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From The New Republic:

Where Trump Gets His Fuzzy Border Math
Meet the far-right “think tank” working to legitimize the immigration crackdown.
March 10, 2017

… Those numbers were cooked up at the Center for Immigration Studies, a small advocacy operation in Washington that emerged, early on in the campaign, as Trump’s go-to source for research about migrants and the dangers they pose. …

CIS, however, is far from a reputable scholarly organization. …

The group has also embraced thinkers expelled from more polite conservative circles. Last year, CIS began publishing the works of Jason Richwine, a right-wing analyst who was forced to resign from the Heritage Foundation after it discovered that in his Ph.D. dissertation he had advocated banning Hispanic immigrants because their IQs were lower than those of whites. Even conservatives were appalled. “Now CIS is falling down the same Alt Right pit that Tanton for years has denied courting!” the conservative news site Red State observed. CIS, it seemed, had become too radical even for the mainstream GOP. …

Trump, however, has made CIS respectable. “He legitimized them in a very big way,” says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Thanks to Trump, the group is now routinely and respectfully cited by mainstream news outlets as a “conservative think tank,” with no mention of the kind of “alternative facts” it promotes about immigration. … But when anti-immigration screeds cooked up by CIS are presented as serious research reports, the lies are harder to spot—and play a far greater role in shaping public policy.

In contrast, the SPLC (as I document in my current Taki’s column “SPLC 2: The Search for More Money,”) is indubitably respectable.

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I’d never really looked at the logo of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s blog before, but … Is this self-parody?
The Leninist typeface, the giant angry eyeball … C’mon … This has got Ministry of Truth written all over it.
Maybe Morris Dees is trying to hedge his bets. Perhaps he figures come Judgment Day, he can always argue that well, sure, maybe he misled all those senile old people into funding his wife’s expensive knicknack collecting mania, but he gave everybody plenty of hints that the SPLC is evil.

By the way, Obama’s new AttackWatch site looks like it was designed by interns at the design firm that did HateWatch: similar in intention, but more puerile, more easy Nurembergish black-white-red than the SPLC’s Leningradish gray-white-red.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
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Economist Arnold Kling write at EconLog:

In the non-profit sector, it is up to donors to provide discipline. But donors, I would argue, tend to be interested in expressive philanthropy rather than in results. … I am inclined to think that with non-profits, you get what you pay for. With donors caring about expressing themselves, the non-profit industry is bound to evolve toward satisfying donors’ desire for self-expression. That does not mean that it will produce no good results.

The concept of expressive philanthropy might help explain the vast trove piled up by the Southern Poverty Law Center (which is now over a quarter of a billion dollars) in its Cayman Island and other accounts. No matter how fast Mrs. Dees tries to spend the loot Mr. Dees hauls in (and she tries really hard, as these five dozen photos of the Dees’s palace that poverty bought show), the money just keeps piling up. 
People give huge amounts of money to the SPLC to show how much they hate the Ku Klux Klan. (You can hardly expect the SPLC to explain to the rich rubes that the KKK barely exists anymore, except perhaps for informers hired by the FBI and SPLC.)
Who knows? Maybe all the random Third World knick-knacks that Mrs. Dees decorates their house with weren’t bought by her. Maybe they are actually gifts that grateful people have given Morris over the years. I was at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley this week, which has this wonderful collection of the incredible stuff that other countries gave President Reagan on his state visits. “Dear President Reagan, Here is a hippopotamus carved from an elephant’s tusk. Please don’t drop bombs on us.” 
But why would somebody give Morris Dees a luxury rickshaw to put by his pool? “Dear Mr. Dees, Here is an objet d’art made out of a ton of used horseshoes. Please don’t sue us?” I dunno.
Or maybe they just really want to give him money and shiny crud to show how much they hate hate.
It’s like that scene in Bad Teacher where the dweeby rich teacher played by Justin Timberlake, whom gold-digging Cameron Diaz is after, is chaperoning a field trip to Abe Lincoln’s log cabin, and the thought of Honest Abe makes him rant for three minutes about how much he hates slavery, while Jason Segel’s low rent gym teacher needles him by telling him that he, personally, hates sharks. From TheMovieSpoiler:

On the field trip, Cameron Diaz actually starts to realize what a politically-correct and zombified bore Justin Timberlake really is. He has no real opinion on anything, and just spouts platitudes that dominate conversation in public school teaching circles. In the Illinois state capitol, the students admire a statue of Abraham Lincoln, which prompts Timberlake to deliver remarks on how much he hates slavery, and would time travel so he could “get rid of slavery” before Lincoln if he could. Diaz looks at him like he’s a fool, because clearly few alive would say they were fans of slavery…so his taking this totally noncontroversial and obvious position and being so emotional about it makes him seem ridiculous. Jason Segel gets it too, and mocks Timberlake (without him realizing it) by joining the conversation and saying, “You know what I really hate? Sharks!” Timberlake agrees that sharks are indeed awful, because they destroy families. Segel springs the trap and says, ‘But, on the other hand, they are magnificent creatures of the deep. Majestic”. Timberlake then follows form and admits to highly admiring the majesty of sharks. Diaz, very clearly, sees that Timberlake is programmed on an intrinsic DNA level to just regurgitate platitudes and take noncontroversial, agreeable stances on everything imaginable. She suspects, for the first time possibly, that she does not want a life with someone like this, no matter how deep his trust fund runs.

Somebody should start the Abraham Lincoln Log Cabin Center for the Hating of Slavery and Hate. He’d wind up as rich as Morris Dees.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Movies, SPLC 
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The Montgomery Advertiser has a 60-photo lifestyle spread on “The home of Morris Dees and Susan Starr in Montgomery, Ala.” Mr. Dees is, of course, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and poverty has been very, very good to him, judging by the staggering amount of expensive bric-a-brac he and Ms. Starr have accumulated.

I’m not precisely sure what Morris’ wife is wearing in this photo (Barbarella’s coronation gown? Or, as a reader suggests, a shower curtain trimmed with fake fur?), but the caption reads “Susan Starr models a jacket she made in her studio at her home in Montgomery, Ala.”

This shiny thing-a-mabob with the #20 on it is described as “A poolside rickshaw at the home of Morris Dees and Susan Starr in Montgomery, Ala,” because nothing screams Equality! like a fancy rickshaw.

It would probably not occur to you to acquire what might possibly be a matador’s outfit to hang next to the washstand in an office bathroom of your compound, but then you aren’t the main man behind America’s most lucrative poverty organization, now are you?

This white and beigeish picture is described as “Guest house living area at the home of Morris Dees and Susan Starr in Montgomery, Ala.,” but the contents remain enigmatic. What exactly is on the coffee table? A nest of writhing snakes? A ton of old horseshoes? And what’s that spherical object behind the fuzzy couch? A giant ball of twine?

And then there’s this objet d’art. I wonder how much hate Morris had to spew and foment to get the donations to pour in to pay for that?

For some reason, the article accompanying the 60 pictures seems to have largely vanished, but it began:

Mediterranean living: Couple’s renovated showplace reflects owners’ world travels, varied tastes

It is hard to believe the home Susan Starr and Morris Dees purchased upon their marriage 11 years ago was once a very small cottage originally built in 1923.

Nah, by this point, I can believe anything about Morris.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
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The Freudian concept of projection is pretty useful. For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center is constantly enraged about “hate” among white people. Yet the highest paid hate-stokers of the SPLC (whose initials, probably not coincidentally for purposes of fundraising, are easily confused with Martin Luther King’s SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) are about as white as their counterparts in the Ku Klux Klan, just much more lucratively compensated.
For pictures of the SPLC’s highest paid employees, see Watching the Watchdogs.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
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The Southern Poverty Law Center has worked tirelessly to eradicate the last vestiges of poverty, Southern or otherwise, in the lifestyle of founder Morris Dees (a member of the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame) by smearing people like Dick Lamm, three-times Democratic governor of Colorado. Some of the moolah raised from the affluent saps Dees has terrified has gone into building this expensive but godawful-looking headquarters building in Montgomery, Alabama. The design was perpetrated by Erdy-McHenry Architecture. Yes, I know it looks like a high-rise trailer, but, trust me, it cost a lot of money to build something that ugly. The design won an AIA Gold Medal.

James Kunstler recently visited Montgomery, and reflected:

Here and there around the rest of the downtown, other weird experiments in American post-war anti-urbanism presented themselves, most notably a “building” designed to look like a small-scaled Death Star, all black reflective glass, canted concrete and steel walls – which turned out to belong to Morris Dees’ renowned Southern Poverty Law Center …

Joseph J. Levin Jr., an SPLC executive, wrote back to Kunstler to complain about their headquarters being criticized, and to enlighten Kunstler with a detailed explication of the complicated aesthetic and political theories behind the design. Kunstler responded:

The issue is what you did on the site you chose. (And by the way, in case you wonder, I am a registered Democrat and a New York Jew, not a conservative.) You put up a building that looks like the Fuhrer Bunker. It dishonors the site and it even dishonors your mission of social justice. The design of the building makes social justice appear despotic.

Aw, c’mon, Mr. Kunstler, you should give the SPLC a break for engaging in truth in advertising. Granted, the SPLC’s headquarters looks like a Secret Policeman’s Training Academy out of the movie “Brazil,” but, hey, form follows function.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Architecture, SPLC 
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Here’s the third (or maybe the fourth) editorial in the last week from the NY Times about the horrifying Nativist Menace:

‘The Nativist Lobby’

By The Editorial Board

The Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday released “The Nativist Lobby,” a report examining the connections among the three Washington-based organizations that have led the charge for restricting immigration to the United States.

They are the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies and Numbers USA — a lobbying group, think tank, and grassroots organizer, respectively.

All three groups are well known — you have probably come across their leaders denouncing immigration “amnesty” in news articles and on TV. The groups have the ear of conservative politicians all over the country, and their efforts have inspired many of the hard-line federal, state and local initiatives cracking down on immigrants and immigration. Numbers USA even took credit for a storm of blast faxes and phone calls to Congress that helped to kill a major immigration bill in 2007.

What is less well known, the report says, is what the groups have in common: histories connecting them to a retired Michigan eye doctor with a long-held interest in eugenics, racial quotas, and white nationalism.

The groups insist that they do not hold racist or extremist views. That’s good.

But the report argues that people should know about the groups’ history, something they and their allies don’t usually like to talk about. It calls them “fruit of the same poisonous tree.”

Many people who want stricter policies on immigration are not racist or extremist. Many care about seeing the law enforced, or are worried about overpopulation. But it’s also true that there are racist and extremist elements in the movement, and it is important to call them out.

Kudos to the S.P.L.C. for shining a light.

So, now we know what the NYT’s Two Minutes Hate of three editorials screeching about “nativists” was all about: it has been a marketing campaign for this new proclamation by the money machine that is the Southern Poverty Law Center (“Dedicated to Wiping Out the Last Vestiges of Poverty, Southern or Otherwise, in the Lifestyle of Direct Marketing Association Hall of Famer Morris Dees”).

When denouncing the “ties” of immigration realist groups, shouldn’t the New York Times Editorial Board at least mention its own ties to the SPLC? For example, Editorial Board member Adam Cohen’s “Professional Profile” on reads:

“Before joining the Times editorial board in 2002, he was [among other things] … a lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.”

Thanks to Nicholas Stix on for finding that. (Here are summaries of some of Cohen’s essays. And here, Hans Bader says, “If Adam Cohen did not exist, the Onion would have to invent him…”)

As the SPLC blog “Hatewatch” complacently commented when congratulating the NYT editorial board on its denunciation of Marcus Epstein (of all people) as a “white supremacist:”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.


It’s also easy to see why the Editorial Board had to keep banging the gong, rather than have the News department at the NYT write up this latest SPLC press release about that terrifying “retired Michigan eye doctor:” it’s not news. The SPLC has been flogging the same story about Dr. John Tanton since at least 2002.

Here is part of Tanton’s March 11, 2002 reply to 18 bullying questions from the SPLC:

Here are several questions of my own:

  1. I would like some assurances from an analysis of your staffing patterns that you do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender or national origin. Please supply a list of your staff and governing board complete with an analysis for these four pillars of non-discrimination, and correlated with salary level. In your opinion, to avoid the charge of discrimination, should the makeup of your staff mirror the city of Montgomery, the state of Alabama, the United States – or perhaps the world? What groups are over- or underrepresented?

  2. Please give me your reaction to the Harper’s exposé (November 2000) on the SPLC, charging your colleagues with veniality and hypocrisy, among other items. What is the social justification for your absolutely enormous endowment? These monies were evidently obtained from donors under false pretenses of actually doing something about Southern Poverty. Granted, based on your IRS 990 report, the SPLC has rescued its governing board and top staff from poverty. What have you done for the average impoverished Southerner, whose plight you have appropriated into your organization’s name?

  3. Finally: there is an old maxim that what we say about others tells more about ourselves that it does about others. In this connection, SPLC is given to accusing others of racism and hate crimes. Exactly how would you describe the emotion that motivates you? Is it Love for those who are different or who you perhaps perceive as “enemies?” Or is it more akin to Hate on your part? My analysis is that it comes much closer to the latter than the former. Certainly SPLC is chief among the hate-mongering groups in the United States, if not the world.

John H. Tanton

That’s just a bit of it. It’s a great read.

And here’s a summary of a Pulitzer-finalist investigative report into the abyss of abuse that is the SPLC.

By the way, a commenter recently offered an intriguing explanation for the otherwise baffling presence of the word “Poverty” in the name of the Southern Poverty Law Center: it’s there to make the acronym “SPLC” almost indistinguishable from “SCLC,”
the famous acronym of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that was once headed by Martin Luther King Jr. If true, then Morris Dees, a master direct marketer, has been more or less practicing mail fraud on elderly, easily confused donors for decades.

Finally, we can see once again how much good it’s done FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA to try to be as respectable as all get out on immigration and never talk about race: you still get denounced as white supremacist hate groups by the New York Times!

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
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A reader emails:

Southern (possibly) Poverty (of thought?) Law (!?) Center (?):

Nice spelling.

Here’s the real story on the SPLC.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
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Scam Watch — By the way, the Southern Poverty Law Center is on the official Scam Watch of See Ken Silverstein’s Harper’s article “The Church of Morris Dees: How the Southern Poverty Law Center profits from intolerance” for the basics on Morris Dees’ money machine. And here’s leftist Alexander Cockburn’s column on the SPLC’s money-hungry machinations.

Lately, as Morris’s moneymaking ambitions have expanded, he has turned to attacking people of the quality of Richard Lamm, the Democratic former three term governor of Colorado. I’m proud to be on Gov. Lamm’s side of the ethical chasm between him and Mr. Dees, a member of the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.

Here’s something important I hadn’t seen before: the revealing statement of Jim Tharpe, the Deputy Metro Editor of the Atlanta Constitution, which he made during a Harvard panel discussion about his experience editing a massive Pulitzer-finalist investigative series on the Southern Poverty Law Center during his days at the Montgomery Advertiser:

I’d never done any reporting on nonprofits, I thought they were all good guys, they were mom-and-pop, bake-sale, raise-money-for-the-local-fire-department type operations. I had no idea how sophisticated they were, how much money they raised, and how little access you have to them as a reporter, some of which has already been covered here.

Summary of Findings

Our series was published in 1995 after three years of very brutal research under the threat of lawsuit the entire time.

Our findings were essentially these:

The [Southern Poverty Law] center was building up a huge surplus. It was 50-something million at that time; it’s now approaching 100 million, but they’ve never spent more than 31 percent of the money they were bringing in on programs, and sometimes they spent as little as 18 percent. Most nonprofits spend about 75 percent on programs.

A sampling of their donors showed that they had no idea of the center’s wealth. The charity watchdog groups, the few that are in existence, had consistently criticized the center, even though nobody had reported that.

There was a problem with black employees at what was the nation’s richest civil rights organization; there were no blacks in the top management positions. Twelve out of the 13 black current and former employees we contacted cited racism at the center, which was a shocker to me. As of 1995, the center had hired only two black attorneys in its entire history.

Questionable Fundraising

We also found some questionable fundraising tactics. One of the most celebrated cases the center handled was the case of a young black man, Michael Donald, who was killed by Klansmen in Mobile, Alabama, and his body suspended from a tree, a very grotesque killing. The state tried the people responsible for the murder and several of them ended up on death row, a couple ended up getting life in prison.

The center, after that part of the case took place, sued the Klan organization to which they belonged and won a $7 million verdict. It was a very celebrated verdict in this country. The problem was the people who killed this kid didn’t have any money. What they really got out of it was a $51,000 building that went to the mother of Michael Donald. What the C enter got and what we reported was they raised $9 million in two years using the Donald case, including a mailing with the body of Michael Donald as part of it.

The top center officials, I think the top three, got $350,000 in salaries during that time, and Morris got a movie out of it, a TV movie of the week. I think it was called, “The Morris Dees Story.” [Actually, "Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story" with, appropriately enough, Corbin Bernsen (who played sleazy lawyer Arnie Becker on "LA Law") as Morris.]

As I said, being the editor on this series really raised my eyebrows. I never knew anything about nonprofits before this. I thought we would have complete access to their financial records; we didn’t. We had access to 990’s, which Doug mentioned earlier, which tell you very little, but they are a good starting point.

Organizations Monitor Nonprofits

I also learned that there are organizations out there that monitor nonprofits. A couple of these that might be worth your time are the National Charities Information Bureau, the American Institute of Philanthropy, and the Charities Division of the Better Business Bureau. They have rather loose guidelines, I think, for the way nonprofits operated, and even with those guidelines, they had blasted the center repeatedly for spending too little on programs, for the number of minorities in management positions, just very basic stuff that they’d been criticized for but nobody had reported.

The relationship with sources on this story was pretty interesting, because like I said, most of these people were our friends, and as somebody mentioned earlier, these were the disillusioned faithful. They were people who didn’t resign. As I said, most of their jobs simply ran out, but they left the center very disillusioned and very willing to talk about it, although most of them wanted to talk off the record.

That presented a number of problems for us. We did not publish anything in the series unless it was attributed to somebody, but we went beyond that. I think if we had stuck with that tack as the only thing we did in the series, we would have ended up with people at the center could have easily dismissed as disgruntled employees.

By looking at 990’s, what few financial records we did have available, we were able to corroborate much of that information, many of the allegations they had made, the fact that the center didn’t spend very much of its money that it took in on programs, the fact that some of the top people at the center were paid very high salaries, the fact that there weren’t minorities in management positions at the center.

If I had advice for anybody looking into a nonprofit it would be this: It’s the most tenacious story. You have to be more tenacious in your pursuit of these things than anything else I’ve ever been a part of. These guys threatened us with a lawsuit from the moment we asked to look at their financial records.

They were very friendly and cooperative, up until the point where we said, “We want to see the checks you write,” and they turned over their 990’s and said, “Come look at these.” We said, “We don’t want to see those, we know what those are and we’ve seen them. We actually want to see the checks you write,” and they said, “Well, there’s 23,000 checks we’ve written over two years, you don’t possibly have time to look through all those,” and we said, “Yes, we do, and we’ll hire an auditor to do it.”

First Threats, Eventually No Response to Questions

At that point, they hired an independent attorney. They’re all lawyers, you’ve got to understand. They hired an attorney who began first by threatening me, then my editor, and then the publisher. “And you better be careful of the questions you ask and the stories you come up with,” and they would cite the libel law to us. So we were under threat of lawsuit for two years, basically, during the research phase of the series.

They initially would answer our questions in person, as long as they could tape-record it. After we asked about finances, they wanted the questions written down and sent to them in advance, and then finally they said, “We’re tired of you guys, we’re not answering anything else,” and they completely cut us off.

We published the series over eight days in 1994, and it had very little effect, actually. I think the center now raises more money than it ever has. [Laughter]

The story really didn’t get out of Montgomery and that’s a real problem. The center’s donors are not in Montgomery; the center’s donors are in the Northeast and on the West Coast. So the story pretty much was contained in Montgomery where it got a shrug-of-the-shoulders reaction. We really didn’t get much reaction at all, I’m sad to say.

One of our editorial writers had an interesting comment on it. I think he stole it from somebody else, but his comment was this: “They came to do good and they’ve done quite well for themselves, and they’ve done even better since the series was published.” I’m not sure what the lesson in that is, but don’t assume because a nonprofit has a sterling reputation it’s not worth looking into, and don’t assume when you start looking into it that it’s going to be easy to get the information, because it’s not.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: SPLC 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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