Green Room

Glenn Beck, Joseph Farah, Michelle Bachmann, and . . . Alex Jones?

posted at 2:35 pm on April 26, 2010 by

That was my reaction to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest report on the so-called “Patriot” movement, which I describe in an article today for Pajamas Media:

Catherine Bleish is a 26-year-old libertarian who was a Ron Paul delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. She is a leader of the Liberty Restoration Project which, among other things, opposes the federal “War on Drugs” and denounces the Patriot Act as “an assault against the civil liberties of Americans.”
Perhaps you disagree with those views, but is Bleish dangerous?
The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to think so. In a special report called “Meet the ‘Patriots’” issued last week, the SPLC named Bleish as one of 35 people “at the heart of the resurgent movement.” The report — which also names WorldNetDaily publisher Joseph Farah and Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media — describes the movement thus:
“In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. … [T]he so-called Patriots [are] people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic ‘New World Order.’”
The SPLC’s scary references to militias and conspiracies and a “resurgent movement” very much echo Bill Clinton’s recent conflation of the tea party with Timothy McVeigh and, like Clinton, the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization singled out Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling her an “enabler” of the Patriot movement. Also labeled “enablers” by the SPLC were Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano of Fox News, as well as Ron Paul, the Texas congressman whose quixotic 2008 presidential campaign helped turn Bleish into a full-time political activist. . . .

Please read the whole thing.

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[T]he so-called Patriots [are] people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic ‘New World Order.’”

No, I believe that the federal government is corrupt and needs to be downsized. And I also believe the radical progressives want to create a crisis big enough to use it as an excuse to force the US into a socialist “New World Order.”

But it’s not a secret conspiracy. Obama has been pretty open about half his goals, and ridiculously obvious about the other half. And I don’t know where they get the crap about concentration camps.

Daggett on April 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM

SPLC has jumped the shark. I can no longer accept anything they say at face value. If they told me the sky was blue, I would still look up.

rbj on April 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM

A very freighted tar-brush effort by SPLC. Regarding the “concentration camps,” there is indeed a fringe element out there postulating that Obama’s federal agencies are preparing concentration camps to herd recalcitrant Americans into. A crescendo arose on this head when the H1N1 flu first broke on our horizon last year.

But people like Douglas Farah and Michelle Bachmann have nothing whatsoever to do with that fringe element. It certainly doesn’t look liek Catherine Bleish does either. This is a smear job by the SPLC. It borders on exactly the nutjobbery of Alex Jones himself.

J.E. Dyer on April 26, 2010 at 3:59 PM

I have been speaking with various leaders of patriot groups and the folks over at SPLC.

The only way to convince them to stop their witch hunt is to expose their financials to a Cable TV audience.

The SPLC has an endowment worth 190 MILLION dollars, yet they continue to fund raise very aggressively pleading poverty.

They have received GRANTS worth 1.5 million this year and made over 30 million in their investment profits alone. This on top of 27 million through fund raising this year. Their financials show they have an account in the Cayman Islands. Why? They are a non-profit 501 (C). There is no reason to park funds in an off shore account.

Beck and others need to pick up this angle and run with it.

Shame them into removing the libelous implications in their publications and website.

Opposite Day on April 26, 2010 at 5:01 PM

More on Dees and the SPLC written by Harper’s Magazine in 2000 (hardly a bastion of conservative throught!)

http://www.americanpatrol.com/SPLC/ChurchofMorrisDees001100.html

Key quote:

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.”

I wonder what Silverstein would say today now that the SPLC’s endowment is over 190 MILLION dollars.

http://www.splcenter.org/who-we-are/financial-information

Opposite Day on April 26, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Wh do people refuse to accept that a body like the SPLC can be a conspiracy theorist kook?

njcommuter on April 26, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Ethics notwithstanding, it might be helpful next time if you mention that SPLC’s Hatewatch reported about you in the past.

You’re not my cup of sweet-tea but I bet you would have something interesting to say about Hatewatch’s tagline — Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right. I think they seriously compromise their thin veneer of objectivity with such obvious leftist slams.

That’s not to dismiss their voluminous archives and hard work. Rather I think their efforts might be optimized with a refined, fair tagline and subsequent objective.

The Race Card on April 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM