Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This Week in White Supremacist Activity in Orange County: Patriot Front at Saddleback College

On January 30, Patriot Front posted this photo from Saddleback College on their twitter feed with this caption: #PatriotFront  activists placed stickers around Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. 

Rebel Girl loves the OC Weekly. Why? Let her count the reasons (there's so many!), but here's today's:


In it, Munoz documents the latest white supremacist activity in the county. She writes:
Patriot Front, a fascist extremist group, boasted about its poster party antics over the weekend in cities across the nation, including Orange and Anaheim. They tweeted pictures of their fashy propaganda on street signs and light poles, including a “Keep America American” poster in Orange encouraging folks to report “illegal aliens” to the Department of Homeland Security. Over in Anaheim, a map of the United States featured the caps locked caption: “CONQUERED, NOT STOLEN.”
For those not in the know, "fashy" is slang for facists and "antifa" is well, anti-facist.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Patriot Front this way: "Patriot Front is a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017."

Among the sites targeted by the Patriot Front: Santiago Canyon College.

This made Rebel Girl curious.  If Patriot Front struck at SCC, why not the fair colleges of the SOCCCD? 

A quick dive into Patriot Front's twitter feed (hold your nose) not only shows activity at UC Irvine - but also at Saddleback College - as well as communities and campuses across the county and country.

Saddleback College

The Saddleback College Crime Blog does report "vandalism" on January 30 - the day Patriot Front images from Saddleback were posted on Twitter - but it's unclear if this is the offense cited.

Saddleback College

Saddleback College
Rebel Girl hasn't seen such activity at the little college in the orange groves but then again she's been inside the Liberal Arts building all day.

Clearly though, they are out there.

UPDATE: In between the time Rebel Girl posted this initial post and the time she arrived home, more recent activity showed Patriot Front was out and about in the canyons today:

The caption reads: "Patriot Front activists went on a hike and placed stickers around Trabuco Canyon, California."

UPDATE: From the headlines Wednesday morning:

USA Today:  Number of hate groups hits 20-year high amid rise in white supremacy, report finds

NPR:  U.S. Hate Groups Rose 30 Percent In Recent Years, Watchdog Group Reports

The Guardian: US hate groups have seen ideas enter mainstream in Trump era, report finds

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Synagogue massacre cited in hate-group report, which shows rising levels of hatred


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Gauchos confront the "Gaucho" issue and come up with shite

     It appears that the original board was responsible for Saddleback College’s unfortunate mascot, the “Gaucho.” (What do South American cowboys have to do with the OC? Did those notorious right-wingers imagine that the Gaucho is a Mexican cowboy?)

     According to the district website, “Saddleback College was officially named by action of the board on February 26, 1968. In June of that year, the board approved the Gaucho as mascot and school colors as cardinal and gold.”

     But since (according to the website) the first students didn’t arrive until September, it follows (more or less) that students didn’t choose the “Gaucho.” So it was the early board.

     Since then, some Saddlebackians (their identity no doubt by now lost in time) chose a series of "Gaucho" graphics that imply continued utter cluelessness about the Gaucho's South American identity—and an embrace of ugly Mexican stereotypes. ("I don't have to show you no stinkin' badges!")

     We’ve long objected to the “Gaucho” mascot and especially its associated images, sometimes drawing the interest of local press. Check out this squawk from thirteen years ago:
The Lariat "gaucho" - Feb. 8, 2006
     Recently, I've learned, some faculty at Saddleback have made yet another attempt to dump all this unfortunate Gauchoery in favor of something sensible and inoffensive.
     So what’s happened?

* * *

     TODAY, a friend sent me the latest chapter in the saga. Here’s a letter, sent out last month to Saddlebackians, from spankin' new College President Elliot Stern.
     Prior to my arrival, the college undertook a survey about whether to keep the Gaucho. The survey results are attached. Response rates were exceptionally high for a campus-wide survey. The majority favored keeping the Gaucho. [66.5% of students/alumni voted to keep Gaucho. 64.4% of faculty/staff voted to keep Gaucho.] These results were shared with Consultation Council this past Tuesday, which then voted to recommend going forward with the original design on the AstroTurf for the primary field in the new stadium—with “Saddleback” in one end zone, “Gauchos” in the other, and our existing “G” logo at the 50-yard line. The Council also recommended not to include the “G” logo on the training field turf. (Nor was “Gauchos” in the design for the end zone on the training fields.) Finally, Council voted unanimously to recommend immediate formation of a working group representing stakeholders across campus, including students, to plan and oversee development of a new symbolic logo for the Gaucho (one that honors the Gaucho and the culture from which it comes) and the re-design of our “G.” As President, I accepted these recommendations and gave the greenlight to fabrication of the AstroTurf. We will form a re-design task force in the near future, ensuring that multiple perspectives are represented in that group. Nothing about the Council’s recommendation or my decision to follow it precludes ongoing discussion of the Gaucho. Nor does a re-design of our G mean that we are planning wholesale replacement of the existing G logo in the near future. In the face of our budgetary constraints, changes in the G logo and introduction of a new Gaucho symbol would need to be done over time. 
AstroTurf decisions
     I know that many on our campus have strong feelings about this issue. This is not an easy discussion to have. But I am glad that we are having it, and I am glad that it will continue. I am grateful to be supporting a campus where such discussions are being had and where we are being respectful of one another and giving each other time and space to process and evolve. This is Saddleback. 

     Inexplicably (i.e., stupidly), Saddleback College faculty and students has decided to keep the Gaucho mascot, despite the absence of any discernible connection between South Orange County and, um, South American cowboys.
     But they’ll be replacing the old images. Maybe for the right reasons. That's good.
     --With what? I guess we'll see.

* * *
The decision to remove Gaucho mascot has been made, but no plans are underway - Lariat, 11/18/2014
Very little say
   On Nov. 5, Saddleback College’s Academic Senate reaffirmed that the Gauchos mascot is not to be used by any college entity for any purposes moving forward.
     The issue [?] of the culturally insensitive [Argentinian] riding a horse should completely be banned, said Academic Senate President Dan Walsh.
     The Academic Senate had taken a stance against the mascot years ago.
     “We actually passed a resolution, saying to remove the Gauchos’ mascot and the students did as well,” Walsh said.
     The college’s Associated Student Government and the Consultation Council had both passed a resolution to take down the mascot.
     “We thought it was going to be a done deal. We were not going to have the logo anymore, but it started showing up again,” Walsh said.
     As of now there is no set date to when the mascot’s image will be completely removed from the college, or replaced with a different mascot.
     “Athletics has had very little to say about [the mascot],” said Assistant Athletic Director Jerry Hannula, though the image is displayed in almost all athletic forums on campus….
—As usual, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. We've got the same problem at IVC. We decided years ago, as per process, to dump and replace the "Laser" mascot. That somehow got lost; now we have roads named "Laser." We're committed to that absurdity forever.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Sinking of the Shooting Star: the amazing FBI files, PART 2

Tom Fuentes: the 70s?
     SEE Part 1 from exactly one year ago:

(DtB, January 25, 2018)

     BELOW are the latest FBI files that have been secured by the Klein family, et al., in their efforts to learn what the FBI found (and were pursuing) in the years after the shocking 1974 Shooting Star tragedy.

Shooting Star
     Tom Fuentes was Supervisor Casper's chief assistant at the time; at the last minute, Fuentes opted not to join the group on the yacht. He did, however, leave a cooler full of goodies for his boss.
     You'll recall that the late SOCCCD Trustee (and local GOP kingpin) joined a seminary not long after the event. But it didn't take: he was back at his no-holds-barred style of politics after only a year.

     Here's the latest document. Some elements here are pretty jaw-dropping. (Note my commentary in red.) But it's hard to say how seriously to take some of this testimony. Who are these people? Why did the FBI close the case?
     Those who wish to learn more about the Fuentes/Shooting Star saga should go here and here.

So, who is being interviewed here?
And what's this about "two unknown hookers"?
The interviewee evidently believed that the "unknown" "13th passenger" was involved in the plot to sink the Shooting Star.
The OC District Attorney investigation mentioned above might be the investigation sparked by a citizen, Richard Jordan, who sought to develop property in OC but who was advised to talk with Caspers and his crew (including Fuentes). According to that citizen, who eventually contacted the DA, Caspers and his associate, Fred Harber (who owned the Shooting Star), demanded monthly payment in order to do business in OC. Just as Jordan was working out his cooperation with the DA's office (to nail Harber, Caspers, et al.), the yacht disappeared, with Caspers and Harber (among others) on board.

Just who is the Marine referred to here? See Part 1. The Gambler.

Who's a "flake"? Doesn't sound like Casper or Harber.

NOW who is being interviewed?
A "missile" used to sink the Shooting Star?
Cassette tape? WHICH cassette tape?
Bombs taken from the El Toro base just prior to the tragedy? Good grief.

An interviewee is claiming that the El Toro "bombs" were stored on the Shooting Star and caused its sinking. Sheesh!

     I should mention that pages 8 and 9 above were part of the jumbled set of documents that we received and discussed a year ago. It is now clear that those pages belonged here, with this document, not the earlier document.
     What a mess!
     Further: many pages of this report were entirely redacted.
     (If you wish to learn the basics of the mysterious "Shooting Star" saga, go here.)
     Here are the earlier pages (from a year ago) with slightly different, less intrusive, redactions:

Monday, January 21, 2019

March on

At the Orange County Women's March these educators were warmly greeted by fellow marchers, their colleagues (including some notable retirees) and many IVC students. 

Rebel Girl took first place in the Diorama category. 
LA Times: Thousands turn out for Women's March across the country

OC Register: Crowds bring bright signs, big goals as they gather for Women’s March 2019 in Santa Ana

Voice of OC: Orange County Women’s March Represents Local Objectives, Voices

See you next year!


Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday night bombshell

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working For Russia
New York Times
     In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials were alarmed by the president’s behavior. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider an explosive question: whether Mr. Trump’s actions constituted a possible threat to national security.... (continue)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Making America Grate Again

Global Higher Ed in Changing Times
Inside Higher Ed
WASHINGTON -- How can colleges seize control of their international strategies at a time when international student enrollments are falling at many American colleges and when federal immigration policies and public attitudes may be working against institutions’ internationalization goals?
. . .
     Jill Welch, deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, said she would add another "P" to the discussion -- the political. Advocates for international education have been deeply concerned by some of the visa and immigration policies pursued by the Trump administration, including changes to how “unlawful presence” is calculated for international students, new restrictions on the duration of visas for Chinese nationals studying for advanced degrees in certain high-tech fields and the travel ban, which continues to restrict entry to the U.S. for nationals of multiple Muslim-majority countries.
     The Trump administration has also signaled its intent to at some point overhaul programs that let international students stay in the U.S. to work after graduation, and at one point reportedly considered a proposal to ban students from China from coming to the U.S. altogether….
Trump’s New Order on Visas Could Make American Colleges Less Appealing Overseas
     Yet again a Trump-administration executive order has the potential to roil American campuses and their recruitment of international students.
     President Trump on Tuesday signed a measure that would target fraud and abuse in overseas guest-worker programs and increase federal oversight of the H-1B visa program for highly skilled foreigners.
     Higher education ranks third behind technology-related occupations as the largest industry sponsor of recipients of H-1B visas. But colleges’ chief concern is not likely to be the visa holders — typically, professors, researchers, and postdocs — on their payrolls.
     Rather, the order could have an impact on American colleges’ recruitment of students from abroad. For many international students, the opportunity to stay in the United States, even temporarily, after graduation and gain work experience is almost as valuable as an American degree itself. Any policy that might erect hurdles on the pathway from college to work could depress international enrollments….

This Week in White Supremacist Activity in Orange County: Patriot Front at Saddleback College

On January 30, Patriot Front posted this photo from Saddleback College on their twitter feed with this caption: #PatriotFront  activists ...