“I’ve long regarded Morris Dees and his Southern Poverty Law Center as collectively one of the greatest frauds in American life,” wrote the late progressive journalist Alexander Cockburn in 2007″
Morris Dees Photo, Zimbio.com
EYE ON THE NEWS
A Demagogic Bully
The Southern Poverty Law Center demonizes respectable political opponents as “hate groups”—and keeps its coffers bulging.
July 27, 2017
H.L. Mencken described the secret of successful demagoguery as “keep[ing] the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” Mencken was referring to “practical politics,” but his insight is equally applicable to public relations and fundraising campaigns trafficking in extravagant claims. For the past 40 years, a self-styled watchdog group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has excelled in promoting such unwarranted alarm, with a politicized series of hobgoblins, in the process amassing a fortune from its credulous donors.
According to the SPLC, America is rife with dangerous “hate groups”: the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, anti-government militia groups, radical-right terrorists, and many more. “We’re currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country,” the SPLC’s website claims. Readers of SPLC’s press releases, reports, and—importantly—direct-mail solicitations would be justified in imagining an America teeming with smoldering churches and synagogues, cross burnings, storm troopers bearing swastikas, and even lynchings.
Reality is different. In fact, racial tolerance is at an all-time high, diversity is universally promoted as a civic virtue, and “hate crimes,” as defined and reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have declined over the past decade to fewer than 6,000 incidents a year, a modest number in a country with 326 million people. The principal threats of radical extremism in the United States today are jihadist attacks (radical Islam), militant anti-police rioters (such as Black Lives Matter), and masked Antifa (so-called “anti-fascist”) mobs shutting down free speech on college campuses and violently protesting the election of President Donald J. Trump, while the greatest perpetrators of violence in America are criminal street gangs—including the deadly MS-13—that have turned some of our inner cities into war zones.
The virulently anti-Trump “Resistance” movement has fueled partisan acrimony with poisonous rhetoric, to the extent of condoning—and in some cases even encouraging—physical attacks against political opponents. Yet the SPLC largely ignores such groups, focusing instead on the moribund KKK (many of whose estimated 2,000 members are thought to be FBI informants) and similar relics from the Jim Crow era. The SPLC myopically focuses on white racism directed at minority groups, especially African-Americans. A former SPLC lawyer, Gloria Browne, charged that SPLC programs were calculated to cash in on “black pain and white guilt.” Racism undoubtedly exists, but it is neither pervasive nor exclusively practiced by whites.
Ironically, the SPLC not only overlooks most of the real hate groups in operation today, along with overtly race-based organizations, such as the pro-Latino National Council of La Raza and MEChA, but also labels moderates with whom it disagrees “extremists” if they deviate from its rigid political agenda, which embraces open borders, LGBT rights, and other left-wing totems. The SPLC has branded Somali-born reformer Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslin extremist” for her opposition to female genital mutilation and other oppressive Islamic practices, and designated the respected Family Research Council as a “hate group” for its opposition to same-sex marriage. Likewise, the organization deems mainstream immigration-reform advocates such as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as hate groups. British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz—regarded by most observers as a human rights leader—is suing the SPLC for listing him as an extremist.
Critics of the SPLC accuse the lavishly funded organization of peddling fear and smearing political opponents—mostly conservatives—as bigots. Its “Hatewatch” list is avowedly ideological, acknowledging that it “monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right.” Few left-wing organizations—and no Islamist groups—are branded in this way by the SPLC. Nevertheless, the SPLC, founded in 1971, has burrowed itself into the civil rights movement, the organized bar, the cloistered culture of large law firms, the education system, and even law enforcement as a champion for “the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten.” Its executives are richly compensated, some in excess of $400,000 annually. Operating from palatial six-story quarters in Montgomery, Alabama (sometimes called the “Poverty Palace”), it enjoys a $300 million endowment, including more than $23 million in cash. It fundraises ceaselessly. It’s no coincidence that SPLC co-founder Morris S. Dees Jr. has been inducted into the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame.
Despite numerous exposés over the years in publications spanning the political spectrum—including Harper’s, The Progressive, The Weekly Standard, Reason, the Baltimore Sun, and even the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser—the liberal establishment continues to treat the group as credible, largely because its preoccupation with right-wing bigotry aligns with the stereotypical view of liberals who dominate newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times. In our polarized culture, the epithet “hate group” is the ultimate slander of political opponents. The SPLC’s spurious imprimatur gives mere calumny gravitas, allowing liberal journalists to wield its highly charged judgments as a weapon, citing it as if it were a dispassionate authority. Many liberal (or merely lazy) journalists discredit conservative organizations by noting that they are “listed by the SPLC as a hate group,” treating its often dubious designations as gospel truth.
One would expect an organization that holds itself out as an expert on hate groups to have a consistent definition of that term, but in Humpty-Dumpty fashion, it turns out that a “hate group” is whatever the SPLC decides it is. The SPLC claims that “917 Hate Groups are currently operating in the U.S.,” but offers only vague guidelines for what qualifies: “groups hav[ing] beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” Despite its insinuations that hate groups are inherently violent, the SPLC casts a much broader net: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafletting or publishing” (emphasis added). Indeed, some of the SPLC’s hate “groups” are merely websites or publications—even record labels and religious sects.
This fluid and subjective definition allows the SPLC to lump together—along with the KKK, neo-Nazis, and racist skinheads—such varied groups as religious-liberty advocates Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel; pro-family groups such as the World Congress of Families; Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy; the David Horowitz Freedom Center and, separately, its Jihad Watch program; Pamela Geller’s Refugee Resettlement Watch; and many immigration-reform groups, including CIS and FAIR. Without irony, SPLC president Richard Cohen has defended designating the Family Research Council as a hate group “because it traffics in incendiary name-calling.” To the SPLC’s credit, it also classifies the Nation of Islam, the New Black Panther Party, and a few other black separatist groups as hate groups, though these organizations are seldom mentioned in its stream of emails and bulletins… Much more HERE
Mexico’s national voter IDs part of culture
By David Agren, Special for USA TODAY
MEXICO CITY – Office worker Ana Martínez lined up at 7 a.m. on a recent Sunday to renew her voter credential, a document required at a polling station to vote.
Mexicans recently flocked to modules run by the country’s electoral institute in order to renew voter credentials.
By David Agren,, Special for USA TODAY
Mexicans recently flocked to modules run by the country’s electoral institute in order to renew voter credentials.
Mexicans recently flocked to modules run by the country’s electoral institute in order to renew voter credentials.
But voting was not the main reason she was getting it. The free photo ID issued by the Federal Electoral Institute had become the accepted way to prove one’s identity — and is a one-card way to open a bank account, board an airplane and buy beer.
Voting was almost an afterthought to Martínez.
“They ask for it everywhere,” she said. “It’s very difficult to live without it.”
National IDs for voting, or proving citizenship, is an idea that is being floated in the United States to crack down on voter fraud, illegal immigration and foreign terrorists.
Proponents, such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, say it is an efficient way to verify identities and prevent crime. Opponents, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, describe it as an invasion of privacy. Minority advocacy groups have even alleged that the cards would frighten minorities going to the polls.
But Mexico has not seen many problems with its card, and national identity cards have been issued for years in France, Poland, Singapore, Brazil, to prove citizenship.
Boosts country’s democracy
Mexican officials unveiled the voting ID two decades ago to properly identify electors in a country with a history of voters casting multiple ballots and curious vote counts resulting in charges of fraud — most notoriously in 1988 when a computer crash wiped out early results favoring the opposition.
The credential proved so good at guaranteeing the identification of electors that it became the country’s preferred credential, one now possessed by just about every adult Mexican. Its widespread acceptance deepened democracy, too, by giving credibility to the Federal Electoral Institute, analysts say. The agency was created as an independent agency to oversee federal elections.
“It’s a very important prop for support of that institution,” said Federico Estévez, political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. “What people really know about (the electoral institute) is the card.”
The card must be renewed every 10 years. This meant thousands of Mexicans whose cards were expiring had to apply for a new one prior to Jan. 15 if they wanted to vote in the July 1 presidential election, prompting long lines outside agency service centers.
People in the lines were clutching folders of documents needed for renewal: a birth certificate, another form of photo identification and a recent utility bill.
Unlike Mexico, whose voting rules are set by the federal government, the United States leaves many voting requirements up to individual states.
Minority groups say the requirements could diminish voter turnout and negatively impact the elderly, students and African-American and Latino voters who are less likely to have the required identification.
“The complaint is basically the requiring (of a photo identification) that not everybody has and creating an extra burden and cost to get that,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school.
Some U.S. states, including Texas and South Carolina, approved laws last year requiring voters to show a government photo identification prior to voting. The U.S. Justice Department rejected the law, saying it discriminates against minorities.
South Carolina’s attorney general’s office said there is no evidence that has ever happened in other states that require voter IDs. Citing the cards’ necessity to safeguard the integrity of elections, the state argued in a lawsuit against Justice that of an estimated 239,233 registered voters with no appropriate photo ID, 37,000 were deceased and 91,000 no longer lived in South Carolina.
The debate also has national security implications. Improved identifications were recommended by the 9/11 Commission given that the hijackers had driver’s licenses or state non-driver’s identification cards that they used to rent apartments, open bank accounts and board planes. Social Security numbers are often used as proof of eligibility to work, but illegal immigrants often use stolen numbers.
Carries tough rules
Mexico’s voter ID has some key elements that make them acceptable to the public, say officials here. They cost nothing to obtain and the issuing agency operates hundreds of service centers nationwide, making requests relatively easy.
Though some U.S. states allow people to vote without IDs, Mexico makes no exceptions for individuals lacking the proper documents. The Federal Electoral Institute also refused to extend the registration period or grant an amnesty for those applying late, leaving more than a million people ineligible to vote.
“It is a matter that has to do with a culture of respect for the law,” Francisco Guerrero, one of the nine commissioners on the institute, told the newspaper Reforma.
The agency makes no apologies for the tough rules or requiring photo identifications, given Mexico’s history of troubled elections. “We started from such a point of distrust, especially in the electoral system,” institute commissioner María Marván said.
“In order to strengthen democracy, we have to start believing in our own institutions. That’s a big challenge in Mexico.” HERE to read the rest.
Candidates for governor in Georgia should be made to talk about illegal immigration. Georgia has more illegal aliens than Arizona.
–>Georgia has outlawed sanctuary cities since 2009.
We hear that some candidates for governor are telling voters they “would punish sanctuary cities…” if anyone brings up the topic of illegal immigration. That is good to hear. But the reality is that Georgia already has sanctuary city laws in place and this response is really without substance and is rather disrespectful to trusting voters.
(A few) Real illegal immigration issues:
We have yet to hear of a candidate for governor who is willing to take a position on ending the ongoing practice of giving illegal aliens a drivers license. About 30,000 illegal aliens, some of whom are convicted criminals and already under deportation orders now have a Georgia drivers license and/or official ID Card from DDS.
We don’t hear about the fact that compliance with the internationally publicized 2011 Georgia immigration law (HB87) is treated as optional or any promises on changing that sad fact.
Neither do we hear of a gubernatorial candidate who is willing to commit to helping with a ballot question in November 2018 that would allow all Georgia voters to decide on amending the state constitution to make English the official language of Georgia government. It polls at 76 %!
By Jessica Garrison, Ken Bensinger, Jeremy Singer-Vine
The H-2 guest worker program, which brought in 150,000 legal foreign workers last year, isn’t supposed to deprive any American of a job. But many businesses go to extraordinary lengths to deny jobs to U.S. workers so they can hire foreigners instead. A BuzzFeed News investigation.
MOULTRIE, Georgia — “All you black American people, fuck you all…just go to the office and pick up your check,” the supervisor at Hamilton Growers told workers during a mass layoff in June 2009.
The following season, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about 80 workers, many of them black, were simply told: “All you Americans are fired.”
Year after year, Hamilton Growers, which has supplied squash, cucumbers, and other produce to Wal-Mart and the Green Giant brand, hired scores of Americans, only to cast off many of them within weeks, according to the U.S. government. And time after time, the grower filled the jobs with foreign guest workers instead.
Although Hamilton Growers eventually agreed to pay half a million dollars to settle the suit, company officials said the allegations are baseless. Mass firings never happened, they said, nor did anyone use racially inflammatory language. But workers tell a different story.
“We want to go to work and work all day,” said Derrick Green, 32, a father of six who said he was fired by Hamilton Growers in 2012 after only three weeks picking squash. “But they don’t want that.”
Last year, thousands of American companies won permission to bring a total of more than 150,000 people into the country as legal guest workers for unskilled jobs, under a federal program that grants them temporary work permits known as H-2 visas. Officially, the guest workers were invited here to fill positions no Americans want: The program is not supposed to deprive any American of a job, and before a company wins approval for a single H-2 visa, it must attest that it has already made every effort to hire domestically. Many companies abide by the law and make good-faith efforts to employ Americans.
Yet a BuzzFeed News investigation, based on Labor Department records, court filings, more than 100 interviews, inspector general reports, and analyses of state and federal data, has found that many businesses go to extraordinary lengths to skirt the law, deliberately denying jobs to American workers so they can hire foreign workers on H-2 visas instead.
A previous BuzzFeed News report found that many of those foreign workers suffer a nightmare of abuse, deprived of their fair pay, imprisoned, starved, beaten, sexually assaulted, or threatened with deportation if they dare complain.
At the same time, companies across the country in a variety of industries have made it all but impossible for U.S. workers to learn about job openings that they are supposed to be given first crack at. When workers do find out, they are discouraged from applying. And if, against all odds, Americans actually get hired, they often are treated worse and paid less than foreign workers doing the same job, in order to drive the Americans to quit. Sometimes, as the government alleged happened at Hamilton Growers, employers comply with regulations by hiring Americans only to fire them en masse and hand over the work to foreign workers with H-2 visas.
What’s more, companies often do this with the complicity of government officials, records show. State and federal authorities have allowed companies to violate the spirit — and often the letter — of the law with bogus recruitment efforts that are clearly designed to keep Americans off the payroll. And when regulators are alerted to potential problems, the response is often ineffectual.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Labor, which is charged with protecting workers and vetting employers seeking visas, said in a statement: “We acknowledge that the laws that authorize these programs are inadequate.” But the department also said that despite limited resources, it “actively pursues measures to strengthen protections for foreign and U.S. workers.”
The H-2 visa was created to address shortages in the American workforce. Although labor is indeed tight in some areas — such as North Dakota, where an oil boom has driven unemployment below 3% — there is little evidence of labor shortages in many industries that use the visas. In some cases, there is even a glut of available workers.
Landscaping companies, for example, were approved for more than 30,000 H-2 visas in the 2014 fiscal year. Yet Daniel Costa, a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute, which receives some funding from unions, found that over the same period, unemployment in landscaping was more than twice as high as the national average.
“The problem with the system is that the H-2 workers who are coming in are not tied to actual, demonstrated labor shortages,” Costa said.
Companies that have difficulty finding American workers could attract more applicants by offering higher wages. But instead of encouraging or even subsidizing that, the government’s H-2 program effectively subsidizes the opposite effort — helping companies find pliant foreign labor, often at the expense of American workers.
In the last five years, the number of H-2 visas issued by the State Department, which administers the program along with the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department, has surged by more than 50%.
Bills in Congress to expand the guest worker program have won support from both Democrats and Republicans in recent years. Business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce have lobbied for as many as 400,000 additional H-2 visas per year. But the issue has been overshadowed by larger debates over the legal status of millions of undocumented immigrants.
Around the country, lawyers and labor brokers actively promote the H-2 program as a way to boost profit margins. Usafarmlabor, a labor broker serving the agricultural industry, until this month bluntly stated on its site: “Our workers actually save you money each month in a comparison with U.S. workers.”
Employers who use the H-2 program note that it entails numerous added costs, including visa fees and transportation, as well as compliance with complex rules. It requires that most workers be paid above minimum wage, sometimes substantially so.
But the guest worker program also offers numerous financial incentives. Agricultural employers are exempt from payroll and unemployment taxes on H-2 workers, for example; nonagricultural employers do not have to provide housing, but if they do they are allowed to charge their workers rent, which is sometimes extortionate.
Foreign laborers usually live at the job site, available to work at any time. They typically come alone, without families or other distractions that could cause them to miss work. The terms of their visas prohibit them from taking other jobs, so they have almost no leverage when it comes to wages or working conditions. And since they often come from abject poverty in their home countries, many visa holders put up with difficult or even backbreaking conditions without complaint to ensure they are invited to return the next year.
The visa program can be even more advantageous to the many employers that exploit their guest workers, making them work long hours without overtime pay, charging them illegal fees, or flat-out cheating them of their wages — all of which are against the law, regardless of whether workers are American or foreign…Read the rest HERE.
The purpose of this email is to reiterate Driver Services’ policy regarding the issuance of licenses and identification cards to non-citizens. Please see attached.
It has come to my attention that I am being accused of lying to a House committee when I stated in testimony last week that DDS does not issue licenses to “illegal aliens”.
I have yet to see the contents of an email that I understand many of you received, but I am told it contains libelous attacks against my credibility.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or have any difficulties opening the attachment.
Mike Mitchell, Director
Governmental Affairs and Public Information
Georgia Department of Driver Services
February 11, 2017
GA Department of Driver Services (DDS) Sets the Record Straight
State and Federal Laws Require Proof of Lawful Status from All Non-Citizens for License/ID Card Issuance
Recent media reports concerning the DDS driver’s license issuance policies have incorrectly stated that DDS issues credentials to illegal immigrants. That is not true. DDS requires proof of lawful status from all non-citizens before the issuance of a Georgia driver’s license or ID Card. Every person issued a Georgia driver’s license or ID card from DDS has provided documents showing proof that he or she is authorized to be in the United States.
The type of immigration document used to substantiate lawful status varies, but one thing is constant — DDS has verified that each person is authorized to be present in the United States for the term specified by the United States government and listed on their immigration document.
–> The Federal government determines a non-citizen’s immigration status and term of authorized stay in the United States. Therefore, DDS does not issue driver’s licenses and/or identification cards to “illegal aliens.”
Recent court decisions have ordered DDS to issue licenses to non-citizens who present documentation that they are authorized to remain in the United States regardless of how they entered the United States. The correction made by WSBTV’s Justin Farmer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBFv5YGARtM) to a recent legislative news story which states that DDS has issued some licenses to “people here illegally” who have been temporarily deferred is not true.
Each person issued a Georgia driver’s license or ID card has been verified to be in the United States lawfully and are not considered to be in the United States “illegally” at the time of their issuance.
DDS follows a stringent license/ID issuance procedure dictated by law. Improper reporting of this important process, circumvents the DDS mission of protecting the integrity of our issuance process.
House Motor Vehicles Committee meeting, 2017 session
DDS Legislative Liaison Michael Mitchell responding to a question from Rep Alan Powell. Click HERE for original video start at 36:37. No, the federal governemnt does not require that any states issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Yes, I know. Most Georgia legislators are clueless on immigration in general and drivers licenses to illegals specifically.
Atlanta fined $1,000 for violating Georgia immigration law
July 21, 2017
Georgia’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board this week issued its first fine, imposing a $1,000 penalty against Atlanta for violating a state law for verifying the lawful presence of people applying for public benefits.
At issue is a Georgia statute that says government agencies that administer public benefits must require applicants to submit affidavits verifying they are legally present in the U.S. Those agencies are required to screen noncitizen applicants using the federal Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlements program, or SAVE.
Filed in August of 2016 by anti-illegal immigration activist D.A. King, the complaint alleged Atlanta did not use the SAVE program while renewing the Atlanta Historical Society’s nonprofit business license. The board notified Atlanta about the penalty in a letter this week.
In a May 18 response to the complaint, the city said it approved the Atlanta Historical Society’s initial business license before the state’s SAVE requirement took effect. City officials argued the complaint about the license renewal became moot after they requested and received a SAVE affidavit from the Atlanta Historical Society on May 10. They said they have done the same thing for all “similarly situated nonprofit entities.”
“The city is disappointed with the board’s decision because the city complied with the spirit and letter of the law, and took remedial steps at the board’s request,” Jenna Garland, a spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed, said in a prepared statement. “The city is reviewing the decision and considering its options.”
RELATED: Enforcement of Georgia’s immigration law will vary
IN-DEPTH: Large police agencies aren’t enforcing state immigration law
Phil Kent, a member of the Immigration Enforcement Review Board, issued a statement Friday about the board’s 4-2 decision.
“Last year D.A. King filed a complaint to the IERB against the city of Atlanta because it refused to protect public benefits according to state law,” he said. “The IERB voted to agree with King that Atlanta was in violation — so the $1,000 fine speaks for itself.”
King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society, which advocates enforcement of U.S. immigration and employment laws. In all, King has filed 18 of the 19 complaints the board has received since it was formed following the 2011 passage of House Bill 87, Georgia’s comprehensive anti-illegal immigration law, according to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts.
This is not the first time King has set his sights on the city. In 2012, he alleged Atlanta violated state law by allowing people to use Mexican matricula consular ID cards in city government transactions. Georgia law says city officials may not accept the cards when people apply for public benefits. Atlanta officials asked the state board to dismiss the complaint after the City Council repealed an ordinance at the heart of the dispute.
A reminder that the state law in question was created in 2006, modified in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Each time, the media here made it a big deal (enforcement of the law is bad for illegal aliens) – now that it is clear that compliance and enforcement are sad jokes, no big deal. The law allows much heavier fines and also allows the IERB to fine the department head and the mayor, instead of the taxpayers. The board voted against that. AJC news ADDED : July 24: HERE