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Bogus Bohemia

Bohemian Grove encampment brings the 1%



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Still, one thing the protesters make clear is that they are not out to evict the elite campers, only to call attention to their presence. "We're not trying to get them to close down. We're not trying to get them to stop peeing on redwoods or whatever. The goal has always been to focus on the public, to get them to understand that the way the system works is not the way you learned it in civics class, that a lot of it goes on behind closed doors," she says.

"I could care less if they're running around in pink tutus," Moore adds, joking about the 99 percent white, 100 percent male club's legendary onstage entertainment.

Moore's claims appear sound. Studies by UCSC and SSU professors confirm that there exists a class of socioeconomic elites in the club, and that networking at the Grove offers its male members tangible professional advantages.

Despite the club's motto, "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here"—discouraging members from doing business—the camp's daily Lakeside Talks are directly related to members' professions. Past speeches—all off-limits to the public—have included Justice Antonin Scalia's "Church, State, and the Constitution," Rupert Murdoch's "The Future of News," Colin Powell's "From Battlefields to Playing Fields: Economics, Energy, and Education," and an untitled speech by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger while he was still in office.

Richard Nixon, though once caught on tape calling the encampment "the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine," credits his own Lakeside Talk with marking "the first stone of [his] path to the presidency." Additionally, at the same encampment, he described in his memoirs striking a deal with Reagan that the former California governor would run for president only if Nixon faltered. Further back, Eisenhower's Lakeside Talk also helped his candidacy, and even one of the club's own leaked publications states that the Manhattan Project was conceived at the Grove's clubhouse.

Of course, there are those who believe far more serious offenses take place in the redwoods, and Moore and Occupy Bohemian Grove want nothing to do with them.

"To my everlasting shame, in 2001 I helped Alex Jones get in. He's a shock-jock on a national radio program; he comes out of Texas. He's a libertarian. It made us all look silly," Moore says, lamenting she had to follow Jones "with a pooper-scooper" explaining to the media that BGAN isn't in on his conspiracies.

Jones' hours in the grove yielded key footage for his documentaries Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove and its follow-up, The Order of Death, in which he claims members are part of a new world order who worship Moloch, ancient Ammonite deity of child sacrifice. Jones is hardly alone. In the last decade, the entrance to the Bohemian Grove has become a soapbox for 9-11 conspiracy theorists, protesters of fluoridated water and SmartMeters, and those claiming club members are Illuminati or practice satanic worship.

Despite the difficulty to disassociate themselves from fringe activists, Occupy Bohemian Grove's protest this week features the Fukushima Mothers Delegation in an event that harks back to BGAN's roots as an anti-nuke group. The event is named "Creation of Care," in opposition to the Bohemians' fire-and-hooded-figures opening ritual called the "Cremation of Care." Standing up to a club containing directors of a quarter of America's top corporations and every Republican president since Hoover, Moore arms herself only with information of the Grove's goings-on.

"The message is all we have," she says. "We don't have any other kind of power except to get a consistent, concise, clean message out there."

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