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Extremely American

This podcast takes you inside the world of the ascendant Patriot Movement. Meet the militia members and far-right activists who are simultaneously preparing to fight the government and become part of it. Nearly a year after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, this once-shadowy movement has never been more relevant.

Extremely American on Boise State Public Radio is presented in partnership with Postindustrial Media LLC.

  • Extremely American host Heath Druzin and reporter James Dawson break down the results of the Idaho and Ohio primaries where several characters from the podcast faced voters, and the larger meaning for far-right movements in America.
  • This week’s bonus episode is a conversation with Extremely American creator and host Heath Druzin about militias and other far-right movements. It was originally a Twitter Spaces hosted by NPR and Boise State Public Radio. Don’t worry, it’s not a recap of the podcast but rather a look forward with Heath, investigative journalist Dina Temple-Raston and extremism researcher Cristina López G.
  • The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial captured militias’ attention like no other criminal case in recent memory.For them, Rittenhouse embodied the way they see themselves: protectors, keeping their communities from anarchy at the end of a rifle. His acquittal was seen as vindication for them and a green light to continue self-styled armed security.That worries a lot of people. But what’s more worrisome is the celebration of the killings at the heart of the case. The country is starting to get more comfortable with political violence and the Rittenhouse case might be just the beginning.
  • Former federal prosecutor Mary McCord is trying to put militias out of business and she’s got their attention. She’s working on a national strategy to get prosecutors and law enforcement to enforce anti-militia laws she says are on the books in every state. And it’s already starting to work. She won a lawsuit against militias who came to the deadly White supremacist Unite The Right rally in 2017. And now she’s suing a New Mexico Civil Guard militia for their role in an Albuquerque protest that turned violent and ended with a protester shot.
  • Jennifer Ellis has lost friends and received threats in her fight to get the Idaho GOP out of the grips of an increasingly far-right ideology. But she’s no liberal – she’s a conservative rancher who knows her way around firearms and has been a behind the scene player in GOP politics for years. Now she’s trying to pull her party back from its increasing coziness with militias, anti-vaxxers and other far-right groups.
  • Way up in the Northern Rockies there’s a sort of mythical 51st state. It’s called the American Redoubt and it encompasses Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Oregon and Washington. Adherents to its philosophy believe in a kind of theocratic limited government utopia, one with lots of guns. Alex Barron is the movement’s self-appointed “bard” and his rhetoric has all the violence of a Shakespearean tragedy.
  • J.R. Majewski was in Washington D.C. the day of the Capitol insurrection, hoping to see millions of U.S. votes thrown out to overturn the presidential election of Joe Biden. Now he wants your vote, at least if you live in Ohio between Cleveland and Toledo.
  • When Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the state in April 2019, his second in command wasted no time asserting her authority as acting governor. Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin gathered members of a prominent militia outside the Idaho capitol and administered an oath similar to one taken by new U.S. troops. This was just the latest move for the far-right, militia-adjacent politician.
  • People's Rights started as a poorly-attended meeting in a drafty Idaho warehouse. But anti-government activist Ammon Bundy has grown his network to more than 30,000 people nationwide, ready to mobilize and fight the government on a moment’s notice — a kind of militia on-demand.
  • The modern militia movement started, in part, in Lee Miracle’s living room. In 1994, a bunch of guys incensed about the deadly government sieges at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas gathered there. They talked about what they would do if the government came knocking on their door and agreed, they’d want backup. In this episode, Heath goes to Michigan, where Lee Miracle still runs his Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia nearly 30 years later.
  • The hubbub began on once-sleepy South Whidbey Island, Washington in 2020, and it began in the unlikeliest of places: a local grange hall. A militia group, the Washington III Percent, quietly took over the small, agriculture-centered community center and started shutting everyone else out. Then they took aim at local schools, where students were demanding more inclusion for LGBTQ+ students and students of color.
  • Eric Parker went to a ranch in Nevada, pointed his rifle at federal agents, then beat the feds in court. It made him a folk hero in the militia movement. And he’s worked hard to soften the image of his militia. Instead of fighting the government, he’s become an increasingly powerful political force pulling the state GOP even farther right. Now he’s after a new title: state Senator in Idaho.