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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Southern Poverty Law Center Completes Its Descent Into Madness

I have written many times before about the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization to which I contributed for many years back in the late 1970s and 1980s, when SPLC was fighting Klan groups.

In the past two decades, however, after the Klan ceased to be a significant force in the nation, the SPLC has descended into an organization which seeks to demonize legitimate opposition to Democratic Party policies and the Obama administration.

Here are some of my prior posts:

So why am I writing today about the SPLC? Because I just read an article in The Daily Caller (h/t Instapundit) in which the author notes that the SPLC lists Sarah Palin's speech in Nashville last February at the National Tea Party Convention as one of the landmark events in the "Patriot Movement" historical timeline.

When SPLC speaks of the "patriot movement," it doesn't mean it as a compliment. Instead, here is how SPLC defines the movement (emphasis mine):
The 1990s saw the rise and fall of the virulently antigovernment "Patriot" movement, made up of paramilitary militias, tax defiers and so-called "sovereign citizens." Sparked by a combination of anger at the federal government and the deaths of political dissenters at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, the movement took off in the middle of the decade and continued to grow even after 168 people were left dead by the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building — an attack, the deadliest ever by domestic U.S. terrorists, carried out by men steeped in the rhetoric and conspiracy theories of the militias. In the years that followed, a truly remarkable number of criminal plots came out of the movement. But by early this century, the Patriots had largely faded, weakened by systematic prosecutions, aversion to growing violence, and a new, highly conservative president.

They're back. Almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country....

A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate.
Why would SPLC put Sarah Palin's Nashville speech in a timeline of this movement? Here is the entry on the timeline by SPLC:

Feb. 6, 2010: One-time GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tells the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville "America is ready for another revolution."
Here is the link to the text of Palin's speech. It is clear that SPLC is being purposefully misleading and deceptive in suggesting, by including this sentence from the speech in the timeline, that Palin was calling for violence consistent with the "Patriot movement" (as defined by SPLC).

In reality, Palin was speaking of the electoral revolution epitomized by Scott Brown's then-recent victory in Massachusetts. Just three sentences after using the phrase quoted by SPLC, here is what Palin explained she meant by a "revolution" (emphasis mine):
Now in many ways Scott Brown represents what this beautiful movement is all about. He was just a guy with a truck and a passion to serve our country. He looked around and he saw that things weren't quite right in Washington, so he stood up and he decided he was going do his part to put our government back on the side of the people. And it took guts and it took a lot of hard work, but with grassroots support, Scott Brown carried the day. It has been so interesting now to watch the aftermath of the Massachusetts shout-out revolution.
The sentence quoted by SPLC and the sentence I quote above are the only times Palin used the word "revolution" in her speech. Why would SPLC quote one, without quoting the other which explained what Palin meant?

So is Scott Brown also part of the "Patriot movement"? Shouldn't Brown's election, under SPLC's standard, also be on the timeline? And the people of Massachusetts, are they now radicalized by the "Patriot movement"?

Perhaps SPLC could have quoted this part of Palin's speech, in which she called for civility and a focus on electoral change (emphasis mine):
Because we are the loyal opposition. And we have a vision for the future of our country, too, and it is a vision anchored in time tested truths.

That the government that governs least, governs best. And that the Constitution provides the best road map towards a more perfect union. And that only limited government can expand prosperity and opportunity for all and that freedom is a God given right and it is worth fighting for. God bless you. And that America's finest, our men and women in uniform, are a force for good throughout the world and that is nothing to apologize for.

These are enduring truths and these enduring truths have been passed down from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan and now to you. But while this movement, our roots there, in our spirit, too, they are historic. The current form of this movement is fresh and it's young and it's fragile. We are now the keepers of an honorable tradition of conservative values and good works. And we must never forget that it is a sacred trust to carry these ideas forward. It demands civility and it requires decent constructive issue-oriented debate.
Whatever SPLC once was, it now is a bastion of political hackery which, by equating legitimate political opposition with criminal violence, is doing substantial damage to our national fabric.

It is time for people of conscience to speak out against SPLC's tactics.

Update 9-12-2010:  Via Instapundit - thanks for the link - comes an interesting article on SPLC's self-serving obsession with "militias" going back to the early 1990s, The Militias Are Coming.

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  1. So, what's the difference between SPLC and the New Black Panther characters in Philadelphia urging 'kill more white babies'?

    Nuts, check.

    Black, not so much. I seem to recall a blog list of top people of SPLC showed that they are a bunch of well-paid whites.

    Maybe we should iconize them into a banner ad that runs along with each bit of SPLC news. So everytime SPLC gets mentioned, their names, faces, compensation, and, -- why not? -- photos of their homes which are no doubt posh.

    Eventually, Southern Poverty, Law Center may even take on entirely new and ironic meanings.

  2. The SPLC's attacks on the Tea Party, Sarah, Michele, and others is an glaring admission of defeat of the left. They have nothing now but their own bitterness to cling to.

    It reminds me of a cornered snake that can only hiss its little hissy hiss.

    Poor little Conservophobes. coo...

  3. The striking thing about SPLC is that it is a tax-exempt,not-for-profit charitable organization whose activities are almost entirely political. As such, it almost begs to have its tax-exempt status challenged, if only as an example.

    Both of its founders, Morris Dees and Joe Levin, also worked in Democratic campaigns and administrations. Dees, a trial attorney and rich businessman who is still "chief trail attorney" for SPLC, served as the finance chairman of both George McGovern's and Jimmy Carter's Presidential campaigns.

    One other thing to note about SPLC is that it was a Johnny-come-lately to the civial rights movement. Founded in 1971 -- i.e., long after the crucial 1954-1968 periof of courageous struggle in the South -- it always seemed to me even way back then as a self-serving vehicle for its founders and staff of lawyers eager to prove themselves as liberal as the next guy out of Harvard or Yale. It's lawsuits and other anti-Klan activities came after the briefly resurgent Klan had ceased to be a serious threat in the South, mostly due to the FBI and the growing political influence of Black voters in the deep South states of Mississippi, Alamaba, South Carolina and Georgia.

    It's easy to forget -- or never to find out -- just how rapidly and stunningly southern government and law enforcement at every level changed in the 1970s -- no thanks to the SPLC.

  4. Like all "nonprofits", SPLC has devolved into little more than a professional fundraiser for itself, using fear, lies and hyperbole to scare more money out of its mailing list.

  5. Umnnhhh....SPLC jumped the shark about 20 years ago. The fact that they're certifiable now is only a minor progression from their 1980's stance(s).

  6. "the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization to which I contributed for many years back in the late 1970s and 1980s, when SPLC was fighting Klan groups."

    Well, that's what they told you anyway. The seventies and eighties were not decades which were notable for their Klan violence. As John Burke pointed out, the SPLC has always been piggybacking on the civil rights movement. Even as left-wing a magazine as The Nation felt compelled to say this about the SPLC:

    "Morris Dees has raised an endowment of close to $100 million, with which he's done little, by frightening elderly liberals that the heirs of Adolf Hitler are about to march down Main Street, lynching blacks and putting Jews into ovens. The fund raising of Dees and the richly rewarded efforts of terror mongers like Leonard Zeskind offer a dreadfully distorted view of American political realities."

  7. The SPLC is a left wing propaganda legal organization supporting the DemocRAT Party's Socialist-Marxist platform.

    They haven't been a civil rights organization in years. They're vile!

  8. Does 5 out of 6 people count as "overwhelmingly white?" http://www.splcenter.org/who-we-are/leadership

  9. In the past two decades, however, after the Klan ceased to be a significant force in the nation

    As Flenser noted above, the Klan had ceased to be any kind of national force by the mid-1960s, wasn't a serious operation regionally (i.e., "the South") before the 1970s were out, and had only sporadic influence on the odd city/small-county level thereafter. You could really go places in American politics even as late as the early 1960s with only regional Klan backing (see Johnson, Lyndon) but, even with what remained of the group's national apparatus closing ranks in support, by the 1980s someone like a David Duke couldn't gain sufficient traction to reach anything more powerful than a state legislative seat from a small and extremely rural Louisiana district.


    But by early this century, the Patriots had largely faded, weakened by systematic prosecutions, aversion to growing violence, and a new, highly conservative president.

    Earth-SLPC sounds like a great place to have been ten years ago. On my Earth, we had to live with George Bush as U.S. President...

  10. Actually, BooMushroom, when you take the names of the top 10, highest paid SPLC executives, as disclosed by the SPLC on their IRS Form 990, you get a list that looks like this:


    Last year it looked like this:


    According to the SPLC's hometown newspaper, they have NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power.

  11. It appears to me the SPLC's TRUE reason for existence is to provide a lucrative income source for very little effort (while not performing ANY real useful-to-society function) for those "working" within the organization.

    Just parasites. Begging for alms while wearing much nicer clothing than your typical beggar.

    In my working-poor class opinion.... just beggars while making decent citizens appear to be vermin.

    A pox upon the, to me, thuggish putrid scum within the SPLC.