In the world of right-wing hate mongering by anti-Indian sociopaths like former Washington State Senate candidate Skip Richards, reliance on media complicity and public amnesia to bury former crimes is today undermined by online documentation. Where criminal conduct and sociopathic behavior were once conveniently covered up by corporate venues, networked memories housed on blogs, news sites and in public records are now available over the Internet. While people like Richards built their earlier covert careers on malicious harassment, through mystifying mental makeovers, they now seek overt careers in country club speaking tours.
When it comes to exposing the violent Christian Patriot right-wing, networked memories about hoodlums like Skip Richards are a good thing. As former undercover FBI agent Mike German — whose specialty when he operated in Whatcom county, Washington in 1996 was white supremacist militias — noted in his 2005 interview on Democracy Now, we cannot rely on the government to do this, and thus, public safety can only be secured by what RAND researcher emeritus David Ronfeldt called “monitory democracy.”
When merchants of fear from the Wise Use and anti-Indian movements mobilize resentment against environmentalists and Indian tribes today, the networked memory on the Internet is a powerful community safeguard against the recurrent use of vigilantes as a political pressure group. Where once the entrepreneurial wing of the anti-democratic Wise Use movement could come in under the radar of good government groups like League of Women Voters, they now have to moderate their public personas and attempt to conceal their private agendas from open source researchers.
For hate campaign opportunists like Skip Richards — Wise Use agent provocateur and Christian Patriot militia collaborator in the 1990s — this media makeover is a challenge he and his Tea Party cohorts might not be able to overcome. While the residue of anti-environmentalist, anti-Indian, anti-government hostilities of the 1990s still holds out some promise of financial reward for opportunists like Richards, the long public memory of what militias inflicted on the people of Oklahoma City in 1995 remains an obstacle to respectability for vengeful organizers like him and his anti-Indian friends in the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance.
For Skip Richards, it is a no-win situation. He could, of course, retire, and leave his sordid sociopathic past to historians to ponder, but, alas, that is apparently not to be. Indeed, with his recent appearance as a speaker at the April 6 Anti-Indian Conference sponsored by CERA and the Tea Party, Richards seems determined to go down in flames, much as he did in his disastrous 1996 Washington State Senate campaign.
While Skip Richards and other merchants of fear are hovering around the treaty rights/water rights/Gateway Pacific Terminal conflicts, probing for an opportunity to recreate the climate of fear — that twenty years ago allowed them to capture county governments in Washington state through a reign of terror targeting public officials and Growth Management activists — the PACs and non-profits the property rights network established back then for political power became tarnished by the anti-Indian, militia organizing they spawned. As a result of our having dealt the property rights/militia milieu a devastating blow through our exposes and the subsequent intervention of federal law enforcement agencies, Wise Use entrepreneurs have fallen on tough times.
While this return to normalcy where people again feel safe to speak their mind and participate in politics without fear is good, the lapse of organizations that were monitoring the public process (League of Women Voters excepted) means that the hatemongers will be able to do serious damage to the peace and harmony the complacent now enjoy–if and when they are able to catalyze fear and anger over water, jobs, environmental laws and treaty rights. This is why I am encouraging LWV and others to more actively engage in public education, not only about treaty rights and environmental law, but also about the abuse of public process that has a local history.
Since writing my article White Power on the Salish Sea, it has come to my attention that Skip Richards will be speaking at a luncheon for the Republican Women of Whatcom County on May 28, from 11:30-1:00, at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. As a former (and perhaps current) Building Industry Association agent provocateur, he is likely positioning himself to lead the 2013 hate campaign against tribal sovereignty and Growth Management water resource planning by appealing to the Tea Party wing of the GOP.
As the leading guardian of the democratic process in Whatcom county, I felt League of Women Voters should be alerted to the activities of anti-Indian hate campaign organizers like Richards in order to form a barrier against hate. Now that the anti-Indian hate campaign is public knowledge, League’s pro-democracy mandate makes it the logical choice for monitoring and confronting its agents like Skip Richards–wherever and whenever they turn up.
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