San Francisco Bizarre

Public Good Project played a pivotal role in three San Francisco political conflicts: the landlord v tenant electoral battle of 2000, the 2007 trustees v faculty battle at New College of California, and the 2008 organized crime v Mayor Newsom battle over legalizing prostitution. Our consult to ParkMerced Tenants Association, intervention on behalf of the New College Independent Alumni Association, and support to Prostitution Research and Education to defeat the organized crime proposition were some of our finer moments.

The intervention at New College revealed some of the unsavory aspects of poverty-pimping in the Bay Area. People like Keith Jackson on the payroll of the crooked trustees was more than disturbing. Now, Keith is in the news again.

Keith Jackson’s arrest for gun-running, drug trafficking and murder for hire reminded me of his role in the demise of New College.

Hate Campaign Strategy

Terry Wechsler’s denial of the existence of a hate campaign by CERA and Whatcom Tea Party is useful. It illustrates her rationalization for inaction.

Quibbling with her, of course, is pointless. Liberals love to quibble. It gives them an excuse for cowardice.

Campaigns, however, are discernible. They begin with a plan. More specifically, they begin with a strategy that develops into a plan. Then, when sufficiently organized according to the plan, actions appear. This is the execution of the plan.

Wechsler’s ignorance of campaigns leads to her conclusion that because actions have not appeared, there is no campaign. It’s an arrogant, self-serving conclusion, but arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand.

What we know from listening to KGMI and reading Tea Party propaganda is that the CERA strategy was to promote resentment, hold a conference where the plan is presented, and continue organizing through property rights/Tea Party/Christian Right workshops such as Freedom Academy. Actions come later.

The plan presented at the CERA conference was to organize around anti-Indian movement ideology and methodology, applied to conflict over treaty water rights. CERA has much experience at this, as Terri Hansen, Charles Tanner and Sandra Robson reported. Another part of the plan was to access Wise Use (read Gateway Pacific Terminal) funding. The Tea Party (read Kris Halterman) did that last fall.

A question no one seems to have asked is, Who devised the strategy? Who brought Elaine Willman and Halterman together to initiate building resentment and conducting white supremacy outreach? The logical answer is Tom Williams and Skip Richards, the CERA conference organizers. Tom is on the CERA board, and Skip was the strategist for the FLOA/CLUE anti-Indian hate campaigns 1994-1997.

Having set in motion the strategy and plan, Richards can assume the role of adviser while the white supremacists get organized. Then, when state, local and federal decisions unfavorable to their interests are implemented, they can mobilize as a cohesive cadre.

One of the key researchers of the Christian Patriot militias in the 1990s is my friend Dan Junas, who is somewhat famous for his quote, “It’s always worse than you think, and you never know until you look.” Wechsler’s strategy appears to be don’t look.

Taking Stock

Seeing how tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the CERA Northwest Regional Anti-Indian Conference, this seems like a good time to take stock. Call it an informal estimate of the situation.

Not having an on-the-ground presence, Cascadia Weekly editor Tim Johnson’s request for information on CERA in the immediate aftermath of the conference set off alarm bells, especially given my experience. My assessment at that time was that this was the beginning of a hate campaign.

All the elements necessary to launch a campaign were present: organizations and individuals with histories of leading hate campaigns, issues to organize around, and Wise Use funding. It was still low intensity relative to the hate campaigns of the 1990s, but the Tea Party and CERA were clearly laying the groundwork to capitalize on anti-Indian resentment. Indeed, they were promoting it on KGMI and in social media.

The funding of Tea Party PACs by the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium set off another alarm. Then came the SLAPP suit threat against Whatcom Watch, and the ensuing chaos there.

Knowing what I know about anti-Indian hate campaigns, and the harm they have caused over the last forty years, I am not content to wait until violence erupts before acting. As it has been eighteen years since the last anti-Indian hate campaign in Whatcom county, I realized most community activists there today were probably unaware of how ugly things can get. The lack of media coverage exacerbated my concern.

Sandra Robson’s October 2013 and January 2014 articles in Whatcom Watch brought everyone up to speed on the history and current developments that could, if left unchecked, lead to another wave of violence. The SLAPP threat signified that the impending conflict over water rights and Gateway Pacific Terminal could get nasty.

Comparing community awareness about the anti-Indian movement, Wise Use and CERA today with that of a year ago indicates that our educational efforts have been successful. The lack of public response by progressive churches to the promotion of racism by the Tea Party and others is disappointing, but not disheartening. Having informed them, I am fairly confident that when the time comes, they will be ready.

I still believe community forums on hate campaigns are an appropriate activity for them to begin working on, but I see no point pressing them further. The efforts of CERA and the Tea Party have not yet catalyzed a campaign, and maybe Whatcom county will be spared this time.

Should the progressive churches decide to conduct educational workshops on the anti-Indian movement, and its history in Whatcom county, we have given them more than enough materials to start. In the meantime, monitoring the groups and individuals that would be at the forefront of a hate campaign will help prevent them from again being taken by surprise.

Liberal Elite Versus Democracy

When Whatcom Watch monthly community news started in May 1992, it was to give a voice to the voiceless: those excluded or demonized by the mainstream news monopoly Bellingham Herald for criticizing its anti-Indian racism and cover-ups of associated corporate crimes. Since then, the volunteer-run publication has had ups and downs, but always stood firm as a venue where the truth could be told. Now, it appears that this noble enterprise might be coming to an ignoble end.

In the October 2013 and January 2014 issues, Whatcom Watch published two ground-breaking articles by investigative journalist Sandra Robson, titled How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs, and What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Then, in February, the spokesman for Gateway Pacific Terminal threatened Whatcom Watch with a SLAPP suit, and by the end of March the paper faced mass resignations and chaos.

Out of the chaos, two interim managers emerged, Jennifer Karchmer and Terry Wechsler. Wechsler immediately began blaming the messenger for their troubles. In a hostile email to this author, she said my advice to expose, confront and reject organized racism is “counterproductive.”

As the tribal water rights conflict has consistently been inflamed by the anti-tribal Bellingham Herald, the imminent loss of Whatcom Watch as a critical news source leaves the region vulnerable to the fossil fuel export corporations, racist organizations like Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), and their property rights/Tea Party allies.

The position taken by Wechsler is that exposure of racism — such as that done by Robson — is problematic, so they should discontinue investigative journalism. This position is particularly troublesome, since Sandra Robson is the only journalist examining violent white supremacy in the region.

Astonishingly, Wechsler actually suggested to me that Skip Richards‘ racist organizing in the 1990s should not be mentioned, since he told her he no longer does that. I pointed out to her that Richards was one of the two people who organized the CERA anti-Indian conference one year ago.

When Skip Richards helped Tom Williams organize the CERA conference, he knew full well who he was working with, and why. Williams, board member of CERA and Minuteman militia member, is a Christian Patriot. Richards, as the prominent Christian Patriot militia host in the 1990s, had also worked closely with anti-Indian organizations like United Property Owners of Washington, which has since morphed into other groups associated with CERA as part of the anti-Indian movement.
Richards’ role in the current hate campaign, promoted by Whatcom Tea Party, CAPR and CERA, is two-fold: water rights planning insider, and anti-Indian hate campaign expert. It is thus no wonder that CERA sought him out as the local go-to guy for advice in building anti-tribal resentment.

Evidently,Wechsler sees no threat in the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country” working alongside the Christian Right with Gateway Pacific Terminal funding, and thinks it is A-OK that Skip Richards played a key role in making that happen. It’s the cowardly liberal elite versus democracy all over again.

Christian Right Christian Patriot

The Christian Right shares white supremacy and anti-Semitism with the Christian Patriots, but they are not violent separatists. They recognize the legal system as legitimate, and focus on stealth electoral work rather than armed resistance.
The Christian Right includes Republican Liberty Caucus, Christian Coalition and Eagle Forum; Christian Patriots include the Minutemen, Militia of Montana and Aryan Nations. Christian Right and Christian Patriot beliefs intersect in the Ron Paul milieu, but the Christian Right does not promote militias. The militant Christian Right does, however, abet terrorism on issues like abortion.

The nullification nonsense espoused by property rights groups the Christian Right associates with can lead those frustrated with electoral politics down the path toward Christian Patriotism. Other Christian Patriot trappings regarding the Federal Reserve and the UN also infect the Christian Right, as does Constitutionalism. So you get Christian Right politicians who might buy into white supremacy and the Jewish conspiracy, become obsessed about gold and Constitutional amendments, but not become involved in armed conflict or organized crime like Christian Patriots do.

Constitutionalists can sometimes be recruited into more violent behavior by their Christian Patriot brethren like those that were behind the militias, but that is usually in response to a change in political climate, catalyzed by a perceived crisis like the UN invasion hype the property rights groups promoted as part of their Wise Use campaigns.

Concepts like nullification and constitutionalism, embedded in Christian Right/property rights propaganda and promoted by white supremacist organizations like CERA, help Christian Right individuals rationalize working with or joining Christian Patriots during times of elevated stress associated with hate campaigns. Thus the importance of exposing stealth Christian Right candidates, their beliefs, and their role in the Far Right spectrum.

Readers might recall property rights organizer Skip Richards’ remark about hosting Christian Patriot militias as, “just playing interest group politics.” Using them to intimidate political opponents of the Christian Right/property rights milieu is terrorism, but as a Wise Use agent provocateur, Richards was interested in electoral power, as are his friends in the Christian Right.

Creating a political climate of hate to the extent that Christian Patriots emerge above ground is unusual, and I don’t see that happening in the Tea Party/Christian Right/property rights/CERA alliance against American Indian treaty rights. It is organized racism, but it is not murderous. Keeping them in check is an achievement accomplished by exposure, confrontation and rejection. Hopefully, their exposure will prompt the progressive religious network to confront, and communities to reject, organized racism–before it turns violent.

A Tool of Intimidation

Mary O’Hara examines the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) used by the U.S. Department of Justice. As recklessly applied by federal and local law enforcement, TSDB has become a tool of intimidation to discourage U.S. citizens from exercising their legal rights to free speech, free press, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom to travel. Denying citizens due process by detaining, arresting and interrogating them because they attended a legal protest or wrote an article critical of government policy has become a major concern for civil liberties advocates in the US. Instilling fear in the minds of normal citizens seems to be the primary purpose of the TSDB; indeed, it’s very existence and arbitrary administration suggests that is it’s only purpose.

Tortured Abused and Arbitrarily Detained

The wheels of justice turn slowly. Sometimes they get stuck.

French citizens tortured, abused and arbitrarily detained at Guantanamo are the subject of a 2002 criminal complaint by their parents that is only now moving forward within the French judiciary. Lack of cooperation from the United States Government in solving the criminal liability of Guantanamo commander Geoffrey Miller has, of course, contributed to the delay.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights reports as France investigates US torture program.

High Crime in Higher Ed

Cambridge University’s money-laundering for a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Russian gangsters is the most fun we’ve had since former President Clinton’s foundation got in bed with the daughter of the Uzbek president known for boiling his opponents alive. Now it seems the wife of said Ukraine crook, wanted for extradition by the FBI, is hobnobbing with British royalty.

Can a new Coen brothers movie be far behind?