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The Many Lies of David Barton

July 26, 2012
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In addition to the many lies he likes to tell about how the United States is and always has been a “Christian nation”, David Barton also likes to lie about how he and his fellow Christians are being persecuted.

His latest load of bullshit involves him claiming that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labelled him a terrorist. Here’s what he said:

The Southern Poverty Law Center now has me as one of the thirty terrorists to be watched in America because I combine God and country and they said that really makes you a terrorist. So I’m on the list of thirty that need to be watched as domestic terrorists because I think God and country go together…Isn’t this nuts?

Yes, of course it’s nuts, because it’s just something that Barton made up. The reality is that the SPLC named Barton one of “30 new activists heading up the radical right”. Maybe Barton doesn’t see a difference between the terms “radical right” and “domestic terrorists”, but if that’s the case, it wasn’t the SPLC that tried to make that connection.

David Barton isn’t a domestic terrorist, but he is an ignorant, hateful, bigoted douchebag, and it makes sense that an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center, that monitors hate groups (and occasionally takes them to court and kicks their asses), is keeping an eye on him and other far-right hatemongers.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. rkeefe57 permalink
    July 26, 2012 11:38 am

    “…an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center, that monitors hate groups…”

    Just for the record, there’s no legal definition for “hate group,” which is why even the FBI does not, cannot, designate “hate groups,” but some how a private fundraising group like the SPLC can?

    Without a fixed, legal definition of the term, “hate group” means whatever the user says it means and frankly, that’s not good enough. The worst thing about this kind of vigilantism is that sooner or later you wake to find your own group on the “hate” list.

    The SPLC has no more authority to designate “hate groups” than does the SPCA, so who exactly are they “monitoring”?

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-ce

    • Wil permalink*
      July 27, 2012 4:54 am

      Whether there’s a legal definition for “hate group” or not, the FBI has provided a definition of the term in their Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection. It is “an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a(n) race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual-orientation which differs from that of the members of the organization, e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party, etc.” And while being designated as a hate group by the SPLC doesn’t mean anything in legal terms, the FBI apparently thinks enough of the organization’s work that it provides a link to its website from the main FBI Hate Crimes webpage.

      I think that’s a pretty good definition, and that it’s certainly good enough for many people (and organizations like the SPLC) to recognize a hate group when they see it. As for having the authority to monitor and designate hate groups, the SPLC doesn’t need any authority, any more than you need some sort of authority to criticize their efforts, or that the SPCA needs to further its mission of preventing cruelty to animals.

      I can see where people involved in hate groups might be worried about getting on the SPLC’s list, but since I’m not involved with any groups like that, I’m not worried about it at all.

  2. rkeefe57 permalink
    July 27, 2012 10:57 am

    Wil, I agree that that is as good a definition as any, but the only time it appears is in that one FBI training document from 1999. It’s purely the opinion of the trainer who wrote it and is not an official FBI policy.

    Even Mark Potok, the SPLC’s public relations chief and the man who designates their “hate groups” acknowledges that the FBI cannot designate “hate groups” under that definition.

    “The FBI does not monitor groups just because they have “hateful” ideology. There must be some evidence of criminal wrongdoing.“ (www.usatoday.com, May 17, 2002)

    The problem with letting people “recognize a hate group when they see it,” is that everyone has their own opinions and definitions of who should be included. It’s completely arbitrary and subjective. Who gets to choose? You? Me?

    Take abortion, for example. Roughly half the population is for it, roughly half are against it, and both positions are entirely legal. It’s not hard to figure out who either side would designate a “hate group.” Are you okay with that as long as the “right” group gets to pick?

    Frankly, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more glaring example of old fashioned vigilantism. “They’re guilty because we say so.”

    Here’s an example of how dangerous this system is. We’ve both mentioned the SPCA so let’s use them as a visual aid:

    1. Most people love kittens. Cute, fluffy, big-eyes kittens. Mew, mew, mew.

    2. The SPCA “kills” kittens every day. Millions of kittens a year.

    3. The SPCA takes in millions of dollars a year while “killing” kittens, including public funds.

    4. God made kittens. “Killing” kittens goes against the Will of God. The SPCA must be a coven of Satan-worshiping heretics to “kill” God’s kittens…”

    And so it goes. You and I know that this is a ridiculous interpretation of the vital and thankless work the SPCA does for us all, but you can see how the process works. Combine that foolishness above with a lot of public relations money and it doesn’t take long before the SPCA becomes a bona fide “hate group.”

    You claim that since you don’t associate with groups like the Klan or the Nazis that you’re not worried about being part of a hate group. Well, how do you know that you’re not already a member of a “hate group”?

    The SPLC has many broad categories that include “fundamentalist” Christians and “traditionalist” Catholics. Do you know for sure that your personal theology is far enough to the Left or Right to keep you out of one of those pigeon holes? How would you know? Who decides? Mark Potok?

    My favorite SPLC “hate group” category is called “General Hate,” for those pesky groups that don’t quite fit any of the other molds.

    Couple years ago the Missouri Highway Patrol issued guidelines to its Troopers that were lifted directly from SPLC literature. The MIAC report, as it is known, advised the Troopers that a real good way to spot “domestic extremists” is to look for third-party bumper stickers on their cars.

    Think about that.

    And now that SPLC president Dick Cohen sits on a Home land Security advisory board that very same language has turned up in D HS documents.

    That may not worry you, but it scares the living hell out of me. Be careful what you wish for.

    • Wil permalink*
      July 27, 2012 2:39 pm

      I’m sure it must suck to be so scared, Richard. I’m not. And one of the reasons why I’m not scared of the SPLC, and one of the reasons why I’m not worried about ending up on their hate group list is because I don’t associate with any groups “whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a(n) race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual-orientation which differs from that of the members of the organization”.

      It’s weird that you appear to think that LETTING people recognize a hate group when they see it is a PROBLEM. I’m not sure how you plan to try to STOP people from having their own opinions and definitions, but I’ve got a feeling that it’s not going to work out too well for you. You ask “who gets to choose?” and the answer, of course, is that everybody gets to choose for themselves. You. Me. Everybody. Including the people at the SPLC.

      About all I can say about your SPCA kitten-killing hate group is that while I agree that the scenario you describe is ridiculous, it’s really not any more ridiculous than some of the crap spouted by many of these hate groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t groups out there somewhere that hate the SPCA and think it’s evil.

      As for the MIAC report, I remember it. I read it, and I know that while it was definitely problematic, it didn’t say what you claim it did.

      Like I said in my post, I’m glad the SPLC is taking on hate groups, not just through their publications but in court, too. They’ve had court victories against various Klan groups, Aryan Nations, the Church of the Creator, the Ranch Rescue border vigilante group, and others not because of their bumper stickers but because they assaulted, terrorized and killed people.

      The SPLC certainly isn’t a perfect organization, and there numerous examples of honest, legitimate criticism leveled at it. There is also a lot of criticism that is neither legitimate nor honest. From what I’ve read of your blog, it seems to fall into the second category.

  3. rkeefe57 permalink
    July 27, 2012 3:41 pm

    “The SPLC certainly isn’t a perfect organization, and there numerous examples of honest, legitimate criticism leveled at it.”

    Such as?

    I’d be interested in what you consider to be legitimate criticisms of the SPLC? Please cite a few.

    To me, a “civil rights” group with more than 200 employees that has never hired a minority executive in its entire 41-year history is unusual.

    A group that takes in more than $4,400 an hour, every hour, and and generates tens of millions in tax-free interest on its quarter-billion dollar “Endowment Fund” each year, but is always sending out fundraising letters claiming dire need is suspect.

    Over the past decade the SPLC has spent an average of 3% of its income on “legal case costs” each year while routinely spending twice that amount on postage and 19% of its budget on fundraising.

    What business are they actually in? It’s hard to call that a good return on investment for the donors.

    Also, regarding the MIAC report, the last page reads:

    “Political Paraphernalia: Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate: [sic] Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.”

    Guess I read it wrong.

    http://constitution.org/abus/le/miac-strategic-report.pdf

    • Wil permalink*
      July 28, 2012 3:54 am

      “I’d be interested in what you consider to be legitimate criticisms of the SPLC? Please cite a few.”

      If it’s true that the SPLC hasn’t hired people of color in senior executive positions, that I think that could be a legitimate criticism. If donors are unhappy with the way the SPLC has spend the money they’ve given, then that is a legitimate criticism.

      On the other hand, complaining that the SPLC receives a large amount of money in donations and continues to ask for more is not a legitimate criticism. That’s the way many if not most non-profits work. The American Red Cross reported revenues of $3.5 billion and an operating surplus of $71 million for 2011, but they didn’t suspend fund-raising.

      Accusing the SPLC of deliberately conflating “six of the most cherished civil rights in the Constitution with ‘criminal acts’ and ‘hate group activities'” is not a legitimate and honest criticism. It is dishonest and, like your comment about the MIAC report, a claim that simply isn’t true.

      I’m curious, Robert, about which hate groups identified by the SPLC that you think shouldn’t be listed? Which hate groups do you think they’ve unfairly targeted in court? What groups are you associated with that you fear the SPLC may identify and label as a hate group at some point in the future? And finally, since you have tried to criticize the SPLC for only spending (according to your numbers) a little over $1 million a year on “legal case costs”, how much have you and your groups spent on court costs to help people who’ve been victimized (assaulted, terrorized, murdered, etc.) by groups like the Klan, Aryan Nations, Ranch Rescue, etc.?

      “Guess I read it wrong.”

      Or maybe you don’t like the SPLC and you’re cool with saying things that aren’t true in your attempts to criticize the organization. How’s that working out for you so far, Robert?

  4. rkeefe57 permalink
    July 29, 2012 3:05 pm

    Wil, first off, I’m not sure if you or someone else is the owner of this blog, but I’d like to thank the owner for the opportunity to have this discussion. Like you, there are many, many people who are offended by any criticism of the SPLC and the easy route is simply to block all opposing views. You are at least willing to have this discussion, though I regret that at times our comments have seemed more confrontational and less conversational.

    Rational people can have rational conversations, even when they fundamentally disagree, something the SPLC’s “hate group” smear is specifically designed to prevent, however.

    I also apologize in advance because this reply is going to be lengthy, especially in the single column format most blogs use for replies, but you’ve raised some good points that deserve full answers.

    I’m sure the fact that none of the SPLC’s top executives are minorities was unexpected. It certainly was for me. In 1994, Dan Morse of the Montgomery Advertiser, (now at the Washington Post), and Greg Jaffe, wrote a week-long expose on the SPLC and one of the first things they noticed back then was a distinct lack of diversity at the top. (“Equal Treatment? No Blacks in Center’s Leadership,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 16, 1994)

    In 2000, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein made the same observation in his landmark article, “The Church of Morris Dees,” which was published in Harper’s Magazine, hardly a right-wing rag.

    http://harpers.org/media/slideshow/annot/2000-11/

    If you go back through the SPLC’s IRS Form 990s, as I have, thanks to the slow-but-sure Internet Archive, you find that all of the top execs from 2000 to today have been whites. That’s a 41-year track history which goes far beyond the boundaries of coincidence.

    Morse noted that the SPLC’s “Teaching Tolerance” program, which purports to promote diversity in the K-12 classroom was run entirely by whites in 1994. With very little effort online it’s fairly simple to discover that, except for one 9 month period, Teaching Tolerance has been led by “whites only” for 20 of its 21 year history.

    The SPLC’s token black middle-manager was allowed to helm TT in an “interim” capacity until she could be replaced by blue-eyed red-head Maureen Costello a few years ago.

    The Morse/Jaffe article also notes that all of the black attorneys working at the SPLC in the 1970s soon quit, several citing a “plantation mentality.”

    “I would definitely say there was not a single black employee with whom I spoke who was happy to be working there,” said Christine Lee, a black graduate of Harvard Law School who interned at the Law Center in 1989.”

    ” Charles Ogletree, a black Harvard Law School professor who knows blacks who’ve had negative experiences at the center, said he no longer recommends his students take internships there.”

    Obviously the Center has a history of strained racial relations. Donors should know this.

    Next, the SPLC’s fundraising practices are entirely fair game for legitimate criticism. The SPLC currently has more than $230 million dollars in its Endowment Fund, a fund created by SPLC founder Morris Dees to “…build for the future [of the SPLC] by setting aside a certain amount of its income for an endowment, a practice begun in 1974 to plan for the day when nonprofits like the SPLC can no longer afford to solicit support through the mail because of rising postage and printing costs.”

    According to Ken Silverstein’s report, “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. ”

    The Endowment Fund reached the $100 million mark in 2002. Five years later it doubled in size to $200 million, but the SPLC has never ceased its fundraising efforts.

    In fact, last year the SPLC hired three new fundraising specialists. And if anything, the advent of e-mail and online donation platforms have lowered the postage and printing costs of fundraising dramatically. One e-mail can reach tens of millions of donors at the speed of light for a cost measured in pocket change.

    The SPLC traditionally spends 19% of its budget on fundraising, which, according to Charity Navigator is not unheard of, but toward the high end of the non-profit spectrum.

    If you go back through the SPLC’s IRS Form 990s (found on their own web site), as I have, you find that if you take the amount of tax-free interest generated by the Endowment Fund each year and compare it to the center’s stated operating costs MINUS the 19% they spent on fundraising, (which the Endowment Fund was created to do away with in the first place), the fund has generated funds in excess of those operating costs every year but one over the past decade.

    The one year that had a shortfall was the one in which so many major charities and non-profits took disastrous hits from the Bernie Madoff scam. The SPLC showed a $50 million dollar loss, but they made it back up in two years, the two worst years of the Great Recession. In every other year, the surplus, or “non-profit,” ran from several hundred thousand dollars to several million.

    Clearly the Endowment Fund is working as designed and has been doing so for a decade. When will the endless fundraising stop?

    SPLC founder Morris Dees made his first million in 1964, according to his autobiography. Dees pays himself $340,000 donor-dollars a year on top of the $120,000 to $200,000 a year he makes in honoraria for his frequent speaking engagements. Dees’ law school loans must be paid off by now. If money is so tight at the SPLC would it really kill this millionaire to work pro bono for a single year or even donate his lavish speaking fees? It’s hard to swallow the fact that the SPLC is broke when the boss is making half a million a year.

    You’ve questioned my criticism of a “civil rights group” demonizing First Amendment civil rights. This really leads to the heart of the matter and one of my biggest criticisms of the SPLC’s fundraising methods.

    As we’ve discussed from the beginning, I state that designating “hate groups” without a fixed definition is subjective at best and entirely meaningless. You may as well designate “happy groups” or “lucky groups,” based solely on your own opinion. That’s how the SPLC’s “hate group” smear works.

    Every year the SPLC’s public relations chief, Mark Potok (whose $150,000 salary would also be deducted from annual operating costs if the SPLC was honest about the Endowment Fund), produces a “Hate Map” that purports to identify all of the groups he has designated on a state-by-state basis. The “Hate Map” is the keystone of all SPLC fundraising propaganda.

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map

    If you actually look at the individual states you soon notice that many of the groups are not associated with any known city or town. Mr. Potok claims that they are really, really there, but he can’t find them on any map, including his own. Check out your own state and the surrounding ones.

    As it turns out, 247 of Mr. Potok’s “hate groups” are homeless. That’s 25% of the total right off the top. In many states the percentage of phantom groups runs as high as 60%, 80% and even an incredible (literally) 100% of the total.

    THIS is hard data? But the media and the donors believe Mr. Potok’s numbers and respond accordingly.

    A perfect example is the state of Georgia. This past March Mr. Potok added 20 chapters of something he calls “the Georgia Militia” to that state’s “Hate Map,” but he cannot locate 18 of them. Instead, Potok lists 18 empty slots with “George Militia” next to them.

    See it for yourself: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map#s=GA

    Again… THIS is hard data?

    And the legend on Potok’s “Hate Map” does include the curious statement “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

    Really? Publishing? Speeches? Rallies? Aren’t those the tools Dr. King used during the Civil Rights movement? Aren’t these the same constitutionally protected rights that brought Barrack Obama to the White House? But this “civil rights group” seems rather selective as to who exactly can enjoy these rights.

    Flip on your car radio and take a spin up the dial (I’m showing my age here…). How far do you have to go before you hear some “artist” extolling the virtues of smacking down “ho’s” and “b*tch*s” and of “cop killin'”? This certainly meets my definition of “hate speech” but I’m not the one in charge of designating “hate groups.” (You won’t find a single rapper on the SPLC’s “hate music” list. Why not?)

    Instead, I vote with my feet and my wallet. I don’t purchase that kind of music and I don’t listen to those stations or patronize their sponsors. We don’t have to like what people have to say but we have to allow them to say it, no matter how offensive we find it personally. The SPLC’s “hate group” label is designed to stifle all speech they personally disagree with.

    Mark Potok has said numerous times, including on NPR and other major news outlets that “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…” Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”

    No crime, no violence, just “wrong thinking.” THESE are your civil rights “experts”?

    Even Potok’s “Hate Map” legend concedes: “Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.” It DOESN’T? Then what exactly is the “hate group” label designed to imply? That’s precisely what the label is intended to imply.

    A few more bon mots from Mr. Potok:

    “Mark Potok, who has directed the SLPC’s Intelligence Project for 12 years, said the report relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SPLC staff.” (www.postcrescent.com, July 6, 2009)

    “Potok acknowledged that some of the groups may be small and said it is impossible for outsiders to gauge the membership of most of the groups.” (David Crary, Associated Press Online, March 10, 2008)

    “Potok says inclusion on the list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.” (www.sanluisobispo.com, March 25, 2009) Really? A post office box?

    “And I would say as a general matter, it is extremely unusual these days for an organization to plan and carry out a criminal act where mainly for the reason that they are so likely to get caught.

    So what we really see out there in terms of violence from the radical right is by and large what we would call lone wolves, people operating on their own or with just one or two partners. As opposed to, you know, being some kind of organizational plan.” (www.npr.org, October 30, 2008)

    “Still, [Potok] said the public should remain vigilant about the activities of hate groups, even though individuals are responsible for the majority of hate crimes in America.” (www.courier-journal.com, July 21, 2009)

    It sure seems like “hate groups” aren’t exactly the threat Mr. Potok makes them out to be in his ubiquitous press releases.

    As it turns out, one of my readers actually had the opportunity to ask Mr. Potok about his questionable “hate group” accounting and recorded the flustered encounter on video.

    Mr. Potok conceded that such criticism was “not illegitimate” and even admitted that his numbers were “anecdotal,” “a very rough estimate,” and “an imperfect process.” He then proceeded to flounder about for an answer as to why so many of his “groups” were homeless. He finally came up with “state chapters. Those are state chapters!”
    Really? Georgia has 18 “state chapters” of the Georgia Militia? That makes perfect sense.

    You can see the Potok video here and find a written transcript of the exchange:
    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-bc

    Well, as promised, this has gone on far too long, but before closing I did want to comment on your “Which hate group are you in?” comment, Wil. Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing. Up to now you’ve countered my comments with consideration and even researched your answers, but now you’re turning to the tired old “smear the messenger” tactic? Has it come to that already? How disappointing.

    For the record, I don’t belong to any group. I’m an educated man whose interests are in the fields of rhetoric, advertising, persuasion and propaganda. All of my data come either directly from the SPLC or other acknowledged sources and I cite them all scrupulously in my blog.

    Anyone can reproduce my findings and everyone is entitled to interpret the data any way they see fit. I would certainly welcome the opportunity to discuss those findings with anyone.

    The bigger question, and I’ve asked it before, is which “hate groups” do you belong to, Wil, without even knowing it? If inclusion into the “hate group” fraternity is nothing more than a matter of ideology how exactly can you be sure that you think all the “right” thoughts?

    I maintain my belief that the SPLC is little more than a vigilante group dispensing its own form of “justice” with very little concern for legal or civil rights. And a group that takes in tens of millions of tax-free dollars each year by designating “hate groups” according to its own spurious definitions has very little incentive to ever let the numbers decline. The bottom line at the Southern Poverty Law Center is always, always the bottom line.

    And by the way, call me Richard.

    • Wil permalink*
      August 1, 2012 4:03 am

      You’re welcome, Richard. First off, I think I’ve made it clear that I am not offended by any criticism of the SPLC. I agreed that there were several honest and legitimate criticisms of the organization, and when you asked that I be specific, I did. When you continue to make accusations that are clearly and demonstrably untrue, it’s more likely to result in confrontation rather than conversation.

      I’ve already agreed that if it’s true that none of the SPLC’s top executives are minorities, then that’s a legitimate criticism, so I’m not sure why you’ve included all of that info in your comment (if you felt it absolutely necessary, surely a link back to your own blog would’ve been easier than all that copying and pasting). I’m aware of the articles by Morse and Silverstein, but I’m not interested enough to go back through decades of 990s as you claim to have done. As I’ve said, it’s a concern and a legitimate criticism. Maybe it’s a deal-breaker for some people, but not for me.

      “Next, the SPLC’s fundraising practices are entirely fair game for legitimate criticism.”

      Despite all that copying and pasting, this still isn’t a legitimate criticism. The SPLC has a lot of money, and continues to fundraise. So does the American Red Cross. And the Cancer Society. And the Heart Foundation. And Big Brothers/Big Sisters. And Catholic Charities. And the SPCA. And many other nonprofits.

      “It’s hard to swallow the fact that the SPLC is broke when the boss is making half a million a year.”

      Yet another dishonest criticism. The SPLC doesn’t claim that it’s broke. The SPCA (an organization that you suggested does “vital and thankless work”) continues to fundraise while paying its CEO a half a million a year (higher than Dees’ salary, although I’m not sure how much, if any, Sayres makes in honoria, etc.).

      “You’ve questioned my criticism of a “civil rights group” demonizing First Amendment civil rights. “

      Only if by “questioned” you mean that I pointed out that it was completely and utterly dishonest. The SPLC hasn’t conflated First Amendment rights and criminal acts. It’s as simple as that, and all the copying and pasting of crap from your blog isn’t going to change that.

      Whether you like or agree with the SPLCs definition of a hate group doesn’t make it a bad definition. That Mark Potok hasn’t published an address for a particular hate group included on the Hate Map doesn’t mean that the group doesn’t exist. To use the example you chose, the Georgia Militia, two men associated with that group (Fred Thomas and Dan Roberts) recently plead guilty to conspiracy charges. Whether or not Potok published an address for the particular militia chapters they were associated with doesn’t make their crimes any less real.

      Being included on the Hate Map and/or listed as a hate group doesn’t violate anybody’s First Amendment rights. As you point out, the SPLC makes it clear that being included on the list doesn’t imply criminality. You ask “what exactly is the ‘hate group’ label designed to imply?” Easy. As previously discussed, inclusion on the hate group list means that the SPLC considers the group “an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a(n) race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual-orientation which differs from that of the members of the organization, e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party, etc.”

      If you disagree with their definition, their inclusion of a particular group, their fundraising strategies, the lack of diversity of their top executives, the salaries they pay those executives or anything else, you can, as you put it, vote with your feet and your wallet. Are you being forced to pay attention to their lists? Are you being forced to donate money to the SPLC, Richard?

      “Well, as promised, this has gone on far too long, but before closing I did want to comment on your “Which hate group are you in?” comment, Wil. Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing.”
      I agree that this has gone on far too long, and I also agree that you should be embarrassed about making yet another demonstrably false accusation. I didn’t make any “Which hate group are you in?” comment. I asked a number of questions, most of which you chose not to answer. I’ve made a point of answering questions you’ve asked me, and I take your decision to do the same (not to mention the continued false accusations) as an indication that you’re more interested in copying and pasting your talking points than you are in having a real conversation.

      I asked what groups were on the SPLC’s list of hate groups that you felt shouldn’t be included, and which groups you think they unfairly targeted in their legal proceedings. You chose not to answer.

      I asked what groups you were involved in that you were afraid might be included on their list in the future. In a previous comment, you said that “[t]he worst thing about this kind of vigilantism is that sooner or later you wake to find your own group on the “hate” list.” Then later you asked me “…how do you know that you’re not already a member of a ‘hate group’?” And yet when I ask you a similar question you accuse me of “turning to the tired ‘smear the messenger’ tactic’. But hey, at least you answered the question, although I’m not sure how seriously I’m supposed to take your claim that you’re not associated with any group. In my experience, few people can manage such complete isolation.

      And I asked, given your criticism of the amounts of money the SPLC has spent on legal proceedings, how much money you’ve spent on court costs to help people who’ve been victimized by hate groups. You chose not to answer that one, either.

      You’ve asked me which hate groups I belong to without even knowing it, and I’ve answered, Richard. None. And the way that I know it is because I’m not involved in any groups that meet the definition we’ve already discussed. It seems really obvious to me that it’s not about ensuring that I “think all the ‘right’ thoughts”, but about not getting myself involved with “an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a(n) race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual-orientation which differs from that of the members of the organization.”

      Richard, if you’re going to continue commenting, I’d appreciate it if you’d try to keep them shorter. If you’ve already said it on your blog, link to it, and I’ll read it. And leave off the false accusations altogether, thanks.

  5. rkeefe57 permalink
    August 1, 2012 12:20 pm

    I’ll keep it short and sweet, Wil. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to have this discussion. Take care. Richard.

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