August 19, 2010; Source: Chico News Service | It was sort of inevitable that far right wing and far left wing elements of the political spectrum would come full circle and meld into a gelatinous ideological union at their intersection. A good example is the Melbourne, Florida-based nonprofit called “The Patriots,” headed by a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, Robert Bowman.
His pitch is that the problem we all face is that government serves as Bowman says, “the greeds of the wealthy elite” rather than “the needs of the people.” Bowman observes, “the very far-right conservatives in this country agree with most of us far-left socialist liberals on about 95 percent of the same issues . . . both of us love our country and fear our government, with good reason.” He declares the government “a fascist dictatorship” because of the “marriage of corporation and government.”
Who is Bowman? He says he flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam and directed the “Star Wars” under presidents Carter and Ford prior to its official unveiling under President Reagan. (He says he received an award from Veterans for Peace for his succeeding in keeping Star Wars weapons out of space).
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His talk sponsored by Chico State’s Peace Institute and the Chico Peace and Justice Center feels like a distaff version of a Tea Party manifesto, calling for an end to corporate personhood, insurance companies’ profits in health care, and all nuclear testing. The Patriots website contains a list of Bowman’s personal positions on 90 issues, ranging from abortion and beach renourishment, to X-rated videos, Yugoslavia (which doesn’t exist) and zombie seeds. Like some on the left and right, Bowman is also something of a 9/11 truther.
His nonprofit provenance may, however, be a little dubious: The Patriots raised $61,635 in 2008 but spent $121,911, including $72,933 in interest payments. The Patriots ended the year with net assets of a negative $1,230,877. According to the organization’s Form 990 for 2008, Chiliad III (a firm owned by Col. Bowman and his wife) made a “working capital” loan of $17,000 to the Patriots in 1986, which had grown to $589,504 as of the beginning of 2008. The Patriots paid down $92,255 but added $192,745 in principal, ending the year with a loan balance of $685,994.
In addition, the Patriots paid Millennium III (another Bowman-owned corporation) $12,000 for office space, $6,000 for computer hardware/software/services, $7,488 for copying and printing services, and $35,677 in interest on apparently another working capital loan. Better watch out that the fascist IRS doesn’t take a closer peek at the Patriots’ nonprofit finances.—Rick Cohen