Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Manly Idaho Sheriff Cuts Ties To Scouts Over Scary Gay Boys

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

As a fourth-generation Idaho native, I used to proudly wear a T-shirt promoting my home state. It read: "Idaho -- Where the Men Are Men and the Sheep Are Nervous".
Of course, I also at one time sported a bumper sticker that read, "Welcome to Idaho -- The Tick Fever State!" But that was mostly intended to dissuade all those Orange County folks (and other fellow Californians) who were fleeing the brown people up to the lily-white pastures of rural Idaho. Unfortunately, it didn't work.
The T-shirt, though, was a way of making fun of the manly men who populated the state even then, by suggesting that the whole facade might just be a cover for a broad variety of not-so-manly manliness in private. And it contained a wry observation about the unspoken anything-goes sexual ethos that was always part of the reality of life for those rugged mountain men and chap-slappin' cowboys later celebrated by much more self-righteous people who don't know any better.
Of course, nobody falls for that stuff quite like my fellow Idahoans, especially the kind who decorate their camper trailers with giant murals of eagles and bears and still read Louis L'Amour novels. And they also -- more notably in recent years, thanks in large part to all those ex-Orangeites -- sucker avidly for right-wing politics and its embrace of a much stricter sexual ethos than what really prevailed in the ole pioneer days. It is a deep red state, much more so than it was thirty years ago.
Which is why, no doubt, the whole shift permitting gay teens into the Boy Scouts has wrapped their knickers into a tight little knot in places like Idaho. I remember growing up in the Scouts in Idaho -- the whispers about some leaders, or more pointedly, the whispers about other boys. They're, um, very uptight about this subject.
So much so that, in Kootenai County, the local (Republican, of course) sheriff is threatening to cut off any ties between his office and the Scouts. This is evidently either a display of manly manliness, a legalistic attempt at purification, or a religious meltdown. Or, most likely, all three.
From Ian Millhiser at Think Progress:
Kootenai County, Idaho Sheriff Ben Wolfinger threatened on Friday to drop his department’s sponsorship of a Boy Scout troop because “[i]t would be inappropriate for the sheriff’s office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law.” Just in case there was any ambiguity regarding what “lifestyle” Wolfinger was referring to, he also sent a copy of an anti-sodomy statute that is still on the books in Idaho to an official for the Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts of America’s National Council voted last week to stop discriminating against gay scouts, although they will continue to exclude LGBT people from scout leadership.
As Millhiser observes, Idaho does have an anti-sodomy statute on the books, but it has been superseded by federal court rulings that such laws are unconstitutional.
Not that it matters to a Republican sheriff like this clown. He just assured himself re-election, after all.
And those boys in his troop? Well, they can go off and find someone better to be an example than this self-righteous homophobe.
I would suggest they try a nice Methodist troop like the one my brother and I both enrolled in growing up in Idaho. I know they won't be turning away any gay boys, either.
Because that's the real Idaho. Sometimes clowns, even crowds of them, obscure that reality, too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Weather-Manipulation-for-Evil-Political-Purposes Theory: Straight Out of Militialand

It's like they say: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially when it comes to right-wing extremists.

As Karoli reported yesterday, now the conspiracy theorists are claiming that President Obama deliberately created the killer tornadoes that swept Oklahoma last week, with Alex Jones (of course) leading the way.
It's not just Jones. Some Oklahoma versions of Truther nutcases, as Alexander Abad-Santos reports at The Atlantic, are also jumping aboard with a variation on Jones' theory:
So, yes, the Oklahoma tornado truthers claim the administration whipped up a storm that killed 24 people through HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, in Alaska. Here's a screen grab of a contributor post on Before It's News, a citizen journalist website that's home to many of these conspiracy theories, from a contributor who says this is "compelling evidence" that HAARP is at work:

As Gawker's Ken Layne writes, the "stated goal of HAARP is to study the ionosphere and how the spectrum of radio waves works within these upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere." Essentially, HAARP researches communications. But there are budding conspiracy theories that HAARP could be ultimately used to disrupt the ionosphere, and manipulate weather patterns.

As one Redditor pointed out, one of the permutations of the conspiracy theory in Moore is that the left-wing financier George "the Sorcerer" Soros is behind all of this.
Actually, the HAARP theory has been around since about 1994, when it was being avidly promoted by Militia of Montana founder John Trochmann. Here's how he explained it to his audience at a militia meeting in western Washington in 1995, as I reported it in my first book, In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest:
Trochmann then turns on the overhead projector and puts on the cover page. It reads: ``Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: Part I -- The Problem.’’ A few words: ``You’ll have to excuse me, I’m going to fly right through this, because it takes about an hour and a half.’’ He flips to the next sheet. It’s the cover of a military journal with a story about international armed forces cooperating under United Nations auspices, and the cover illustration shows a number of nations’ flags, including the Stars and Stripes, all subordinately positioned beneath a U.N. flag.

So begins a sojourn for the audience that comes closer to two hours in length, as Trochmann treads through 190 pages of "documentation," each page a strand in a web the bearded man spins, all pieces of a puzzle Trochmann claims proves there’s a conspiracy to destroy the United States.

The New World Order, he says, is a shadowy one-world-government group that conspires to put an end to the U.S. Constitution by subsuming it under the "Communist" United Nations. Conspirators include the President, the Speaker of the House, and most financial and political leaders around the world.

The new world government Trochmann envisions would be a population-controlling totalitarian regime. Guns will be confiscated. Urban gangs like the Bloods and the Crips will be deployed to conduct house-to-house searches and round up resisters. Thousands of citizens will be shipped off to concentration camps and liquidated, all in the name of reducing the population.

The conspirators’ evil designs, he says, already have surfaced in numerous key ways, including:

* Gun control. ``What is it about the word `infringe’ they don’t understand?’’ Trochmann asks, referring to the Second Amendment, which he believes completely protects people’s guns rights.

* The botched police raids at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas. "These things prove our government is out of control," he says. Moreover, Trochmann claims they are harbingers of a future government crackdown on law-abiding citizens.

* Troop and equipment movements throughout the country. Trochmann flashes pictures of armored vehicles, tanks, missiles, all kinds of military hardware -- some marked with U.N. symbols or lettering, some with red Russian stars. These pictures are sent in from all over the country, Trochmann says, and the government can’t explain them.

* Black helicopters. They’re being used for training now, says Trochmann. What they’re training for: rounding up citizens to put them in concentration camps.

* "Unconstitutional" executive orders. These range from the inclusion of U.S. troops among U.N. forces in Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia under Presidents Bush and Clinton to seemingly innocent preparations for disaster under the Federal Emergency Management Administration. All, says Trochmann, are meant to undermine the U.S. Constitution.

* Floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Government conspirators are manipulating the world’s weather (using, Trochmann claims, technology at an Alaska project called HAARP), causing all these horrible weather patterns that affect crop production around the world. The intent, he says, is to induce food shortages, which will become a pretext for imposing martial law. Then, he says, they’ll start rounding people up.

"It's going to end up like this -- the most mild and calm of scenarios will be: `Would you like to eat today? Give me your guns. Would you like your children back from school today? Give me your guns.' That's the mildest of versions you'll see."

I also encountered Trochmann's beliefs in weather manipulation when I interviewed him in Montana:

Federal conspirators, he said, had already put the mechanisms in place for the big coup. "Most of this Emergency Powers Act that's we've been studying that they put together ... They have to have a replacement for war to get down to those levels and still retain the legitimacy of power. What might that be? Catastrophes to deal with? We know that electromagnetically, they control our weather now. There's all kinds of documentation of that. We've got documentation right from the United Nations that say that people have to get a permit to change the weather somewhere."

On the big-screen TV behind us, pictures from a national broadcast showed a hurricane slamming into Florida, and an announcer displayed the storm’s path on a map.

Trochmann looked at the owner of the cafe, and they exchanged knowing glances. "See the hurricane?" John asked him. "Boy, that's really late, isn't it?" The owner nodded.

You mean, I asked, this is part of the weather-control pattern?

"Sure," Trochmann said. "Naples, Florida, got hit at the same time Naples, Idaho, did."
Coincidence, maybe?

"Yeah, right," he said. "And I have another bridge for sale for you."
Most right-wing extremists aren't as imaginative in their paranoia as John Trochmann. Mostly, they just recycle old conspiracy theories that were cooked up liked the Mad Men of MOM.

 Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.