Yesterday William Broad of the New York Times put Newt Gingrich's role as one of the chieftains of the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy onto the front page of that high button newspaper. The piece was mildly critical but such things always give the story of electromagnetic pulse doom more legs by creating the impression there's a debate worth considering between those with sense and the regular bringers of loads of rubbish.
Dick Destiny blog touched on Newt and his old obsession with electromagnetic pulse doom last month, along with his numbing videos on behald of the electromagnetic pulse doom lobby (yes, there is one), here.
Indeed, I've covered the Cult of EMP Crazy and Gingrich's regular shilling for it for years.
Gingrich's robotic script on the likelihood, nature and results of an electromagnetic pulse attack is in lockstep with everyone else in the fringe lobby representing it.
And that script is: Electromagnetic pulse doom is easily achievable and it will end US civilization.
It is not, not trivially manageable at all. But to argue this, which is what 99 percent of all journalists do when consulting one or two experts from column A and one or two from column B, gives the people who own the script way too much he said/she said stage time. It's what these people live for.
The destruction of America through sneak electromagnetic pulse attack myth is frequently extended to mean the collapse of the entire western world. The passing of the United States from the global scene takes down all Anglo civilization.
The script is always coupled to pleas for more spending in ballistic missile defense and recommendation for preemptive attack on Iran. And it has been delivered in a stream of movies, seminars, op-ed pieces and straight news stories, a brook which has flowed steadily and fruitfully for a decade. At least.
So why special attention for Iran?
Because in all the common electromagnetic pulse doom scenarios peddled by the lobby, it is either a potential Iranian nuclear bomb, or an Iranian-made one given to terrorists, launched from a barge off the coast of the eastern US, which brings on the second coming of the Dark Ages.
The lobby, along with Newt -- who has always been a part of it -- has no constituency anywhere but in the far right. But it is gifted with the tenacity shown by all true nuisances..
And just as a large bit of dog dung festering in the sun draws green bottle flies, over the years the story of electromagnetic pulse doom has also attracted lots of other noisome things, entangling it with bug-eyed paranoia, paranormal/UFO radio shows and end-of-times religiosity in the heartland. It's a potpourri of madnesses.
Newt's electromagnetic pulse attack mythology has been seized upon by fundamental Christian super-church preachers who believe and sermonize that the attack will herald the second coming, a final battle between good and evil, the predicted ascent of the flock into heaven, and the damnation of everyone else.
It has also inspired a very small congressional caucus of relative nobodies with no record of substantial legislation except relentless and unsuccessful attempts to get bills and attachments for defense against electromagnetic pulse doom passed. Most notable -- if notable is the proper word to use -- is the very old Republican Rep., Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland who made it one of his life's causes. More recently, Bartlett's Cult of EMP Crazy baton of legislative leadership was passed to a GOP politician from Arizona, birther and believer that sharia law is permeating the precious bodily fluids of American justice, Trent Franks.
This continuing story line of electromagnetic pulse doom has been hard sold so extensively for years it has also percolated into and further pickled the already perturbed minds of the nutty survivalist fringe. The favored script, and one relentlessly pressed by Gingrich, is that the country will be thrown back to something like the time shown in the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Surviving electromagnetic pulse doom will come by rule of the gun and those who have prepared themselves (the new Tom Doniphons) for it in the countryside, preferably with lots of pemmican, jerky, gold and silver, canned foods, stockpiled gasoline, underground dugouts full of ammunition and a corral of horseflesh or lovingly maintained old cars not reliant upon chip technology.
A far right Christian religiosity runs through electromagnetic pulse attack mythologizing .
It's the good and Godly in a struggle for what's left of America principles and pieties against the ravening, formerly fat and lazy Democratic liberal hordes, spilling out of the cities like the zombies in AMC's The Walking Dead.
For the Times, William Broad touched upon this briefly, as taken from the central book of electromagnetic pulse doom mythology, William Forstchen's One Second After (Forstchen is also a Gingrich co-author):
"The book describes an electromagnetic pulse attack on America, conjuring a world in which cars, airplanes, cellphones and refrigerators all die, and gangs of barbarians spring to life."
Despite being blown off by almost everyone (except the lunatic right and and Gingrich presidential competitor, Rick Santorum), -- "Mr. Gingrich's warnings remain persistently urgent," writes William Broad for the Times.
Which, honestly now, just doesn't quite describe the really crazy quality the matter has acquired over the past few years.
"Some people praise Mr. Gingrich as an atomic visionary," reads the Times piece.
Atomic visionary. Yeah, right in there with Niels Bohr, no doubt at all.
This post was published in an earlier unexpurgated form at Dick Destiny blog.