Although the United We Stand for Americans Web site announcing its Tea Party rally on the U.S.-Mexico Border this Sunday August 15 includes the address of the event and maps leading there, it carefully omits one piece of interesting information: The rally is being held on a ranch owned by minuteman Glenn Spencer of the American Border Patrol.
The line-up for the rally as announced by United We Stand reads like a who's who of nativist politicians and activists. Speakers will include Sheriff Joe Arpaio, U.S. Senate wannabe J.D. Hayworth, neo-Nazi hugging state Senator Russell Pearce, Congressional hopeful Pamela Gorman and many, many others.
The question is, why would all of these politicos want to be associated with Spencer by speaking on his land? Well, I'll except Pearce from that question, as he's already so sullied by his former friendship with neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, that he can hardly be concerned about his reputation. (Though I suppose one could argue that Ready is equally sullied the other way around.)
See, Spencer, a longtime Mexican-basher and hawker of the wacky reconquista conspiracy theory, has openly associated with white supremacists according to both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. And by his own admission, he's had dealings in the past with Minuteman American Defense director Shawna Forde.
Forde is alleged to have participated in a murderous 2009 home-invasion robbery in Arivaca, Arizona that claimed the lives of nine-year old Brisenia Flores and her father Raul. About two weeks after the killings, she showed up at the home of Spencer, who allowed her to use her laptop in his family room.
After she left, she was arrested nearby Spencer's property by the FBI, which may have found her by tracing one of the e-mails she sent from her laptop.
In a disclosure on his Web site, Spencer admitted that he had allowed Forde and her daughter to live on his property in 2008 in an American Border Patrol RV. Otherwise, he continues to maintain that he had no affiliation with her or her group.
"[The police] came and they searched my property, they talked to me, and they never talked to me again," he explained when I called.
"I had nothing to do with [Forde] or her organization," insisted Spencer. "I was not on her list of people to call. She just showed up to my ranch unannounced, okay? And was there about 10 minutes."
Spencer claimed that the Tea Party rally is not happening on the same exact property Forde visited before being arrested. That's where he lives, he told me. The rally itself is occurring a half-mile away on other property he owns, according to Spencer.
"She was leaving this residence," he insisted. "She wasn't leaving this ranch."
Not having visited Spencer's ranch, it's difficult for me to confirm this. However you parse it, the properties seem fairly close together, looking at the maps on United We Stand's Web site.
Even if Tea Party rally participants and attendees are willing to overlook Spencer's dealings with Forde, how can they ignore his connections to white supremacists as documented by the SPLC and the ADL?
Take this passage from the SPLC's bio of Spencer:
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"Spencer was one of the first well-known anti-immigration activists to more or less openly court white supremacists and anti-Semites. He has attended conferences of American Renaissance magazine, which specializes in racist theories about blacks and others, and interviewed the magazine's editor, Jared Taylor, on his syndicated radio show. Another Spencer radio guest was California State University, Long Beach, Professor Kevin MacDonald, who is the architect of an elaborate anti-Semitic theory dressed up as evolutionary biology. Spencer also promoted on his website a booklet published by Taylor called The Color of Crime that claims to be a `relentlessly factual' study alleging -- on the basis of Taylor's mixing up of all interracial crimes and race-motivated hate crimes -- that blacks and Latinos are far more likely than whites to be hate criminals."
I have to give Spencer some credit for his willingness to take questions from the press. But that doesn't excuse his rhetoric or his associations. Whoever speaks at or attends this function on Spencer's ranch will be tainted by their affiliation with Spencer.
Of course, that's assuming they care.
(BTW, it's worth noting that Forde attended a Tea Party event in Phoenix back on April 15, 2009, prior to the murders of Brisenia and Raul Flores. Those Tea Parties attract some nutty folks, for sure.)