It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry and it takes Irvine Valley College philosophy professor
Ray Roy Bauer to connect the dots between National Holocaust Museum shooter James Wenneker von Brunn, some of our most notorious local haters and The Unabauer's own South Orange County Community College District.
Keep your eyes on the road because it gets twisty.
As Bauer notes on his Dissent the Blog here and here, von Brunn was once employed by Noontide Press, which is currently based in Newport Beach and is part of the Institute of Historical Review, which over the years has been located in Torrance, Costa Mesa and, most recently, Newport Beach.
Two interesting things at the top of the IHR website: notification it is moving seven miles away from its current location but will retain its mailing address. Right next to that is this from director Mark Weber about the assault on the National Holocaust Museum: "We condemn this despicable and criminal attack, carried out by an obviously deranged individual. We are all the more emphatic in condemning such violence because the IHR itself has been a victim of extremist violence."
So what does any of this have to do with the community-college district? Or anything? Glad you asked.
In 1983, von Brunn was sentenced to prison for attempted armed kidnapping of members of the Federal Reserve board. After he was released from prison in 1989, he came to Southern California to work at Noontide Press. That was during the IHR reign of now 82-year-old Willis Carto. According to Talking Points Memo blogger Zachary Roth, Von Brunn tried to use Wikipedia to promote the work of Carto, who claims to be a Jeffersonian and populist, not a racist and anti-Semite.
In 1955, Carto founded Liberty Lobby, which was best known for publishing the newspaper The Spotlight from 1975 and 2001. You may have found copies on your driveway at various times over the years. It was the one that promoted white supremacy and denied the Holocaust ever happened.
Carto in 1969 started Noontide Press, which has published books on white racialism and, with David Hoggan's The Six Million Myth, became among the first publishers to deny the Holocaust happened.
A decade later Carto founded the IHR as sort of an umbrella organization over all his publishing ventures. But he was booted out by his own board in the early 1990s over misuse of funds as IHR and Noontide Press was facing bankruptcy. It is believed von Brunn left Noontide Press around this time.
Carto has said he did not know von Brunn, while Weber says he only knew of him. Weber also maintains IHR and Noontide have returned to their "populist" roots since Carto's ouster. I'll let you check out his websites and decide for yourself.
Carto and several Spotlight staff members went off to start a new newspaper called American Free Press. Among his stable of writers is D.C.-based Michael Collins Piper, who hosts a weekday talk program on shortwave radio that has been described as pointedly anti-Zionist.
Taking a look at Frogue's past comments with new eyes, as well as scribbling down new quotes he was making while struggling to defend himself amid a new controversy, it was discovered the trustee was a big fan of Carto, the IHR and Liberty Lobby. The story of the little college district hosting a Holocaust denier and other nutbars at a JFK assassination forum generated national headlines, then international ones. Late night comics made fun of the SOCCCD.
Subsequent board meetings turned into three-ring circuses--and smelled about as bad. The worst, on a steamy June 15, 1998, night, featured appearances by Piper, trenchcoated National Socialist and admitted child molester Joe Fields, Jewish Defense League wack bags Barry Krugel and Irv Rubin (now dead, from suicide or murder in jail) and other area Nazis, Zionists and the people who love them. Cameras and security guards were everywhere. Frogue looked as if he was in the midst of passing a crome-spiked German helmet up on the dais.
Having covered that meeting, this exchange between opposing audience still echoes in my head:
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Student trustee Marie Hill summed it up best: "Every time I get up in the morning and see a story about this district in the Orange County Register, it's like seeing your mother on The Jerry Springer Show."
Frogue was nearly recalled--but damn if Orange County is going to toss out an incumbent. After the controversy died down, he quietly resigned in 2000--before his term was up so his board pals could appoint his replacement. South County was rewarded with the equally odious Tom Fuentes, the former Orange County Republican Party chairman now loathed by much of the SOCCCD faculty.