When Long Island Loud Majority was included in a listing of “extreme anti-government groups” released recently by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group found the designation unfair, and political in a notably partisan way.
“My question to them, if they had reached out to us, which they did not, is, ‘How can we be anti-government if we were working tirelessly to reelect the sitting president of the United States in the last election,’” LILM co-founder Kevin Smith wondered in an interview with The Point. “Does that mean that before the last election, we were pro-government and Planned Parenthood was anti-government?’”
Smith also pointed to seminars the group runs to teach political newcomers how to seek school board seats, and the grassroots political work that members do gathering petitions and campaigning for conservative candidates as proof that the group is working within the system, not trying to destroy it.
But it is more complicated than that, of course.
The group is not included on SPLC’s “hate group” list, a separate category.
But Long Island Loud Majority does regularly argue to diminish government power at all levels, in favor of individual freedoms. Its leaders and members have argued, wrongly, that the 2020 election was won by Donald Trump.
The group’s talking points edge closer to the inflammatory side of political speech, particularly on its thrice-weekly internet broadcast, when ridiculing the rights and recognitions society is increasingly adopting for transgender people and has adopted toward the LGBTQ community. They also scorn the concept of systemic racism and have led the charge on Long Island against “critical race theory” and “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” policies.
Smith and fellow LILM co-founder Sean Farash, though often humorous in their tone, can be dark and harsh, speaking of coming trouble and reckonings in a manner that could be intimidating. Warnings of coming “tyranny” and fevered claims that the nation’s future “is on the line” are common.
And the SPLC listing is not the group’s only recent run-in with the establishment.
Three weeks ago, LILM announced that “The college speaking tour has begun … come on down and support the next generation of college leaders at @liu_americanclub @liupost” on Facebook.
The accompanying poster announced Smith and Farash would be at LIU Post’s Gold Coast Cinema on April 26.
But the event never happened.
According to college spokeswoman Sheila Kelly, the cancellation had nothing to do with politics. The sponsor was the school’s American Club, aggressively conservative and so controversial since a chapter was approved in early March that the LIU Brooklyn Student Government Association denounced its existence and almost 1,000 students took to change.org to sign a petition to “abolish” it.
Kelly said the group did not go through the process to get the event approved, and that by the time the issue surfaced there was not enough time left in the school year to complete that process.
Smith said he’s suspicious that the problem would not have surfaced for a more liberal group or talk, but hopes he’s wrong.
“If that’s the case, I can’t wait to talk to them about setting up an event for the first week of next semester,” Smith said.
— Lane Filler @lanefiller
A challenge that might not matter
As candidates for Congress and for the State Senate find themselves in flux, studying proposed new maps and trying to figure out what will happen next, all the work they and their staff members had done seems to be on hold.
That includes petitions — and their challenges.
But that didn’t stop CD1 Republican candidate Cait Corrigan from issuing a statement Monday, pushing back against opponent Nick LaLota, accusing him of “abusing his position as an officer of the court by filing frivolous lawsuits, and purgerous administrative actions, in his attempt to remove opponents from the ballot.”
Oddly, Corrigan’s statement didn’t mention last week’s New York State Court of Appeals decision, the troubled maps, or the potential need to start petitioning all over again.
Corrigan’s statement said she filed 3,246 signatures, 1,200 of which were collected by Corrigan herself.
But Suffolk County GOP chairman Jesse Garcia told The Point that more than 2,000 of Corrigan’s signatures “came from individuals who weren’t registered to vote, weren’t registered in the Republican Party or were on pages where Corrigan didn’t list her home address — all well-established requirements under the law.”
“As a party, we welcome Ms. Corrigan, who was a Democrat just six months ago, to the Republican party,” Garcia said in a statement. “In the Republican Party, we take Election Integrity seriously and that means having designating petitions which comply with the law.”
Corrigan did not respond to The Point’s requests for comment.
In an interview, Garcia told The Point that before the Court of Appeals decision, objections were filed against Corrigan and Anthony Figliola in CD1 and against Robert Cornicelli and Mike Rakebrandt in CD2, along with one State Assembly candidate and one county clerk candidate.
But now, Garcia said, all of that is on hold.
If candidates have to petition from scratch once the new maps are set, “five months of work are going to have to be redone in five weeks,” Garcia said.
“We’re getting prepared,” he said.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
Calling out the villain
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons
- The Biden administration is considering an income cap that would exclude high-earning Americans for eligibility for a new student loan relief program. If the point is to help struggling Americans, why isn’t a cap already a certainty?
- British Conservative Party lawmaker Neil Parish resigned after admitting he had watched pornography in the House of Commons chamber, porn he said he stumbled on while trying to look at a tractor website. Really? That’s the best he could come up with?
- Berkshire Hathaway’s first quarter profits dropped 53% from a year ago to $5.4 billion, which was viewed as additionally problematic because analysts had expected the company to earn $6 billion. Which raises the age-old question: What if it was the analysts who were unrealistic?
- Russia is struggling with an unprecedented wave of hacking attacks that have stolen financial data, defaced Russian websites, and leaked decades of government emails, passwords, and other data from institutions and individuals. Here’s guessing empathy for Russia is witheringly small.
- Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he might run for president and that a potential run by former President Donald Trump is not a factor because “I’m not aligned with him on … the direction he wants to take our country.” Not sure that will be a strong selling point in a GOP primary.
- Sen. Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was very clear Sunday in saying that the U.S. is not fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Less clear: whether anyone believed him.
- GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said that if he were House Speaker he would call the chamber back from recess to pass President Joe Biden’s request for more aid for Ukraine. As he spoke, actual Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on her way back from Kyiv after meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and asking him what Ukraine needed.
- One half of a country-music chart-topping mother-daughter duo, she died last weekend after years of battling mental illness. RIP — forevermore — Naomi Judd.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie