Friday, July 24, 2009

Patriot Extremist To Speak In Twin Falls

Today's edition of the Twin Falls Times-News offers two more letters to the editor noting an all-day constitutional seminar to be held tomorrow, Saturday the 25th, at the Herrett Center in Twin Falls. The title of the first of the two letters reveals little ("Educate ourselves on Constitution Day"), but the second letter titled "What's wrong in America?" suggests this event is in fact tied to the tea parties if not something even more ominous.

These two letters come on the heels of a letter mentioning supposed methods being employed by the U.S. government to lead this country down the wrong path and announcing this very constitutional seminar. That letter offered the following information about the seminar (which also appeared on Craigslist):

"Join TEARS of the Patriots for a daylong seminar on the Constitution in the Rick Allen Room of the Herrett Center at the College of Southern Idaho starting at 9 a.m. July 25. The speaker is retired Marine Corps Maj. and Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of North Las Vegas (sic) Jack Ringler. Registration is $20 at the door, or you may pre-register for $17.76 by going to tearsofthepatriots.org/ and clicking the "calendar" link on the home page."
Initially, my first assumption was that this organization, Tears of the Patriots, was merely one of the off-shoots of the nationwide tea parties that took place on tax day, something potentially laced with hate. I clicked on the link provided and it took me to a meetup page that listed meetup topics that included Ron Paul's recent bid for the presidency and Campaign for Liberty, libertarianism, birthers, Glenn Beck's 9/12 project, tea parties, the John Birch Society, and the United States Constitution. I wasn't familiar with the Free State Project, but nothing in the topics list jumped out at me. It isn't like the Magic Valley isn't known for their more extreme fundamentalist residents. However, after the superb reporting of Boise Weekly on a speech given Wednesday night in downtown Boise by Nazi sympathizer David Irving, it occurred to me that I never looked into this constitutional scholar that will be speaking at the Herrett Center tomorrow. Big mistake.

The speaker, Major Jack K. Ringler, USMC Retired, is listed on each of the announcements of tomorrow's event as a Professor of Constitutional Studies at UNLV. Don't let the fliers fool you. UNLV has nothing to do with this.

As it turns out, Ringler is a whole lot more than what anyone reading these very enthusiastic letters to the editor might suspect. An article written in 1998 by Steve Friess of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reveals that Ringler has the makings of someone rooted in the Patriot movement. While teaching at the Community College of Southern Nevada, not UNLV by any stretch, Ringler spouted the very New World Order conspiracy theories that the Patriot movement is known for. The Friess article quotes Ringler as opening his courses with the following warning to his students: "Don't turn me off... Don't just say, 'God, he's way out there.' I'm not trying to convince you. I'm just trying to give you information." In fact, the course was even titled "The New World Order: The Ultimate Conspiracy." Ringler apparently approached the school's administration to teach the course.

Ringler is not listed anywhere on UNLV's website, however he is listed on the website of the College of Southern Nevada with emeritus status in History as well as Philosophical and Regional Studies. It appears he also taught U.S. History courses, first-half courses that generally cover the country's history up until the Civil War, at some point while employed at CSN. Whether the courses he taught speak to his general ideology is unclear, but the Freiss article in addition to a government publication Ringler penned in 1970 tell a more complete story.

The government publication, "U.S. Marine Corps Operations In the Dominican Republic, April-June 1965," offers a brief glimpse of Ringler's animosity toward non-whites and non-Christians. Ringler appears to fit the mold that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been warning about more recently--the emergence of neo-Nazis in the military. In Ringler's case, he may have left the military with not only the tactical training so well-known in the Patriot movement, but also a growing hatred for minorities. The publication offers a brief biography of Ringler:
"One of the authors, Major Jack K. Ringler, came to the Historical Branch (Historical Division after 1968) following a tour as an infantry officer in Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Naval War College and received a master's degree from George Washington University. He completed this history [publication] while serving as the head of division's reference, archives,and library activities. After his retirement, Major Ringler became a history professor in Nevada."
On the surface his credentials appear flawless and completely appropriate for a history professor. The syllabus for his course is what sends up red flags. Speaking of Americans' "thought conditioners" (i.e. the government) and the illegitimacy of the Federal Reserve, Ringler even went so far as to assign Treason: The New World Order as required reading.

In addition to his academic resume, Ringler served in the leadership of the Independent American Party of Nevada for a time. The Independent American Party is the party that backed George Wallace in the 60's and continues to oppose the concept of the "New World Order."

This is the speaker that the residents of Twin Falls area are so excited about having in town for an all-day seminar on the Constitution? I'm afraid of what constitution that may be. Judging by what the group promoting and sponsoring this event outlines in its brochure as being established "principles" and the obvious omission of "all men are created equal" in their "Modern Declaration of Independence," it sure isn't the United States Constitution.

2 comments:

Dr. Michael Blankenship said...

There is no University of North Las Vegas. If the credentials are fake, how much of the rest of this "presentation" is bogus?

Tara A. Rowe said...

I think that the usage of the acronym UNLV was an attempt to lend credence to Ringler's seminar.