Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fellow-Traveling With Fascists (UPDATED)

A good friend who is a very active JBS member suggested that my observation below about JBS management letting Bill Jasper "off his leash" could be interpreted as a swipe at Bill. It wasn't intended to be read that way: Bill isn't a lapdog in any sense, for anybody. My purpose was to criticize management for abandoning the practice of investigative reporting, something at which Bill excels above practically any writer in the country. Bill knows everyone, has read everything, and is a tenacious reporter -- and yet TNA's current approach permits him to do little if anything in terms of getting beneath the skin of a story and finding out what's really going on. I think this is inexcusable, and it's not at all Bill's fault. Besides, if TNA were still doing reportage of this kind, the JBS might have avoided stepping on the landmines I describe below: Bill did tremendous work a decade ago while spelunking in the neo-Nazi underground during his investigation into the Oklahoma City Bombing.

One other comment. Bryan Turner, who is mentioned in this post, makes a comment below to the effect that I was somehow "seduced" away from the truth and into becoming a critic of the JBS. Yes, I've been very critical of current management for several reasons, of course, but any honest reader would recognize that my view of the field staff -- Bryan among them -- and membership remains one of admiration and appreciation.

I do find it odd, however, that Bryan could find something seductive about my current situation, as if some unnamed emissary of the enemy had approached me with the following offer a year ago: "Hey, Will, you're a decent writer who makes an adequate living working for a cause you believe in, but you could do SO much better. How about this: We'll arrange for you to be fired and have your reputation attacked by four guys you consider friends, guys for whom you risked your job a year ago, leaving you without a steady income or health insurance as you try to provide for a family of five small children and an invalid wife! All you have to do is to turn away from the truth and `attack the only organized effort to expose and route [sic] the Conspiracy!'"

"Hey, what a deal!" I would eagerly reply, in this hypothetical scenario. "I've ALWAYS wanted to experience the thrill of unemployment, personal betrayal, and financial misery! How could I resist such a SEDUCTIVE offer!"

Arizona State Legislator Russell Pearce, featured guest on the inaugural broadcast of the JBS radio program "Freedom's Voices."

Bryan Turner is the JBS Coordinator for Arizona and, as one would expect, a genuinely nice and decent guy. He has also been chosen to host the new JBS radio program, "Freedom's Voice," beginning next Monday (October 1).

The announcement from Appleton notes that Mr. Turner's first program will feature an interview with "Arizona state Representative Russel [sic] Pearce to discuss his efforts at fighting illegal immigration in Arizona."

This offers an opportunity for Bryan to do some authentic "journalism of first instance," something at which The New American once excelled (and could again, if the timid little boys running the JBS would let Bill Jasper off his leash).

Russell Pearce aspires to become a U.S. Congressman from Arizona, filling the seat now occupied by Republican Jeff Flake. Like many Republicans, Pearce has become fixated, to the point of obsession, on the issue of illegal immigration.

Unlike many (one hopes most) Republicans, Pearce is exceptionally chummy with neo-Nazis. Well, with one neo-Nazi in particular: Former Mesa City Councilman and dishonorably discharged Marine J.T. Ready.

J.T. Ready, Arizona anti-immigrant activist, at a September Nazi rally in Omaha; Ready is second from the right in a suit and tie. See another photo of Ready at the Nazi event below.

A few weeks ago, Ready attended an anti-immigrant rally (explicitly anti-Mexican and anti-Jewish in tone and substance) in Omaha, Nebraska sponsored by the National Socialist Movement (NSM). He was identified as a "special guest speaker" at the event. Organizers also gratefully noted the attendance of "the new NSM Arizona unit," which was apparently tied with a group from Kansas for the distinction of "having the most guys in attendance...."

Earlier this year, a pseudonymous writer for the left-leaning Phoenix New Times (which does some impressive investigative reporting -- once again, something The New American once offered) discovered that Ready was also a regular poster at a Nazi-aligned social networking site called New Saxon.com. Ready has defended New Saxon as a means of "defending the unity of our racial family" and "helping make the dream of a safer world for white children possible."

I can certainly get behind those sentiments ... once it's recognized that there is only one race, the human race, and when the modifier "white" is removed from in front of the word "children."

Look, allow me to digress, and let me be entirely blunt:

I'm the biological son of a Mexican laborer; I grew up in eastern Oregon and southeastern Idaho. I was raised in a church that taught that my dark brown skin was a token of a divine curse inflicted by God on my distant ancestors. As an American of Mexican ancestry living in a community that was about 80 percent white and 95 percent Mormon, I collided with casual racism on many occasions. For example: As a teenager I learned, through a mutual friend, that a young lady of my acquaintance in Rexburg, Idaho was admonished by her parents not to ask me to a girl's choice dance because I was "too dark" -- as in "dark and loathsome," the description given to my putative ancestors the "Lamanites" in the Book of Mormon.

As a college student I had a Klansman -- yes, a real-life Klansman -- as a roommate. I twice saved his life when he went into insulin shock. The fact that some people don't care for my skin color neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I consider prejudice of that sort to be a disability, and perhaps a sin -- until it is welded to State power,when it becomes a threat.

Ready and his merry little band of epicene racial collectivists have their welding torches lit. And Russell Pearce is entirely comfortable in that company.

Ready was a speaker at a June 16 "March for America" immigration control rally at the Arizona State Capitol. Pearce was also a prominent speaker at that rally, and he and Ready were practically joined at the hip (which would make it sort of tricky to goose-step, one would suppose).

Yes, there were many others who participated in that event, including a stand-in for Representative Ron Paul. Latin-Americans who favor stronger border controls were well-represented at the event as well. But only Pearce appeared to be comfortable in Ready's company. (One can only imagine what Ready -- and perhaps Pearce as well -- thought of the presence of so many dusky-skinned people.)

The photo above originally appeared on the website of a white supremacist group called the White Knights of America (WKOA). The photograph below shows Ready chatting amicably with Robert Travers, who edits that website on behalf of the WKOA.

The WKOA, which laments the "Mexicanization" of the USA, describes itself as a "growing White Nationalist organization dedicated to White Racial survival through the resurrection of Pride in our Heritage and culture: Pride, Honor, Devotion, and Loyalty to our women Folk and communities-at-large...."

So far, so anodyne, I guess. My problem here is not with white "pride, honor, devotion [or] loyalty"; it's with nationalism, particularly of the racially exclusive variety. Nationalism requires a consolidated, unitary government, rather than the decentralized constitutional republic we were given. And racial nationalism always involves exterminationist policies of some variety -- whether those policies are pursued in the interests of Volkisch lebensraum in central Europe, or "Manifest Destiny" in the American West.

And I'm pretty sure the fluttery phrase about honoring "our women Folk" could be translated as: "Non-whites -- stay away from our white wimmin!"

The Arizona Chapter of White Knights of America. J.T. Ready is third from the left. Are these guys your idea of "respectable" prospects for JBS membership, Alan?

So I'm pretty sure the heroic White Knights of America would consider my marriage to the fair-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Korrin -- and the five phenotypically diverse children whom God has blessed us with -- to embody the most serious threat to the racial community they seek to preserve uber alles.

Look, I don't think these guys would represent a significant threat to the republic, were our republic still viable. Chances are that guys like those in the photo above are nice enough when you meet them on a person-to-person basis. It's when they assemble in a pack and start spouting warmed-over Nuremberg Rally rhetoric that they become troublesome. They should be perfectly free to peddle their ideas peacefully to anybody who will listen.

Here's what troubles me:

Shortly before he brought about my termination last year, Alan Scholl explained to me that the JBS was going to use the immigration issue to build a huge mass movement and turn it against the "Insiders." Since that time, the JBS has become practically monomaniacal on the subject, something I suspect reflects Alan's own preoccupation with the idea that Mexicans (or "them," as he prefers to call such people) are ruining our economy and culture.

Over the same period, The New American has published numerous stories describing the Brown Peril, dutifully illustrated with photographs of little brown people working at jobs they've supposedly "stolen" from U.S. citizens.

And now the featured guest on the inaugural broadcast of the JBS radio program is an Arizona state politician who is on astonishingly chummy terms with a conspicuous neo-Nazi activist and white supremacist agitator. The same politician, incidentally, was caught a year ago circulating an anti-Semitic and anti-Mexican screed snagged from the website of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi outfit founded by William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries.

Is Pearce a member of the JBS? There was a time when someone as chummy with a significant white supremacist as Pearce is with Ready would be red-starred, at least. If Pearce isn't a member of the JBS, doesn't his baggage make him the kind of figure the JBS should avoid?

Will Bryan Turner mention any of this in his interview with Pearce, and press him about it?

I find the ironies here to be all but indigestible.

*When I was kicked to the curb a year ago, the supposed reason for firing me was the concern that something I had written on my personal, after-hours blog might reflect badly on the organization. No, I wasn't consorting with neo-Nazis or white supremacists. My transgression was much graver: I was taking pot-shots at corrupt Republicans, their totalitarian agenda, their dim-witted, bloody-handed leader, and their bullying media shills.

*The chief instigator of my firing, Alan Scholl -- a guy who avails himself of any excuse to swan around in a Confederate Army costume, incidentally* -- originally threatened to fire me -- the organization's most prominent (and, I think, only) Mexican-American staffer -- several weeks earlier because I had publicly expressed concern over the lop-sided (and strategically misguided) emphasis the JBS was giving to the issue of illegal immigration while doing nothing to oppose the destruction of the Bill of Rights.

*In trying to justify firing me, Alan has insisted that my "extremism" was driving away "respectable" people the JBS was seeking to recruit. What kind of people did you have in mind, Alan -- genteel, reasonable folks like the nattily-dressed Brownshirts in Omaha, or the tattooed skinheads posing with J.T. Ready in front of an Arizona lake?

*One thing I've not previously mentioned is that just days before I was fired, I participated by telephone in an issues meeting in which we discussed State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan's book about immigration. (Mr. Buchanan very kindly provided me with a personalized autographed copy.) Asked if I thought the JBS should carry the book, I said that it was -- as one would expect -- passionately and engagingly written and very compelling. However, I was troubled by Mr. Buchanan's assumption -- made insistently throughout the book -- that liberty won't survive in the USA unless it retains a majority Euro-American population. Why should we assume that the love of liberty, and understanding of our Anglo-Saxon political heritage, are somehow related to melanin content? I asked. I don't know how my points were received (I was communicating by phone, remember), but it's interesting that, once again, this took place just days before I was fired for no reason Appleton can clearly and honestly explain.

When I was representing the JBS in media interviews and speaking tours, I would frequently point out that the organization was opposed to all forms of collectivism and adamantly opposed to racial and religious bigotry. I was inspired to learn of the role played by the Society in the 1960s, when it mobilized to thwart an effort to instigate racial warfare in the town of Americus, Georgia. Delmar Dennis, the JBS Coordinator who -- at great personal risk and no small personal sacrifice -- infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, exposed the "Mississippi Burning" murderers, and actually saved the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., was and remains a hero to me.

As with so much else that has happened in Appleton over the past couple of years, the JBS management's apparent embrace of Russell Pearce is a cause for significant disillusionment on my part -- either because they don't know about the filthy pond Pearce has been swimming in, which means the JBS management is criminally inept, or because they do, which would be monumentally worse.

So once again, here's the key question:

Will Bryan Turner confront Pearce about all of this?


Gary Benoit writes the following with reference to an item previously published in this space:

"I am not `co-mingling two separate events.' There was no key 3-2 vote to `install' Vance Smith as president and CEO of RWU either after October 21, 2005 or after Steve Bonta's resignation from RWU. Vance Smith, recall, was already president and CEO of RWU when Steve resigned."


*I should point out that I have kept a Confederate flag over my desk for years in recognition that the Confederacy -- for all of its manifold weaknesses, chattel slavery being the most obvious -- was asserting the same rights claimed by our Patriot forefathers in 1776. I admire men like Lee and Jackson for that reason, and cherish my Confederate ancestry (by adoption). Alan has the right to wear a Confederate Army costume to Church dress-up functions, but given his twitchiness about Mexicans I wonder what element of the Confederate heritage he is celebrating.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The JBS and the Christian "Just War" Theory

The people running the John Birch Society have rediscovered the Christian Just War Tradition (look here and scroll down for a second reference).

Some might suspect that this represents a sudden and uncharacteristic display of principle on the part of the current JBS management. Allow me to uproot that suspicion before it blossoms into an unfortunate misunderstanding.

In a brief essay critiquing George W. Bush's conservative credentials, JBS Web Editor Dennis Behreandt (a genuinely nice guy and a very capable writer) took note of the fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is "an aggressive war that violated the Christian just war principles to which conservatives have traditionally been attached...."

Gary Benoit, editor of The New American, offered a lengthier treatment of the same subject in his review of a YouTube video contrasting Ron Paul with the other GOP presidential contenders. Dr. Paul, who has consistently opposed foreign wars, is the only one in that field who has invoked the Just War teaching, in the specific context of denouncing the administration's plans for a war with Iran. Several other GOP contenders, including Duncan Hunter (who was the subject of a fawning profile in The New American a few months back), have endorsed -- either obliquely or explicitly -- the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in a pre-emptive strike. (Hunter made his support for that abominable idea quite unambiguous.)

After reviewing the basic principles of a Just War (it must be defensive, declared and carried out by the proper authority, waged as a last resort, proportionate to the threat, and discriminate between combatants and non-combatants), Gary wrote:

"These criteria for a just war do not match what we have been doing in Iraq. Nor are they in harmony with the concept of a preemptive nuclear war against Iran. Yet the Republican presidential candidates who support the concept of preemptive nuclear war also claim to be Christians and men of faith. How can that be? Have they studied Christian just-war theory? Are they even familiar with it? Ron Paul made a very astute observation when he commented: `I have been reading from a different Bible.'"

The most important element of that statement is the fact that Dennis and Gary, editors working on behalf of what is supposed to be the cutting-edge freedom organization, both invoked the Just War critique of the Iraq war and the proposed nuking of Iran weeks after Ron Paul had made it safe for the JBS to do so.

Here we see one of the key facets of "leadership," as exemplified by the timid little boys running the JBS (a designation I do not apply to Dennis, who is not in a management position):

"Leadership" consists of hanging back while others clear the minefield -- and then sprinting to the front and laying claim to an unearned share of the credit.

For months now, Ron Paul has been speaking the truth about the foreign policy pursued by the regime that rules us -- how its wars, both overt and secret, have left our nation poorer, less free, and in disrepute with hundreds of millions of people who otherwise would wish us well. People of all ages and from all backgrounds have gravitated toward Dr. Paul, recognizing in him someone who speaks the truth with quiet conviction and no little courage.

I have advised Appleton to emulate Dr. Paul's example, and to embrace the movement that he now leads (in small but significant part because of the timidity and myopia of the current JBS upper management, Alan Scholl -- about whom more anon -- in particular). If the items quoted above represent a small step in that direction, that's encouraging, I suppose, but in a highly qualified sense.

If the JBS is serious about embracing the Christian Just War doctrine and repudiating pre-emptive nuclear war (which is a serious and growing threat), it really should find someone else to define its organizational mission and campaigns. The incumbent bureaucrat in that role, Alan Scholl, publicly, pointedly, and unabashedly endorsed pre-emptive nuclear annihilation of Iran -- until I called him out on the matter and forced him to back down.

As the posting to which I've linked above indicates (scroll down to the entry headlined "UPDATE, November 11"), Alan did qualify -- practically to the point of repudiation -- his initial suggestion that a threat from Iran would justify an assault in which "several hundred nuclear missiles" would be hurled at that country, leaving it a smoldering radioactive ruin.

Here's my original post on this abhorrent proposal:

A Surprising Endorsement of Nuclear Genocide “Americans, through their representatives in Congress, can send an unmistakably clear message to the Iranian government that we will mind our own business from now on," opines a right-wing commentator. "However, if the Iranians so much as threaten to launch one of their weapons at American citizens, anywhere in the world, or harm one of them, then we will consider that an act of war. As a result, we will unload several hundred nuclear missiles on their country, leaving nothing but a vast crater behind in that part of the world.”

Note well that under this standard, nuclear incineration of Iran -- which would involve the annihilation of scores of millions of civilians -- would be "justified" as a pre-emptive measure. The missiles would fly if the Iranian government "so much as threaten[s]" to "harm" any American citizen anywhere.

Note as well that while citizens are urged to pressure their Representatives to issue the threat of pre-emptive nuclear war, no mention is made of requiring Congress to declare war before unleashing thermonuclear hell in the Persian Gulf.
And no effort is made to reconcile this recommendation with the Christian Just War doctrine, which dictates that war can be waged only when 1) it is declared by the proper authority; 2) it is a proportionate response to a legitimate injury or a rationally perceived threat, and 3) would result in less damage than a refusal to resort to arms. The Just War doctrine also contains the principle of "discrimination," under which it is impermissible to kill innocent noncombatants deliberately.

As Dr. Charles Rice, a professor of law at Notre Dame University, explains: “Proportionality relates not only to the war itself (i.e., the whole enterprise must be for a proportionate good), but also to the use of particular tactics or weapons....” Under the principle of “discrimination,” he elaborates, “it can never be justified intentionally to kill innocent noncombatants"; however, "it could be morally justified to attack a military target of sufficient importance and urgency even though the attacker knows, but does not intend, that innocent civilians in the vicinity will be killed.”
Obviously, an attack that would leave "nothing but a vast crater" where a nation of nearly 70 million souls once existed would fall dramatically short of the standard imposed by the Christian principle of proportionality.

Furthermore, the prescription for pre-emptive nuclear genocide quoted above falls short even of
traditional Islamic standards for Jihad, which -- until quite recently -- called for discriminating between combatants and non-combatants, and forbade the use of indiscriminate weapons that could kill women, children, and invalids. That genocidal prescription, however, is entirely in harmony with the post-Christian doctrine of collective responsibility in warfare that was introduced by the Jacobins during the French Revolution, refined by the murderous assaults on Confederate populations by Sherman and Sheridan, expanded during the first World War, codified by Lenin's Communist regime, and reached its perfection under Germany's National Socialists and the Cambodian Khmer Rouge - and that informs the contemporary neo-"conservatives" in their campaign to "liberate" the world through mass bloodshed.

Given this pedigree, it's astonishing to learn that the author of that prescription for genocide was -- a name that's probably become familiar to readers of this blog -- Alan Scholl, director of mission and campaigns for the John Birch Society, the individual who defines that estimable organization's ideological priorities.

This appears to be another of those
"ride the wave" proposals -- or maybe it's better described as a "joining the torchlight parade" or a "get to the stadium early to snag a good seat at the Nuremberg Rally" deal. That description, I hasten to specify, applies only to Alan, not to the worthy and decent people who constitute the Birch Society's rank and file, who are much more sensible and principled than the man setting the organization's agenda.

Just days ago, the Senate passed -- by a 97-0 margin -- a perfectly demented resolution that offers the inbred little despot in the White House a pretext for war with Iran: It demands that Iran cease "meddling" in Iraq, accusing Iran of being behind the "murder" of US troops occupying Iraq.

Commentator Chris Floyd (whose analysis is good, although his worldview leaves much to be desired) points out that because of that Sovietesque resolution, "
George W. Bush [has] a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.... This vote is the clearest signal yet that there will be no real opposition to a Bush Administration attack on Iran. This is yet another blank check from these slavish, ignorant goons; Bush can cash it anytime. This is, in fact, the post-surge `Plan B' that's been mooted lately in the Beltway."

It's not enough that the Regime, which illegally invaded Iraq and maintains an occupation force of hundreds of thousands (both troops and "contractors") in that country, accuses any other nation of "meddling" in that long-suffering land. No, the Regime -- behaving exactly like the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union -- is carrying on a full-scale covert war against Iran, and eagerly seeking a pretext to bring that war out into the open.

Notes Floyd:

"Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt military assault."

If and when that war comes, what will the current JBS management do?

On past performance I would expect that the CEO would counsel caution, the organization's President would find some way to blame it on "the Jews," the editor of The New American would contemplate the question, WWM(G)D? (What Would Mel Gibson Do?), and the guy in charge of the organization's campaigns and mission -- that same Alan Scholl -- will once again find an excuse to support the mass murder of innocent people.

One thing is certain: If that war comes, we won't hear anything more out of Appleton about the virtues of the Christian Just War tradition, at least until the public grows weary of the conflict and someone else volunteers to clear the minefield ahead of the heroes running the JBS.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


[By way of a preface: I'm bitter tonight. If you read the essay you'll understand why. There's a good possibility I won't be continuing to update this blog -- although Pro Libertate will continue -- and should that be the case there are some things I want to make sure are put on the record.]

"Do you think Will could ever come back to the staff of the John Birch Society?"

That question was posed via telephone to my wife Korrin a few weeks ago (while I was out running errands) by a Section Leader in the northeast. He is a man of character, learning, and accomplishment, the father of a large and impressive family. In many ways he is typical of the people I was blessed to meet through the JBS.

I honestly don't think he could imagine that the leaders of the organization are capable of the utter viciousness they displayed toward me and my family. If he could, he wouldn't have asked that question of Korrin.

As I write these words, Korrin is being ravaged by the sickness with which she was diagnosed in April 2006. It is a disease that is life-altering, and potentially life-threatening. Unlike some disorders, the sickness that has seized Korrin threatens our entire family. It has disfigured her in ways that transcend mere physical appearance: She remains radiantly beautiful, just as she was when we were married ten years ago, but her affliction is taking from me, and from her, much of what she is -- much of what made me fall in love with her.

I'm losing her. And I'm helpless to do anything to prevent it.

Her condition was known to the four -- I'm sorry, I just can't call them "men"; "functionaries" is a better word -- who decided in committee to deprive my family of a steady income and health insurance coverage last October. Korrin supported me when I chose not to submit to an ultimatum those four former friends gave me, knowing I would be honor-bound to reject it. But the stress of managing a large household without a steady income, and dealing with the financial burden of repeated hospitalizations, has exacerbated Korrin's condition, as any reasonable person would expect.

Bill Jasper has been a faithful and exceptionally generous friend. The same is true of others on the field staff and home office staff, as well as current and ex-JBS members and at least one member of the Council.

From the four who collaborated in the decision to kick my family to the curb, however, has come only silence.

Since last October, the only communication I've received from any of them (apart from a copy of an e-mail Jack McManus sent to Art Thompson, which was mistakenly cc'd to me, and a terse note from Jack when I replied to that message) was a perfunctory phone call from Gary Benoit on the morning of October 3 (which I've described before) in which he expressed formulaic concern for my family and then praised the wisdom of the decision to fire me.

Alan Scholl has had much to say about me, most of it studiously dishonest, but he has never had the dangling anatomy to say anything to me (when responding to lies Alan has put in circulation about my termination, I've made a point of cc'ing the e-mails to Alan, a courtesy he's never practiced). Art Thompson has spoken with others about me, apparently in the hope that he could bank-shot a message to me. He needn't take a Rube Goldberg route to communicate with he; he has my phone number and e-mail address, as do the others.

In one such conversation that was reported to me by a friend here in Idaho, Art said that I would be welcome back "anytime [I] agree to follow the rules." Implicit in that statement is a lie, namely that I had broken the rules. I never did.

Which brings me to the official reason I was terminated, as described in the only legally relevant source: The October 3, 2006 letter of termination sent to me over Art's signature.

Here is the full text of the rationale as contained in the letter, which consists of one charge and one specification:

"You do not understand that once you are a public figure everything that you say or do publicly reflects on the organization you work for, particularly when these things are in opposition to the position and principles of The John Birch Society and Robert Welch. Also, you do not understand that once we have rejected an article or nuance, you cannot go around us to post it elsewhere, identifying it as rejected material and publicly criticizing your employer for the rejection.

It is not a matter of freedom, or control, it is a matter of responsibility to your employer."

I can't disagree with the first part of the last sentence, since nothing about the JBS under its current management has anything to do with freedom. Leaving that aside, what this letter says, if read literally and carefully, is that I was fired for daring to publish a rejected "nuance."

Read the relevant statement again: "... once we have rejected an article or nuance, you cannot go around us and post it elsewhere, identifying it as rejected material and publicly criticizing your employer...." (My emphasis.)

Isaiah refers to people being made a sinner for a word. I was apparently made an ex-employee over a "rejected ... nuance."

To be specific, I was fired for re-publishing this essay in my personal, after-hours blog. As for the "criticizing [my] employer," here's the offending commentary explaining why I was re-publishing the forbidden essay:

"On June 22, I published a Birch Blog entitled `Phony Immigration Debate vs. Real Police State Threat.' Within hours it had been, um, misplaced, and never appeared in that space again -- even though it had been forwarded throughout the Blogosphere, and was reproduced in its entirety on Alex Jones's `Prison Planet' newssite.

`Where did it go?' more than one puzzled Birch Blog reader inquired of me. `Why was it deleted?' I knew where it had gone, and had been told why it was disposed of, and beyond those acknowledgements I'm really not at liberty to discuss the matter."

Why was I determined to reproduce that essay? Because it was important: The entire GOP-centered Right Wing, including the JBS under its current caretakers, was being neutralized by the immigration issue at a time when the Bush Regime was building an executive dictatorship supported by a police state.

Nobody in Appleton willing to acknowledge this in public, assuming that they even noticed. Somebody in a position of responsibility at the JBS had to go on record about this in a timely fashion.

After I first ran that essay in the Birch Blog the previous June, Alan Scholl called me to threaten my job. It mattered not whether what I wrote was the truth, sniffed Alan; the only thing that mattered was the "corporate decision" that the JBS would "ride the Republican wave." If I couldn't support that decision, then an "adjustment" would have to be made.

Alan spent more than an hour trying to bury me in marketing bromides. And while he did, as I've pointed out before, Korrin was literally dying in front of me: She was hospitalized just hours later, and had I not acted as I did she would have died within a few days.

I'm convinced that Alan decided at that time to arrange for me to be fired. He succeeded in killing the Birch Blog -- without telling me about that decision -- and suggested that I would be playing a reduced role in The New American, although I was still very heavily involved in the magazine literally up to and after the point I was fired; I sent my last article to Appleton on October 2, just a couple of hours after receiving the ultimatum from Art Thompson via telephone.

In that brief and unfocused conversation, Art mentioned the huge and worsening revenue shortfall and suggested that some of what I'd published in my Pro Libertate blog would drive away donors (something he was told by Alan, who claimed to have numerous resignations "on my desk"). The only thing that could be done, Art said in a voice theatrically tinged with panic, would be either to fire me, or force me to take down the blog, apologize for everything I'd written in it, and promise never to write a line or utter a sentence in public without obtaining Appleton's Nihil Obstat.

But here's the really odd thing about that claim:

At the very time Alan and his little clan were firing me for the supposed sin of blogging, they were running a fund-raising ad on The New American's website listing "Will Grigg's blog" as a reason for people to "help us with a donation...." At the time, remember, the Birch Blog was dead; there was only one blog being put out by Will Grigg -- the one for which I fired.

So I was fired for publishing a "rejected ... nuance" on a blog that supposedly threatened everything the JBS stands for, which is why the same people who fired me were using that blog to raise money.

That august committee defined my moral sin as that of "criticizing [my] employer": "Is a firing offense," wrote Alan to a member, using a phrase that -- appropriately enough -- reads like something a Soviet commissar would say. That committee included three individuals -- Art Thompson, Alan Scholl, and Jack McManus -- who, on company time and with company resources, actively worked to bring down the previous CEO.

I was accused of expressing views contrary to the "principles" of the JBS by a committee that included one individual, Jack McManus, who spent years bloviating about the Jewish Menace in front of schismatic Catholic groups for whom anti-Semitism is a religious dogma. (That same Jack McManus once left me horrified by describing neo-con scribbler Ben Wattenberg, admittedly not my favorite public figure, as "a slimy New York Jew," so it's not as if he deals with the issue only in rarefied theological terms.)

I was discarded as a financial liability by a committee that included the individual -- Gary Benoit -- who provided the key swing vote that permitted Vance Smith to ensconce himself at Robert Welch University, thereby helping himself to the material means to file lawsuits that left the JBS financially drained.

Most amazing to me is the fact that exactly a year earlier, I had quit my job at JBS to protest the way Vance Smith was attempting to blackmail Jack by threatening to go public with excerpts from Jack's anti-Semitic speeches. I have no brief for Jack's views, but I couldn't accept a paycheck from an organization headed by a blackmailer.

We're not just dealing with hypocrites, albeit hypocrites of significant accomplishment. There is, once again, something utterly vicious about people who would treat a long-term employee (13 years on staff, 16 years as a TNA contributor) this way -- let alone one with a large family to take care of and a seriously ill wife.

As I said, I'm bitter tonight. Bitter about what has happened to an organization I thought was worthwhile; bitter about being back-stabbed by people I had considered to be friends; and bitter about the fact that my wife is being taken from me, piece by piece, and I can't do anything to stop it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ducking the Freedom Fight

"I don't expect Will to take this [i.e., being fired for no definable, let alone defensible, reason] lying down. I'm sorry he knows that finances are such that pay checks are being held back.... If he would go quietly and pursue his own interests, I would think better of the man."

Jack McManus e-mail to Art Thompson, October 3, 2006 (mistakenly cc'd to me).

Sorry to disappoint you, Jack, but my "interests" aren't strictly mercenary. I'm sure that you'd prefer that I remain quiet, but since you and your comrades have effectively muzzled yourselves on the subject of freedom, somebody has to make a fuss about the subject.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when The New American and The John Birch Society didn't shrink from calling things by their proper names.

Witness the cover of TNA's April 5, 1993 theme issue, "The New Fascism." Scott Alberts, the exceptionally gifted illustrator who was TNA's Art Director at the time, produced a brilliant satire of the mock-heroic style (heavily influenced by "socialist realism") that characterizes official Fascist propaganda art.

This was a case of the cover telling the story even better than the editorial content. That's not to say that the articles contained in this issue were in any way deficient; it's just that the totalitarian aesthetic captured in that cover conveys a timely message in a chillingly effective fashion.

And that TNA cover, like so much of what the JBS did before it was emasculated by its current management, was prescient.

To the right we see a "public service" poster from the Department of Homeland Security that was displayed in the Washington, D.C. Metro. The tableau is literally the mirror image of Scott's masterful illustration -- the color scheme that blends revolutionary red and burnished gold; the slightly elevated gaze of the subjects as they look heroically into the middle distance, envisioning a bold new tomorrow; the politically correct distribution of our proletarian heroes -- one white male, one white female, one black male (albeit in slightly different configurations).

This federal propaganda poster was created roughly a decade after Scott composed his TNA cover. In 1993, the JBS and TNA were warning of the impending arrival of an Americanized version of Fascism, which at the time was a cloud on the horizon the size of a man's hand.

Today, we're dealing with a torrential onslaught of unabashedly Fascist policies:

*Abolition of Habeas Corpus, the foundational due process guarantee;

*Dramatic changes to the Insurrection Act that would permit this president (or a successor) to seize control of the National Guard and use it as his/her Praetorian Guard;

*The creation of a specialized court system akin to the Nazi "People's Court," or "Blood Tribunal";

*The institutionalization of torture -- not only by security and counter-terrorism personnel, but also by "local" police -- and on that subject:

*Federalization of what remained of locally accountable police -- folks, it's a done deal, which is not to say that it's irreversible;

*An accelerating merger of our unitary regime with politically favored mega-corporations;

*Preparation of detention facilities -- supposedly for the purpose of detaining illegal immigrants, of course, but well-suited to the detention of anyone the Regime considers troublesome;

*Repeated and explicit statements that our public priorities, and private lives, will be shaped from now until the indefinite future by an open-ended "war" against ... well, anybody Washington doesn't happen to like;

*Emergence of an all-encompassing surveillance state based on "human inventory control."

The final point in this by-no-means exhaustive list deserves just a little fleshing out. The Nazis tattooed death camp inmates (and SS cadres), and any State -- including the one that rules us -- presuming to brand its subjects is setting up a death camp dynamic that will eventually claim countless lives.

"To protect and serve" -- or "To intimidate and suppress"? Are these the local police the JBS insists its members have to "support"?

When the prospect of a Fascist America was still largely theoretical, the JBS boldly and explicitly condemned it. Now that it is taking palpable form all around us, what is the Birch Society's highest priority?


Which makes sense ... for someone caught in a multi-parallel space-time inversion and thus trapped, ala Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," in 1993.

Why focus on NAFTA? This is an outgrowth of the campaign to stop the North American Union, which was difficult to sustain because there isn't a specific treaty or legislative initiative to focus on. The NAU (officially called the Security and Prosperity Partnership) would build and expand on NAFTA; accordingly, the JBS management insists that the way to defeat the NAU is to bring about the repeal of NAFTA.

Which is a whole lot of ain't-gonna-happen, at least for right now. And even if it could be done, why should this be the focus of the Society's efforts, when the Bush Regime has all but strung up the razor wire and started culling out refractories for detention?



I can't say it any plainer than that. Now that our freedom is in immediate peril, the people running the JBS have no appetite for a real fight.

I hasten to say that this is not true of the people who have been volunteers and volunteer leaders, often for decades, nor is it true of those who have toiled in the field as Coordinators, nor is it true of the people who actually do the creative work that gets the magazine out the door every two weeks. But it is manifestly true of the people who are setting the Society's priorities.

They know what's going on. They know how terrifyingly close we are to living in a literal Reich. It's just that they're convinced they can't -- to use an obnoxious term of art I heard so often while in Appleton -- "grow the organization" by actually naming our enemies and condemning, by name, the system they are inflicting on our country.

To paraphrase Samuel Adams: These people love job security more than liberty.

My priorities were the opposite. Which is why I'm unemployed.

A little more than a year ago, JBS CEO Art Thompson sent a voice mail out to the entire office and field staff commending the following soliloquy from Boston Legal in which Alan Shore (James Spader, whose speaking cadence, hand gestures, and incredibly well-educated snarkiness remind me more than a little of Steve Bonta) condemned the Bush Regime's assault on the Bill of Rights:

As I recall, Art said that he was amazed that James Spader, "a man of the Hollywood left," had so capably delivered a defense of the Constitution and denunciation of the Power Elite's assault on it "that could have been written by a Bircher."

There was the real opportunity for meaningful growth: Speaking the truth, without fear or favor, about the onslaught against our God-given rights, and finding allies of any political persuasion willing to unite with us to defend our Constitution.

A year ago, the JBS could have exercised leadership on this issue. But instead, it decided to out-source its agenda to two highly paid advertising hacks who took freedom off the organization's agenda and diluted the primary colors of its convictions into the insipid pastels of marketing slogans.