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Manning one booth was ruddy-cheeked Bryan Turner, 30, the AZ state coordinator for the Society, founded by kooky candy manufacturer Robert Welch in 1958 and named for a missionary killed by the Chinese Communists just after WWII. Asked about the old paranoid chestnut about fluoride sapping the precious bodily fluids of Americans (a line mocked by director Stanley Kubrick in his flick Dr. Strangelove), the bespectacled Turner said he'd never heard of that one.

As for JBS being conspiracy-friendly, well, he didn't exactly deny it.

"People say conspiracy theory," he lectured The Bird. "I would say we're conspiracy factists. We don't believe these things are happening by accident."

What "things," wondered this wily woodpecker? After all, commies aren't exactly the threat they once were, what with the Berlin Wall having fallen, and the Chinese being more interested in making moolah than worshipping Chairman Mao. Heh, you could even call the Chinese CINOs, "Communists in Name Only."

For the modern Bircher, there's only one conspiracy theory worth touting: the North American Union, the deranged belief that America, Mexico, and Canada will soon merge into one superstate. Never mind there's no proof of such a plan beyond the usual cooperation among neighboring countries; the Birchers have envisioned what the flag will look like, and even have an illo of the new currency, the Amero, which sports George W. Bush's putzy mug!

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons