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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

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Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Revealed: US conservative thinktank’s links to extremist fraternal order | US news | The Guardian

Revealed: US conservative thinktank’s links to extremist fraternal order

"Claremont Institute officials closely involved with Society for American Civic Renewal, which experts say is rooted in Christian nationalism

American flag and church steeple against blue sky
Experts said SACR’s mission statement was ‘anti-constitutional, and many Christians would say it’s anti-Christian’. Photograph: imdm/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The president of the rightwing Claremont Institute and another senior Claremont official are both closely involved with the shadowy Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), an exclusive, men-only fraternal order which aims to replace the US government with an authoritarian “aligned regime”, and which experts say is rooted in extreme Christian nationalism and religious autocracy.

The revelations emerge from documents gathered in public records requests, including emails between several senior members of SACR: Claremont president Ryan P Williams; its director of state coalitions and Boise State University professor Scott Yenor; and others including former soap manufacturer and would-be “warlord” Charles Haywood.

The trove also contains an “internal” SACR “mission statement” with a far more radical edge than the public “vision” now recorded on the organization’s website.

That document speaks of recruiting a “brotherhood” who will “form the backbone of a renewed American regime” and who “understand the nature of authority and its legitimate forceful exercise”; whose “objectives” include to “collect, curate, and document a list of potential appointees and hires for a renewed American regime”.

The document does not indicate that such “renewal” will take place through participation in electoral contests, and nor does it make mention of the US constitution.

Along with the financial links between the SACR and Claremont – the Guardian previously reported Claremont’s $26,248 donation to SACR in 2020 – the documents raise questions as to what extent SACR is an initiative of the Claremont Institute, and to what extent its participants have abandoned liberal, secular or democratic politics.

The Guardian contacted Ryan Williams, Claremont’s president, for comment on his involvement in SACR, and on the extent of Claremont’s ties to the organization.

In an email he said: “While the Claremont Institute acted as a fiscal sponsor to help the Society for American Civic Renewal establish itself as an incorporated 501(c)(10), that was the end of any corporate collaboration between the Claremont Institute and SACR.”

He added: “As a founding board member of SACR in my personal capacity, obviously I think that a fraternal order dedicated to civic and cultural renaissance and rooted in community, virtue, and wisdom is a very good thing.”

Williams also confirmed that he continues to serve as a SACR board member.

The Guardian also contacted Scott Yenor and Boise State University for comment.

Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project on Hate and Extremism, said of the SACR documents: “Their planned regime is obviously far from a multiracial democracy. The documents appear to be describing a religious autocracy.”

Laura K Field, a writer, political theorist and senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, a Washington thinktank, said the documents expressed “extreme Christian nationalism” where “a particular kind of Christianity should dominate as an ideal, and that it should dominate permanently”.

Yenor and SACR

Scott Yenor is a professor of political science at Idaho’s Boise State University and simultaneously the senior director of state coalitions at the Claremont Institute.

His Claremont appointment came in February 2023. Media reports at that time indicated that Yenor would be working closely with the Florida governor Ron DeSantis and DeSantis-aligned legislators; when the job was announced the governor’s wife, Casey Desantis, tweeted: “Thrilled to welcome Scott Yenor from the Claremont Institute to his new home in Tallahassee.”

Reporting in the New York Times last month put Yenor at the center of a network of activists tied to Claremont and other rightwing nonprofits to wage an “anti-DEI crusade” against diversity, equity, and inclusion measures in educational institutions, corporations and public agencies.

Unreported until now is Yenor’s place as an ideological and organizational leader in SACR, and the radical nature of that organization’s aims as understood by he and other core members.

SACR is structured as a 501(c)(10) body under the section of US tax law that provides nonprofit status for organizations “with a fraternal purpose”.

In 2020 the umbrella organization was incorporated in Indiana with Charles Haywood as principal, and the first local lodge was established in Dallas, Texas. Subsequently, three local lodges were established in Idaho: in Boise and Couer d’Alene in 2021, and Moscow in 2022.

Idaho company filings show that Scott Yenor became president and the only listed principal officer of the Boise lodge on 5 August 2023.

Secrecy at SACR

But emails indicate that he had taken a board role in the national organization even earlier than that date.

On 25 January 2023, lawyer Clyde Taylor – now at Wagenmaker Law but until 2019 an associate at the rightwing litigation firm the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty – wrote to Haywood and Skyler Kressin about their trademark application for the SACR logo.

Haywood forwarded the lawyer’s email to Yenor, Claremont president Williams, and Nathanial “Nate” Fischer, copying in Kressin on two addresses including one hosted at SACR’s domain.

“We should probably have a board meeting to discuss this, finances, etc,” Haywood wrote in response to Yenor, suggesting Yenor and the others he copied in were members of that body.

Haywood added a suggestion on encrypted messaging services, indicating an imperative of secrecy inside SACR. “I vote we create a new Signal group and have a board meeting. Any takers?” he said. The group was then set up.

The Guardian reported last August that on his website Haywood has repeatedly envisioned serving as a “warlord” at the head of an “armed patronage network” which might at some point find itself in conflict with the federal government.

Haywood has also expressed a desire to recruit “shooters” to help defend the “extended, quite sizeable, compound” he occupies on the western fringe of Carmel, Indiana. According to documents lodged with the city of Carmel, the latest construction project on Haywood’s compound is a six-bedroom faux-classical mansion with a central library room that occupies both of the building’s floors.

He has funded SACR through his Howdy Doody Good Times foundation to the tune of at least $50,000, according to 2021 and 2022 tax filings, along with at least $50,000 to the Claremont Institute.

In the same report, the Guardian revealed that Kressin, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, appears to serve a key administrative role in SACR. Idaho and Texas company records show that Kressin incorporated lodges in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Dallas; serves as a director of the Coeur d’Alene and Dallas lodges; and was named as the principal officer of the parent organization on its 2020-2021 tax return.

The Guardian reported last September that Fischer, a Claremont Lincoln fellow, was president of SACR’s Dallas lodge and owns a firm that has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in government ammunition contracts. He also owns another firm that helped produce videos in which Claremont chairman Thomas Klingenstein in which he exhorted rightwingers to join in a “cold civil war” against “woke communists”.

The Guardian contacted Nate Fischer, Skyler Kressin and Charles Haywood for comment.

Neither Kressin nor Haywood responded. Fischer did not respond directly, but on Friday morning on X, formerly Twitter, he left a 900-word post offering some material from internal SACR documents, admitting that the Guardian’s reporting had led him to the conclusion that “this is a good time to share more about the organization.

SACR’s mission: ‘dominance’ and ‘authority’ in an ‘new aligned regime’

Another document suggests reasons that SACR’s leadership might want to avoid scrutiny: in internal discussions. “Civic renewal” appears to equate to regime change in America.

The document is one of two Yenor attached to a 27 April 2021 email, sent from his Boise State email address to a personal email address. The email text simply says “print”.

The SACR document contains two versions of the organization’s “mission statement” – one “public” and one “internal” – along with a list of “objectives” for the organization.

Its authenticity as a working document is indicated by the current “vision” articulated on SACR’s website, which currently features what appears to be a reworked version of the “public” mission statement.

The 2021 document envisions “a vigorous civic renewal that will reflect the past while facing the future”, while the website sets out a “new thing for a new day, informed by the wisdom of the past but facing the future”. Each version promises to “reclaim a humane vision of society”.

A harder-edged “internal” mission statement, however, stands in stark contrast to these anodyne public presentations.

It first announces: “Our aim is to build and maintain a robust network of capable men who can reverse our society’s decline and return us to the successful path off which America has strayed.”

The document says the organization’s founders are “un-hyphenated Americans, and we believe in a particular Christianity that is not blurred by modernist philosophies.”

It says: “We are willing to act decisively to secure permanently, as much as anything is permanent, the political and social dominance” of their beliefs.

In terms of recruiting, the document says: “Most of all, we seek those who understand the nature of authority and its legitimate forceful exercise in the temporal realm.”

Further down, the document specifies five organizational “objectives” that encompass nepotistic business practices, the grooming of new and emerging “elites” within SACR, and, experts say, an apparently insurrectionary political project.

The first objective is to “identify and provide formation for local elites … capable of exercising authority and who are aligned with our goal of complete civic renewal”, and warning that “concrete temporal achievements, not furthering intellectual discussion”.

The second objective is to help those local elites build “fraternal networks which will advance both the members of those networks and our collective goals” including “direct preferential treatment for members, especially in business”.

The third objectives to coordinate across the “fraternal networks” to bring “political awareness” to matters such as “hiring and promotion; award of contracts; internal policies and procedures; and leadership succession”.

A fifth objective is to “collect, curate and document a list of potential appointees and hires for an aligned future regime”, who would likely not be founding participants, but “ … men who grow up in the system”.

Asked what an “aligned regime” might look like, Williams, the Claremont Institute’s president, wrote: “It would, more likely than not, be some form of the US constitutional order, but with much higher fidelity to that order before it was corrupted and subverted by modern progressivism.”

Perhaps ominously, a fourth objective is to “defend fraternal networks, our own and allies, against attacks by those opposed to civic renewal, and strongly deter such attacks”, though no details are offered on what form this defense or deterrence might take.

Although the document makes reference to America’s founding, Field, the Niskanen fellow, said that it contradicted its spirit.

“George Washington, Jefferson, [and] Madison all embraced religious pluralism very explicitly, and the constitution reflects that,” she said.

“This is anti-constitutional, and I think many, many faithful Christians would say it’s anti-Christian.”

Beirich, the extremism expert, said the mission statement and objectives were “essentially a stealth plan to replace everything about the current government with a religious autocracy”, with the addition of an effort to “fashion young people behind closed doors for the eventual takeover of the regime, right?”

“They’re going to grow them up as Christian autocrats.”

Revealed: US conservative thinktank’s links to extremist fraternal order | US news | The Guardian

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