Politics

Iowa weather is nasty, and Trump fan Laura Loomer knows who’s to blame

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Over the weekend, temperatures across Iowa plunged. Extreme cold, high winds, and blowing snow have settled into the area as Iowa takes the brunt of the arctic blast now shoving into the country. When Republicans head off to caucus on Monday, temperatures will be below zero.

As of Friday, the forecast for the high temperature on Monday is -4, with 20 mile per hour winds and a low of -15. By the time people shuffle out of school hallways and church basements at the end of the caucus process, they can expect the kind of cold that makes people seriously rethink their life choices, even in Iowa. Add to this how all the snow that falls over the next three days isn’t going anywhere except into drifts and over roads, and “challenging” might be the word for the conditions at caucus time.

With Donald Trump currently holding a big lead in Iowa polls, it’s not likely this will make a difference in who wins the state. But with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley locked in a dead-even fight for second place, it may come down to which of them has the most tenacious supporters.

Meanwhile, at least one Republican activist is onto us, declaring that this bad weather is just another Democratic plot to get Trump … by controlling the weather.

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer—formerly of the most misnamed organization in history, Project Veritas—is probably best known for her rabid anti-Muslim positions. Or maybe it’s for her push to turn America into a “white ethnostate.” Or maybe it’s for how Trump praised her and she actually won the primary for the district that includes Mar-a-Lago.

It’s not so much that Loomer is a loon, as that she’s a loon whose fantastical bullshit gets heavy rotation on the right and support from Trump. The idea that people can control the weather, which is what Loomer is pushing, is one of the Great Old Ones in the conspiracy theory world.

HAARP is a research project run by the University of Alaska that studies the ionosphere. Its full name is the “High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program.” That name contains a clue as to why it’s in Alaska: It studies the same phenomena that cause the northern lights.

The heart of HAARP is a 40-acre field filled with 180 radio transmitters that run at just the right frequency to excite the ionosphere and create a small, temporary aurora. The rest of HAARP is a stack of instruments that look at the aurora. All of this is a lot handier than just waiting for the northern lights to kick up naturally and hoping to be there at the right time.

HAARP has been around since the 1990s and was initially funded by the Department of Defense which wanted to find out whether this technology could be used for long-range communication (or interfering with communications) and how it might affect surveillance of Russian planes and missiles coming over the top of the world. Whatever the DOD was out to learn, they’re apparently done because that funding is over. These days HAARP is just grad students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks occasionally tickling the sky.

But right from the beginning, conspiracy theorists latched onto HAARP and blamed it for almost anything their rabbit hole-seeking brains could think of. Earthquakes in Turkey? HAARP. Mind control? HAARP. Power outages, TWA flight 800, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? All HAARP. And yes, very definitely HAARP has been blamed for the weather just about anywhere, hot, cold, or in-between.

So Loomer isn’t even offering up an original conspiracy theory, which is about what you would expect, given her track record.

Not only is the whole HAARP thing silly, Loomer’s post doesn’t make any sense because Trump is sure to win the caucuses anyway. Not only does he have a massive lead, but if there’s any group of supporters so rabidly dedicated to their one true leader that they’re willing to get out there and freeze their dingles, it’s the folks in red hats. But really, nothing about this makes sense. Including the idea that anyone is willing to vote for Donald Trump.

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