How Many Different Conversations On “Urban Camping” Are We Even Having?

by Travis Mateer

Is being homeless in a public park now illegal? What about watching sunrises in a park? Maybe we need a system reboot, like one council person suggested. Or maybe we should fund homes, not sweeps.

But what about the kids in summer camp programs? And the young woman working at Secret Seconds who regularly picks up poop and vomit? And the mom with the kid who knows what to do when she finds syringes?

I know, tell them the answer is simple: the ONLY answer to “houselessness” is housing. I agree, and am in total support of JAIL housing and NURSING HOME housing and LOONY BIN housing while we tear down every institution and rebuild this entire clusterfuck of a nation from scratch.

Sound like a plan?

Near the end of the six hour meeting I found out there WAS a plan to address all this, but guess what? According to Mayor Hess, “Our long term plan failed at the ballot box last year…”

While a totally ineffective labor personality (I wouldn’t call him a leader) tried to help the naysayers of this 90 day measure by depicting the removal of the Russell Street encampment in the most dire terms he could muster, it’s hard to say how many people actually support this emergency measure compared to how many oppose it because, frankly, it’s hard to say how many conversations we are even having.

One guy (who I couldn’t understand at all) wanted to make a SECOND comment, but was told no by our Mayor, so the man finally left after flipping Mayor Hess the bird. Was that before or after the commenter who got feint from a medical condition?

You gotta love us, the public, for doing our part sending the civic choo-choo train off the rails. Mayor Hess must have sensed the public’s desire to comment would be prolific, so there was almost NO time restraint imposed. Did I exploit this latitude graciously provided by our Mayor? No, I kept my shit tight, and as focused as possible.

One of the things I appreciated about our Mayor’s attempt at candor last night was the admission that the Authorized Camping Site (ACS) was a failed experiment where stuff like human trafficking had been occurring. In one of my comments (I made three) I conveyed this appreciation, since I had just been talking with someone about local homeless services and human trafficking earlier in the day.

At the end of the night everything passed with ease, and if it wasn’t 1:30am I might try to anticipate what this will mean in the weeks and months to come, but Heidi West asked too many questions, and thanks to the lengthy conversation about when the sun makes the outside bright enough to be considered DAY, I just don’t have anything left in the tank.

When I regain my cognitive abilities I’ll check local media and see what THEY made of the urban camping conversation. I’m sure it will be as helpful as Jim Nugent’s guidance “from above”, whatever that means.

If you appreciate my ability to sit through 6 hours of City Council without stabbing myself in the leg with my pen, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is waiting for your support, or you can make a donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading!

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And The Award Goes To…Artists Who Don’t Challenge The New Paradigm Of Power!

by Travis Mateer

Artist can be very dangerous for those who seek to direct and control human behavior, so it’s of vital importance for control-Nazis to manage the creative impulses of artistically-inclined individuals in order to properly channel the artistic output toward non-threatening behavior, like entertainment and chasing the almighty dollar.

One of the problems that exists for any artist who wants to expose this dynamic is that narrative control is the LAST thing most artists benefitting from the new paradigm of WOKE think they’re contributing to. I experienced this first-hand when I triggered Joseph Grady last August at an Arts Missoula event held at my former studio location, the Zootown Arts Community Center. I guess when BIPOCS are being displayed like butterflies pinned to a cork-board, a white dude like myself should just SHUT THE FUCK UP. That is essentially what I was told by Grady when I kept pushing about narrative control and dead black men in Missoula.

Speaking of dead people, our former Mayor, John Engen, was recently honored by Arts Missoula with a permanent money-spigot. Isn’t that nice? And appropriate?

Do these people love THE ARTS? Yes, of course they do, but only the RIGHT KIND of art. The documentary I personally financed, for example, was NOT the right kind of art, so Missoula’s little art-minions, like The Roxy, did their job and cancelled me every chance they got. And now there’s a PERMANENT fund to honor the alcoholic jokester who snaked his way into being the longest-standing Mayor in Missoula’s history.

Here’s more from the Missoulian article (emphasis mine):

“(Engen) used to say when I’d meet with him, ‘Tom, it’s very simple, we need to make sure the arts stay relevant,’ Bensen said. “And that’s pretty obvious to all of us in this room, but it’s not necessarily relevant to those outside of the room.”

Suppressing inconvenient narratives because it might undermine your political agenda is NOT any way to ensure the arts stay relevant, but that is what Engen and Company have done over the years. If this comes as news to you that’s because they have CONTROLLED NARRATIVES for a very long time.

In my information war-room where I compose these posts, the walls are covered with newspapers, old photographs, and other interesting bits of ephemera. This picture shows how the last Missoula Independent is next to an old issue of Rolling Stone. I’ll explain the relevance on after the image.

This issue of the Rolling Stone on my wall features an article describing the work, at the time, of Dr. Kenneth Stevenson. Here are some books Dr. Stevenson has written:

Those who have followed my work at this blog over the last few years probably know that Dr. Kenneth Stevenson’s son was assaulted inside the Poverello Center on January 3rd, 2020, revived by first responders, then removed from life support less than 3 days later by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office acting as the coroner BEFORE his family was notified.

What you DON’T know is how the synchronicities continue signaling to me (and others) that forces beyond my understanding are at work, in both good and NOT very good ways. On the Christ-consciousness level, I texted the following image to Sean Stevenson’s sister last Wednesday:

It’s not just what this image shows that’s significant, it’s also the timing, since the day I sent it, Sean’s mother had felt her son was trying to communicate with her. Maybe you think that’s not possible, and that’s fine. For me and Sean’s family, it reinforces a connection I can’t fully explain.

One of the weird connections I have with this family is a geographic location, and that geographic location is Colorado Springs. The picture of me above, and the picture of my friend getting ready to light up a joint, is from a trip I took as a teenager to Colorado Springs. I would later live in this Military/Christian-Conservative town, briefly, with the woman I later married.

Dr. Kenneth Stevenson went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. If that’s ringing a bell, perhaps it’s because our joke of a president recently took a spill on the stage of the Academy’s graduation ceremony:

It’s a rather sick joke to think this administration is going to be referenced by our own elected leaders as a possible funding-savior for the drug crisis pretending to be a homeless crisis, especially when this LIBERAL town doesn’t even understand the death experiences of black men in their own fucking backyard.

Dr. Kenneth Stevenson understands that kinetic wars are manifestations of a spiritual war, and to give you a sense of Dr. Stevenson’s lived experience as a Veteran and man of God, here’s the very brief bio he sent me:

Dr. Kenneth Stevenson grew up in an inner-city Pittsburgh neighborhood. Stevenson won a Congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy, beginning a fourteen-year Air Force career which saw Stevenson graduate as one of only six blacks in his class.   Stevenson was assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) as a B-52 co-pilot and later as an instructor-copilot. In Southeast Asia, he amassed almost 1200 combat flying hours and 210 combat missions. He received ten Air Medals and three Distinguished Flying Crosses for his service. He commanded his own B-52 crew at the age of 25, and was one of the youngest commanders in SAC.  

Stevenson achieved a Master’s degree Cum Laude in only nine months, from the University of Pittsburgh. Thereafter, he was assigned to the faculty of the Air Force Academy where he taught English. In 1992, he obtained his first doctoral degree, and in 1994, obtained a second doctoral degree.   The U.S. Jaycees selected Stevenson as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America. Congressman Moorehead of Pittsburgh also recognized him in the Congressional Record for his outstanding achievements. 

Dr. Stevenson later worked as a marketing representative and a corporate pilot for IBM, where he received the IBM 100% Club award for two consecutive years.   In 1985, Stevenson and his wife Mary Ann founded Everlasting Covenant Christian Ekklesia in New York, a culturally diverse church of over 700. They also established and served as principals of Everlasting Covenant Christian Academy, a private Christian school for the pursuit of excellence in all life disciplines. 

Stevenson founded a second congregation in the city of Pittsburgh, and later a school there that would serve its underprivileged youth. Renaissance Academy of Pittsburgh Alternative of Hope (RAPAH) Charter School opened in 2003, achieving Four Star academic excellence.  Dr. Stevenson has also published numerous works and has appeared on many television and radio programs. He was the Recording Secretary for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), having accompanied the American scientific team to Turin in October 1978 to study the Shroud. Stevenson edited The Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on the Shroud of Turin. and was the author and co-author of internationally known best sellers in the United States on the subject: Verdict on the Shroud, The Shroud and the Controversy,  Image of the Risen Christ, and his latest book, NAZAH: White Linen and the Blood of Sprinkling.

Dr. Stevenson has also authored other notable publications.  In addition, he produced the documentary “Behold the Man” which airs annually on Christian television. Dr. Stevenson and his wife, Mary, currently continue as co-pastors to the New York Congregation, and a growing internet audience.

A few weeks ago I was talking to police detective (not the one I called about Joey Thompson) because I wanted to let someone know about specific graffiti concerns, and in that conversation I was asked what made me become so outspoken. The question seemed to come from a place of genuine appreciation, so I referenced what happened to Sean Stevenson, and then referenced my own kids. If one of my kids died homeless in a town far away from home under very troubling circumstances, I would want someone like me advocating for a REAL account of what happened. Wouldn’t you?

So I’ve become a perpetual thorn-in-the-side of local power dedicated to popping every bullshit balloon I see floating around Double-Standard Town, but I’m ALSO still a poet writing songs and poems, like this one. I hope you enjoy it on a Monday that will undoubtedly include more than a few expressions of frustration from the public:

If you appreciate my dedication to breaking narrative control wherever it threatens truth and transparency in Zoom Town, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support me, or you can make a donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for a breakdown of whatever happens later this evening at City Council!

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Week In Review: May 29-June 2

by Travis Mateer

As I prepared to write this post up, Johnny Ryall started playing. If you’re not familiar with this Beastie Boys song about a homeless man in New York, here are some of the lyrics:

The reality of a homeless man living on the streets of a big American city, like New York, is nothing new. It’s not even unique to see homelessness in smaller towns, though services do often pull people to larger urban areas because that’s where medical services and suckers with disposable income tend to be.

So, what’s driving the current crisis in Missoula and beyond, and why does it seem more visible this year than any previous year I can remember? This week’s episode of the Week in Review should help answer those questions.

For a visual aid, here’s one example of an encampment under a walking bridge I documented on Friday. I know this urban camper well, and he’s essentially a homeless hoarder with a propensity for “landscaping” that causes serious erosion. Not good.

One of the factors making this year so problematic is last year’s closure of the Reserve Street area to illegal camping. During the last few years, after the Johnson Street shelter closed for the winter season, Reserve Street camps would bloom, but not this year.

Despite my initial skepticism, it turns out the fencing along the Reserve Street bridge, combined with private security doing patrols in the area, has effectively stopped this area from the activity that resulted in over 40 TONS of trash being removed last year. After multiple clean-ups of the area, that number ended up being closer to 60 tons, or 132,000 pounds, of homeless trash right next to our prized Clark Fork river.

Now the encampments are dispersed all around Missoula, and a recent clean-up of the disaster brewing beneath the Russel Street bridge cost the city $2,200.

This picture shows a resident of the camp, Clayton Shaya, moving shit out. I spoke with Shaya a few weeks ago about their most problematic camper, and was slightly encouraged that he did genuinely seem to be TRYING to keep a lid on the drug-fueled craziness, but it wasn’t working. This is where I saw a man so high he couldn’t get his pants up, and this is where the 24 year old with a meth dealer friend was living.

I checked this area out on Friday and only one tent remained, but this game of whack-a-mole is going to continue all summer, with hotspots emerging, and city staff trying to keep up with the complaints. For example, the park by Youth Homes has now seen a doubling of tents in direct proximity to where struggling youth are housed. This is a terrible situation, and the women who work at Youth Homes don’t feel safe.

Below is a picture from May 24th, then another one from June 2nd from a slightly different vantage point. More tents are in the vicinity, outside the frame of the camera.

The Missoulian coverage of the Russell Street clean-up is interesting to me for one reason, and that’s the critical context of Clayton Shaya’s non-appearances in Municipal Court (emphasis mine):

Thursday also happened to be the last day Shaya had a chance to appear in Missoula Municipal Court for a Public Nuisance citation he received on May 25. He failed to appear Thursday since he was busy packing up his belongings.

He said he felt the coincidence was “setting him up for failure.”

Municipal Court includes a grace period, so Shaya has until June 15 before an arrest warrant would be issued. He also failed to appear for a previous Public Nuisance citation, and that grace period extends until June 10.

This context is important because it indicates, at least to me, that the Missoulian’s editorial team might be aware of the public frustration over this newspaper’s diminished, biased coverage of important topics like this one. I will give credit where I think credit is due, so kudos to Mayor Hess for being onsite during the clean-up:

For MY coverage of local action (with an occasional post about UFOs and Nazis), the links to the week’s posts are below. Also, I wanted to include a link to an article mentioned in the podcast, and that’s the one by Brandon Smith, titled How To Solve Violence In The US? Remove Democrat Run Cities And Bring Back Asylums. It’s an interesting read. Now, the week’s posts:

A Strange Tale Is Emerging About The Days And Months Leading Up To David “Rasta Dave” Winterburn’s Arrest (May 29th, 2023)

When Political Schizophrenics Fight The Culture War In Double-Standard Town (May 30th, 2023)

Is Anyone In The Criminal Justice System Doing Their F*cking Job? (May 31st, 2023)

Normalizing Violence While Doing The Drug Dance In Double-Standard Town (June 1st, 2023)

Keeping A Close Eye On Local Government (June 1st, 2023)

Beam Me Up, Scottie, For I Can No Longer Distinguish New Agers From Nazis (June 2nd, 2023)

We’re Keeping The Coroner And Crime Lab Busy In Zoom Town! (June 2nd, 2023)

If you would like to join the list of local supporters, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is inching along toward its modest $5,000 goal, and there’s always the donation button at my about page.

Thank you for listening/reading as I figure out formats that work, and try to change around the ones that don’t. It is MUCH appreciated!

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We’re Keeping The Coroner And Crime Lab Busy In Zoom Town!

by Travis Mateer

I drove to Alberton, Montana, twice this past week, and both days (Tuesday and Thursday) the truck above was on the side of the road with the curious word HUSH painted on the back. This spot on I-90 is around mile marker 64, headed east, which is what I told the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office when I called it in. There was a person in the driver’s seat just sitting there with hands on the steering wheel, and the dog to the right, leashed to the vehicle. Weird.

On Tuesday I actually drove all the way to Superior to see if I could turn up any information on Kasen Konop, the young man who supposedly shaved his head and fled to Superior after Joey Thompson went missing on April 11th. Here’s an image from Kasen’s Instagram account, the account that supposedly had posts deleted from it:

It’s surprising how little is known at this point about the death of Joey Thompson. It’s been nearly a month since his body was found 40 miles west of where he was last seen alive and still no word about the manner and cause of death. Also, as of the writing of this post, I’ve received ZERO call-backs from both the Missoula and Mineral County Sheriff Offices. Why?

On Thursday night I couldn’t sleep, so I went downtown and walked around aimlessly for about an hour until several cop cruisers sped by me on Front Street. Where were they going? I walked in the direction the cops drove, toward the Roam student housing complex, and then toward Kiwanis Park. That’s where I saw the authorities removing a dead body from the bathroom at Kiwanis Park.

I watched this scene for awhile trying to determine if the dead body was the result of an overdose or something else. I saw a cop with a flashlight to the right of the bathroom looking for something on the ground by the picnic tables. What was he looking for?

After about 15 minutes of observation I decided to leave. Three young woman who had been going to the park before I suggested they wait wanted an update, so I told them there was a body being processed by law enforcement. Then about a half dozen young men, or boys I should say, showed up (one of ’em looked about 12 years old) and I told them the same thing. Drugs, they asked? Maybe, I replied, then I asked them if they knew about the death of Joey Thompson, and they did, including the story about how Kasen shaved his head and left town.

While the coroner and crime lab seem to be staying busy, the actual RESULT of that work is still a bit of a mystery. I’ve seen a bunch of the crime lab staff testify in court during the Lee Nelson murder trial, so I know they have fancy degrees and can dress nice, but beyond that, I have little-to-no confidence in the crime lab’s ability to act autonomously from the investigating jurisdictions they rely on day to day in this criminal just shit show.

I would like to be wrong about this assessment, but I’m afraid I’m not. And having a broken criminal justice system doesn’t bode well for creating a bustling tourist economy fueling a multi-modal, mixed-use utopia with a couple of weeks of non-mosquito weather perfection we used to be able to enjoy before every inch of park space was ceded to “houseless” drug abusers.

It’s important the tourists and low-information citizens of Zoom Town at least have some IMPRESSION that the criminal justice system isn’t fucked, so cue a well-timed bust of some SEX traffickers!

From the link (emphasis mine):

Deputies observed the conditions in Soul Massage and found what looked like a sleeping area. It had a small twin bed and a space that appeared to be used for cooking and eating. Dirty dishes and pots with food inside were visible.

In one room, deputies observed a makeshift closet with clothes and several suitcases. A small television was present. Deputies also noticed a security camera on the wall. The conditions inside the business were unsanitary, with dirty linens and floors.

A detective who is known to be an expert in Human Trafficking confirmed that victims of human trafficking in illegal brothels or commercial sex locations are often required to live on premises. By keeping victims on-premises, human traffickers are able to exercise control over the victims and can force them to work at all hours of the day or night.

I added the emphasis because I’m curious why this EXPERT detective isn’t named. I’m also wondering if the victim of human trafficking in this case got any nice recovery time in the woods with Lowell Hochhalter and Company at the “safe” house at Crooked Tree Ranch.

All this stuff is keeping ME pretty busy, but the weekend is fast approaching, so I’m going to chill out for a day, then get back to it on Sunday with a review of the week that may include one more podcast episode in the old format I’ve been using since January.

If you appreciate my local, independent journalism, then Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work. Making a donation at my about page is another. I’ll be preparing this weekend for Monday’s City Council meeting where the emergency ordinance to better address “urban camping” will be discussed, so stay tuned.

And thanks for reading!

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Beam Me Up, Scottie, For I Can No Longer Distinguish New Agers From Nazis

by Travis Mateer

I don’t often use obnoxious “fact-checking” sites, but when I do, it’s to show that even Snopes had to rate as TRUE the rapper formerly known as Kanye West’s usage of a symbol associated with a UFO cult.

Before I get to how this UFO cult led me to special-order a Playboy magazine FOR THE ARTICLE, let’s take a look at a quote from a book I just picked up at the Book Exchange, titled New Age, Neopagan, & New Religious Movements by Hugh B. Urban. From the book (emphasis mine):

Most Americans today remember the Raëlians because of their stunning claim in 2002 that they had successfully cloned a human baby. According to Raël’s message, all life on Earth had been created by the extraterrestrial designers through cloning, and we could achieve immortality by cloning ourselves and transferring our present memories into infinite future copies of ourselves. In 1997, Raël formed a company–now called Clonaid–to begin research into human cloning, and the company claimed to have developed a cell fusion device that assisted with human cloning. On December 27th, 2002, Clonaid announced that it had cloned the first human child–named “baby Eve”–a claim that triggered an intense international debate surrounding the ethics, politics, legality, and religious implications of cloning. Although no child was ever actually produced, the claim generated numerous strong condemnations from political and religious leaders on all sides, ranging from President George W. Bush to numerous democratic congressmen.

For a little more context on my own interest in the high strangeness afoot, this post about my family history with UFOs, and this post about the weirdness surrounding the movie Southland Tales, are both relevant.

Now, PLAYBOY! And please pay attention to the correlation of a certain former president along with this UFO cult:

For the Raëlian explanation of this Playboy appearance, here’s a screen-shot from their website:

I’m going to pivot now to The Dark Historical Roots of ‘Starseeds’, by Jules Evans. This article is fascinating, albeit from a perspective that’s more critical than I would be if I was writing it, but it led me to some books I’ve added to my library, and some thoughts on the origins of the Starseed concept popularized by Timothy Leary, who was influenced by Aleister Crowley. From the article (emphasis mine):

I’d never heard of starseeds before January 6 2021, when one of them stormed the Capitol building in DC. In the days after, I was researching Jake Angeli, the ‘Qanon shaman’, and discovered he ran something called the ‘Starseed Academy. Like other ‘starseeds’, Jake thinks he is a highly evolved soul from another planet. I wondered what a psychedelic hippy alien was doing mixed up in a quasi-fascist insurrection.

Since then, I’ve dived deeper into the phenomenon of starseeds, and realized the idea of ‘starseeds’ has deep historical links with fascism and white supremacy. In fact, one of the pioneers of the idea was imprisoned 60 years before Angeli, for plotting a fascist uprising in the US.
This weird history has four parts:

1) The origins of UFO mythology in the far-right occulture of 1880s-1930s
2) White supremacy and anti-semitism in UFO culture in the 1950s-1990s
3) The idea of Starseeds from the 1970s to the present day
4) Finally, I’ll ask ‘why is the idea of being a Starseed so appealing to young people now?’

While the historical origins are what interest me, the way this concept has reemerged amongst younger generations is not something I was aware of. Here’s more from the article (emphasis mine):

Starseeds are all the rage right now, particularly with Gen Z on tiktok, where starseed videos have a billion views. One viral video from 2021 featured a Heather-like starseed declaring ‘everyone asks me how I know I’m a starseed, but no one asks what is it like to be a starseed’. There are a lot of recent books on starseeds — Letters to a Starseed, The Starseed Template, Time To Wake Up Starseeds, Activation from 7 Star Races, and so on. There are starseed shows on Gaia, and endless online quizzes where you can discover what alien race you are (I’ll share one at the end). Even Cheryl has declared herself a fan of Dolores Cannon.

So what explains the popularity of starseeds today?

Perhaps Gen Z and millennials feel like they’ve been born into such a heavy geo-political situation, the best solution is extreme dissociation: find a happy place in another galaxy, far, far away. Perhaps the Qanon shaman, Jake Angeli, is an example of this dissociative flight to cosmic safety — he says he first realized he was a starseed when his father made him smoke drugs when he was a boy.

If you can stomach the modern iteration of what it means, to some people, to be Starseeds using light language to speak to aliens, this video is…quite something:

At this point you might be wondering WHY SHOULD I GIVE A SHIT? Well, in my humble opinion, there are going to be some very strange things happening in the not-so-distant future, and in order to NOT be conned by these strange occurrences, understanding where ideas like being a Starseed come from is actually important.

If you appreciate occasionally strange posts like these, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) supports my NON-alien content creation, while the donation button at my about page is for general support. I’m happy to report my TIF fund now has 15 supporters who have donated a combined amount of $1,525 dollars!

Thanks for reading!

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