Letters to the Editor

FAIR response

July 3, 2010


To the editor:

Sheldon Weisgrau has no ethical responsibility to be truthful (Public Forum, June 25). The Journal-World, on the other hand, does have an ethical obligation to ensure that it does not publish malicious lies.

Weisgrau attempts to pass off as fact the discredited accusations of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a disreputable organization. FAIR has a 31-year record of advocacy on immigration policy that belies the SPLC charges parroted by Weisgrau.

Over more than three decades, FAIR has established a clear and very public record of advocating immigration reforms that place the interests of the American people paramount. In thousands of media interviews, hundreds of published reports, and more than 100 appearances before Congress to present expert testimony on immigration policy, FAIR’s message has been consistent and mainstream.

The vehemence of the open-borders lobby’s campaign against FAIR is a testament to our organization’s effectiveness in blocking their agenda of amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and massive increases in future immigration. Unable to persuade the American public with their arguments, groups like the SPLC and their allies are reduced to ad hominem attacks against FAIR and others who stand in their way.

To paraphrase Mr. Weisgrau, it behooves the Journal-World to investigate the accuracy and motives of people seeking space in the paper to spread falsehoods.

Ira Mehlman, media director

Federation for American

Immigration Reform,

Washington, D.C.


rkeefe57 7 years, 5 months ago

On page 80 of his autobiography, "A Season for Justice," SPLC founder Morris Dees describes his political run for the Alabama State Assembly in 1958. Dees ran on the pro-segregation States' Rights Party ticket, a group Dees describes as "closely aligned with Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats."

When that bid failed, Dees became the "Coordinator of Youth Activities" for George Wallace during his first run for governor of Alabama. Knowing Wallace's "segregation forever" popularity with the KKK, one can only imagine what uplifting political message Dees was so eager to deliver to Alabama's young people.

On page 85 of his autobiography, Dees brags about making $5,000 dollars for successfully defending local Klan thug Claude Henley in federal court. Henley had led a mob of about a hundred "club swinging" Klansmen against a Greyhound bus carrying a dozen black and white Freedom Riders in Montgomery.

Even though LIFE magazine published photos of Henley in mid-rampage, (as seen here, http://wp.me/pCLYZ-F), Dees writes that he was willing to take the case for only $500 dollars, (which lets you know whose side the great "civil rights icon" was on), Dees jacked the price up to $5,000 (about $35,000 in today's dollars), when he learned that no legitimate lawyer would touch the case for less than $15,000.

With his expert lawyer behind him, Henley walked out of Bobby Kennedy's federal court scot-free and his victims got nothing, least of all justice. Dees cashed the dirty check, which his partner Millard Fuller explains was funded by the Montgomery Klan and White Citizen's Coucil.

Some hero, Mr. Weisgrau.

cowboy 7 years, 5 months ago

Mehlmans expertise , setting up front organizations

"Mehlman’s fear-mongering “expertise” still gets plenty of media coverage, but his deceitful attempts to help fabricate a diverse coalition of anti-immigrant front groups to follow FAIR’s monochromatic leadership have proven to be an embarrassing flop. Although Choose Black America, You Don’t Speak for Me! and Coalition for the Future of the American Worker posed as groups representing African-American, Latino and labor communities, respectively, their flimsy cover was blown when it was discovered that all shared the same spokesperson - Ira Mehlman. Undeterred, Mehlman continues to spread his message of intolerance."

The man is a paid puppeteer !

Mr Keefe appears a paid proponent for FAIR. Note the response from Mehlman , and the new registration and posts all defending FAIR. Crawl back in your hole.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 5 months ago

Yup, cowboy, Seems that Mr. Keefe has called in the big boys to help him fend off those pesky truth-seekers who are pointing to FAIR's unpalatable origins. Trouble is, Mehlman is taking the same tack as Keefe, which is to try to distract the reader from the message by shooting the messenger!

Even if you throw out everything the SLPC has said about FAIR, which I personally don't need to, there are plenty of other sources who question FAIR's motives. I mentioned in comments about the original letter Lennie Zeskin, McArthur Award recipient who pointed to these same issues, namely:

-John Tanton, founder of FAIR and currently on its board of directors, is explicitly using race as a criteria for limiting immigration and supports eugenics, the study of genetic purification as a means to improve the human race, at one point comparing immigrants to bacteria;

-FAIR's accepting megabucks from the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded in 1937 whose express purpose is to "research into the problems of heredity and eugenics in the human race generally...with special reference to the people of the US."

Then there's the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, who concluded in their position paper: "Is FAIR fair?" "FAIR opened itself to such criticism with unretracted offensive statements by several FAIR leaders, and by its willing acceptance of financial support from the Pioneer Fund, a controversial foundation with a tainted history that was established to promote the dis- credited “science” of eugenics, and that continues to financially support questionable research into the comparative intelligence of ethnic minorities.

Immigration is, to be sure, a legitimate policy issue. Unfortunately, FAIR and other anti-immigrant groups have used reckless, distorted language and tactics that cloud and inhibit responsible debate."

And, of course, you can go to the FAIR site itself and see how it wants to stop immigration, both illegal and legal.

rkeefe57 7 years, 5 months ago

What "big boys", Doug? Look, if you're okay with the fact that SPLC founder Morris Dees was a States' Rights "Segregation forever!" Dixiecrat, and a self-proclaimed Klan lawyer, that's fine by me.

FAIR actually DID accept entirely legal donations from the entirely legal Pioneer Fund back in the mid-80s. So what?

Between 2005 and 2009, Morris Dees and the SPLC accepted more than $3 MILLION dollars from swindler Jeffry Picower. Picower was a business partner of arch-swindler Bernie Madoff, you know, the guy who shafted thousands of investors out of $65 BILLION dollars?

While many of those investors, including Holocaust survivors like Elie Weisel lost millions, and dozens of Jewish philanthropies went bankrupt, (http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/st_madoff_victims_20081215.html), "Generous Jeffry" Picower walked away with over $7 BILLION dollars in profits from the deal. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-1y

Ask the ADL how "fair" that is? The only thing that dried up the dirty donations was Picower's suicide last year before the Feds could get him into a courtroom. Some hero.

One thing we do agree on, Doug, immigration IS a legitimate policy issue, and every one of us has a right to our own opinions on the matter. As long as dubious groups like the "non-profit" SPLC, (with nearly $190 MILLION donor-dollars on hand), continue to use their huge financial wherewithal to smear legitimate and entirely LEGAL groups like FAIR, I'm going to call them out for the money-grubbing hypocrites that they are.

If the SPLC is soooo concerned over "immigrant rights," why is it that NOT ONE of their top ten, highest paid officers is a minority, let alone an immigrant. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-3r

The SPLC posts a "diverse" Board of Directors on their website, but a glance at their IRS Form 990, on the same web page, shows that with the exception of SPLC co-founder Joe Levin, all of the "Directors" are unpaid advisers with no impact on SPLC policies.

It's nothing more than public relations brown-washing. Talk about "nativists." Some "experts.'

Ken Lassman 7 years, 5 months ago

r, Ira Mehlman, the author of the letter is the "big boy" I'm referring to. In case you didn't notice, he's the media director of FAIR and located in Washington, DC. Not exactly a local concerned citizen.

As a concerned citizen, it attracts my attention when a major player in the immigration issue was started by a eugenics supporter, is still on the board of that organization, who also received at least 600,000 dollars--in the 80s-- from an organization whose founding principles is to look at the "problem" of genetic impurities in the USA. So yes, they have tried to distance themselves from this not-so-nice beginning, but as long as the founder, Mr. Tanton, remains on the board, any distancing sure looks like window dressing. Either they disavow their historic connections completely, or they remain tainted by it.

And don't forget; this whole issue came up because of Kobach's connections to FAIR. He ALSO needs to explicitly disavow any belief in eugenics, the goals of The Pioneer Fund, etc. if he does not want to have his name associated with these causes.

Finally, it fascinates me how you keep trying to ignore other legitimate sources for this information just so you can rake SLPC through the mud yet again. And does your contortion to somehow connect the ADL's financial losses to the Madoff scam somehow alter their conclusions about how scummy FAIR is?


BrianR 7 years, 5 months ago

C'mon, one more leap and you'll get to Kevin Bacon.

rkeefe57 7 years, 5 months ago

Cowboy, I'm not a paid proponent of any group. Just Google my name or rkeefe57 and you'll see my concern is with phonies like the SPLC who bilk donors out of millions of dollars a year by claiming they "fight hate groups" when there is no legal definition of "hate group."

Of the $31 million donor-dollars the SPLC took in last year, $1.1 million went to "legal case expenses," $5.2 million went to fund-raising costs and $12 million went to pay the salaries of the all-white millionaires who run the racket. Maybe you think that's a good return on investment, but I don't. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-K

If FAIR or any other group wants to offer me a job they know where to find me. The SPLC pays their PR guru Mark Potok $146,000 donor dollars a year to spin his fund-raising propaganda. If someone wants to offer me that kind of money to spread the truth I'll be happy to listen to their proposition.

In the meantime, I'll keep speaking up for free speech.

tomatogrower 7 years, 5 months ago

rkeef57, why don't you try defending FAIR instead. Does FAIR not advocate racial determined immigration, so that Whites remain a majority? Are they not affiliated with the Pioneer Fund, which is openly racist? http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2501

rkeefe57 7 years, 5 months ago


I don't defend or condemn FAIR's viewpoints one way or the other. To my knowledge, FAIR has never done anything illegal in its entire history, nor has John Tanton or the Pioneer Fund.

They have as much right to air their views as you, me, Doug and even the SPLC. We don't have to like them, you and I have the right to contest them, which is what I do every time I read SPLC fund-raising propaganda being passed off as "fact" in the media.

My beef is with fund-raising outfits like the SPLC which rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-free donations so that they can smear anyone who doesn't follow their ideology as a "hate group." "Hate group" is a deliberately meaningless term and should not be used by legitimate journalists and news outlets. Weisgrau held the SPLC up as "experts" and he was completely wrong.

I didn't write Mo Dees' autobiography, nor did I write the SPLC's IRS Form 990 tax return, but I did read them. I'm sorry that it offends people when I point out that Dees was a highly paid Klan lawyer, that less than four cents of every dollar donated goes toward "fighting hate," and that not one of the SPLC's top ten executives is a minority.

Like the Spirit says to Scrooge: "I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,' said the Ghost. 'That they are what they are, do not blame me!'

Incidentally, Tomatogrower, if you're sincere in your desire to paint FAIR as a "racist" organization, perhaps there is better documentation than a 1993 paid press release produced by La Raza. I wouldn't hold La Raza's idea of "racial determined immigration" up as an exemplar of unbiased altruism either.

Jimo 7 years, 5 months ago

We don't need no stinking racists writing letters to the editor.

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

Lobbyists writing letters and making comments in the Lawrence paper? Over the top.

The Shakespeare line of protesting too much seems appropriate right about now.

cowboy 7 years, 5 months ago

keefe , how about some disclosure , you are not from here are you ?

you are a blogger from back east who defends Fair , plain and simple. Dimes to dollars you are in the same office as the letter writer.

Crawl back in your hole!

BrianR 7 years, 5 months ago

Keefe has posted the same trash numerous times on articles about the SPLC and hate groups in general. The picture that emerges is apologist for racists. He probably trolls the internet looking for articles and letters Like Mr. Weisgrau's to attack - probably tips off Mehlman along the way.

Probably the best definition of Keefe is: Wacko stalker of Morris Dees and SPLC. He believes he is a truth seeker. He is a nativist and a racist.

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