Right-wing attempts to legitimize nativist border wacko Glenn Spencer persist in the strangest fashion.
Today, the conservative website Right Side News reported on a letter from former GOP gubernatorial candidate John Munger to Luis Heredia, Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, demanding that Heredia issue a "letter of retraction" concerning statements Heredia made in a press release about Spencer being an "anti-Semite" and a "purported racist."
In Munger's letter, which you can read, here, the Tucson lawyer claims such remarks are "untrue and defamatory" and gives Heredia 10 days to issue a retraction or face possible legal action.
Heredia told me he stands behind his statement, which was issued in condemnation of Spencer's speaking before the state Senate Border Security, Federalism, and States' Rights Committee on March 1. He explained that he had just fired off a letter to Spencer's mouthpiece stating as much.
"I declined his invitation to retract my remarks," Heredia said.
Indeed, Heredia's comments pale in comparison to those of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, which issued a withering press release the same day that Spencer spoke before the committee, calling him "an anti-Hispanic, anti-Semitic bigot" and the "leader of a hate group" that has "a long record of demonizing Hispanics and immigrants."
The ADL had a right to be ticked. A year before, the ADL of Arizona's regional director Bill Straus vociferously protested Spencer's planned appearance before the same committee, which is chaired by wingnut extraordinaire, Republican state Senator Sylvia Allen.
Pressure from Straus and others won the day, and Spencer was summarily "uninvited."
This time around, the Republicans got wise, and snuck Spencer in without putting his name on the agenda. The Dems on the committee walked out once they realized Spencer was prepared to speak, and Spencer went on to pimp his so-called "sonic barrier" technology before a panel of friendly right-wingers.
Spencer's bigotry, anti-Semitism and associations with white supremacists and other extremists have all been documented ad nauseam by both the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama-based civil-rights watchdog group.
Which is why I was puzzled by Munger's letter. Truth is the ultimate defense against a defamation claim. And Spencer, a public figure well-known for his inflammatory rhetoric as the head of the nativist group American Border Patrol, is damned by his own words and actions.
So I gave Munger a call and asked him if he'd threatened to sue the ADL as well.
"I don't know who the ADL is," he responded.
"You've never heard of the Anti-Defamation League?" I wondered.
"Sure, but I don't know that's the ADL," he said. "I've heard of the Anti-Defamation League."
After I informed Munger that the ADL is the Anti-Defamation League, I related that the ADL has also called Spencer an anti-Semite.
"Well, I don't know what they're saying," he replied. "All I'm saying is, if he is, they better be able to prove it."
Oh, they can prove it all right. The ADL's 2003 report, Border Disputes: Armed Vigilantes in Arizona includes an entire section on Spencer, noting that he's spoken before white-supremacist gatherings such as the American Renaissance Conference, at which racists and other human PayDay bars regularly gather.
That conference is the namesake of American Renaissance magazine. According to the SPLC, the publication "specializes in racist theories about blacks and others." The SPLC also reports that Spencer once "interviewed the magazine's editor, Jared Taylor, on his syndicated radio show."
Then there's the matter of a little ditty Spencer authored for his website: "Speaking the Unspeakable: Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?"
The crude title alone tells you just about all you need to know. I asked Munger several times if he found the phrase "Jew-controlled Hollywood" appropriate, but he kept referring me to his letter to Heredia, which rationalizes the mini-essay at length.
In Spencer's piece, he opines the following:
"I have many Jewish friends and they have been extremely instrumental in fighting illegal immigration. I fear, however, that this small handful of patriotic Americans are far outnumbered by liberal Jews who now have total control over our media. With my memories of the Hollywood elite, I think it is now time that Americans be forewarned that they are probably subject to clever pro-illegal alien propaganda every time they watch something produced in Hollywood."
Nice cliche about having "many Jewish friends," a classic set-up for a slice of Archie Bunker-style bigotry. Munger's letter insists that Spencer's musing is not anti-Semitic, observing that in it Spencer links to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times where writer Joel Stein argues that Jewish producers and executives do indeed run Hollywood.
The difference is that in Stein's op-ed, he takes a humorous approach, even speaking with ADL National Director Abe Foxman about the issue and disagreeing with Foxman's take. For Stein, the fact that there are lots of Jewish folk in the entertainment industry is a good thing, and he's proud of it.
But for Spencer, the influence of the mostly "liberal Jews" is nefarious. There's only a "small handful" of patriotic Jews. The rest maintain "total control over our media." Americans are "forewarned" that they may be brainwashed by "clever pro-illegal alien propaganda."
This is standard anti-Semitic tripe, of the same level as "The Jews control the banks," or "The Jews killed Jesus."
Which makes one wonder, does Spencer have a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion under his pillow?
Interestingly, after concluding his dinky diatribe, Spencer directs readers seeking more info to an essay on "Jewish Influence" by notorious Cal-State Long Beach professor Kevin MacDonald, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as "the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic."
Golly, how could anyone figure Spencer for an anti-Semite?
Confronted with both the ADL's and the SPLC's reporting that Spencer has appeared at white supremacist conferences, Munger claimed ignorance.
"I know nothing about that," stated Munger. "It's news to me."
It's not the only thing Munger, once president of the Arizona Board of Regents, was ignorant of regarding his client. When I asked Munger about Spencer's links to kid-killing minutewoman Shawna Forde, he made this incredible statement:
"I don't know who he was connected with...I don't know who Shawna Forde is."
Sadly, I had to school Munger once again, explaining that Forde was convicted and sentenced to death in 2011 for her part in the murders of 9 year-old Brisenia Flores and her father Raul during a botched 2009 home invasion robbery at the Flores home in Arivaca, Arizona.
Forde had lived on Spencer's property near the border, and she visited Spencer's home as she was being pursued by law enforcement. Spencer allowed her to use her laptop at his abode.
She was arrestedby the FBI shortly after leaving his dwelling, and Spencer has acknowledged this.
I should note that Forde's arrest in 2009 was covered extensively by various media outlets in Tucson and beyond.
Thus, Munger's obtuseness regarding his own client is beyond belief.
"I'm not going to respond to facts I don't know about," Munger said at one point.
Fair enough. But it seems to me that if you're a lawyer for a character like Glenn Spencer, and you're going to claim in a letter made public on the Internet that he was "defamed" by others, you might want to be acquainted with his history.
You know, like, Google him or something, dude.
I haven't even touched on Spencer's Mexican-bashing statements, some of which you can review, here. He's a big believer in the reconquista conspiracy theory, thinks Mexicans are "invading" America, and is convinced a border war is inevitable.
In a 1996 letter to the Los Angeles Times, Spencer made his bigotry quite clear.
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"The Mexican culture is based on deceit," he wrote. "Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival."
If Munger wants to shill for a hate-filled kook like Spencer, I reckon that's his prerogative as an attorney. But his profound ignorance regarding Spencer is inexcusable. His claims of defamation, laughable.
If Munger's dumb enough to sue Heredia, believe me, I'll be rubbing my palms waiting for Spencer's deposition under oath. Then we may just find out the truth about Spencer and Shawna Forde after all.