Hail to the Kook

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 4:27 pm by George Smith

Ol’ EMP Crazy, now stocking 50 pound bags of corn from Sam’s Club and expanding his refuge in Appalachia in advance of the imminent end of America.

In 2012, notorious electromagnetic pulse kook Roscoe Bartlett was run out of the House, losing election to a Democratic candidate in a redrawn district. So, naturally, the first thing one thinks of at a famous web publication — Politico: Hey, let’s do a profile on what happened to Roscoe!

I’m not gonna rewrite everything I had to say at the time Bartlett bit the dust and the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy suffered a blow from which it has yet to recover.

Instead, I quote from the archives:

As long as I can remember Bartlett has been in congress, warning about how an enemy — North Korea, or terrorists, and now the special foe — Iran, will destroy American civilization with an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear weapon detonated over the United States.

The Cult of EMP Crazy, aka as the missile defense/bomb Iran lobby, would have been nothing without Bartlett. Year after year after year Bartlett pounded the issue from the House, as often as possible, even causing the formation of a commission, now years past, to study the threat. [It concluded] the nation could be trivially returned to the age of horse and buggy. (Or as I used to like to put it, the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.)

As a consequence, Bartlett is the inspiration for now hundreds of vanity-published books from the survivalist crew, all distributed on Amazon, all exactly the same – about the end of western civilization by EMP …

Despite all the lobbying, Bartlett was never able to put into action any legislation to deal with electromagnetic pulse doom. But the lobby itself is loud, vociferous and incessant, writing books, articles and opinion pieces, casting movies and commercials, even spanning the Atlantic Ocean to plague the Brits.

Bartlett, for his part, has an obscure career waiting in the prepper/survivalist movement, where everyone is convinced America is about to end, anyway …

Since Roscoe Bartlett has been at his cause for so long, one might legitimately ask what is the man’s legacy?

Striking fear into people who are not particularly perceptive is one of his signal achievements … Bartlett’s unstinting work aimed at describing the total end of US civilization in an instant is particularly resonant within the Christian right …

Roscoe Bartlett, [and this can be said with absolute certainty], has been around longer than PEZ candy, parking meters and penicillin.

The Politico story is here, and excerpting only a little:

Every couple of weeks, the survivalist octogenarian shaves off his white beard, dons a suit and heads to the capital, where he serves as a senior consultant for a cybersecurity company called Lineage Technologies.

Bartlett, a small-government, Tea Party-style Republican, had spent two decades as the U.S. representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district.

Bartlett’s warnings of catastrophic electromagnetic pulse attacks and solar flares fell on deaf ears and earned him a reputation as a crank …

In speech after late-night speech on the House floor, Bartlett hectored the nearly empty chamber: If the United States doesn’t do something to protect the grid, and soon, a terrorist or an act of nature will put an end to life as we know it.

Bartlett loved to conjure doomsday visions …

Since it was a feature in Politico, it immediately generated copycat coverage in other places, including — surprisingly, the LA Times.

I’ll not repeat from it save to say it includes about everything from the now twenty year-old script/meme. The reporter, one of the Times’ newer employees, was probably in grade school when it started.

Readers know electromagnetic pulse doom now falls firmly within the boundaries of DD’s Law:

The probability that any predicted national security catastrophe, or doomsday scenario, will occur is the inverse of its appearance in entertainments.

Thus, in the case of Roscoe Bartlett’s vision, zero.

There’s a crappy television series, Revolution, on it. Many movies have been made with electromagnetic pulse doom as a central feature of plotting. And do savor the hundreds of vanity-published novels on it, all published through Amazon, establishing a weird genre of adventure and romance fiction for the paranoid prepper far-right in WhiteManistan. (If you click the link to Amazon in the old post, you’ll see the number of books nobody without a mental problem of some kind reads has greatly increased.)

The generic script:
The US will collapse soon, through an unspecified series of disasters which include (but are not limited to) total electrical grid failure, rampant bioterrorist-spread disease, and the death of money. Only those in the country, on farms with their own fruit trees, vegetable crops, chainsaws for cutting firewood, elevated water supply, and Bible-reading skills will survive.

Having been familiar with it for so long, I’ve observed there’s a joy in the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy. It’s a creepy enthusiasm for the end of US civilization so the true believers can retreat to their bunkers and bug-out hideaways, well-stocked with guns, ammo and military surplus camo-wear, awaiting the arrival of the starving and diseased scum from the cities who they can have the pleasure of ordering off their property. And then shooting, if not promptly obeyed.

It’s the same joy one senses in the believers in Rapture. Those saved by Jesus in the final score-keeping rejoice in knowing the non-believers will then be subjected to an infinity of misery.

In any case, there are never any Democrats allowed in the bunker when the end comes. It will be a great ritual of purification.

With Bartlett gone to Croatan, or more accurately, a private compound and artificial lake in West Virginia, the mantle of official Congressional electromagnetic pulse crazy fell to the certified idiot from Arizona who goes by the name of Trent Franks.

At which point long-time Cult members knew they had a serious problem.

So they took the electromagnetic pulse doom story on the road to Tea Party meetings in red states, where it is now offered with an entire menu of favorite right-wing hates: The need to end entitlements, the need for legislation to counter “voter fraud,” the need to install anti-shariah legislation at the state level, the need to expose the takeover of the US State Department by the Muslim Brotherhood in the guise of Hilary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin; the treachery of Benghazi…

In response to Politico’s Bartlett profile, Glenn Beck’s Blaze joined in.

Dealing with Iran instead of immediately proceeding with plans to go to war is a Neville Chamberlain moment:

Buck Sexton interviewed on his radio show Saturday former CIA director Amb. R. James Woolsey, now the chair of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Woosley gave a damning critique of the Obama administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear agreement.

Woolsey, CIA director from 1993 to 1995, told Sexton that Obama’s dealings with the Iranian government have been “roughly equivalent to Neville Chamberlain’s at Munich in the 1930s.???

When Sexton asked Woolsey about Iran’s potential to have a nuclear weapon ready to deploy that the U.S. couldn’t stop, the ambassador said one could be ready in “six months to a year.??? But he added that the Iranians don’t need something sophisticated in order to trigger an electromagnetic pulse, which would be “devastating.???

On that note, Woolsey told Sexton that an EMP poses a security threat in the U.S. as well.

Complete with an old picture of Hitler at Munich.

Takeaway: Like so many things in the socially-crippled US, the paranoid and steeped-in-authoritarianism mythology of electromagnetic pulse doom was turned into a highly-professionalized and tenacious industry, built on the exploitation of a thick seam of WhiteManistan kook-ism and its love of end-times stories in which the virtuous are saved and the sinners destroyed. It’s a profitable business. Just take a look at Roscoe Bartlett’s spread in Appalachia.

Roscoe Bartlett — from the archives.


  1. Ted Jr said,

    February 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    “The commercials were primarily big budget blow jobs and fantasies to some place I used to live in. ”

    When the media and blogosphere make a large fuss about “commercials” and how important they are in a significant “cultural” event, then you know your society is well and truly f—ed.

  2. George Smith said,

    February 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Now we get a week of everyone at every media outlet running analyses, lists and the score-keeping of who was up and down. Because if they didn’t they’d lose the precious eyeballs from search “trending.”