Western Conservative Conference Peddles Paranoia


Last week was the Western Conservative Conference, a sort of low-rent CPAC created by the Western Center for Journalism, which was created by Joseph Farah and out of which the Worldnetdaily grew. In addition to a roast of Joe Arpaio that included pointing to Hispanic waiters doing their jobs in the ballroom and yelling “Get him! Sic ‘em!” to Arpaio, it also peddled the usual paranoia and gold scams. Oh, and Floyd Brown ran the whole thing.

The man behind the Western Conservative Conference, Floyd Brown, has never been very good at helping the GOP build bridges. In 1988, he created the infamous “Willie Horton” ad that has dogged his party’s outreach efforts ever since. But Brown’s interests and achievements are more diverse than scorched-earth political advertising. He has been a Zelig-like presence on the right for the better part of three decades, zig-zagging his way through and connecting the worlds of conservative organizing, publishing, opposition research, campaigning, fundraising, marketing, and predatory investment advice.

A co-founder of Citizens United, Brown now runs a marketing company, Excellentia Inc., helping clients “achieve success in the conservative and Christian marketplace.” He works as a traveling speaker for groups like the Oxford Group claiming to offer “insider” stock tips and advice. He also pushes gold coins and municipal bonds, sometimes in mutual exclusion of the other, depending on his audience.

All of which makes Brown a perfect impresario for today’s conservative grassroots activist circuit, where organizing and politics can seem incidental to the interests of an interlocking constellation of thinly veiled data mining, fundraising, and precious metals operations. This was sometimes the case in Phoenix, where an older, nearly all-white group of activist-attendees from Western states paid $399 to train under the tutelage of organizers from Heritage Action and the Leadership Institute, as well as hear national figures pitch gold coins and radio shows. The bold-face names who appeared live or by video included Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, and embattled National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, who was welcomed despite being under fire for racist attacks on President Obama.

I would suggest that Nugent was welcomed because he’s under fire for racist attacks on President Obama.

The conference began on Friday night with a keynote speech by Trevor Loudon, a dour New Zealander who has found steady work peddling stories of a modern-day Red Scare on the Tea Party circuit. As attendees lined up for drinks and baby carrots, Loudon sketched out the contents of his most recent book, The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists, and Progressives in the U.S. Congress. It is Loudon’s belief that “98 percent of the Democratic Party” is far-left, anti-American, and actively working toward an economic collapse to allow communism “a second chance.” With his haunted imagination and lottery-ticket approach to numbers, Loudon evokes the South Pacific-accented ghost of Fred Schwartz, an Australian anti-communist speaker who made a good living on the Bircher circuit of the 1950s and 60s selling books and warning of Reds under every bed.

Like Schwartz, Loudon believes he has a crucial role to play in uniting the American Right and positioning it for victory. “Here’s what you need to do,” Loudon told the crowd in Phoenix. “You need a new Reagan coalition and a Reagan type leader that inspires people, like Ted Cruz. And Cruz should promise the following cabinet to unify the right: Allen West, VP; Rand Paul, Treasury; Sarah Palin, Energy; Scott Walker, Labor; Herman Cain, Commerce; John Bolton, State; Health and Human Services, Ben Carson. Attorney General, Mark Levin. Education, David Barton. U.N. — nobody. Everybody gets something. It would energize the whole movement.”

If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you…

The next morning Brown hosted a breakout session entitled, “Is An Economic Collapse Coming?” He opened with another question: “You may be wondering, ‘Why are we holding a meeting on economic collapse?'” But it’s unlikely anyone in the room found the subject, or its gold-dealer sponsor, out of place. Wherever conservatives gather these days, gold dealers are close at hand. Even the NRA’s annual meeting now offers seminars on buying gold as a form of “economic self-defense.”

Listening to Brown tout his “training as an economist” (by which he meant his bachelor’s degree) and riff on gold’s imperviousness to “counterparty risk,” it was tempting to admire his career as a journeyman pitcher of junk in the conservative gutter league. “First, please, I beg you, limit your exposure to bonds,” said Brown. “They have performed extraordinarily well over 30 years. But sometimes when it has been the best, it is preparing to be the worst. Please, please, please, try and limit your exposure to bonds. Not even CD’s and Social Security are safe anymore, because they’re protected by the government — and the government is bankrupt.”

At that very moment, as he pitched gold by trashing all government-backed paper, Brown was pushing city debt as an investment in his capacity as “Chief Political Analyst” at a website called Capitol Hill Daily — “The Unofficial News Source of Every Wealthy Congressman.” The site currently features an article by Brown hyping stock in a fund specializing in municipal bonds called Invesco CA Value Muni Common. “Political insiders are sinking their money into one niche investment that could shoot to the moon following a municipal bond bailout,” it states. “[Muni bonds are] as close to foolproof as it gets, since both the Fed and Capitol Hill have the muni bond market’s back.”

Meanwhile, back in Phoenix, Brown’s anti-bond rap was so thick you could see the trace of a cringe on the face of Jim Clark, his fellow panelist and CEO of the panel’s sponsor, the Arizona-based Republic Monetary Exchange. When Clark spoke, he dialed back some of the alarmism of Brown’s talk, but warned the retiree crowd that the government was coming for their IRA’s…

Loudon was followed by onetime Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, who warned of a solar electromagnetic pulse that could “shut down this country, and within a year, 90 percent of the country could be dead, effectively.” Louden nodded sagely along, likely doing the mental math of how to hold back the Chinese Army with so few Americans. Jim Clark, the gold company CEO, looked relieved when it was finally time to wrap things up by reminding the gathered to roll their 401k and IRA accounts into gold.

“Outside the door, my colleagues can explain to you how to do that,” said Clark. “We have videos.”

Oh, and then there’s this bit of paranoia from speaker Trevor Loudon:

You can’t just escape [to the hills] with a few chickens and survive. The bad guys of this planet — Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, North Korea and their Islamic allies — are going to come here, folks. The Chinese have every aquifer in the U.S. mapped out. They know that some of them flush out nuclear radiation very quickly, and some of them hold them for a long time. They need to know where they can settle their people. The Russians have an unreliable army — too many drunks and Moslems — but they will nuke the hell out of the continental United States. The big regret of the U.S.S.R. is that they didn’t take out the U.S. during the Great Depression — a former KGB agent told me this — and this time they have a plan. They will invade Alaska and parts of Canada. Then the Chinese will send their people across the Pacific in wave after wave. Their friends in Latin America will be invited up into the southern United States for looting rights. The left will welcome this, which is why 90 percent of Obama’s cuts are to the U.S. military, the only thing keeping the world together.

Sounds totally credible.

Comments

  1. Donnie says

    Who know? “Red Dawn” was a prophecy and not a film that launched a thousand careers….

  2. colnago80 says

    We’re laughing at this breathtaking inanity but there are people who eat this crap up.

  3. jamessweet says

    And Cruz should promise the following cabinet to unify the right: Allen West, VP; Rand Paul, Treasury; Sarah Palin, Energy; Scott Walker, Labor; Herman Cain, Commerce; John Bolton, State; Health and Human Services, Ben Carson. Attorney General, Mark Levin. Education, David Barton. U.N. — nobody. Everybody gets something. It would energize the whole movement.

    And yet again, it becomes impossible to disinguish between satire and reality.

  4. Chiroptera says

    …Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, North Korea and their Islamic allies….

    So, are all these countries going to be allies?

    Or is the thought [sic] that each of them are going to mount their own invasion, and then Americans will die in the cross fire as they start fighting each other?

    ‘Cause that second scenario would kind of make a cool mini-series. We can call it “A Game of Right Wing Delusions.”

  5. robnyny says

    “The big regret of the U.S.S.R. is that they didn’t take out the U.S. during the Great Depression … .”

    The same USSR that could barely take on Finland during the great depression?

  6. says

    As a person who actually learned proper strategy in the military, I find their childlike grasp of war tactics both laughable and terrifying.

  7. colnago80 says

    Re robnyny @ #6

    The same USSR that was lucky to survive the German assault in 1940, with a monumental assist from Schickelgruber’s strategic errors.

  8. colnago80 says

    The big regret of the U.S.S.R. is that they didn’t take out the U.S. during the Great Depression — a former KGB agent told me this

    And just how was the former Soviet Union going to ferry troops across the Atlantic and the Pacific in the 1930s, considering that it had virtually no navy?

  9. says

    Ed:

    Are you sure that’s not the Western Center for Jingoism?

    ““Here’s what you need to do,” Loudon told the crowd in Phoenix. “You need a new Reagan coalition and a Reagan type leader that inspires people, like Ted Cruz. And Cruz should promise the following cabinet to unify the right: Allen West, VP; Rand Paul, Treasury; Sarah Palin, Energy; Scott Walker, Labor; Herman Cain, Commerce; John Bolton, State; Health and Human Services, Ben Carson. Attorney General, Mark Levin. Education, David Barton. U.N. — nobody. Everybody gets something. It would energize the whole movement.””

    And then, at the first cabinet meeting, tell them that there are armed guards with orders to shoot-to-kill anyone who leaves the room (after Cruz exits) unless everyone else is dead. throw a couple of edge weapons and a pistol or six on the table, smirk and get some popcorn.

  10. busterggi says

    Are the ‘bad guy’ Russians the same Russians the conservative Christians were praising just last week for upholding conservative Christian values?

  11. psweet says

    How many of these companies that help you buy gold ever physically give you the gold? Seems to me, if you’re worried about society collapsing, you can kiss any gold goodbye if someone else is holding it for you.

  12. says

    In addition to a roast of Joe Arpaio that included pointing to Hispanic waiters doing their jobs in the ballroom and yelling “Get him! Sic ‘em!” to Arpaio…

    On a related note, the coffee smelled like pee.

  13. Trebuchet says

    Bolton as Secretary of State is scarily possible if ANY Republican gets elected president. The others, not so much.

  14. says

    “And Cruz should promise the following cabinet to unify the right: Allen West, VP; Rand Paul, Treasury; Sarah Palin, Energy; Scott Walker, Labor; Herman Cain, Commerce; John Bolton, State; Health and Human Services, Ben Carson. Attorney General, Mark Levin. Education, David Barton. U.N. — nobody. Everybody gets something. It would energize the whole movement.”
    I’m sure Sarah Palin will bring her steno pad to her first meeting as Secretary of Energy. And what about Michele Bachman? No job for her? I suggest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because she looks fabulous in black.

  15. leonardschneider says

    Am I the only one who began hearing Spike Jones and his City Slickers playing in their head as they read all that? Or did some of you get a kazoo orchestra?

  16. Brent says

    Listening to Brown tout his “training as an economist” (by which he meant his bachelor’s degree) and riff on gold’s imperviousness to “counterparty risk,”

    Indeed, gold doesn’t have counterparty risk when you actually take physical delivery. And of course all the gold bugs insist on taking physical delivery rather than using certificates. But there’s always something: instead, you have liquidity risk when you have physical gold. I bet a lot of gold bugs would have appreciated being able to sell in 2012 when gold started plummeting from $1800 at the peak instead of having to ride it down to $1200 or $1300.

    Counterparty risk is not that great in a normally functioning market (it only became a systemic issue in the earliest days of the 2008 credit crisis when people figured Lehman would run out of cash and be unable to settle trades and feared that others would get similarly trapped). Yeah, it might become a real problem if the end of civilization is at hand, but liquidity risk and lack of price transparency when The Shit Hits the Fan (as the disaster preppers say) don’t make gold all that attractive as an investment.

    Incidentally, the fact that gold coins are sold at a 40% markup, meaning you would have to see gold rise in price 40% to clear a profit on your purchases, makes all the theoretical economic concerns irrelevant anyway. Brown manages to sound knowledgeable (“counterparty” is an impressive word that most people have no clue about) while fleecing his marks. I can’t believe people who can’t afford it actually waste money buying gold coins because of the markup.

  17. howardhershey says

    They did forget Micelle Bachman in the cabinet. But given her sterling record in the House “Intelligence” Committee, she is clearly a candidate for the top CIA job. Cue the oxymoron “military intelligence”.

  18. says

    Don\t underestimate the Chinese. According to these ads I keep seeing they’ve got a secret plot that will decimate the US economy and drive gold to 4000 bucks an ounce.

    Betcha Trevor Loudon is one of those dips who thinks the Chinese have a 300 million man army, that can operate in the filed without any sort of actual logistic support. I also bet he’s never been within a thousand miles of Alaska or northern British Columbia, which would show anyone with half a brain how stupid a Russian invasion from that direction would be.

  19. dingojack says

    “Loudon evokes the South Pacific-accented ghost of Fred Schwartz…”

    ♪♫ There’s nothing like dame, nothing in the world
    There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame!
    ♫♪

    :) Dingo
    ——–
    Interesting that the (unnamed) author Ed quoted seems to think that, like the US or UK, Australia has strong regional accents.

  20. Nick Gotts says

    We’re laughing at this breathtaking inanity but there are people who eat this crap up. – colnago80

    Yeah, I’ll bet some of these wingnuts even want to nuke Iran!

    The same USSR that could barely take on Finland during the great depression? – robnyny

    Well, the evidence on Soviet military capability in the 1930s is mixed: at practically the same time as they were screwing up in the Winter War against Finland, they were defeating the Japanese 6th Army in the battles of Khalkhin Gol. Their ability to hold out against the Nazi Barbarossa invasion (and the most critical phase was up to December 1941, before any significant foreign assistance arrived) suggests that the poor performance against Finnish troops gave a false impression. Not, of course, that this makes an invasion of the USA either then or now any more plausible.

  21. dingojack says

    Nick – ever considered that the Finns might have been better soldiers than the Russians?
    Dingo

  22. colnago80 says

    Re Nick Gotts @ #25

    The Russians held out in the late summer and fall of 1941 because of poor strategic choices by Schickelgruber. Had Germany built a large fleet of Uboats instead of the Bismarck and the Tirpitz, Britain could have been starved of the war in 1940. Had that happened, there would have been no Battle of Britain which cost Germany dearly in terms of aircraft and pilots lost. There would have been no side shows in North Africa, Greece, and Yugoslavia. All this occurred before Operation Barbarossa even got underway. In addition, there were the numerous poor strategic decisions that the German high command made during the Summer of 1941 which allowed Stalin, having initially been caught with his pants down, to regroup his forces and recover from his initial losses.

  23. dingojack says

    I’m sure there were plenty of pro-Nazi English and pacifists who would have been delighted if ‘Britain could have been starved of the war in 1940′. No war, yay!!
    Dingo

  24. says

    Colnago80 has read a lot more history than I have, but the “Winter War” and the “Continuation War” according to a book I read last year (“Frozen Hell”, IIRC) stated that Stalin originally sent poorly trained, badly led and completely polticized troops. After losing about 225K* of them to a smaller, faster and better led Finnish army he finally listened to several of his (remaining) general officers, Zhukov, for one, who talked him into sending some well-trained and completently led troops with fewer political commisars on their staffs. It was from that point on that the Finns got beat up, losing most of their 25K or so troops in the final month or so of the “Winter War”.

    Both Stalin and Hitler were idiots in terms of ongoing military strategy. That they both had successes was as much to do with the misplaced loyalties/fear of reprisals for failing, of their soldiers and the fact (at least in Russia’s case) that troops were deemed completely expendable as it did with martial brilliance.

    * According to “Frozen Hell”‘s author, one russian commander was executed for losing 54 field kitchens. Apparently contemporaneous reports in Tass or other russian publications did not mention that the “kitchens” that were lost, also contained several divisions of troops that were being fed by them.

  25. says

    dingojack@24:

    Well, maybe you don’t have regional accents that WE can discern, but I’ll bet people from Adelaide know an accent from Alice Springs or Melbourne when they hear it.

  26. freehand says

    leonardschneider: Am I the only one who began hearing Spike Jones and his City Slickers playing in their head as they read all that? Or did some of you get a kazoo orchestra?
    .
    Strangely enough, I was hearing Ravel’s “Bolero” played by P.D.Q. Bach. Ed’s posted quotes were getting progressively louder so they could be heard over the music.

  27. freehand says

    I admit that this sentence by Loudon is correct: “You can’t just escape [to the hills] with a few chickens and survive.”

  28. bushrat says

    My Grandpa had a great saying for these types of assholes. He would say to them (usually to their face), “I shot better men than you during the War.”

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