want Lou Dobbs off CNN - 09/17/09

A coalition of illegal immigration-supporting far-left and/or racial power groups has launched a campaign called "Drop Dobbs" to get advertisers to pull their ads from CNN's Lou Dobbs show (dropdobbs.com, mediamatters.org/blog/200909150031): "...The effort aims to let companies know that their continued financial support of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight makes them complicit in the hate speech and wild conspiracy theories that he promotes..."

Campaigns like this - following on the heels of the somewhat successful similar campaign against Glenn Beck - stand a greater chance of success given the fact that Dobbs' ratings aren't as high as they once were. What you can do about this is raise awareness about the groups involved and cut them off from support, both financial and ideological.

For instance, help organize a campaign against bills that would fund the NCLR. Or, do something as simple (but too difficult for some) as leaving comments at blog and news postings by or discussing the groups; those comments should have the goal of discrediting those groups or their supporters.

See the following links to the names of the groups involved for our coverage of each group:

* National Council of La Raza (funds extremists, gave award to someone who'd proposed genocide)
* League of United Latin American Citizens (CA chapter thinks U.S.-Mexico border might be invalid)
* Southern Poverty Law Center (misled about hate crime statistics)
* Media Matters for America
* Frank Sharry
* Reform Immigration for America
* Center for New Community
* Hispanic Institute (see below)
* Dolores Huerta Foundation (promoted demographic hegemony, hatred against Republicans)
* National Hispanic Media Coalition
* National Puerto Rican Coalition
* New Democratic Network
* Netroots Nation (from Dailykos and others)
* Voto Latino

----------
UPDATE: Janet Murguia of the NCLR says, among other things (huffingtonpost.com/janet-murguia/join-nclr-and-the-drop-do_b_290584.html):

For two years, I have tried working behind the scenes with CNN to bring some fairness to the relentless bias of CNN programming due to Dobbs' show... The Drop Dobbs coalition is compiling a list of those advertisers supporting the Lou Dobbs show and will be reaching out to educate them about this issue. We recognize that many advertisers may be unaware that FAIR has been designated as a hate group, so we are contacting those companies before publicly releasing the list. However, unless and until Dobbs and CNN disassociate themselves from this hate group, we will be asking advertisers to withhold their support...

UPDATE 2: See also the similar group "Enough is Enough!". Communications for that are being handled by a DNC official; it would be interesting to know to what extent if any the Obama administration is involved in either group. Could someone (perhaps Judicial Watch) file some FOIA requests?
----------

The Hispanic Institute's board is at thehispanicinstitute.net/about/boardofdirectors. In addition to one board member who was with the National Association of Realtors, another is quite interesting:

SPLC smears Steve Levy in quest to support illegal activity (Suffolk County, Long Island; CAP) - 09/02/09

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a new report entitled "Climate of Fear/Latino Immigrants in Suffolk County, N.Y." about that county on Long Island, New York (splcenter.org/news/item.jsp?aid=395). County executive Steve Levy has attempted to reduce illegal immigration in his county, such as by taking actions against residences where dozens of illegal aliens live; see this from 2005 and also this (involving then-Mexican consul Arturo Sarukhan) and this.

In the current case, the SPLC is trying to conflate Levy's efforts with violent attacks in that county, both reported and simply alleged. For instance:

As misguided young men have engaged in violent attacks on Latino immigrants in Suffolk County, N.Y., some local politicians on the sidelines have been playing the role of cheerleaders. Far from acting as peacemakers, they have fed the atmosphere of hostility with rhetorical attacks of their own.

County Executive Steve Levy isn't the only public official engaging in the verbal immigrant-bashing, or the most extreme. But he is the highest-ranking, and since he was elected to his first term in November 2003 after promising a crackdown on illegal immigrants, Levy has been acting like the enabler-in-chief.

Levy has, of course, made clear that he does not in any way condone violent actions and the like. In case there was even one person who takes the SPLC seriously, they should compare what they say to the facts of the matter. Note also that they sink even lower by claiming that a group he co-founded "promotes immigrant-cleansing ordinances". Even some in the MSM seem to be catching on to the SPLC's self-interested hyperbole.

On another page of their report, they mix reported and alleged crimes in with non-criminal acts such as attempts to pass laws or resolutions encouraging the INS to take actions. Note also that the SPLC admits that some of those involved in attacks on Hispanics were black, and they also include this example of the elites making things difficult for the non-elites:

Latino immigrants may find work in Suffolk County's rich seaside communities, but they live in the more affordable inland towns, alongside middle- and working-class American families who are more likely to view the brown-skinned newcomers as competitors for jobs than hired help.

That doesn't excuse race-based attacks, but it does point the blame at those who are ultimately responsible for the situation.

While editing for the SPLC's report is attributed to Mark Potok, they also include this:

Special thanks to the Hagedorn Foundation for its generous support of this project. Thanks also to the Center for American Progress.

Hagedorn was started by the founder of Miracle Gro, but more importantly it would be interestiing to know what role the Obama administration-linked CAP played in the report.

Sources for DHS rightwing extremism report: ADL, SPLC, NYT, LAT, Dave Weigel... - 08/12/09

* A large number of links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, including [1]. That SPLC link is misleading for the reasons outlined here and here. That misleading claim made it into DHS's report.

Kentucky state hate crimes report smears Constitution Party (uses SPLC as source) - 06/22/09

From this:

A report posted on the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet website mentions the Kentucky chapter of the Constitution Party. The 2006 report, entitled “Hate Crime and Hate Incidents in the Commonwealth,” characterizes the paleoconservative political party as a patriot group and associates it with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations...

...The Kentucky report lists the Constitution Party in a table along with Take Back Kentucky, Ranch Rescue, and the Kentucky State Militia. “Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the ‘New World Order’ or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government or conspiratorial doctrines,” a caveat below the table states. “Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist. This list was compiled from field reports, Patriot publications, the Internet, law enforcement officials and news reports. Source: Southern Poverty Law Center.”

A search for documents at ky.gov shows that the same language was used in their 2004 and 2005 reports. For a related case, see the report from the state of Missouri.

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights supports illegal immigration, misleads about hate crimes (SPLC, MALDEF, ADL, NCLR, NHMC...) - 06/19/09

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has released a new report called "Confronting the New Faces of Hate: Hate Crimes in America 2009" [1]. It's the latest salvo in the attempt by several far-left groups to support massive illegal immigration and to silence their critics. They name-check several of those groups, but their exact involvement in the report isn't clear; the mentions might just be boilerplate.

For just one example of how the LCCR is attempting to mislead, see the attached picture. The ominous-looking graph on the top (from the LCCR) shows anti-Hispanic hate crimes from 2003 to 2007. The graph on the bottom (created by me) uses the same data set, but shows earlier years. Note that 2001 was higher than 2007. And, note also that neither chart are adjusted for population. If that were done, the bottom chart would show that such crimes have actually declined as a percentage of the Hispanic population from 1995. About their misleading chart, they say:

The increasing number of shrill anti-Immigration reform commentaries from high profile national media personalities, including CNN's Lou Dobbs and Talk Show Network's The Savage Nation host Michael Savage, correlates closely with the increase in hate crimes against Hispanics.

The LCCR isn't just confused about correlation not equaling causation, they also don't explain what was happening in 2001; Dobbs had just returned to CNN and was hosting Moneyline. He didn't start his anti-illegal immigration show until 2003.

Another of their targets is FAIR, and they trot out an SPLC report and the usual smears, prefacing their SPLC excerpt with:

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) have become increasingly concerned about the virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric employed by a handful of groups and coalitions that have tried to position themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against illegal immigration in America.

Whether those groups were involved in this report or are just mentioned in a misbegotten attempt to give the report credibility isn't known. Later, they also quote Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

[1] civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/escalating-violence.html

Casey Sanchez/SPLC, Frank Sharry, Andrea Nill/CAP smear FAIR over non-existent connection (Dave Bennion) - 06/17/09

From a FAIR press release (link):

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has launched its most irresponsible attack to date against the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The SPLC claims that Shawna Forde, the alleged killer of a little girl and her father during an Arizona home invasion, had ties to FAIR. Although no association exists -- or ever has -- between Ms. Forde and FAIR, the SPLC and organizations advocating mass amnesty and open borders have used this tragedy to fuel their on-going smear campaign against FAIR and other immigration policy organizations in order to suppress free and open debate about immigration policy in the United States... FAIR has no association with Shawna Forde. "Ms. Forde is not and never was an employee, member, activist, or donor of FAIR and most certainly has never been authorized to speak on behalf of our organization," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Ms. Forde misrepresented herself as a spokesperson for FAIR in a 2006 appearance on KYVE-TV in Yakima, Washington, and the producers of the program were remiss in failing to authenticate her false claims."

The SPLC report from Casey Sanchez is at [1]. It was updated after it was originally posted and they acknowledge the above press release; there may or may not have been other changes. In its current form, the SPLC post doesn't claim that she was a member, only that she represented herself as a member and so on. At the very least, the SPLC post is an example of incredibly bad journalism:

Contacted by Hatewatch, Enrique Cerna, the host of the show and an executive producer, said it’s difficult to remember all the production details of a segment produced three years ago. Still, he said his producers had contacted FAIR, asking for a representative to appear on the show. That representative cancelled at the last minute and was replaced by Forde, who identified herself as a FAIR official. “We wouldn’t have identified her with that organization if she hadn’t said she was speaking on their behalf,” said Cerna.

Obviously, Cerna should have verified with FAIR that she was able to speak on their behalf rather than simply taking her word for it.

The full video is here, but a shorter segment from user "AmericasVoiceTV" - Frank Sharry's America's Voice - is here. Unlike the SPLC, his description is completely disreputable:

Shawna Forde, arrested as a suspect in a deadly home invasion in Arizona, has ties to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant group classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Hat tip to http://TonyHerrera.com for finding this 2006 video.

She has no ties; Sharry is lying.

(Updates below)

Obama, ADL, SPLC, Phil Gordon, Catherine Herridge, Shep Smith, Joan Walsh, Chris Matthews, others try to exploit shooting at Holocaust Museum - 06/11/09

Here are just some of those trying to use yesterday's shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC to score political points:

* Barack Obama says: "This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms". That sounds good, until one remembers things like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "bitter cling", his campaign's constant attempts to race-bait, his smears of Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, and how he'd deal with "hate" (see #14).

* Josh Gerstein of the Politico in "Attacks validate DHS report, some say" (link). He quotes the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok: "I think this latest round of killing once again shows how ridiculous the criticism from the right of the Department of Homeland Security report was. That whole brouhaha was absurd... Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner can go on until the end of time about how [the report] was an attack on conservatives, but in reality it was a perfectly sober assessment of what was going on out there." That report was even criticized by Bennie Thompson. Gerstein also quotes the Anti Defamation League's Deborah Lauter: "We felt the DHS report was pretty right on... Clearly the election of Obama, the current financial crisis, and the discussion of immigration reform - those things have certainly fueled the right wing extremist movement in this country….There are clear indications that the rhetoric is manifesting. We hope it's not the tip of the iceberg.”

* Catherine Herridge and Shepard Smith on Fox News: link.

* Joan Walsh of Salon.com and Chris Matthews: link.

* Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon sinks even further, engaging in McCarthyite tactics against Sheriff Joe Arpaio: link.

UPDATE: A list of others who've tried to exploit this tragedy is in "Holocaust Museum Shooter: Christian-Hating Socialist" (link). It includes this:

A review of his lengthy associations reveals Von Brunn hardly fits the stereotype of a Religious Right, GOP precinct captain. He denounced the Christian faith as a dastardly Jewish conspiracy, a “HOAX” invented by the Apostle Paul to “DESTROY ROMAN CULTURE” from within by undermining its pagan virility. (All screaming capitalization and grammatical errors in this piece appear in the original.) Like others on the racist fringe, the shooter proclaimed clearly: "SOCIALISM, represents the future of the West."

Extensive quotes are provided to show those aren't being taken out of context.

America's Voice offers very lightweight hit piece on Jeff Sessions - 05/07/09

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post directs [1] our attention to a new hit piece from Frank Sharry's America's Voice that claims that Sen. Jeff Sessions has "just one degree of separation from anti-immigrant hate groups, white nationalism" [2]. As a hit piece, this is like a marshmallow wrapped in a Snuggie.

For instance, they accuse him of playing the "terrorist card" in regards to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, including quoting a floor speech he made. Yet, they don't provide any sort of counter-argument other than implying that Senators shouldn't point out that the CIR bill would enable terrorists. If America's Voice could show that Sessions was wrong about that, they might have a case. Yet, they don't. Apparently they don't want Senators to discuss how a bill would endanger the U.S. or something.

Likewise with Sessions' list of loopholes in the CIR bill, including one that would allow those convicted of aggravated felonies to be amnestied. They don't try to say that he was wrong, they just imply that he shouldn't have mentioned that. The rest of the "backgrounder" consists of the same old warmed-over smears about FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies, including this:

FAIR, which regularly praised Sessions, has been designated an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That might make some members of Congress think twice about developing a relationship with the group, but clearly not Jeff Sessions.

As detailed at the last link, the SPLC is not in any way a credible source. Some members of Congress are obviously dumb or far-left enough to put faith in what they say, but no one else should.

[1] huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/07/sessions-incendiary-on-im_n_198807.html
[2] americasvoiceonline.org/page/content/SessionsinHate

George Soros funding ACLU, SPLC immigration projects - 04/29/09

The list of the 2009 Soros Justice Fellows has been released, and a list is at [1]. The two involving are:

Sam Brooke; lawyer; Southern Poverty Law Center; Montgomery, AL
Brooke will engage in advocacy and public education to curb arbitrary detentions and abuses at Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the southeastern United States.

Amalia Greenberg Delgado; lawyer; American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California; San Francisco, CA
Greenberg Delgado will develop a public education program to counter myths about immigrants and crime, and advocate for improved law-enforcement practices in immigrant communities. State and local police in California increasingly target people based not on suspected criminal activity but on supposed immigration violations. This tactic has made immigrant neighborhoods less safe and places a severe burden on families and communities.

The last will almost assuredly be an even-handed, intellectually-honest treatment that will fully acknowledge and faithfully represent the opponents' positions, and won't involve George Soros just funding misleading propaganda.

SPLC: DHS rightwing extremist report mentions them and "tracks" theirs "fairly closely" (Harry Smith; +two errors) - 04/16/09

As you haven't heard from almost anyone else, the recent Department of Homeland Security report warning about rightwing extremists mentions - without naming it - a misleading report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I say "almost" because of this:

Mark Potok, director of the [SPLC's] intelligence project, said... he was generally pleased with the report... "Basically, the report tracks fairly closely with what we have been saying for some time now. They mention us a couple of times, though not by name," he said.

Anyone who wants to do something effective about the report should stress that the DHS is relying on a misleading SPLC report; so far I have yet to see anyone else do that (not much of a surprise).

And, it's not just Potok who's happy with the report, but his boss Morris Dees. Speaking on yesterday's CBS News Early Show, Dees told a fawning Harry Smith that "I think they sync up pretty much", referring to an SPLC report claiming an increase in hate groups. Needless to say, Smith didn't point out that the SPLC has a fundraising interest in "hate", a word that they very broadly define. A transcript is at [1], and the SPLC crows about the similarities between the DHS report and their reports at [2].

The key to this is the DHS' reliance on the SPLC; the problem is getting others to concentrate on that.

(On a related note, one of the anecdotes in the DHS report appears to be completely bogus, and another appears to be highly questionable [3]).

[1] newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/2009/04/15/
cbs-fears-right-wing-extremism-may-increase-after-obama-election
[2] splcenter.org/news/item.jsp?aid=373
[3] justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2009/04/the-race-to-dumb-special-dhs-edition.html

Bennie Thompson "dumbfounded" by DHS rightwing extremist report - 04/16/09

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson - chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee - has written a letter to Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security complaining about their recently-released report warning about rightwing "extremists". Per this, in the letter he says that he's "dumbfounded" by the report, also saying:

"This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans -- including war veterans... As I am certain you agree, freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans -- whether a person's beliefs, whatever their political orientation, are 'extremist' or not..."

As pointed out at the end of 2006, Thompson was agitating against the border fence and got an F- for his immigration votes. At the same time, he spoke out against the jobs americans wont do canard.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent draws our attention [1] to the fact that back in 2005, Thompson released his own call "for the Department of Homeland Security to do More to Fight Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists" [2]. For an unknown reason, the PDF link at that page no longer works. However, a copy is linked from this page.

What Sargent doesn't tell his readers is that that report is different from the latter in that it's much more specific about what exactly a domestic terrorist is, relying on the FBI's definition and focusing on actual violent acts rather than verging on trying to criminalize protected speech.

However, it does contain this worrisome quote:

There are several organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the National Abortion Federation, and others with long-standing experience in monitoring rightwing domestic terrorist groups and assessing their danger. Congress or DHS should establish an advisory council of these groups in order to ensure that the Department has as much information as possible about the risks right-wing domestic terrorists pose.

[1] theplumline.whorunsgov.com/terrorism/
democrat-who-blasted-right-wing-extremism-report-called-for-crackdown-on-right-wing-extremism

[2] homeland.house.gov/press/
index.asp?ID=119&SubSection=0&Issue=0&DocumentType=0&PublishDate=0

SPLC names "hate group" based on something they didn't promote - 04/10/09

The Southern Poverty Law Center publishes a list of "hate groups" which includes both true hate groups as well as those who simply disagree with the SPLC's support for illegal immigration and the like. That would be insignificant if it weren't for the fact that the mainstream media as well as even government agencies take them seriously.

Dennis Roddy /Pittsburgh PG, SPLC, LGF, HotAir, Kos use tragedy to smear opponents - 04/05/09

Dennis Roddy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette offers "Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories" (link) about the recent shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh by an obviously deranged 22-year-old. He takes advantage of that tragedy to smear his or his paper's opponents:

Mr. Poplawski's view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.

...Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.

He was also a member of Stormfront. Ergo, in Roddy's mind, Alex Jones = Stormfront. And, whatever Jones' ideology, I don't think "far-right" is accurate. And, while Jones is "out there" a good part of the time, he's also had a couple scoops about things that sounded loony but which turned out later to be true.

Regarding the troops, see December's "20,000 U.S. military troops to help with "homeland security" in U.S. by 2011", which links to a Washington Post article about such a scheme. That was also discussed in September; the Army Times and the underlying documents included the possibility of using troops for crowd control.

One of the shooter's friends alludes to media bias regarding the MSM not covering states recently declaring sovereignty with the implication that there is no such bias. There's a round-up here from the Christian Science Monitor; Google News wasn't exactly filled with similar MSM articles. A smaller paper covered the movement in Pennsylvania here, a story that I couldn't locate at the Post-Gazette's site.

In case you think Roddy is just presenting facts without attempting to smear, he continues with this:

"For some time now there has been a pretty good connection between being sucked into this conspiracy world and propagating violence," said Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center and an expert on political extremists. She called Mr. Poplawski's act, "a classic example of what happens when you start buying all this conspiracy stuff."

Meanwhile, over at HotAir, one of their staffers links to the Little Green Footballs entry [1] with the title "Surprise: Pittsburgh cop-killer was anti-semitic, white supremacist, Alex Jones fan".

Over to Ed Morrissey at the same site (hotair.com/archives/2009/04/05/kos-conservatives-like-to-shoot-cops):

Those who would use such horrifying tragedies to smear their political opponents are completely unworthy of engagement, and utterly despicable to boot, regardless of which side they’re on.

[1] littlegreenfootballs.com/article/
33283_Pittsburgh_Cop-Killer_Was_Conspiracy_Nut_and_Member_of_Stormfront

UPDATE: Also, as discussed at the last HotAir link, Kos said on twitter that "Conservatives, apparently, prefer to talk "revolution" and shoot cops." He may have just been "joking".

UPDATE 2: The Anti Defamation League has also gotten involved in the smear; that and the other issues above are answered in "Poplawski Smear Debunked: Cop Killer Held Opposing Views To Infowars" (link).

UPDATE 3: Both RawStory and a DailyKos blogger have retracted Alex Jones-related smears (link). However, Sean Hamill of the New York Times and Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America continue the smear (link, link).

SPLC, ADL used as sources for Missouri militia report? - 03/27/09

A couple weeks ago this news broke (link):

Alex Jones has received a secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) entitled "The Modern Militia Movement' and dated February 20, 2009... The MIAC report specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as "militia" influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties...

Now it appears that at least part of the document was based on material from the Anti Defamation League. See this for the details. As that link points out, language used in one of the sentences appears to have been slightly reworked from an ADL document, and in March 2008 the ADL conducted "Extremism Training for Missouri Law Enforcement". Another section of the MO documents may have been taken from ADL materials.

With that in mind, there's a clear difference between using the ADL/SPLC as a source, and their active involvement. I was unable to find anything in the scans mentioning the ADL, and there's apparently one mention of an attempted bombing of the SPLC. However, there doesn't appear to be any footnote or other indication that they were written by the ADL/SPLC, with their assistance, based on their documents, or the like. Note also that the writing style used in most of the Missouri documents is a bit different from that employed by the SPLC/ADL in their reports.

If anyone has a credible source indicating to what degree the SPLC/ADL were involved if any leave a link in comments.

There are scans of the document at the first link above, and what appears to be a transcript of the scans is here. Missouri has since withdrawn their report since the three politicians sent a letter complaining about it (link, link). At the last link, Baldwin says:

If we can continue to probe the details of the MIAC report, I am absolutely convinced we will find that this report actually originates with Morris Dees and his ultra-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center. And if my hunch (a very educated hunch, I might add) is correct, it means that the DHS and various State police agencies around the country are allowing a left-wing special interest group to use them to harass, intimidate, and profile people with conservative political opinions.

And, ALIPAC says this:

ALIPAC is issuing a national advisory to all local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies and officers, along with all DHS Fusion Centers, a warning against any reliance upon faulty and politicized research issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti Defamation League (ADL)... The Southern Poverty Law Center was cited as a research source for the 'Missouri Documents'. Furthermore, the attempt of these documents to cast suspicion of violent and life threatening behavior on millions of Americans who are concerned about these issues is consistent with the regularly released political materials of both the SPLC and ADL... Since the SPLC was listed as a source in the MIAC Missouri Documents, ALIPAC sent a letter of inquiry to the Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on March 20, 2009 asking for more specific sourcing information.

Apparently the response didn't indicate whether the SPLC and/or the ADL were involved, and to what degree.

SPLC live web chat: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 03/13/09

On March 18 at 2pm Eastern, the Southern Poverty Law Center will be conducting a live online webchat. You have to sign up beforehand here:
splcenter.org/news/item.jsp?aid=368&splcnewsletter=newsgen-031109

Those participating include their president Richard Cohen and Mark Potok.

Clarissa Martinez/NCLR's offensive, misleading pro-illegal immigration editorial - 02/07/09

Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza (her bio at the first link) offers an offensive editorial called "Think Latinos are ambivalent about immigration?" (link). It's a response to an earlier editorial from Ira Mehlman (link), and it starts with this:

At the height of his hubris, Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)-- an anti-immigrant organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- decided that he is better qualified than Latino civil rights leaders to speak to Latino views. What's next, David Duke writing about African American views on affirmative action?

See their name's link for more on the SPLC. See the ethnic conformity for the "better qualified" bit. See hispanic civil rights for that part. As for the last sentence, if she'd written "Ward Connerly" that would have just been very inaccurate; the use of Duke is despicable.

...Coinciding with the rise in vitriol in the immigration debate, FBI statistics show a nearly 40% increase in hate crimes committed against Latinos between 2003 and 2008. The Southern Poverty Law Center attributes the 48% rise in the number of hate groups in the U.S. between 2000 and 2007 almost completely to anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The first sentence is based on the SPLC misleading about hate crime statistics. And, the "number of hate groups" represents the number of groups on the SPLC's list, it isn't some official or widely accepted figure. It was also obtained by adding non-"hate" groups to the list, and it almost assuredly reflects the SPLC's attempts to scare up donations by finding something to oppose as their original opponents wane.

At least 10 million Latinos turned out to vote on Nov. 4, a stunning increase from the approximately 7 million who voted in the 2004 general election.

Shortly after the election, the Pew Hispanic Center said, "8% of the electorate was Latino, unchanged from 2004"; see the discussion here. See also the Hispanic vote compared to the full electorate.

And where immigration was concerned, Latinos supported the candidate that was more clearly in favor of reform. They did this during the primaries (Latinos were a deciding factor in Sen. John McCain's primary victory over other Republicans, delivering Florida at a crucial juncture of the campaign) and in the general election (They helped President Obama in key states such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia).

Why Hispanics mostly voted for Obama isn't known; not even a "Latino civil rights leader" is able to read minds.

In the absence of a thorough discussion of immigration during the general election at the presidential level, what informed the sensitivities of Latino voters on this issue was the overall tone of Republican candidates during the primaries and in races at the local level. McCain suffered the consequences of being a member of a party that wholeheartedly embraced anti-immigrant rhetoric and the scapegoating of Latinos to score political points. There are, of course, some notable exceptions, including McCain. The party's strategy backfired

She continues her mind-reading, and ignores the fact that the GOP leadership was more than willing to completely pander to Hispanics at every opportunity and that there are no national GOP politicians who "embraced anti-immigrant rhetoric and the scapegoating of Latinos", unless one defines those terms extremely broadly to include a fact-based discussion of the impacts of massive/illegal immigration.

She then discusses some pro-border Republicans who lost their races; finding counter-examples is left as an exercise. Then, she finishes with this:

The next time Mehlman decides to chime in, he should stick to discussing what he knows best: how his group has stood in the way of our nation solving its immigration problem.

Earlier she said that Mehlman isn't qualified to discuss Latino issues because of his race, and that bit has more than a bit of a racist tinge such as one might have heard coming out of a Mississippi politician in the 50s.

Carrie Johnson /WaPo smears opponents of Obama, immigration (rise in "hate", SPLC) - 01/11/09

Carrie Johnson of the Washington Post offers "Bad Economy May Fuel Hate Groups, Experts Warn/Experts Warn That Downturn Could Drive Discontent, Help Extremists Recruit" (link), which is basically the same article as that offered by Jesse Washington of the AP and others back in November, albeit updated for the current economic conditions. She starts out with the possibility that Obama's win, immigration, and the slumping economy could lead to rising membership in "hate" groups. Aside from the "experts" quoted, she provides no evidence in support of her assertion, and at the end she provides current statistics that don't show a massive uptick in "hate". And:

1. The much greater crime wave to be unleashed by the recession involves simple economic crimes such as muggings. Would Johnson write an article looking into past rises in violent crime during recessions? No doubt there will be more victims of such economic crimes in a week than in all "hate" crimes over the next few years, but - oddly enough - that's completely off the WaPo's radar. And, even if they looked into that, would they look into the races of the perpetrators and the victims, and do so in such a racist way as the current article? We know the answer to that.

2. Johnson does not provide any context for this:

The number of U.S. hate groups has increased by 48 percent, to 888, since 2000, according to experts at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an independent organization that monitors racist movements... Although questions persist about the ability of such groups to carry out violent plans, several recent national developments have combined to worry analysts, said Mark Potok, chief of the law center's Intelligence Project. In addition to the economic downturn, he cited rising immigration, demographic changes that predict whites will not be a majority within a few decades, and what some might see as "the final insult -- a black man in the White House."

What Carrie Jonson forgot to mention is that the SPLC's definition of a "hate" group is rather fluid, and it basically means any group that opposes the SPLC; the rise in their numbers is more a reflection of them lashing out at those who oppose them. Johnson also forgot to mention that Mark Potok has been caught misleading about statistics in the past. And, when discussing immigration matters, it would be helpful to point out that the SPLC has an indirect link to the Mexican government. Note that Potok was also involved in the earlier wave of similar articles.

3. Johnson forgot to mention whether any of the quote sources have a financial incentive to hype "hate". The more hype they can gin up, the more the SPLC receives in donations, and they currently have millions and millions of dollars on hand. She also quotes sources from the Bureau of Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms; they may be completely sincere, or they too might be trying to hype "hate" in order to obtain funding for their projects.

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