What You're Not Supposed to Know About the Southern Poverty Law Center

Of course, the number of evil, right-wing, racist, "patriot" hate groups continues to rise.

The New York Times and the Daily Beast celebrate the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) annual report, which seeks to suggest that mainstream conservatives criticizing the President's socialist policies increases the number of racial hate groups:

Fed by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the economic rift between rich and poor, the number of so-called hate groups and antigovernment organizations in the nation has continued to grow, according to a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The center, which has kept track of such groups for 30 years, recorded 1,018 hate groups operating last year.

The number of groups whose ideology is organized against specific racial, religious, sexual or other characteristics has risen steadily since 2000, when 602 were identified, the center said. Antigay groups, for example, have risen to 27 from 17 in 2010.

The report also described a “stunning” rise in the number of groups it identifies as part of the so-called patriot and militia movements, whose ideologies include deep distrust of the federal government.

In 2011, the center tracked 1,274 of those groups, up from 824 the year before.

Every time the SPLC publishes one of these "reports" the legacy media parades it around as evidence of the Tea Party Grand Wizards' conspiracy to regress America back to Jim Crow. What they won't tell you and really don't want you to know is that in November 2000 the progressive magazine Harper's exposed the SPLC as a fraudulent non-profit created by a career con artist solely to make a ton of money. Some of my favorite highlights from the article:

Today, the SPLC spends most of its time--and money--on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. "He's the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement," renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, "though I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye." The Center earned $44 million last year alone--$27 million from fund-raising and $17 million from stocks and other investments--but spent only $13 million on civil rights program , making it one of the most profitable charities in the country.

...

Morris Dees doesn't need your financial support. The SPLC is already the wealthiest civil rights group in America, though this letter quite naturally omits that fact. Other solicitations have been more flagrantly misleading. One pitch, sent out in 1995-when the Center had more than $60 million in reserves-informed would-be donors that the "strain on our current operating budget is the greatest in our 25-year history." Back in 1978, when the Center had less than $10 million, Dees promised that his organization would quit fund-raising and live off interest as soon as its endowment hit $55 million. But as it approached that figure, the SPLC upped the bar to $100 million, a sum that, one 1989 newsletter promised, would allow the Center "to cease the costly and often unreliable task of fund raising. " Today, the SPLC's treasury bulges with $120 million, and it spends twice as much on fund-raising-$5.76 million last year-as it does on legal services for victims of civil rights abuses. The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Center one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors, estimating that the SPLC could operate for 4.6 years without making another tax-exempt nickel from its investments or raising another tax-deductible cent from well-meaning "people like you."

...

In the early 1960s, Morris Dees sat on the sidelines honing his direct-marketing skills and practicing law while the civil rights movement engulfed the South."Morris and I...shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money," recalls Dees's business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller (not to be confused with Millard Farmer). "We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich."

Oh and there's much more about the bizarre Dees...

The Times knows all of this but they still play along year after year because it just feels so good to stick it to the conservatives.

This unashamed, progressive con artistry has a long, prestigious tradition. Paul Johnson's Intellectuals shows Rousseau and Marx doing the same thing: creating a fantastic political theology to guilt-trip the wealthy into providing them with luxurious lifestyles.

In related news, last night J. Christian Adams published an important story on the Obamas' college videos:

In May 1988, Harvard Law students, borrowing from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, and foreshadowing the Occupy movement of 2011, occupied the Harvard Law School’s dean’s office.  The students were supporting Professor Derrick Bell’s demand that the law school hire professors on the basis of race.

One of the students “dressed in black” and occupying the dean’s office appears to be Michelle Obama (Harvard Law ’88).

Here's the link to the video. What a difference a few decades can make. Here's the first lady today hitting the slopes at Aspen: