Conservatism...or extremism?

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Does anyone hear banjos?

The Bitterroot’s resident right-wing activist group, Celebrating Conservatism, presents yet another anti-government speaker this evening at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds in Hamilton. Conspiracy nut Jack McLamb picks up where ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack left off in July—parading the militia movement flag.

McLamb’s appearance is evidence of a recent resurgence in the type of anti-government sentiments that characterized the militia movement of the 1990s, says Travis McAdam, executive director at the Montana Human Rights Network.

“I think McLamb is fairly consistent with the type of speaker they’ve been bringing in,” McAdam says, adding the militia movement threatened to take root in the Bitterroot Valley before. “And that shows these are not people that identify with what you would consider main-stream conservative values.”

McLamb has a bit of a track record for right-wing extremism in the United States. He spent much of the 1990s attempting to swing law enforcement officers and military folk throughout the country toward militia activity. He currently heads the Idaho-based Police and Military Against the New World Order and is the author of the 1992 conspiracy book Operation Vampire Killer 2000.

McAdam worries that men like Mack and McLamb seek to “tap into” public fears over the recession or hot-button issues such as gun rights. The militia movement bottomed-out due to dwindling support, he says, and Celebrating Conservatism could be an effective recruitment tool.

More disturbing are McLamb’s ties to other heavy-hitters in the Christian Patriot Movement. McLamb has often appeared in public with Bo Gritz, a former Green Beret and radical militia proponent who ran for vice-president in the late ’80s alongside former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. Cute bedfellows.

McLamb appeared in Washington, D.C., in 2008 during the Ron Paul March, where he referred to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as “an inside job.”

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