As I write this sentence, the United States is thisclose to the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20th, 2021. The death rattle of the Trump Presidency is upon us.
It will be even closer by the time you read this.
Over the last several days, those of us in this country have been on high alert–with information coming at us from all sides, including the credible and possible threat of violence at capitol buildings in all 50 states, plus more violence in D.C. in the days leading up to and the day of the inauguration.
I hadn’t really planned to write another post before then. Of course, I couldn’t avoid the rampant shitposting on the conservative social media outlets. Despite the takedown of prominent conspiracy theory accounts on Twitter and Facebook (and many other places), it hasn’t stopped anyone from sharing misinformation on the likes of CloutHub and Gab and MeWe.
It’s slowed the spread to the mainstream, but the sickness is still spreading.
I know some of you may be tired of hearing about it. I understand–it’s (this whole thing) mentally exhausting. However, I’m asking you to stay with me. It is important to realize that the threat to Democracy and reality is still immense, even though DJT has been banned from a wide swath of the Internet.
I saw a post from a Facebook friend (who is also a friend in real life; I do have real life friends, I promise) the other day that was a PDF notice from the local sheriff’s department. The notice explained there was no truth to the “recent rumors” about the Missouri National Guard being enacted and martial law being imposed in my town and statewide.
The suggestion of martial law being enacted across the nation has been whipping into a frenzy MAGA Nation since at least November. I wrote about it a little bit in my post about General Michael Flynn. Of course, there is absolutely no truth to this conspiracy, but that doesn’t mean people don’t believe it.
The most pilled of Trump’s supporters would say that this announcement and others like it is simply a measure to keep the masses calm; they’d say they know better. The Storm is upon us, y’all, and now we’re all royally fucked.
Unless, of course, you’ve been a good, little soldier and have fallen into lockstep with the President, what’s left of his inner circle, and the cesspool of extremist social media. Apparently, all you need is a CloutHub account and you’re safe.
Phew. Guess it’ll be like Passover at my house.
All joking aside, people truly believe The Storm is coming sometime between now and January 20th. It’s desperate. It’s sad. And. It’s. Dangerous.
I would love to tell you this is *all I could find, but it’s not. There is post after post after post about seceding, military tribunals, and martial law. Many of these people believe that there will be a complete breakdown of communication via the Internet, cell, and all other forms of media. They are suggesting people stock up on food, water, and ammo to prepare for what is coming.
Earlier today, another friend sent me screenshots from post that went into graphic detail about how and when Trump would regain (or maintain?) control. She wasn’t sure where this post originated, and before I could even go on a hunt for the source, it popped up on CloutHub.
Apparently, according to a conspiracy theory website called Citizen First News:
If you want to read the rest of the story, which is entirely too long to post, you can do that HERE.
What I find so interesting is that people believe that if there WERE some type of military action planned, they’d know about it. Not only would they know about it, but they’re also supposed to share it with the masses. They pass it around like it’s an open secret; they share it with glee.
Imagine being excited about the takeover of your government by military force.
There is also a collective belief that “they” are not responsible for the storming of the Capitol Building in D.C. I think this is mostly a self-preservation tactic, and although it infuriates me, it’s pretty on-brand for them. It’s part of that circular logic.
In the same vein, there is also quite a bit of chatter about how the coup attempt wasn’t violent at all. What we saw on television is a lie; it’s all part of the MSM attempt to control our minds. I guess it doesn’t matter that millions of us saw it happen on live television.
The local newspaper where I live published a full page ad (not an editorial or an opinion piece or a news story) paid for by a man I’ve known my entire life who went to D.C. on January 6th, and the entire piece is rife with misinformation, not only about the election, but also about what actually happened at the Capitol Building that day.
This person wasn’t part of the actual storming of the Capitol, which I think is important to note. Still, what he has to say is a perfect example of the lies and disinformation that have become commonplace in communities like mine, a community nestled in a county that voted for Trump in the 2020 election by nearly 81%.
The attitudes in these circles are a mix of “sit back and let it happen” and “WAR!”
There are others who are not necessarily suggesting martial law or military takeover, but who have pledged their support for the use of force.
There are also several posts about how the government/BLM/ANTIFA are planning for violence in the days leading up to the inauguration in an effort to blame Trump supporters. These posts urge “patriots” to stay home in order to protect themselves.
I hope that people heed this advice, regardless of how misplaced the sentiment is.
There are also those who tend to shy away from, ignore, or who are reluctant to post anything about violence and have begun to depend upon the government and not the military directly to keep the Biden administration from having any power. These posts mostly come in the form of suggesting impeachment, not only for Nancy Pelosi, but for Biden himself (I’m not sure if they realize yet that if Biden is impeached, they would have a Kamala Harris presidency, which….seems to literally be their worst nightmare).
I think perhaps this interest comes from the likes of the QANON Prom Queen herself, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who first announced she would file articles of impeachment against Joe Biden via NewsMax on January 13th.
Greene tweets about impeaching Biden nearly every day, despite the lack of conclusive evidence of any wrong doing on Biden’s part. Extremists like Greene have taken the Hunter Biden trope and run with it.
She seems to really enjoy rallying the MAGA horde with shit she can never accomplish, like impeaching a president who hasn’t even yet taken office. I realize that the assertion here is that Biden should be impeached based on previous actions as VP, but it doesn’t matter the rationale. This is a political show. This is ‘Ol Marjorie bending over and showing the world her baboon’s ass.
I have seriously never seen a bigger fangirl.
Side note: I went in to edit this piece this morning 1/17/2021, and Greene is having a huuuuuuge meltdown because the district she represents in Georgia had low voter turnout for the January runoff election. According to Gabriel Sterling, who works in the Georgia AG’s office, North Georgia had 75k fewer votes than it did in November, while Democrats had 17k fewer.
Y’all, I am SCREAMING. She’s so pissed. How dare anyone show her the consequences of her own actions. I’m going to post the tweet below and one of her MANY responses.
It’s worth it to go over to Twitter and read her responses, which are naturally filled with lies. Still, you can see how angry she is, and it’s glorious.
ANYWAY, back to the post.
The theories about martial law, the Capitol riot, and impeachment are the latest to hit the Internet, but as always, run-of-the-mill conspiracies continue to be a favorite, because…of course?
Fuckin’ Pizzagate. Will it never end?? Take a shot for good measure.
Take another shot! Hillary Clinton.
Better take another shot for George Soros.
Also, there are an odd amount of JFK JR. posts popping up. Some of the most…strange…theories to come out of the QANON mess is the belief that JFK JR. is somehow still alive and well and ready to take over.
Here’s another weird, hot take.
The very tip of the iceberg is Stop the Steal. The very depths of the ocean is JFK JR. is still alive.
I am unsure what the next few days will bring for America. Just today, the news broke that a man with unauthorized inauguration credentials, a gun, and a wealth of ammo was arrested trying to enter Washington D.C. His name is Wesley Allen Beeler.
According to WUSA 9 News, an ABC affiliate station, Beeler claims he was working an inauguration security job and simply forgot to take the gun and ammo out of his truck, which was searched after police at the checkpoint noticed his gun-related bumper stickers, two of which said, “If they come for your guns, give ’em your bullets first” and “assault life.”
His gun, while registered in his home state of Virginia, was not registered in D.C.
Beeler also said in that interview that he’s been working for MVP Protective Services at the Capitol and National Mall since January 8th. I think it’s possible in the days to come that we’ll find out Beeler is telling the truth, at least about his job. Still, his arrest is proof positive that everyone is on high alert.
While I’m concerned with what will happen at capital cities throughout the country and what will happen on Inauguration Day, I am more concerned about what will happen after–when all of these people realize that everything they predicted did not come true. There is no martial law. There are no military tribunals. There is no Donald Trump as POTUS.
What will they do then? How will they react? When #45 has failed them. When Q has failed them. When God has failed them.
President-Elect Joe Biden said in his address to the American People on January 6th, in the midst of the attempted coup, that this is not who we are. This is not what America stands for.
However, as much I appreciate Biden’s optimism, I am here to tell you that this IS who we are. It IS what we stand for…at least in part. To deny it may be more comfortable for many of us, but that comfort comes with a price. If we do not begin to address the reality of fantasy, then we will never be able to foster change. We will never be able to move on; we will never be able to heal.
Early last week, I started writing a post about the Christmas Day Bomber in Nashville, Anthony Warner, and the pharmacist in Wisconsin, Steven Brandenburg, who destroyed more than 500 doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
I’d been researching both men and the conspiracies they believed that led them to such acts of violence (because destroying vaccine is absolutely violent), when last Wednesday, a mob of seditious traitors stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. as Congress met to certify the electoral college vote of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
I was especially worried about Wednesday, January 6th, because of the high-profile senate runoff in Georgia between Kelly Loeffler and the Rev. Raphael Warnock/David Perdue and Jon Ossoff. The race would determine which political party controlled the Senate, which is unusual in and of itself, but it was even more consequential because of the widespread and baseless conspiracy theories regarding voter fraud.
The crowds gathered, just like they’d been planning to do for weeks, at the behest of President Trump. The MAGA Cult descended upon Washington D.C., because the PRESIDENT asked them to.
On its face, that request could seem fairly benign. I guess. Maybe. At least, I understand why someone might argue that asking supporters to come to D.C. is not the same thing as asking supporters to storm the Capitol Building. Regardless of belief system, it is the right of Americans to protest, to peaceably assemble.
Of course, Trump didn’t merely ask his supporters to come to D.C. He actually walked outside and spoke to them. There was a stage. There were huge, blue banners on either side of the (massive) stage that said, “SAVE AMERICA MARCH!”
The rally was organized by a 501c(4) group known as Women for America First (insert gagging and puking noises here) and chaired by a woman named Amy Kremer, who has been deeply entrenched in far-right politics for more than a decade.
Here’s the Facebook page for Women for America First.
If you visit their page, you’ll see that they make absolutely no mention of the riot at the Capitol. It’s like it never even happened.
Kremer’s personal Facebook page looks pretty much the same way, skipping from January 9th, when she updated her profile picture to a zoomed in crop of Trump’s face, all the way to January 3rd. There are no (public) posts in between.
Every speaker at the rally that day, including Kremer, whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Don Jr., when it was his turn to speak, said, “This isn’t their Republican Party anymore! This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party!”
You know, dictator stuff.
Rudy Giuliani said, “Who hides evidence? Criminals hide evidence!” and “Let’s have trial by combat!” He also spent quite a bit of time talking about the “rigged” Dominion voter systems, and he was accompanied by some guy who explained to the crowd how the vote in Georgia had actually been stolen the night before in the runoff election, just like it had been stolen in November.
Finally, Trump comes out on stage. He essentially starts his speech by bashing the media and telling his crowd that the media will never cover them fairly, which goes on for minutes. Then he says, “They rigged the election. They rigged it like they’ve never rigged it before.”
“The election was stolen by the radical Democrats and the fake news media.”
“We will never give up. We will never concede. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”
“Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about.”
“We will not let them silence your voices. We aren’t gonna let that happen.”
“They’ve used the pandemic as a way of defrauding the people of a proper election.”
“We’re gonna have someone in there who should not be in there, and our country is going to be destroyed.”
“Our election was so corrupt, that in the history of this country, we’ve never seen anything like it.”
“We’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“We fight. We fight like hell. And if we don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
“We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try to give…the weak Republicans…the boldness they need to take back our country.
That’s exactly what Trump’s mob did. They walked to the Capitol. They lingered outside for a while, and then, almost suddenly, the broke through barricades and began to storm the steps.
And then they got inside the building, leaving absolute chaos in their wake.
I watched it happen on live television, just like nearly everyone else in the country (and probably the world). I sat there on the couch all day, intermittently infuriated and devastated.
Lots of people saw this coming. We were shocked, but we weren’t surprised. That seems to be the running sentiment of anyone who’s been paying attention to the emergence of online extremism to the mainstream over the last four years, and especially since the election.
Every single blog post I’ve written here, at Tiny Blue Dots, is about this extremism and the dangers of it, and come on—there had been chatter online for weeks about the “protest” in D.C. on the 6th. It wasn’t a secret that thousands of Trump supporters planned to converge on the Capitol.
We already know that 5 people have died as a result of the riot. One of them was a Capitol police officer named Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to the injuries he sustained while trying to control the crowd. He was just doing his job. It is heartbreaking, and it is infuriating, that a mob of people who were literally carrying “thin blue line” flags murdered a police officer. Another office involved in the Capitol riot died on Sunday, January 10th, but no real information has been released about that death, although some media sources are claiming he died of suicide.
The 4 other people killed were rioters themselves—55-year-old Kevin Greeson from Alabama, 50-year-old Benjamin Philips from Pennsylvania, 34-year-old Roseanne Boyland from Georgia, and finally, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt from California.
Babbitt’s death has been the highest profile of them all, as she was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer, and the shooting was captured on video. It’s been widely shared on the internet and on television. I won’t link the video here. It’s there if you want to find it, but while I am going to go into a little detail about her life (and death), I don’t think sharing video of that death is appropriate here. I don’t relish her death or the deaths of anyone who died on Wednesday, and before I write anything else, I want to make that perfectly clear. These deaths were senseless and avoidable.
Ashli Babbitt had become an avid follower of QANON conspiracy theories over the years. According to multiple sources, she was one of those people who had a lot of feelings and when she got it in her head to do something/believe something, it became near obsession. Honestly, I can identify with that, as someone with a bit of an obsessive personality myself.
However, her descent into the world of online conspiracy theories didn’t happen overnight. We all know by now that Babbitt was an Air Force veteran, who’d spent 14 years in the military.
After being discharged, Babbitt worked for a nuclear powerplant for a couple of years in California. After that, she opened up her own pool supply store, according to an article in The New York Times.
Ashli Babbitt struggled in her personal life and her professional life. According to the same NYT article, her husband’s former girlfriend filed multiple complaints about Babbitt and had a restraining order against her for stalking. In 2017, Babbitt and her pool company were sued for $71,000 for failing to repay a loan.
Even though sources say she voted for Obama both times, she eventually found her place in politics when Donald Trump entered the arena. She became a fervent supporter, and as so often happens with Trump’s most passionate loyalists, she also began to believe and espouse much of the far-right wing rhetoric that has become commonplace since 2016.
You can see in this picture of her from January 6th, the “Q” emblem on her jacket. The very bottom part of the patch (or button or sticker—I can’t tell) is a fragment of the common Q phrase, “Where we go one, we go all.”
After storming the Capitol Building, Babbitt was shot in the neck by Capitol police after she was hoisted up by two men, and she attempted to climb through one of the windows that had been broken by her fellow rioters.
She was pronounced dead later that day at the hospital.
The last thing she wrote on Twitter was this, on January 5th: “Nothing can stop us. They can try and try and try but the storm is here, and it is descending upon D.C. in less than 24 hours…dark to light!”
If you’ve read my previous blog post about QANON, you know what that is.
Ashli Babbitt died bloody, wrapped in a Trump flag, because she truly believed that Wednesday, January 6th, was going to be a day of reckoning.
Babbitt believed, much like “Elizabeth from Knoxville,” who claimed she was maced while rioting inside the Capitol (who some believe was holding an onion in her towel during the video, while others say it was a piece of ice), replied to a reporter who asked her what the hell she was doing in the Capitol in the first place: “We’re storming the Capitol! It’s a revolution!”
Ashli Babbitt and Elizabeth from Knoxville certainly weren’t the only two people who believed the day in D.C. would become the day they Stopped the Steal. Thousands of people in D.C. last Wednesday believed this lie. Now many of them are being arrested and charged in federal court for their participation in the disgusting act of sedition we all witnessed on national television.
Some of the most famous faces from that day are Richard Barnett from Arkansas, who was pictured with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, who later told a reporter that he “didn’t steal” the piece of mail he was holding (which was addressed to Billy Long, a member of Congress from my home state of Missouri), because he’d “put a quarter on her desk” as payment. He also told reporters that he scratched his balls in her office.
Adam Johnson from Florida was pictured smiling, waving, and carrying Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives.
Jacob Chansley (known online as Jake Angeli/The Q Shaman) from Arizona was shown in multiple pictures hanging out, screaming at people, and just being an all-around fun guy.
Lonnie Coffman, a 70-year-old man from Alabama was carrying unregistered pistol and police found Molotov cocktails and other firearms in his truck.
So far, more than 80 people have been arrested in connection to the attempted coup, and I expect in the days to come, many more will face a similar fate. Even if rioters manage to escape federal or local charges, their names and faces will forever be associated with what will undoubtedly go down as one of the most hostile days in our history.
I want to circle back to Jacob Chansley for a minute, because when I saw him on television last Wednesday, in all his horned glory, I knew who he was. He’s become one of the most recognizable faces of the riot, not only for his appearance, but because he was one of the first people to be cast as an “ANTIFA bad actor” by the right wingers, despite the fact that there is much evidence to the contrary. Those of us who have spent any time in the QANON sewer know this man as Jake Angeli, the Q Shaman.
One of the podcasters I follow on Twitter, Travis View, who hosts the QANON Anonymous podcast, posted a video he captured in November of Chansley in Arizona, speaking to a crowd of protesters at the Maricopa Tabulation Center.
In other words, Chansley is no “bad actor.” He’s a regular, run of the mill QANON terrorist.
**Side Note** The QANON Anonymous podcast is THE BEST podcast, in my opinion, if you want a window into the minds and actions of the people deeply entrenched in the QANON conspiracy theory. The hosts of the show—Travis View, Jake Rockatansky, and Julian Fields are fantastic journalists, and they’re funny as hell. I also suggest paying for the premium episodes through Patreon.
Anyway, back to the horned douche bag. Chansley is a regular at QANON events, and wouldn’t you know it? I found him on Parler, which seems to be (as of yesterday) one of the only social media outlets where he still exists.
From his Parler, I linked to his video feed on Rumble, and boy is it a trip. Apart from being full QANON, this dude believes he is a Super Soldier, which is, well, sort of like an alien from another dimension. Honestly, I tuned him out after he used the term “starseed.” In one video, he gives an hour and a half explanation of his origin, which is titled: “An Avenger’s Story: Captain America.”
Let’s all stop for a second to say a collective, “Fuuuuuuuuuuck.”
In a Washington Post article, Chansley apparently called the FBI and told them he, “came as part of a group effort with other patriots from Arizona, at the request of the President that all patriots come to D.C. on January 6th, 2021.”
The vast majority of these people, it seems, aren’t trying to hide from the law or their part in the Capitol takeover attempt. Although some of them, like Jenny Cudd from Texas, who livestreamed herself in the Capitol and has since tried to downplay her involvement, just like newly elected (and since resigned) West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans, who ALSO livestreamed himself inside the capitol and has since claimed through his lawyer that Evans was just acting as a “amateur journalist” recording the day’s events, even though he posted a video earlier in the day (that has since been deleted) where he can be seen saying, “They’re making an announcement right now: If Pence betrays us you better get your mind right, because we’re storming that building.”
An article by Reuters also reports that both police officers and firefighters in multiple states have been placed on administrative leave pending investigations for their part in the Capitol riot. It has been pretty well documented that there is a QANON presence within the police force nationwide, so this tidbit of information doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise to me. Even fallen officer Brian Sicknick, who on his Parler account described himself as a “Patriot, Veteran, and Constitutionalist” followed a few QANON accounts there. He doesn’t appear to have ever shared anything Q related, however.
Sicknick’s death is absolutely tragic. He did not deserve to die, and he died defending his country, which absolutely does make him a patriot. The fact that he was murdered by people who probably, at the end of the day, he fundamentally agreed with goes beyond the bounds of tragedy.
It’s clear to me that these people who have traitors to their own country, truly believed in the cause for which they rioted. They believed in the president for whom they were willing to die. They really thought that there would be a storm, some kind of reckoning. They believed, most of them, the same way Elizabeth from Knoxville believed—it’s a revolution.
Of course, it wasn’t a revolution. It was a poorly orchestrated and attempted coup.
It was sedition.
It was treason.
It was a lie.
And that lie was perpetrated by the man who holds the highest office in The United States of America—President Donald John Trump.
Trump has been not only allowed but encouraged to spout his lies for years unchecked. He’s been allowed to bully those who will not capitulate. He’s been allowed to say whatever and do whatever from the Oval Office and on social media, and it wasn’t until his vast web of lies culminated in a massive act of violence that anyone with any power themselves really and truly did anything about it.
Make no mistake, Trump is not alone. He’s been able to do what he has done over his presidency with the help of many, many other people. I believe that Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senator Lindsey Graham are absolutely complicit, but when we speak to the insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday, there are other names that stand out further, like Senators Ted Cruz from Texas and Josh Hawley from Missouri. They are part of a group of Senators who have been deemed the “Seditious Six,” because even after the riot, they still voted to reject the electoral college vote in the Senate. The other four on this list are Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
141 members of the House of Representatives also voted not to certify. Here is a picture of the 6 Senators plus the 141 members of the House.
Freshman House Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene from Alabama (who I’ve written about at length in another blog post) continues to viciously defend Trump on Twitter and Parler.
I’m not sure how much pressure other GOP lawmakers are getting for the part they knowingly played in the moments leading up to the insurrection, but in my state, Josh Hawley is getting quite a bit of pressure to hold himself accountable (which he will never, ever do). Several of his financial and political backers have denounced him, he lost his book deal with Simon & Schuster, newspapers are calling for him to resign, and there were protests in St. Louis over the weekend.
We also need to add General Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood to the tally of individuals who have incited violence, knowingly lied, and worked to perpetuate fraud on the American people.
Lin Wood is the most unhinged of them all, calling for VP Mike Pence to be executed by firing squad on Parler in a since deleted (by Parler) post. He’s claimed he wasn’t being literal but come on. Lin Wood doesn’t know the meaning of hyperbole. I don’t even have the time it would take to go through his vast catalogue of batshit posts, but here are a few, just so you understand what I’m talking about.
On Friday, Twitter took the extraordinary move to ban Trump from Twitter indefinitely, right after it banned Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, General Flynn, and many others, including several QANON supporting and adjacent profiles (like Praying Medic, who I also wrote about in my post about Marjorie Taylor Greene). In the last few days, Trump has also been banned from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and many other social media networks. Both Apple and Google have removed the Parler app from their app stores, and Amazon announced it would no longer host the website, effectively removing it from the web altogether. As I’m typing this on Monday afternoon, January 11th, Parler has moved to sue Amazon for that removal.
Now those who truly don’t understand the meaning of the 1st Amendment are crying foul, which honestly, is pretty par for the course. Not only do they not know the way their constitutional rights work, but they’re also livid over this supposed censorship for all the wrong reasons. In my opinion, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook have been, much like lawmakers, complicit in the events that transpired last Wednesday. They have allowed rampant hate speech to dominate. They have allowed outrageous lies and half-truths to circulate across the globe. It’s not just what’s happened here, in this country. These social media networks have a history of allowing bile to spill forth from all over.
While I’m glad they’ve finally taken action, it’s too little, too late, and although I enjoy watching the far-right masses scream in displeasure, this mass effort to muzzle Trump has only resulted in further outrage that could incite more violence. Let me be clear, though—it had to happen.
I think we could be having a productive discussion about what is and is not permissible information to share via social media, especially when it comes from those with a large following. There is a level of responsibility—both from those who run the social media outlet to the person sharing the information. While I think we could argue about what does and does not constitute violent rhetoric, there really is no argument for allowing anyone to share false info, and it doesn’t matter how angry Trump’s base is about it. Nobody, and I mean nobody, should be allowed to lie about things like voter fraud and pedophilia. Nobody should be allowed to tell us that “the storm” is coming, when there is no fucking storm.
Lies laced with hate are exactly how we got here.
Still, the fact remains that Donald Trump is the cancer, but he’s not the root cause. Removing Trump from office would be a good (and unlikely) first step. Banning him from ever running for office again is a good second step, but his base isn’t going to go away, and it’s not just because of their undying worship of him. His base has always existed, and we will never be able to heal until we address the issue of why they exist.
We can’t do that until we’re ready to have a hard, and I mean really hard, conversation.
I’ve spent most of my life living in small towns. The people here are tired. They’re poor. They’re angry. They’re frustrated. They live in a cycle of generational poverty that isn’t getting any better. The wealth disparity is enormous. People cling to their bibles and their guns because it gives them a reason to get up every morning. People cling to fascists like Donald Trump because he tells them that it’s not their fault they struggle, and unlike their Bibles, he tells them they don’t have to wait until they die to reach the Kingdom of Heaven. All they have to do is blame someone else, anyone else, for their dire circumstances.
It’s not a groundbreaking concept. It’s how all dictators gain and hold tight their control, and if we want to keep the sores of our nation from festering, we have to address the fact that we live in a society where the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich. We have to address the fact that the American Dream died in the 1970’s for poor, white people and never even existed at all for people of color.
We need to discuss the reasons why a group of people who, over the summer rallied behind police officers, would so casually beat one to death. We need to discuss why a group of people would proudly and loudly call themselves deplorables and believe people like Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani when they tell them the “elites” hate them, even though Trump and Giuliani are the literal picture of elite. We need to understand the psychology of both hating rich people and wanting to be rich people at the very same time.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a seminal novel in high school English classes across the country. It’s a fantastic work of literature, and there is a reason why we discuss it still today. I think most of us could agree that the very same problems that plagued the town of Maycomb in Atticus Finch’s Alabama are the same problems that continue to plague us. That all white jury believed Mayella Ewell and her white trash family over Tom Robinson, despite the wealth of evidence that proved Mayella was a liar, and if for a second they considered that Tom Robinson wasn’t a lustful black man who wanted to rape Mayella, all of that changed the second Tom admitted he felt sorry for her.
Because at the end of the day, that jury believed that it was better to be poor, white trash than to be black, and if you think for a single second that 99% of the men and women who stormed the Capitol on May 6th don’t also believe that, then you are dead fucking wrong.
If you believe that this divide, this desperate value system isn’t at the very heart of everything going on in our country right now, then you are dead fucking wrong.
The people who committed acts of sedition by breaking the windows of one of our most sacred buildings, who propped their feet up at the desks of our elected officials, who smeared excrement on the walls and floors, who beat a policeman to death, who trampled one of their own, who hopped over chairs carrying zip ties, who chanted to hang our Vice President, who called Nancy Pelosi a bitch and a cunt and sent texts to their friends about wanting to murder her will absolutely be held accountable, but they have already fared far better than any POC would have fared had they attempted half of that.
And make no mistake—the people at the top who urged them on nearly every traitorous step of the way will fare far better still.
Last week, I read an article from NPR about a former Houston, TX police captain named Mark Anthony Aguirre, who’d been arrested for assaulting an air conditioning repair man in October. He believed the man was part of a voter fraud scheme involving Mark Zuckerberg and Hispanic children.
It was such a bizarre story, that I saved the link so that I could come back to it later. I mean, I’ll be honest, there’s not a whole lot going on right now in the United States that isn’t bizarre. Still, I thought maybe it warranted a deep dive, especially because this assault wasn’t just a random, red-pilled, nutjob acting of his own volition. He was paid by people to “investigate” this alleged fraud, and I wanted to know why.
The office for the District Attorney of Harris County released a statement on December 15th about the incident. I’ll post a screenshot of it below, but it states that Aguirre had been to the authorities at least once before about alleged voter fraud before the incident in October. Aguirre was arrested for running a man off the road and then pointing a gun at the man’s head, demanding to know about the voter fraud Aguirre believed to be taking place prior to the November 3rd election.
Aguirre told police that he was working for a group called Liberty Center (NPR referred to them as the Liberty Center for God and Country). The group was “conducting a civilian investigation into the alleged ballot scheme.” Aguirre then told the police that he’d been surveilling the man for several days, believing that the man was holding 750,000 fraudulent ballots in his truck. According to the D.A.’s statement, “Instead, the victim turned out to be an innocent and ordinary air conditioning repair man.” An unidentified suspect took the truck to a parking lot and abandoned it. When police searched the truck, all they found were air conditioning parts and tools.
The D.A.’s statement also says that Aguirre was paid $211,400 for this “investigation.” NPR says he was paid a whopping $266,400. The NPR article also goes a little bit more in-depth about the voter fraud that Aguirre thought he was going to stop, vigilante style. He allegedly told police that his victim was using Hispanic children to sign the 750,000 fraudulent ballots because their fingerprints wouldn’t show up on any database and that Mark Zuckerberg had given 9.37 billion dollars to fund this scheme.
Three days before Aguirre and two unnamed suspects (Aguirre won’t name his accomplices) attacked this poor man, Aguirre called the Texas A.G.’s office asking for a traffic stop to help his investigation. When Aguirre was denied help, he told them he would handle the situation himself. Concerned that he would make good on his threat, the A.G.’s office called the police. Aguirre also called the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
After Aguirre had exhausted all of his legal and law enforcement outlets, he and his two accomplices set up shop at a local Marriott and planned the heist.
This is the first time I’ve read about one of these conspiracy theorist wackadoodles actually contacting law enforcement or anyone in government before carrying out their plan. Admittedly, Aguirre didn’t give these people any of the details of the assault, but he did reach out. Generally speaking, most of these people are distrustful of anyone in positions of authority, because they believe that those, at least in the government, are part of the fraud. It’s an interesting dichotomy, because the vast majority “back the blue” but also fervently believe in the Deep State. I don’t know if they don’t think the long arm of the Clintons extends out to local law enforcement, but it’s still odd that Aguirre would contact anyone he doesn’t implicitly know. I’m guessing that his time spent as a law enforcement officer (there’s some good research out there about cops and their penchant for QANON if you’re interested) allowed him to feel comfortable with making the calls that he made.
At any rate, Aguirre was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which can carry up to a 20-year stent in prison. An article written about the case on one of ABC’s affiliate stations in Houston, Channel 13 Eyewitness News, a copy of the full affidavit is available. You can read it in its entirety HERE.
I also found it odd that the incident took place in October, but the arrest didn’t come until earlier this week. I assumed they were building a case. The Texas A.G.’s office said they’d called the police, but it seemed as if nothing happened with that phone call, since Aguirre was clearly not being followed or investigated when the incident happened. However, the affidavit reports that the contact in the A.G.’s office merely reported the incident to his supervisor, not that he contacted the police. So, it’s possible that the information never made it out of the office at all (which is a huge failure on their part, if that’s the case).
The affidavit also confirms the sum of money $266,410 (as reported by NPR) that Aguirre was paid by the Liberty Center. $25,000 was paid on September 22, 2020; $25,000 was paid on October 9, 2020; and a final sum of $211,400 (probably where the A.G.’s office got their number) on October 20, 2020, which was the day after the incident. The affidavit was issues on December 10, 2020.
Aguirre was arrested and booked into the Harris County Jail on $30,000 bond, which seems pretty low to me, considering the huge sum of money Aguirre recently acquired. He could easily bond himself out, and so could his benefactors at the Liberty Center.
Oddly enough, I have some experience with offenders locked up in the Harris County Jail (it’s a long story), so I knew where to go to do an inmate search. Predictably, Aguirre was no longer listed as an inmate. A search for his name yielded no results.
I did a little more digging and found that he had, in fact, bonded out. I found that info through a VINE search. It doesn’t say who bonded him out, and I couldn’t find the bonding info anywhere. I found conflicting info about if the bonding record could even be found online, but I haven’t found it yet. If I do, I’ll update this story. There’s really no way to guess who provided the money, because it’s clear that Aguirre has the funds to do it himself. My other guess would be the dudes over at Liberty Center, who we’ll discuss later.
If I were the victim of this assault, or a member of his family, I would be concerned about Aguirre making bail. I think Aguirre and the people who paid him for this “surveillance” turned violent are dangerous, and I wouldn’t put it past them to continue harassment of this family, because it is likely that Aguirre and anyone else who might be involved still believe in the victim’s supposed involvement in this lie of voter fraud.
I’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so I won’t go into more detail about the affidavit, but I encourage you all to read it. It’s really interesting stuff.
Before we get into the players behind the Liberty Center, who are really at the heart of all of this, I think it’s probably important to write a little bit about Mark Anthony Aguirre.
In 2002, Aguirre was a police captain for the city of Houston. At the time, he had 23 years on the force when he oversaw a raid in a K-Mart parking lot that ended up going very, very wrong. The original plan had been to stop illegal drag racing in the area, with undercover cops roaming around, trying to find out who was planning to race. Bystanders were supposed to be sent home. However, according to a 2003 article in the Midland Reporter Telegram, when the police found no evidence of drag racing, they began to arrest people en masse. More than 270 people were charged with trespassing and curfew violations (a recent Heavy article put the number at 425), which included patrons of the K-Mart, the nearby Sonic, and the nearby James Coney Island drive-in restaurant.
The arrests caused such a public outcry, that it sparked the largest internal affairs investigation in the Houston police department to date. All of the charges against the individuals arrested were eventually dropped and the records were expunged at the department’s expense. Several lawsuits against the city and department were filed, and Aguirre and 13 other officers were suspended with pay. Aguirre and another officer were eventually charged with 5 counts of oppression over the incident. Aguirre’s attorney said that he expected the department to fire Aguirre and that Aguirre would “fight any departmental discipline.”
I found another article in the Houston Chronicle dating back to September of 2002 (the raid happened during the summer of 2002) that reported Aguirre ordered someone within the police department to buy more than $260 worth of “No Trespassing” signs the day before the raid. They were posted on private property prior to the raid, which is illegal. Police can’t place trespassing signs anywhere but city property. This suggests to me that Aguirre at least had a hunch that he would need more than a drag racing charge to arrest people.
Anywayyyyyyy…Aguirre was eventually acquitted of all charges in June of 2003, but Aguirre had already been fired by the department, and he was not offered his position back on the force. A 5 Fast Facts article on Heavy reported that at the time of the raid, Aguirre was angry that momentum in the force to crack down on crime had waned, and he had at least once been the subject of an anonymous complaint to the department about threatening other officers using profane language. The article also reported that after Aguirre’s acquittal, he was angry with the force for his treatment, felt he’d been betrayed, and wanted his job back as well as any back pay.
After leaving the Houston police force with what many would accurately describe as a tarnished record, Aguirre went on to become a private investigator of sorts. Both his private page as well as his business page make this distinction. His Facebook business page, while stating that he is a private investigator, is listed as a “lawyer and law firm.”
Both pages are fairly sparse, and I’m not sure if that’s because they’ve been scrubbed since his arrest made national news, or if they were just always that way. There are no public posts after 2016 on his private page and no posts after 2017 on his business page.
Obviously, the trolls have found him.
I can’t find any evidence that he was in any kind of legal trouble between 2002 and 2020.
Whatever the case, Aguirre is in some pretty hot water now, as he should be. However, it remains unclear whether or not the bros over at Liberty Center will be charged with any misdeeds.
Who are those guys, anyway?
The NPR article reported the names of two other men. One man is a Houston-area lawyer named Jared Woodfill, who represents a man named Steven Hotze. Steven Hotze is the CEO of Liberty Center. He is also an M.D. and big time Republican donor and activist.
And boy howdy, is Hotze active.
Hotze has a long record of donations to Republican PACS, candidates, and the Republican Party. The website Open Secrets has a running list of all of his donations, and I calculated that he’s donated at least $272,000 over the years. $62,900 of that are donations to Ted Cruz alone (can’t wait to tweet old Count Chocula later about that), and he also donated money to that pedophile from Alabama, Roy Moore. If you want to see the records for yourself, you can do that HERE. I didn’t find any other records of donations, but it’s likely that the more than quarter of a million reported by Open Secrets is just a fraction.
Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, I guess?
The problem is that Hotze is a pretty well-known extremist who has spent years lobbying on an anti-LGBTQ+, pro-life agenda. It’s like his whole life has been leading up to the events of October, in some sick culmination of hatemongering of epic proportions.
I found a 1982 scanned PDF of an article from the Austin Bulldog about Hotze that is…well, it’s pretty fucking gross. The article is titled “Decency Ordained: Austin’s Anti-Gay Crusade.” The author, Kenneth W. Martin, gives the reader quite a bit of insight into the psyche of Steven Hotze. In 1982, Hotze was the founder of an organization called Austin Citizens for Decency, and he was on a mission to make sure housing authorities could discriminate against gay people. Martin writes that an ordinance was passed in 1977, that banned discrimination based upon sexual orientation in public accommodations and employment practices. This ordinance displeased Hotze, and he wanted to keep the ordinance from including housing in that discrimination.
Hotze began to share inflammatory media around town about “the gays taking over the city and schools.” He stormed a city council meeting with bible thumping Christians who yelled scripture condemning homosexuality, and Martin writes that Hotze managed to get a measure the housing discrimination measure on the ballot.
(Hotze’s effort failed, and the people of Austin voted down the measure.)
Martin goes all the way back to 1967, when Hotze was in high school. He organized a patriot parade, where attendees carried signs that had written slogans like “Christ is Cool” and “God Is Not Dead.” Martin also notes that the Hotze family was neighbors with the Bush family, which I think is absolutely fascinating and probably pretty telling in that so far, he’s managed to escape any kind of real trouble over the years.
I’m not suggesting the Bushes helped Hozte, but I am suggesting that there is a certain kind of privilege that comes with being a rich white guy in Texas.
Hotze’s firebrand of hate wasn’t limited to the gay community. I guess organizing patriotic parades wasn’t enough for him, and he started his campaign of terror against abortion in 1969 (even though it was not yet federally legalized). He lobbied with his mother to keep laws against abortion in the state of Texas from being abolished, and they were successful. Hotze’s father at the time of the ’82 article, was the president of the Texas based Foundation for Life, and his mother was the editor of the Life Advocate Newspaper. Clearly, anti-abortion ideals started at home. He continued to be an anti-abortion lobbyist through at least 1981. From there, his focus seems to have shifted, at least in part, to the anti-gay movement. Martin ends the article by quoting Hotze: “Homosexuals want public acceptability; they want homosexuality taught in public schools, in sexual education programs, and they want to abolish laws that make it illegal to have sex with minors.”
Her’s a picture of a very young Steven Hotze from around that time.
Hotze’s ideals weren’t exactly revolutionary for the time. There were (and still are) many people who agree(d) with Hotze. It’s possible that people who believed like Hotze did in the 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s have changed their opinion about abortion and homosexuality. Hotze, however, isn’t one of them, and he’s spent his life watching the world change without him.
I think that’s made him very, very angry, and he’s made a career of methodically amping up his hate.
Hotze’s Twitter feed is preoccupied with medical remedies and election fraud. Weird flex, but okay.
This is his medical practice’s webpage.
This is the Liberty Center for God and Country’s webpage, which is basically just a forum for Hotze to write weird blog posts in the “news” section. It’s patriotic in the way only neo-conservatives know how to be conservative—by mentioning patriotism and God in every other word (if you’re playing a drinking game, DO NOT visit this page). Recently, Hotze’s posts on the Liberty Center page have been centered upon voter fraud (soooooo shocking).
The Liberty Center for God & Country’s Facebook page does not hold back. Hoetz doesn’t seem to have any issue posting (or allowing others to post) divisive rhetoric.
When he’s not espousing rage and praying for Communists (read: Democrats) to be murdered, Hotze is an M.D. with a medical practice to run. I guess if you were looking for a doctor in the Houston area, and weren’t aware Google existed, you might be lulled into believing he is just a regular dude with a license to heal.
Dr. Hotze has quite a lot of opinions about women—especially their health. He’s clearly a man of many strong opinions, especially about issues that do not directly apply to his specific medical credentials.
I found a 2005 Houston Press article that was a little bit about Hotze’s extremist political views, but it was mostly about Hotze’s extremist medical views. In part, they noted:
After writing those interesting views on women and health for the Coalition of Revival (if you grew up like I did, both of those words mixed together ought to send shivers down your spine), Hotze opened his own medical practice. The Press notes that much of the money he made from his private practice went into his political interests, and in 2000, his political action committee, Citizens for American Restoration (which is now defunct) had been fined at least $5000 for violating various campaign finance laws.
At one time, somewhere between 2000-2004, Hotze reported to the State Board of Medical Specialties that he was a board-certified otolaryngologist, which was a total fabrication. That information has since been removed, and Hotze shifted tack to hormone replacement therapy and yeast infections (gross, dude). Basically, he’d become more of a “natural medicine” type of physician, and by his own admission, most insurance companies do not (or at least in 2005, did not) accept his therapies as “medically necessary.”
It gets even weirder from here. The Press obtained a medical booklet that Hotze provided to potential patients, and here’s what it said:
I’m providing this insight into Hotze’s medical practice because, at least in part, it provides a bit of backdrop for his political ideologies. Hotze, despite the fact that (I assume) he is supposed to believe the Hippocratic Oath, he does no such thing. He believes himself to be of superior mind in all things.
Makes sense for a guy who believes homosexuality is of the devil and that women could not possibly be attractive while taking birth control.
And WTF is that about men not being able to read maps if they lose a testicle? How utterly fucking bizarre is that???
My dude is a straight up quack.
I assume Dr. Hotze still has both of his testicles, but he sure can’t read a room to save his life.
Because much like Donald Trump, Steven Hotze is a loser, and I’m not writing that just because I find him personally morally bankrupt. It’s just the truth. He keeps finding himself on the losing side of, well, everything. It’s not just that he lost his anti-abortion fight in the 70’s when Roe v. Wade prevailed or that he lost the vote in Austin to allow housing discrimination against gay people or even that he runs a financially and ethically questionable medical practice, which has been fined and written about with disdain since the early 2000’s.
His anger continued to escalate.
In 2015, Hotze pulled out a literal sword on stage at a rally and asked the audience to drive the “gay nazi satanic cults out of Houston” and “back to San Francisco where they belong.”
In the background, you can see his PowerPoint presentation has the words “The Homosexual Manifesto” written on it, which is a satirical essay that was written by Michael Swift in 1987.
In 2016, The Liberty Center for God and Country was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, probably for shit like the picture above.
That same year, the Texas Freedom Network wrote a series of posts about Hotze’s failed effort to install his buddy Jared Woodfill (yeah, the same lawyer from the NPR article) as the chair of the Texas Republican Party. Oh, and he lost his bid for Vice Chair, too, when he supported Cathie Adams, who the TFN reported was the head of the Texas chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum (really hoped I’d never have to hear Schlafly’s name again after she voted for Trump the first time around and then promptly died).
I’m not going to spend a lot of time going into Woodfill, mainly because my gag reflex has been activated way too many times while writing this, but I also won’t go into it, because this blog post is already pretty long, and we ain’t even done. Suffice it to say Jared Woodfill is every bit as gross as his BFF Hotze. Here’s a little taste:
After Hotze and Woodfill failed to prove they’ve got both testicles in 2016, they slunk out of their swamps once again to be horrible in 2020.
After the murder of George Floyd this summer, The Texas Tribune reported on a voicemail that Hotze left for Governor of Texas Greg Abbott regarding protestors:
Lettin’ the light of Christ shine right on through, isn’t he?
In June, as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to ravage the country, there was an anti-mask rally in downtown Houston, to protest the Harris County mask order that required people to wear masks inside public businesses.
Naturally, Steven Hotze was there, mingling among the 60 or so anti-maskers who’d gathered to protest. According to a June 29th article in Out Smart, which is one of Houston’s LGBTQ+ magazines, there were also several people there who were in favor of the order.
As tensions heightened, Hotze was caught on camera punching a sign out of a pro-masker’s hands and walking away with it, ripping it up and throwing it on the ground in the process. You can view that video HERE. The protestor was understandably shaken up by the incident, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that the protestor was wearing a mask with a rainbow on the front, a popular moniker of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite the fact that this incident was caught on tape, which looks a whole like assault to me, nothing, to my knowledge, ever came of Hotze’s rage-induced attack.
After Governor Greg Abbott issued a state-wide mask mandate in July, Jared Woodfill filed a lawsuit against it on behalf of, you guessed it, Dr. Steven Holtze and a few of his buddies. According to extensive and informative posts by Charles Kuffner on his website, Off the Kuff, the Supreme Court of Texas in August rejected this and many other petitions and lawsuits filed by Woodruff on behalf of Hotze.
Then in September, Kuffner reported that Hotze and the Harris County GOP sued the Harris County Clerk to keep main-in ballot applications from being sent out. Later that month, they also filed a writ of mandamus to stop an extra week of early voting, which allowed voting to continue through October 13th instead of the original October 9th deadline. They also filed a lawsuit at the end of September to limit in-person and absentee voting options in Harris County.
It should be noted that Harris County is, according to Kuffner, a Democratic stronghold as well as the most populous county in Texas.
In October, the SCOTX ruled that the extra week of voting would stay, but they also ruled that the Harris County Clerk could not send mail-in ballot applications to every registered voter in Harris County, citing the fact that election law does not allow it.
On November 1st, Woodfill and Hotze asked a federal judge to throw out 127,000 votes that were cast via drive-thru voting, but their request was rejected the next day, just one day before the 2020 Presidential Election.
After the arrest of Mark Aguirre broke to the media last week, as well as the information about Hotze’s clear role in the violence, Hotze and Woodfill held a press conference. Hotze claimed he wouldn’t support the account of the incident if it were true, but he also said that Aguirre’s arrest was “fishy” and clearly “political.” He also made a strange claim about the alleged assault, wondering aloud why the police didn’t take Aguirre’s gun away from him if he’d been holding someone down at gunpoint.
Uh, they did.
It’s right there in the affidavit I mentioned earlier. They confiscated TWO PISTOLS from Aguirre. I don’t know if Hotze didn’t read the affidavit or if he’s just, once again, making up his own facts to support his world view.
That wouldn’t surprise any of us at this point, would it?
I truly don’t know if Hotze had any knowledge of Aguirre’s plan to ram into the work truck of an innocent air conditioning repair man and then hold a gun to his head while spewing bile about ballot fraud. Unless more information becomes available or Aguirre flips on his co-conspirators and/or on his meal ticket, we might not ever find out. However, while I doubt Htoze ordered the assault, I do think it is incredibly likely that Hotze knew about the plan and didn’t stop it. It’s likely that he didn’t care who got hurt along the way in his futile journey to prove that the evil, gay, abortion loving Democrats stole the election.
We can only hope that the money trail leads to Hotze’s arrest—money that was, by Hotze’s own admission, raised through a now defunct GoFundMe campaign that he claims raised over $600,000. If nothing else, perhaps this little stunt will finally culminate in Hotze being completely ostracized by the GOP, although I doubt it.
He’s got too much money.
He’s got so much money and pull, that he was arrested for a DUI in 2000, refused a breathalyzer test, and managed to have the case against him dropped completely.
Guys like Hotze exist in spades all over. They aren’t relegated to the state of Texas, although I’ve got to admit, Texas is rife with them. They are always going to use their money, their influence, and their power to grab what they want. Mark Anthony Aguirre should be held accountable and punished appropriately for what he did, he’s not the real problem.
He’s the effect; he’s not the cause.
Hotze is smart. He’s never going to get his own hands dirty. He is, as my mother would say, slicker than snot. He will take all of the credit and none of the blame, and that’s precisely why he’s so dangerous. He’s a profiteer who’s spent his entire life on a mission oppress others in the name of God.
I wish I could say that I’ve covered all of Hotze’s misdeeds and hate-mongering, but I know that I haven’t. Every time I think I’ve got the whole pictures, I remember or find something else. He’s got 51 years worth of this kind of behavior under his belt.
I’m going to leave you with the voicemail I mentioned earlier. You’ll hear a measured, self-assured man on the phone demanding that the Governor of Texas send in the National Guard to murder people.
This is who Dr. Steven Hotze is.
He’s not afraid to show it, and we shouldn’t be afraid to call him out, repeatedly, every single time he speaks.
Today, the electoral college cast their votes to secure the Biden/Harris victory in the 2020 United States Presidential Election.
Most of the time, this process is largely ceremonial. The citizens, as well as the presidential candidates, have already accepted the outcome of the election. True, some citizens and candidates are unhappy with the outcome, but it is accepted, nonetheless.
However, nothing about this dumpster fire of a year makes the 2020 Presidential Election a “most of the time” occasion. This year, as electors go to their respective courthouses to cast their vote, they’re worried about protesters and violence. The Arizona electors met in a secret location in order to keep their people safe. There is also pressure on electors to cast faithless votes. (The faithless elector thing happens. It happened in 2016, and it’s happened before that, too. It hasn’t ever changed the outcome of an election.)
Still, there is an undercurrent of dread as electors cast their votes, and that’s mainly because as Johnathan Easley over at The Hill (2020) put it, “The president’s rhetoric has reached new extremes, and millions of his supporters believe the election was stolen from him.”
In other words, President Donald J Trump is a traitor to this nation, and so is everyone else who has attempted to delegitimize the fair and safe election that was held on November 3, 2020.
Although there has been a myriad of lawsuits filed on behalf of the Trump campaign (more than 50, at least), the “big one” that many had pinned their hopes upon was the lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to the SCOTUS. His suit sought to contest election results in the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan by challenging election procedures. Paxton was able to bypass lower courts where lawyers like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani were forced to file, because states have the ability to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
Not only is this an unusual move for any state, to file a lawsuit like this against other states, it is the first time that one state has attempted to control the outcome of the presidential election by suing other states over the results. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, which was a swift decision with no dissenting statements, although it was noted that at least one judge believed the case should be heard.
Below, I’ll post a screenshot of the quick response, but you can also see it for yourself HERE.
It would have set a dangerous precedent, in my opinion, had the SCOTUS chosen to even hear the case. It is also interesting to note that Ken Paxton has been indicted on several felony charges for securities fraud, and he faces lawsuits for firing 5 of the 8 whistleblowers in the case.
Maybe the Texas AG should stay in his own lane. Seems to me like he’s got a full plate as it is.
Regardless of the SCOTUS ruling, 17 attorneys general, led by Attorney General Eric Schmitt in my home state of Missouri, signed an amicus brief in support of the Texas suit. You can read that brief HERE. Below are the other attorneys general who signed on.
Similarly, 126 House Republicans signed on in support of the suit. You can find the full information HERE, but I’m going to post screenshots of the names of every single House Republican who supported this brief, because I think it is really important to see, along with the attorneys general, who among our elected officials are willing to commit treason and forgo the democratic process because their candidate lost.
Special shoutout to Missouri reps Sam Graves in the 6th district, Vicky Hartzler in the 4th district, Billy Long in the 7th district, Jason Smith in the 8th district, Blaine Luetkemeyer in the 3rd district, and Ann Wagner in the 2nd district.
Fuck, and I cannot stress this enough, you.
This has nothing to do with a disagreement of politics. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am a liberal and these representatives and attorneys general are conservative.
It’s about the sheer nerve of these people. It’s about watching day after day, week after week of lawsuits being struck down in every possible way, in every possible state because there is not a single shred of evidence to support widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election.
And despite knowing this, despite having an intimate understanding of the way our election process works because they are elected officials who represent the people of their collective states, they CONTINUE to promote the false and dangerous narrative that President-Elect Joe Biden’s win is some way disingenuous. They CONTINUE to kneel at the Throne of Trump and kiss the ring, because they’re a bunch of yellow-bellied-sap-sucking cowards.
They are terrified of angering the president, who has a history of bullying and steamrolling anyone who does not play his reprehensible game of sedition footsie.
They are terrified of losing their power in their states and their place in politics.
So terrified are they, to lose their power and position, that they are willing to sell the soul of democracy to keep them.
I really think Keith Olbermann put it best in his December 13th video “Olbermann vs Trump #37”: “We have not called Trump’s latest gathering at the White House what it is. It was not the conference of Trump and some state attorneys general. It was not a lunch. It was the assembling of a cabal, of a revolution, of a conspiracy—a coup. It was a meeting of Trump and his conspirators who are bent on illegally, unconstitutionally, and traitorously overturning the outcome of a fair and uncontested presidential election…this is a coup. This is seditious abuse. If it works, God help us. If it doesn’t work, God help us. Because what is left in the wake of failure, is a huge, stupid mass of America fed these fantasies of a stolen election by corrupt, Republican fascists who don’t give a damn about democracy, and who are telling them that what is in fact seditious abuse is instead patriotism of some kind…call these people what they are—traitors to democracy, and call what they are doing what it is—seditious abuse.”
Olbermann’s use of the term “seditious abuse” was in reference to Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s 43-page brief in response to the Texas lawsuit. In part, the brief states, “Texas’s effort to get this court to pick the next president has no basis in law or fact. The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.”
Today at 5:28 p.m. Eastern, The Washington Post reported that California had awarded all 55 of their electoral votes for Biden, officially securing his win through the Electoral College. By the end of the night, President-Elect Joe Biden will have 306 electoral votes to Lame Duck President Donald Trump’s 232.
The Republican circle jerk may continue well into the new year, because Biden’s win today doesn’t mean that Republicans on the hill won’t attempt to challenge those votes on January the 6th during the certification process. Republican Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama has said that he will use an obscure law from 1880 that allows members of Congress to challenge the state’s results (Wagner, et. al, 2020). Brooks would need at least one other senator to join in with him, though, and so far, nobody has been caught with their hand up, but that doesn’t mean nobody will oblige. Business Insider reported on December the 5th that only 25 Congressional Republicans have acknowledged the Biden/Harris victory.
I swear to Christmas and baby Jesus, it’s like Trump has the Republican Party in a stranglehold, and they’re all just fucking here for it.
“Choke me, Daddy! Choke me hard!”
Donald Trump will never concede.
It is unlikely that he will attend the inauguration on January 20th, and he will spend the rest of his life declaring himself the rightful victor of the 2020 Presidential Election, forever resentful that no traitor in his midst was successful in handing him a fascist fiddle to play while they all watched Washington burn to the ground.
Wagner, J., Sonmez, F., Firozi, P., Brown, E., Helderman, R., & Ye Hee Lee, M. (2020, December 14). Electors in 6 key states cast ballots for Biden. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com
You know what I’ve never wondered? What it would be like if a grown-up, red-pilled, QANON version of Regina George went to the United States Congress to serve in the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 14th district.
And yet…here we all are. Welcome to Washington D.C., Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene!
I hope you brought a Guy Fawkes mask to protect you from all the pedophilic, adrenochrome drinking, Deep State, Socialist junkies!
Just in case you’ve been living, I don’t know, under a rock for the last few months, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a newly elected House Rep from Georgia. She is a 46-year-old mother of three, who owns a construction company with her husband and used to own a CrossFit business. She graduated with a business degree from the University of Georgia.
Marjorie Taylor Greene (from here on out, MTG) will be one of 141 women to serve in Congress next year. This breaks 2016’s record of 127 and is a feat that should absolutely be celebrated.
Most election years, I probably wouldn’t have had any idea who MTG is, but this is no ordinary election year, and Greene has been making headlines for months, in part due to her penchant for supporting baseless conspiracy theories and for posting rambling, racist videos about Sharia Law and how white men are the most mistreated people in the United States.
MTG is certainly not alone when it comes to any of these sentiments—not in Congress or in general. Racism, Islamophobia, and the like are alive and well in government; in October, CNN reported that nearly 24 Congressional candidates had been sympathetic to or expressed interest in QANON.
Greene won her bid for the House in a landslide. Of course, she was basically running unopposed. Her Democratic opponent Kevin Van Ausdel dropped out of the race, and because it was within 60 days of the election, Democrats weren’t able to find another candidate. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2020) reported that Van Ausdel was forced temper his political aspirations amidst a divorce and subsequent move out of Georgia to the state of Indiana. He was a longshot candidate in a heavily Republican area, and neither he nor Greene had any political experience before this election.
That doesn’t mean that MTG hasn’t been interested in politics before now. She’s been very vocal about her conservative, political ideologies for years.
Let’s take a journey, shall we?
Ah, young Marjorie. 2017 Marjorie. You sweet, summer child. I wonder if you knew back then, when you were peddling your conspiracy theory wares on the now defunct, extremist news site, American Truth Seekers, that you would one day run for Congress.
Maybe. Maybe not. But the WayBack Machine is my friend (you are not, just so we’re clear), and I found your name splashed all over that place—56 posts authored by you—six pages worth.
Now, unfortunately (or fortunately, I can’t decide which) for me, several of the links to MTG’s articles were no longer available, even through the WayBack Machine. All I could view was one page of entries, and not all of those links worked. I link this page in my references section.
Here’s a sample of what the decaying corpse of American Truth Seekers looks like now.
You Can see Marjorie’s name up at the top, showing 56 posts. Below that is a sampling of four of her pieces. Off to the right are other articles (not written by MTG), but it gives you a pretty good idea of what this website was all about. It seems to have gone offline sometime in 2019, but they’ve got an active following on Facebook and Twitter.
You all remember this—Heather Heyer was run down, along with 19 other people, by 20-year-old James Alex Fields.
Donald Trump declared that there were “a lot of good people on both sides.”
Greene’s entry goes on to quote Your News Wire (another extremist website full of conspiracy theory garbage) article that claims, in part, “The man accused of being a neo-Nazi and murdering a woman by deliberately driving into her during the protests in Charlottesville is in reality a supporter of Hillary Clinton and member of Antifa in receipt of funding by George Soros.”
For those of you playing a drinking game at home, you have to take double shots for a sentence that includes both Hillary Clinton and George Soros.
Greene’s entry also cites, I shit you not, a webpage called Department of Memes (y’all, I am SCREAMING) that suggests that James Alex Fields was not acting maliciously—he was simply scared and plowed into two dozen protesters on “accident.”
I checked out this Department of Memes site, and while it is not offline, it hasn’t been updated since 2017. Here’s a taste of what they had to offer roughly three years ago.
Later, in November of 2017, Greene authored another piece titled, “There Is A Storm Brewing That Is About To Reveal The Real Source Of Evil In America!”
A bit long-winded, but okay.
No lie, I think my favorite part about this article is that Greene doesn’t seem to know that writing “The Clintons” or “The Podestas” doesn’t require an apostrophe, because their names aren’t fucking possessive. Oh, her double exclamation marks when she proudly, and in bold font, proclaims: Make American Great Again!! For emphasis!! Just!! In!! Case!! You!! Didn’t!! Understand!! How!! Serious!! This!! Is!!
But it’s not just the bad writing that’s a problem here—it’s the bad journalism. Greene relies on completely unreliable sources and blatant conspiracy theory to weave a false story about the tragic 2016 death of DNC employee, Seth Rich. The claims and false information circulated so widely that Rich’s parents sued Fox News and settled for an undisclosed amount with them last month (Robertson, 2020).
I should also note that the whole “storm” concept is a line straight from the QANON swamp.
Which brings me to the last of MTG’s posts for American Truth Seekers in January of 2018, in which she attempted to explain QANON and urged readers to “wake up.”
It is the longest of Greene’s writing that I had access to through the WayBack Machine. She dives right in, and it’s pretty clear that MTG already had quite a bit of knowledge about Q before sitting down to compose this article. She references another now defunct website called MagaPill (“pilling” is a common reference of QANON supporters) that lists all of Trump’s accomplishments, lending validity to this website by writing that Trump doesn’t Tweet about anything unless he “believes in it.” The article she’s referencing can be found HERE, through the WayBack Machine, and it’s basically a QANON intro for newbies.
Greene’s post continues “down the rabbit hole” (another fun Q reference) by stating that Robert Mueller is really one of them. You know, I can’t really put it as eloquently as Greene does. Let me just show you.
She continues to hit on the QANON pressure points by naming Saudi Arabia, the Rothschilds, and George Soros (take 3 shots) as the “puppet masters who fund this global evil.”
Quick reminder—this woman will be serving in our GOVERNMENT come January 2021. This red pill popping, QANON humping, mother of 3. Just…hanging out in the House of Representatives.
And Greene’s digital rug burns don’t stop there.
She went on to call Q a patriot again in now deleted (but saved forever on the Internet) video. She also defines Q as someone “very close to the president.”
In other videos, she describes an “Islamic invasion” into government and disparages Ilhan Omar’s hijab. She says, “You want to put your hand on the Quran and be sworn in? No. You have to be sworn in on the Bible.”
In reference to Confederate statues, she says, “If I were a Black person today, and I walked by those statues, I would be so proud. Because I’d say, look how far I have come in this country.”
I watched a 9-minute compilation posted by Politico of the “scrubbed” videos, and it is linked in my reference section, just in case you want to watch it for yourself. The compilation pretty much covers the racist, fear-mongering gambit.
In August of this year, Greene told Fox News that her QANON past no longer represents who she is as a candidate for Congress (Schultz, 2020). She says she became curious about Russian collusion and later discovered “misinformation” that caused her to leave the movement.
She also said, “I don’t expect a lot of the left-leaning media to change their stance. I think they’re going to continue to attack me because they actually do see me who’s unapologetically conservative.”
Nah. We see you as a racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, conspiracy theory junkie who can’t quite seem to quit Q.
The day before Thanksgiving, she shared this meme.
On December 4th, she shared this article from GAB about QANON.
And then on December 6th, she shared a post from a guy who calls himself Praying Medic. While the share itself is fairly innocuous, Praying Medic has his hands shoved so far up Q’s ass that he couldn’t use them to pray if his life depended on it.
So, not only is MTG continuing to share batshit conspiracy theories with Q subtext, she’s also clearly still following the movers and shakers of the shallow QANON gene pool.
Let’s assume for a minute that Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t running on a QANON platform or using her QANON contacts to further her agenda.
What does that mean she cares about, if not pulling wool away from the eyes of the rest of us sheeple? What does she have to say about herself from the standpoint of her official campaign?
Let’s check it out.
MTG’s campaign website is slick and very, very patriotic. Her campaign slogan seems to be— “Save America, Stop Socialism!”
Socialism, although I’m not exactly sure if MTG knows what it is, seems to be a key talking point, and let’s be fair—she’s not the only Conservative candidate or member of Congress to get their patriotic panties in a twist over the imagined threat of a hostile Socialist takeover in the United States. Still, you can’t get very far into her website or social media accounts without seeing that word or hearing that word, and she’s laser focused on a few of her fellow Congresswomen, specifically Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.
In a campaign video on her website, MTG introduces the viewer to her family, her business, and her sweet, southern way of life. It is very much the “normal” campaign video.
About halfway through, the video cuts to a photo of AOC, with the word “COMMUNISM” scrawled across it in red lettering, and Greene says: “AOC wants to plunge us into Communism.”
Not long after, not so flattering pictures of Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib pop up.
Greene says that they have no experience running a business. She goes on to say, “This is the same party that wants to take over our healthcare industry, take over our entire energy sector, raise our taxes, murder babies up until the day of birth, AND (her emphasis, not mine) they want to take away our guns.”
I’m not sure how we got from running a business to murdering babies, but here we are. TIME TO PANIC! ABORT…NO, WAIT! DON’T ABORT MISSION!
MTG’s personal obsession with these women extends far past a mere campaign video. She spends more time obsessing over Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and “The Squad” than Stan did obsessing over Eminem, and I’m not entirely sure that MTG won’t attempt to put AOC in the trunk of her car come January. Seriously, it’s fanatical.
In fact, on December 2nd, one Twitter user counted how many times MTG mentioned AOC on Twitter since the election.
When Greene won her primary bid, she called Nancy Pelosi a bitch in her victory speech, and before that, in February of 2019, in some kind of weird Facebook “press release,” she suggested that Pelosi had committed crimes worthy of a death sentence.
There’s also the time MTG tweeted that Ilhan Omar married her brother.
A few days later, MTG shared this:
“Communist Antifa and Marxist Black Lives Matter Terrorists.”
What happened, Marjorie? You couldn’t find a place to slide “Socialist” in there, too?
(Take four shots, anyway.)
Don’t despair, friends! MTG has NOT forgotten her Y’all Qaeda war against the Socialists. When she’s not bullying her new co-workers on Twitter, she’s screaming about Socialism.
I especially love the way she throws in, “These are the same people who want to murder babies up until birth and after…”
Who are you fighting?
She doesn’t even know.
People like Marjorie Taylor Greene want us to be afraid of them. It’s so desperate, her desire to be seen as some kind of locked and loaded MMA fighter for the Constitution, that anyone who’s paying any attention at all can see how unprepared and uninformed she really is.
We all know people like MTG. We all knew those girls in high school who spent their free time mocking other girls to bolster their popularity. We all knew those girls who started rumors and talked about their friends behind their backs. This is basically that, except on a national level. Kudos to her for joining the Republican party instead of a pyramid scheme like everybody else.
Marjorie Taylor Greene can’t win a battle of wits on the House floor, so she’s going to do her best to discredit anyone who challenges her by calling them names. She’s going to be the loudest. The most concealed and carried-est. She’s going to post intimidating pictures on social media, where she’s pasted herself in, standing next to three other congresswomen, holding a gun. She’s going to spout nonsensical conspiracy theories at anyone within earshot, and then she’s going to blame the “MSM” for lying to people.
Hell, I half expect her to form a pop group with Lauren Boebert, Kelly Loeffler, and Mellissa Carone. They’ll give a performance of their top hit, “Stop the Steal.”
When they fail to win a Grammy, they can sue the academy. Sidney Powell can be their lawyer.
Maybe the ghost of Hugo Chavez will make a guest appearance.
All of that is just as likely to happen as it is likely that Q is a “great patriot” instead of Jim Watkins typing away on 8kun from his rage basement.
It’s about as likely to happen as it is likely that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a pedophilic cabal.
In other words, it’s a fantasy.
Keep it up, 2020, you magnificent bastard.
And at the risk of going over the target, good luck to you in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Greene.
I think the thing I find the most interesting about Michael Flynn is that he wasn’t always a total and complete puss-filled-sore on America’s ass. There was a time, back in 2012, when he was named head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama Administration. Before that, he was a United States intelligence officer, responsible for tracking down some of the most extremist factions in the world.
He was one of the good guys.
It certainly appeared that way, at least. Some, by his appointment in 2012, might have described him as an underdog—a success story about what the military can do for young men who can’t quite seem to find their place in the world.
It’s clear that General Michael Flynn, for his part, certainly felt that way.
In his book,The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies(2017), Flynn describes himself as a bit of a rebel. He had a misspent youth, was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and although his record was eventually expunged, he was even arrested once as a teenager. But he got his shit together, joined the ROTC at the University of Rhode Island, and went on to rise through the ranks of the military.
But all good things must come to an end, and General Flynn was ousted from the DIA in 2014, after a few disagreements with the White House about their approach to terrorism. He believed that the approach was too soft, too slow. And he voiced that opinion. Loudly. He was apparently great in the field, but not quite as good at making careful decisions and overseeing those in his employ. He was terminated for “mismanagement.”
General Flynn (2017) described his exit from the DIA this way: “I was fired as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency after telling a congressional committee that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.”
That seems benign enough. Disagreements about how a country should govern the military, can be a contentious subject. It makes sense that if General Flynn could not reach an agreement with the Obama Administration about how his agency should be managed and carry out operations, that Flynn would eventually be replaced.
Happens all the time. Nothing to see here. Moving on.
Except that’s not quite the whole story. According to an L.A. Times piece written by Chris Megerian in December of 2017, the people Flynn worked with had a bit of a different take. They described General Flynn as “out of his depth” managing thousands of people and that he had a penchant for narrating unreliable theories (this part will be important later). His colleagues at the agency even had a phrase for these theories—“Flynn Facts.” Not only was he quick to spin his own truths, but he also asked others to chase down evidence to corroborate them. His final strike arrived when he clashed with James Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence at the time.
Honestly, none of this would ever have mattered to anyone outside the government, had Flynn not continued to seek notoriety in government. He could have retired quietly, maybe even published his book, and at best, there might’ve been a few articles about it that most people would have eventually forgotten about. Quite frankly, I don’t really care that General Flynn was ousted from his position. He was once a high-ranking military official, now he’s not, and it’s not necessarily my business why. Thank you for your service, sir. Have a lovely life.
Of course, that’s not how any of this played out, and now his history of service to his country has become a matter of public opinion, and it’s not at all lost on me that this service was, at least in part, an important prequel to what was coming next for General Flynn.
Somewhere around 2015, after Donald Trump declared his bid for the presidency, he and Flynn were introduced to each other. In that same 2017 L.A. Times article, Megerian writes:
“The bond gelled at the Republican National Convention, when Flynn delivered an angry speech denouncing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up.” At the time, Trump was under attack from veterans in the U.S. national security community, who worried about Trump’s lack of any military or government experience and his unconventional policies. Flynn’s 33 years in the military and battlefield experience helped deflect criticism. A former Trump campaign policy advisor said Flynn was so close to Trump during the fall campaign that he rarely interacted with other members of the national security team. “Both shared a similar worldview, and I believe were driven at least in part by sheer condescension from people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush,” the former advisor said. Like Trump, Flynn warned about the dangers of “political correctness” in America and stoked fears of “radical Islam” at home and abroad.”
It’s at this point where it begins to become apparent that General Flynn had already started to align himself with far right and extremist views. He regularly made the rounds on conservative talk shows, and he made it perfectly clear he was no fan of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His military experience made Trump more experienced by proxy. In short, he was the perfect match for Trump.
Flynn’s new relationship with Trump, however, wasn’t the beginning of his problems—it was merely a sordid stop along the way to becoming one of the most infamous military generals of all time.
In between being ousted at the DIA and becoming one of Trump’s advisors, Michael Flynn had some preeeeetty shady business dealings, several of which he did not disclose to the government in order to apply for security clearance. One of those trips was to Egypt in 2015, which entailed a plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East built by the United States and Russia but funded by Saudi Arabia (Graham, 2017). Flynn continued to push this arrangement within the Trump administration, all the while, not disclosing that he’d actually been paid by the plan’s backers. Another trip Flynn “forgot” to disclose was to Russia, where he dined with Vladimir Putin at a party for a Kremlin propaganda news channel. Flynn was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for various work overseas that he conveniently did not disclose, including a deal with the Dutch that actually benefited Turkey, for which he was paid more than half a million dollars.
And of course, there’s the biggie—lying to Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Russia’s US Ambassador about sanctions the Obama Administration placed on Russia. This is actually what got him arrested, because even after acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed Trump’s lawyers that Flynn was potentially compromised and could possibly end up being blackmailed by Russia, Trump kept him on staff.
Imagine—you’re told that Russia, a country ruled by an oligarch who may or may not have (absolutely had) run a smear campaign against your opponent, compromised one of your closest contacts, someone who is on the payroll, and completely ignoring it until you are absolutely forced to acknowledge it.
Everyone, including Trump, thought that now disgraced General Flynn would be sentenced in 2018, but because the judge in the case “had more questions,” his conviction was stayed (Ewing, 2018). This eventually gave way to Flynn hiring a new team to represent him, including batshit QANON conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell, and he attempted to revoke his guilty plea. The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case against him in 2020.
All of that brings us to November 2020, a month where President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection and despite propagating lies about actually winning, has begun to, in many ways, act as the Lame Duck President he is by pardoning those closest to him.
Enter General Michael Flynn, who was officially pardoned by Donald Trump on November 25th.
This is not a surprise to anyone, and I’m sure it was no surprise to Flynn. I expect there will be a flurry of pardons from Trump in the next few weeks, including pardons for Rudy Giuliani, Paul Manafort, Ivanka, Eric, Trump Jr., and even for himself if he can get away with it. I find the prospect of preemptively pardoning anyone quite interesting, since Manafort is the only one in that list to have actually been convicted of committing a crime. Wouldn’t a preemptive pardon suggest guilt? Wouldn’t you have to note exactly which crimes are being pardoned?
Anyway, that’s a bit off topic. Back to Flynn.
In the years since Trump won the 2016 election and the beginning of his legal troubles, Flynn has become one of those loudmouth conspiracy theorists we all love to hate. Instead of fading into the floral background (seriously, can’t this guy take a hint??), General Flynn continues to espouse ridiculous QANON garbage via his Parler and Twitter accounts.
Garbage like this:
And finally, this:
It’s this last one that I really want you to pay attention to.
On December the 1st, General Flynn shared this link from an organization called We the People Convention (WTPC). This is a press release written by Tom Zawistowski, and is, essentially, a call for President Trump to, “Invoke Limited Martial Law to Hold New Election and Protect our Vote, in Full Page Washington Times Ad, if Legislators, Courts and Congress Do Not Follow the Constitution.”
This “press release” appeared as a full-page ad in the conservative newspaper, The Washington Times. The release goes on to compare Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln and what’s happening right now with this election to the Civil War.
A few other gems from this release:
“We have well-funded, armed and trained marxists in ANTIFA and BLM strategically positioned in our major cities acting openly with violence to silence opposition to their anti-American agenda.”
“Then there are admitted Democrat/Socialist federal officials plotting to finish gutting the US Constitution after 100 years of trying. They promise to take away critical individual rights like free speech, religious freedom and the 2nd Amendment; destroy states rights by eliminating the electoral college and more; pack the Supreme Court with activist anti-constitutionalist judges who will make law from the bench; give the right to vote to tens of millions of non-Americans; and open our borders to more illegals which will reduce wages.”
“The Socialist Left has been openly working to destroy the United States since Obama promised and tried to “transform” America in 2008-16, and having been stopped by the will of the American people, they openly staged a four year long coup attempt to remove the duly elected President…There is no doubt that this attempted stealing of these elections again, is a case of rebellion…in fact, a clear, flagrant, and gigantic case of rebellion” that requires exercising extraordinary authority to preserve our Union.”
Finally, they wrap it up with this:
“We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own, if you do not act within your powers to defend us.”
Tom Zawistowski is the president of WTPC, which is also Tea Party affiliated, and executive director of the Portage County, Ohio, Tea Party (according to the release).
This is Tom’s LINKEDIN profile:
And this is his company’s, TRZ Communications, Linkedin profile:
Oh, and his profile from the North Royalton Republican Club:
Obviously, Mr. Zawistowski leads a very full life, and I guess he’s not afraid to make thinly veiled threats about taking matters into his own hands if he doesn’t get his way.
In an article published on December 2nd in the Military Times, the call to arms and to suspend the Constitution was met with disdain from military scholars and military officials alike. One military defense official was quoted as saying that the idea of the military overseeing a United States presidential election under martial law ordered by President Trump is, “insane in a year that we didn’t think could get anymore insane.”
The article calls this kind of rhetoric “preposterous” and reiterates that martial law has no place in the United States unless there is a complete breakdown of “civil government mechanisms” and that martial law “simply has the military in charge, subject only to military orders, not civilian law.”
Not only does the Military Times scoff at this press release, but it also says that Flynn, and another retired military official, Thomas McInerney, are a “discredit to the uniform” as well as “undermine our democracy and create a real security threat.”
Flynn, as well as McInerney, took an oath to defend the constitution. The Military Times says that calling for martial law to suspend the Constitution is a violation of the oath they took to uphold it.
I think it’s pretty clear that the military has no intention of springing into action to force a redo of the 2020 presidential election, but it’s still disconcerting that Flynn couldn’t even wait a full week after being pardoned before tweeting a treasonous narrative such as this.
Disconcerting, but not at all surprising.
Michael Flynn has proven over and over again that he will go to any lengths necessary to lick the boots of Donald Trump, even if it means leaving his personal life and military career in tatters.
Today, he’s retweeting Rudy Giuliani and using QANON catchphrases like “over the target” which is a virtual fist bump to his bog bobbing brothers on 8kun.
They were talking about this shit on their neckbeard message board as early as November 15th and continuing the thread well into December.
WARNING: The following screenshots include calls for violence and murder.
I know this kind of language may be shocking to some of you, but the reality is that this talk is absolutely common on the 8kun message board. I don’t know if General Flynn or the douche canoes over at the We the People Convention are frequent visitors of such message boards, but let me assure you, they’re in contact with people who are. It’s no coincidence that rally cries for martial law show up on 8kun on November the 15th and are followed in short order by more “mainstream” extremists like Flynn and Zawistowski in early December.
It should be concerning to everyone that Flynn is signaling to his QANON base not only with turn of phrase, but also with his history of posting unfounded conspiracy theories. While it is unlikely that martial law will ever be imposed upon the American people, the likelihood for violence amidst the presidential transition is high, due to the fact that “leaders” in the public eye are giving their virtual blessing by the very nature of the bullshit they post.
Nobody in the White House is willing to condemn this kind of behavior.
Not Donald Trump.
Not Mike Pence.
Not William Barr.
Not Kayleigh McEnany.
To date, General Michael Flynn’s original tweet calling for martial law has 17k retweets, 4.1k quote tweets, and 41.3 likes.
At least many of the replies are in opposition:
Still, what we’re seeing is the real-time creation of a pipeline from the filthy bowels of the internet straight into the mainstream vein of social media.
No more shooting up in private between your toes so nobody sees what you’re really doing on the weekends. We’re injecting that shit right into our eyeballs in the middle of the fucking week.
And it’s dangerous.
And someone needs to answer for it.
I don’t know that Michael Flynn wanted this life for himself. Maybe he started out with honorable intentions. Maybe he got himself in so far that the only path he could follow was the one that lead him into the waiting arms of subversiveness. Maybe he lays awake at night wondering how he got here, but I doubt it.
This is who he is now.
Maybe it’s who he’s always been.
Maybe it’s who we’ve always been.
But I’ll tell you this—if we don’t stand up to this kind of Qconservative nonsense, if we don’t call it out when we see it, even when our closest family members and friends believe it, then we deserve whatever the fuck it is that we get.
Ah, yes. The age-old tale of dead, illegal immigrants stealing your granny’s purse as well as her vote.
Donald Trump isn’t the only person to allege voter fraud. He’s not the first person to allege voter fraud. He is, however, the only President to allege voter fraud on the massive scale he’s been bellowing about since 2016. He’s been building this farse for the better part of four years.
What we’re witnessing now, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, is totally on-brand for Lame Duck President, Donald Trump. If you didn’t see this coming, then you haven’t been paying attention. This was always going to happen, whether Trump won or not, because the outgoing president is both a sore loser and a sore winner.
I mean, at least he’s consistent.
Of course, it’s not just instances of illegal immigrants and dead people voting that Trump has been screaming about like that banshee on Darby O’Gill and the Little People. (Anybody else remember that movie? That damn banshee scared the shit out of me.) Trump has been alleging for years that United States polling stations are “absolutely rigged” by the “dishonest media” (BBC, 2016). Rudi Giuliani has been saying the same thing for just as long about Democrats. In 2016, he told CNN:
“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat… they don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats…I’m sorry. Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans.”
Not only is Giuliani suggesting that Democrats are more prone to cheating than Republicans, but he’s also being lowkey racist. The suggestion that inner cities would be more prone to cheating is also suggesting that People of Color are more prone to cheating or more willing to cheat, since inner cities are primarily made up of POC.
Two birds, one stone, I guess?
Understand what I’m setting up for you here—alleging voter fraud is not just a talking point for the Trump campaign. It is cornerstone. It is a way of life.
Why? Why would Trump do this? Why would anybody go along with it? Well, let’s not forget that Trump’s win in 2016 was a huge surprise to many. He was behind in the polls the entire campaign. Looking at the data, there didn’t seem to be any way that trump could win. An infographic from the BBC on October 17th of 2016 showed Clinton with a lead of nearly four points:
The only way Trump could ever justify this lead was to cry election fraud, even if the election hadn’t yet happened. If Clinton won, her win would be delegitimized by this narrative. Most election polls were calling it for Clinton. Most news outlets discussed this lead, continuing to suggest that Trump had no chance.
Then election night happened.
I took my then 5-year-old to vote with me before I took him to school that morning. I was excited to have him there with me when I voted for who I hoped would be the first female president. But unlike many of my friends, I was worried. I’d expressed this worry to almost no one, save my husband. The week before, my son came home from school and told me they’d had a mock election in his kindergarten classroom. Each student was asked to cast their vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
I asked him who he voted for.
He drew a little “H” with his finger and said, “Hiwawy.” (That little speech impediment was so cute.)
Then I asked him who won.
He proceeded to tell me that there was only one vote for Hillary Clinton in his entire class—his.
Now, I know the results of a kindergarten classroom election in a deep red county (and state) probably weren’t all that accurate. Still, I felt this nagging at my core. I was nervous. It wasn’t lost on me how “unlikable” Clinton was. It wasn’t lost on me that in the months leading up to the election, everything from her mannerisms to her emails had been scrutinized. She was investigated and then reinvestigated by James Comey and the FBI. Rumors swirled about her health. Rumors swirled about everything, especially her win over Bernie Sanders at the DNC. I, myself, had voted for Sanders in the primary. Not because I hated Clinton, but because she was simply too moderate for me. Feelings for her on my side of the fence were lukewarm at best and loathsome at worst. I wasn’t crazy about her running mate, either. He failed to get anyone excited. He was more of the same to many of us. (I’ve had to look up his name on more than one occasion since 2016.)
Donald Trump, on the other hand, was exciting.
People loved him. People where I’m from practically worship(ped) him. I’d never seen a presidential candidate’s name flying on a flag on the back of someone’s truck until 2016. I’d never seen campaign t-shirts and hats the way I had until 2016. I mean, I had an Obama beanie that I was afraid to wear. Every time I drove down to my parents’ house, a 20-minute drive in another (red) county, I passed by a giant billboard with a cartoon character of Barack Obama in a turban that read, “Barack “HUSSAIN” Obama.”
(It was later set on fire, but that’s a (hilarious) story for another time.)
I passed a Trump Train (an actual mini locomotive) on my way to work that was placed among a field of tiny, white tombstones marked as the “graves of the unborn.”
I went grocery shopping in an ocean of Make America Great Again hats.
I’d been told on multiple occasions that I was a terrorist by proxy, because my best friend converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. I’d been deleted and blocked by people who’d been my friends since elementary school. I got messages on Facebook from men I’d never met telling me they hoped I’d get raped and murdered when I commented on local news articles (and listen, I’m not here to tell you I was minding my own business—if you’ve read anything I’ve written on this blog, then you know that it’s probably not in my nature to be quiet when given the opportunity to speak up).
It felt increasingly possible that Donald Trump could win, especially since most people in the country were aware, on some level, of Russian meddling in the election–not with the actual voting process, but through a concerted social media campaign on Facebook.
I watched the results unfold in our game room. I sat on the couch and watched the electoral college slip away, state by state.
I went to bed around 11 p.m. I didn’t want to see any more.
And yet, even after the election turned out in Trump’s favor, he was Tweeting about election fraud. He couldn’t seem to handle the fact that Hillary Clinton had beaten him in the popular vote by more than 2 million.
The last four years have been a leadup to the 2020 election, but Trump’s entire life was a leadup to 2016. Any time Trump doesn’t like the way something turns out, he claims fraud or that he was treated “unfairly.” Nothing is ever his fault. He never admits to losing.
Poor guy. It must suck to spend your whole life as a victim.
In May of 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to form the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Integrity (whitehouse.gov, 2017). Vice President Mike Pence was named as the Chairman. It appears that the last meeting of the commission was on September 12th, 2017, which was just the second of two total meetings.
The commission was disbanded in 2018, after it was forced to comply with a court order that required the Trump Administration to turn over documents from the commission to Maine Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap (Villeneuve, 2018). Dunlap found no evidence of the widespread voter fraud Trump alleged in 2016 leading up to, during, and after the election. Dunlap released his findings on a webpage that you can view HERE.
Despite what Donald Trump, many in the Republican party, and outliers like those in QANON and other groups want you to believe, we do not have widespread or mass voter fraud in the United States right now, and we haven’t for a very, very long time.
I’ve seen those who believe in this fraud say that Democrats keep saying “widespread” so that they can continue to keep the people in the dark about what’s “really” happening, but the truth is that widespread voter fraud is exactly what Trump and his cronies are talking about—voter fraud happening on a huge, country-wide scale. Widespread voter fraud during the last two elections and instances of voter fraud throughout the history of our country are two very different things.
Back in the days of Tammany Hall in New York City, voter fraud was a huge problem. We all learned about that in high school history class. In the mid-1880’s, Tammany thugs would force people to vote more than once by changing their appearance, they paid people off, and they threatened violence when anyone dared to resist. Ballot stuffing was a regular thing, as was parties producing their own ballots on election day (Blakemore, 2020). It wasn’t just urban areas, though. This was an issue all over, and this problem was partly dissuaded with the advent of the “secret ballot.”
Today, not only can you not beat the shit out of someone who doesn’t want to vote for you (Sorry, Donald), but you also cannot electioneer within the vicinity of active polling places. We have ballots printed in many different languages, voter machines have to be tested and certified, and poll workers are trained before an election to ensure optimum competence.
Voter fraud is extremely rare, specifically because of what we’ve seen happen in our history with voting, and this country has spent quite a lot of time, money, and effort not only ensuring that voting fraud doesn’t happen with regularity, but we’ve also spent a lot of time, money, and effort trying to prove it when we think it does.
In 2007, the Brennan Center for Justice analyzed the returns from states where voter fraud had been alleged in the 2000 and 2004 elections. They found that “Incident rates of between .0003 and .0025 percent—meaning a voter had a higher likelihood of being struck by lightning (or a car on the way to the polling place). Instances of double voting, ballots cast by ineligible voters, or registrations with flawed addresses did exist, though they were rare and most of the alleged “fraud” came down to human error.”
In fact, The Brennan Center for Justice has a whole project related to voter fraud, and you can view it HERE if you’d like. They even published links to multiple studies (not performed by them) on voter fraud, and these studies date back more than a decade. They also provide exhaustive lists of court cases and government investigations, all of which found that voter fraud is, essentially, a myth. Time and time again, we see that instances of voter fraud that could swing an election one way or another simply doesn’t happen.
Now, before we go any further, I want to make it very clear that voter fraud and voter suppression are not the same thing. In this country, we continue to have an issue with voter suppression of marginalized people. This goes back to the Jim Crow era when in order to vote, you had to be able to read, and continues on with the the strict voter ID laws we see in place today.
We’re seeing attempted voter suppression right now with our own government.
Stop counting ballots!
Stop the count!
No, wait, keep counting.
Oh, no, don’t count mail-in ballots.
ONLY ELECTION DAY VOTES SHOULD COUNT!
This month in Wayne County, Michigan, two Republican officials were on the verge of rejecting hundreds of thousands of votes in Michigan’s most populous county, which includes the city of Detroit. They’d initially refused to certify ballots because of small discrepancies that are common in every election and do not at all indicate fraud. One of the Republican officials, Monica Palmer, actually suggested certifying all of the results except for the results that came out of Detroit, where nearly 80% of the residents are Black (Astor, 2020).
It’s hard for me to find the words to express how I feel about this, but let me try—THAT SUGGESTION IS FUCKING RACIST, MONICA. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, MONICA? WHO THE FUCK RAISED YOU TO BELIEVE EVEN THINKING THAT THOUGHT, LET ALONE SAYING IT OUT LOUD WAS OKAY, MONICA?
Eventually, Monica and her buddy William Hartmann agreed to certify the votes, which was absolutely not what Trump had been hoping for. So, what did he do? Well, he picked up the phone to call them both. He had a nice, little chat with them, and afterwards, both Palmer and Hartman attempted to rescind their vote.
I want to make sure that I hammer this point home—ourPresident called two election officials after they certified a vote, and afterwards, both officials attempted to keep that certification from happening.
Of course, Palmer and Hartmann were blocked from being good, little foot soldiers for Trump, due to the fact that it’s not legally possible to undo a vote to certify. Still, this was a concerted effort on the part of the President of the United States to meddle in the election certification process and to suppress votes that had been legally cast.
You and I both know Trump didn’t call either of them to ask about Black Friday specials at TJ Maxx. In true Boss Tweed fashion, he called to apply pressure. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Trump will also abscond to Spain, be captured by Spanish authorities, and get sent right back to prison where he belongs.
Seriously, is this Tammany Hall for Dummies or what?
But there is an added layer to the accusations of voter fraud. The running narrative seems to be, that there is a vast and deep conspiracy to steal the election from Trump and the Republicans through the voting mechanisms themselves. I touched on this in my first blog about Parler, where the theory of widespread voter fraud through Dominion voting systems is a favorite. This allegation of ballots being “switched” from Trump to Biden has been widely discredited, but that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump or Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani or even Lin Wood, an Atlanta based Trump wannabe lawyer who currently represents the likes of Kyle Rittenhouse, from continuing to spew the hot garbage theory all over cable access news and the Internet. Eric Boehm (2020) at Reason says the Dominion conspiracy theory was, “born in the fever swamp of a right-wing message board.”
And I bet we can all guess which one.
From there, we don’t have to guess what happened. We all know. It made its way around the neo-conservative news outlets until Trump fished it out of an OANN dumpster and started to tweet about it.
There is zero evidence of Dominion voter systems switching Trump votes to Biden or deleting votes for Trump altogether. But let’s pretend for a hot sec that it did happen. Wouldn’t the hand recounts have caught that switch/deletion? In order to believe this theory, you’d have to believe that not only were the Dominion voting machines hacked, but that every single election worker (who are both Democrats and Republicans) in every single contested state is also in on the fix. You’d also have to believe that the entire state government in these states (some of whom are run by Republicans) are in on it as well. Furthermore, why wouldn’t the Democrats fix it so that they won by a larger margin and make sure to take both the House and Senate, instead of losing nearly 15 seats in the House while at the same time, subjecting themselves to 2 Senate runoffs in January?
The Democrats cannot be both evil geniuses who rigged the election and shortsighted morons who didn’t think the plan through enough to take it all.
It. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.
I realize that “making sense” is not necessarily a phrase that people are troubling themselves with these days, but damn. Get with the program, 8kun. Can’t you bottom feeders talk to your Swamp Lord, Jim Watkins, and ask him to do a better job next time? This is getting really repetitive, and honestly, it’s not even fun to debunk anymore. Where’s a fucking Qdrop when you need one?
For his part, Trump has abjectly refused to concede, and until recently, he blocked President-elect Biden from having access to essential transition funds and materials he needed to prepare for the next four years as president.
It’s no secret that Trump has sought to undermine democracy in this country since at least 2016, but now, in 2020, his efforts go far beyond simply tweeting lies about voter fraud. Now Tammany Trump and his underlings (Tammany Trump has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) are actually attempting to undermine democracy by preventing the President-Elect from becoming President of the United States on January 20th, and they’re doing it by submitting ridiculous lawsuit after ridiculous lawsuit through the courts system. The Trump campaign has filed at least 15 lawsuits in the states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona.
To date, none of these lawsuits have held any weight in court, and states have gone on to certify votes. Not once have any of those lawsuits been able to prove fraud. NOT ONCE, and it should be noted that many of the judges dismissing these lawsuits are conservative judges.
Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that at Donald Trump’s behest, lawyers and other members of the Republican party (we see you, Lindsey Graham) have sought to undermine the will of the people in this country by chipping away at Democracy and the laws that keep that Democracy in place.
are not what Democracy looks like.
It shouldn’t be what a president looks like.
Presidents shouldn’t fire the Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure over Twitter.
Presidents shouldn’t oust senior staffers at the Pentagon and replace them with their own henchmen.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shouldn’t be throwing his support behind a president who refuses to concede, even after it’s become increasingly clear that he’s lost by stating on the Senate floor, “Let’s not have any lectures, no lectures, about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election and who insinuated that this one would be illegitimate too if they lost again—only if they lost…Until the Electoral College votes, anyone who is running for office can exhaust concerns in counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction.”
North Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham shouldn’t be calling the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to pressure him to find a way to invalidate legally cast ballots.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shouldn’t be joking that there will be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
Attorney General William Barr shouldn’t be sending out memos automatically authorizing voting fraud investigations, which prompted the top election crimes prosecutor to resign, because it flies in the face of a 40-year policy on ballot fraud investigations.
Cybercrimes and cyberwarfare tactics against the United States are alive and well in nations like Russia and North Korea.
Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un don’t need your help, bro.
Donald Trump persists in staging a coup.
It’s not going to work, and with each passing day, he looks more and more ridiculous, but that doesn’t negate the harm that he and anyone else working at his behest have done to shatter the faith in our elections, fray the smooth transition of power, and create a mockery of the highest office in our country.
And anyone who believes him, supports him, retweets him, or suggests in any way that the free and fair election held on November 3rd, 2020, should be undone is aiding and abetting him.
You cannot, under any circumstances, call yourself a patriot if you support turning over election results with zero evidence of fraud, just because you don’t like the result.
Oh, and Sidney Powell, sweetheart, Hugo Chavez has been dead since 2013.
WARNING: This blog post contains screenshots of posts from message boards that are anti-Semitic, racist, and contain themes of suicidal ideation and child trafficking.
Ah, QANON—leave it to you to force a trigger warning with this post.
I’ll be honest with y’all—I didn’t know much about QANON until recently. I’d heard about them in passing, while scrolling through Facebook or in an article I was reading about Trump. I knew about them, but I didn’t know about them, ya know? They sort of existed in my peripheral vision. They were there, lurking. Always fucking lurking.
Then this summer, the #savethechildren hashtag exploded all over the Internet. Local Facebook pages were full of plans for #savethechildren marches. There were stories about raids on large child sex trafficking rings (most of which were untrue), and there were live feeds of pedophiles arriving to truck stops to be met with citizen justice.
The whole thing felt very…strange. Not because I’m not in favor of saving the children, but because it also seemed like #savethechildren was part of something broader, larger—an ulterior motive, another movement lurking beneath the surface.
And wouldn’t you know it? #savethechildren wasn’t the only hashtag being used in some of the pictures I was seeing come out of these save the children marches. There was also, sometimes, the #weg1wga hashtag, which is a common saying among QANON believers. It stands for “Where we go one, we go all.”
(This saying, although commonly attributed by QANONs to belong to JFK, it’s actually a quote from the movie, White Squall.)
Now, according to many sources, including the QANON Anonymous podcast, the #savethechildren (also sometimes tagged as #saveourchildren) movement didn’t really get underway until social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube started cracking down on QANON pages, profiles, and videos, effectively shutting off the outlet for what QANONs call “pilling people” (think the Matrix), which is the term they use for disseminating their conspiracy theories to the masses. In short, using the save the children hashtag was an easy way to continue spreading their theories without getting caught. Afterall, saving children from psychotic pedophilic overlords is part of their agenda. It should also be noted that Save The Children is a real organization, and QANON co-opted the hashtag, just like they co-opted “Where we go one, we go all.”
But before we wade too far into the deep end of QANON, let’s first start with their origin story.
Picture it. 4chan. October 2017.
Anonymous users are just trolling around 4chan, being homophobic and sexist and racist as one does on message boards like these, when BAM! The first Qdrop appears (“Qdrops” are what QANON’s use to refer to posts made by their lord and savior, the ever anonymous “Q”). The message is cryptic and titled “The Calm Before the Storm.” The poster claims to be a “Q Clearance Patriot.”
Q clearance is an actual thing within the government. It refers to anyone who has special access to classified information through the Department of Energy (USGS.gov). So, whoever posted the first thread knew enough to know that interest would be sparked by suggesting they had Q clearance.
The first post read:
HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] extradition already in motion effective yesterday with several countries in case of cross border run. Passport approved to be flagged effective 10/30 @ 12:01am. Expect massive riots organized in defiance and others fleeing the US to occur. US M’s will conduct the operation while NG [National Guard] activated. Proof check: Locate a NG member and ask if activated for duty 10/30 across most major cities.
This was directly followed by another post from “Q”:
Hillary Clinton will be arrested between 7:45 AM – 8:30 AM EST on Monday – the morning on Oct 30, 2017.
These posts came about 8 months after the Pizzagate conspiracy theory I discussed in my previous post about The Deep State. The Pizzagate thread was removed from places like Reddit and 4chan, and whoever posted as Q for the first time draws from that theory without actually saying it.
These first posts aren’t necessarily special, though. Since the beginning of Internet message boards, anonymous posters have been using them to post random and sometimes dangerous information. I remember being a frequent visitor of several message boards as a teenager (before parents started monitoring their kids’ online activity), and the things people posted anonymously spanned from favorite Spice Girl to how to make a pipe bomb. On message boards like Reddit (although mild compared to others) and 4chan, anonymous postings claiming to be FBIAnon and other types of anonymous government officials with classified information is nothing new. Most of the time, these messages don’t make it out of the message board community.
Q was plucked out of relative obscurity when a couple of 4chan moderators decided to give the posts a wider audience by contacting a few members of the YouTube community who had been commenting on the Qdrops (Zadrozny & Collins, 2018).
One of those moderators was Paul Ferber, who some believe to actually be Q. Well, at least one of the first Q posters. Furber is a South African who espouses conspiracy theories allll over the place, especially on Twitter as @Paul_Furber. We won’t jump into whether or not Paul Furber was, at one time, Q, but if you want to know more about the person or people who might be behind Q, I encourage you to listen to the podcast QClearance: Unmasking QANON.
After QANON began to gain some traction, thanks in part to YouTube and Paul Furber, Q’s following exploded on 4chan. While there is some debate about whether or not QANON was eventually booted from 4chan or left of their own volition is up for debate, but eventually, QANON was kicked from both 4chan and even Reddit, where they’d had a home under the /r/greatawakening subreddit. And I just want to insert here—do you know how bad you have to be, as a group, to get kicked off (or even allegedly kicked off) fucking 4chan? Pretty bad, my friends, pretty bad. That’s when QANON found another place to nest—8chan. 8chan was (it no longer exists, and I’ll tell you why later) a message board site created by a man named Frederick Brennan, who admits he was high on mushrooms when the idea for 8chan came to him (QClearance, 2020).
By 2018, 8chan was where Q came to post, and followers came to listen. By this time, of course, QANON followers existed virtually everywhere on the Internet, and it was no longer just a dirty message board hat trick. Still, 8chan was their hub—and 8chan was even worse than 4chan. That’s partly because Brennan eventually sold 8chan to Jim Watkins, a guy who set up his first porn site in the 1990’s (and recently registered a PAC called “Disarm the Deepstate” in 2020). Watkins is an extreme proponent of free speech, and this extended to 8chan. The message board site was absolutely littered with discussions about child pornography as well as all the other disgusting things these kinds of message boards host. Not only that, but 8chan is where at least 3 mass shooters went to post their manifestos, including the El Paso Walmart Massacre that killed 22 people in 2019 (Zhang, 2019). Eventually, it got so bad, that the server provider for 8chan took the site offline. This was after Watkins abjectly refused to take it offline.
So, again, I want to interject here to say that QANON, a movement that purports to want to #savethechildren, had absolutely ZERO problem with being a huge part of a site like 8chan, where talk of pedophilia ran rampant, where mass shooters came to post their manifestos, and was owned by a dude who likes porn so much, he got his internet start creating websites for it.
IN FACT, after 8chan was taken down, Watkins opened up 8kun, which still remains the largest hub for QANON followers to this day. Many also suspect that Watkins has taken over Qdrops (listen to the earlier recommended podcast for more on that).
Fortunately for you, I’ve gone to 8kun so that you don’t ever have to go there yourselves. Because let me tell you, it is so gross. It is also completely and totally public. Anybody can go there and see what’s being posted, even though the people who post there remain anonymous. I’m going to post screenshots below, so you can see for yourselves, but these screenshots come with a warning—they are not nice. They are not friendly. They are racist, they’re anti-Semitic, they’re rife with disinformation, and most of the time, they’re completely nonsensical. I’m posting them only because I think it’s important for you to see where QANON followers go to find information, where they post, and what they are willing to wade through and participate in, so that they can continue to thrive.
Oh, and they really, really hate George Soros.
If your eyes aren’t bleeding by the time you finish looking at those screenshots, stay with me. Because while what’s being posted on 8kun is gross and false, the one story I found to be the most interesting is in the 2nd screenshot. It’s the one about George Soros being arrested. While this story wasn’t posted by Q, it is incredibly typical of the kind of thing QANON followers not only believe, but also share with anyone who will listen.
George Soros wasn’t arrested. We all know that. However, research about why this info would be posted to 8kun led me to a news archive for a website called YourNewsWire (dot com) and an article that was originally posted on November 23, 2020. The article states, in part:
George Soros has been arrested and is currently being held in federal custody in Philadelphia. According to a recently unsealed indictment filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Soros has been charged with a number of serious crimes relating to the US election.
They describe Soros’ crimes and even go so far as to provide a copy of the “inditement” that was allegedly filed on October 15th in the Western District of Pennsylvania and claims that the judge has ordered a “publication ban” on Soros’ arrest, which I guess is supposed to explain why nobody else is reporting the story. They also cite another far-right news site called Rebel News as well as link a video with the Rebel News logo in the top. Rebel News does exist, and they’re actually a Canadian news company (weird, but I guess they have extremists even in Canada), but when I clicked on the video, I was taken to YouTube Russia, where all of the videos were in Russian, and I couldn’t click on anything. I’ve pasted a screenshot below.
I won’t speculate on what that means, but I suuuuuure did think it was interesting, especially since YourNewsWire (dot com) is supposedly run by a couple of guys in Los Angeles (Funke, 2018).
Additionally, just in case you’re even the least bit skeptical, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 24th that George Soros had absolutely not been indicted or arrested. They also reported that U.S. judges do not have the authority to stop the media from reporting a story. They can only order individuals involved not to speak about the case. If you need further proof that the people at YourNewsWire (dot com) are complete morons, The Philadelphia Inquirer also posted this:
The fake indictment lists charges for conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, damage to computers, aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting.
A reverse-image search revealed that it was digitally manipulated using a real indictment from Oct. 15 that involved six Russian nationals who were allegedly behind a number of high-profile cyber-attacks and accused of being hackers with Russian military intelligence.
HAHAHAHAHAHA. How do you say “what the fuck” in Russian?
While George Soros being arrested is certainly QANON fodder, it’s not necessarily at the heart of what followers believe. At its core, QANON followers believe, much like their Deep State counterparts, that the “world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring,” (Roose, 2020). Naturally, Hillary Clinton and George Soros are involved, but the belief extends out to even the wholesome likes of Tom Hanks and many other celebrities and famous people. These people actually believe that Donald Trump is on some kind of Christian crusade (with the help of the military) to rid the United States of this criminal cell. I’m not sure if they’ve forgotten that until very recently Donald Trump was part of the famous elite, but it doesn’t seem to matter. He is nevertheless chosen.
He is the Anointed One.
There are other beliefs that swirl around the QANON universe, but they are varied offshoots of the core belief, like the fact that JFK Jr. faked his own death, is living in Pennsylvania, and is somehow leading the Trump Army against the cabal?????? (I just…have so many questions.) An earlier version of this theory claimed that JFK Jr. was going to make his grand appearance at a Trump rally in Texas where the President would announce that he was…wait for it…replacing Mike Pence with JFK Jr. as his running mate (Leishman, 2020). The rally wasn’t a thing, and JFK Jr. is still, I’m sad to report, dead.
This, like so many other Q theories, never came to fruition. In fact, Q’s very first post about Hillary Clinton being arrested never happened. Nevertheless, Q believers spend their days waiting for Qdrops (which can now be found on qalerts.app) and waiting for Trump to reveal secret messages in his speeches, both of which are called “breadcrumbs.” Believers then use these breadcrumbs to “make bread” and often refer to themselves as “bakers,” which is really just bad metaphor for fitting the pieces together to make the whole picture.
They’re willing and waiting soldiers in a war they call “The Storm.” This phrase is apparently in reference to a remark Trump made in 2017, during a photo op with military generals (Roose, 2020).
There have been thousands of Qdrops. In October of this year, the New York Times reported that there had been over 5,000 of them. Here is an example of a few of the more recent Qdrops from the qalerts page:
Q has been pretty quiet since the election. I’ve heard that this is not necessarily off-brand for Q, as he may go silent for weeks or months at a time. However, I think the silence here is pretty significant. This is not, of course, what Q predicted. This is not what QANON followers expected. The results of the election have sent QANONs into a tailspin, desperately grabbing at any breadcrumb they can find to make sense of what I’m sure they feel like is an alternate reality.
Reactions from QANON followers have been mixed. I think the majority are, even now, holding out hope that the results of the election will be overturned. They’ve deactivated their Facebook accounts and switched to Parler. They’ve recorded songs and videos and continue Tweeting and posting to social media in an effort to keep the faith. They’re waiting on pins and needles for the next Qdrop, believing that Q will tell them what to do next, that Q will abate some of the anxiety they feel about the fact that, at least for now, their reality has come crashing down around them.
Some of us know what that feels like, at least a little. When I think back on election night 2016, I remember the sick feeling sitting at the pit of my stomach when I crawled into bed knowing that when I woke up the next morning, Donald Trump would be President-Elect.
For a few QANON die-hards, this could prove to be catastrophic. Some believers have cut ties with family members over their fanatical ideals. I personally know people who’ve been disowned by their parents for not buying into Q or for refusing to vote for Donald Trump. There are people out there who have spent all of their time and energy going so deep into QANON that their loved ones don’t even recognize them anymore.
Most of the time I spent at 8kun made me sick to my stomach. The disgusting rhetoric that lives there (both in and out of QANON circles) is everywhere. But as I was winding down my search, I ran across one post that was more desperate than it was hateful. As I’ve mentioned before, all posts on message boards like these are anonymous. They’re also all public. This person laments “all that he’s given up” for Q and his feelings of helplessness that nothing is going according to plan. He talks about wanting to kill himself. Don’t get me wrong—the hateful rhetoric is still there, especially in the “encouraging” replies to the original post. But this thread reveals the reality of many QANON followers out there—the money, time, and effort they’ve spent, because they’ve bought in. And that buy in has affected nearly every aspect of their lives.
I’m going to post the screenshot of part of the thread below. Be warned—there are elements of violence and suicide.
This thread is an introduction to what I want to discuss next: the kind of people movements like QANON attract.
In a broad sense, anxiety can be to blame. As a society, we’ve finally begun to understand just how detrimental anxiety can be, and we’re talking about it in a different way. People feel encouraged to be honest about anxiety, but that doesn’t mean this discussion lessens the effects it has on our bodies and minds. According to a 2019 article in the Scientific American:
New research suggests that events happening worldwide are nurturing underlying emotions that make people more willing to believe in conspiracies. Experiments have revealed that feelings of anxiety make people think more conspiratorially. Such feelings, along with a sense of disenfranchisement, currently grip many Americans, according to surveys. In such situations, a conspiracy theory can provide comfort by identifying a convenient scapegoat and thereby making the world seem more straightforward and controllable. “People can assume that if these bad guys weren’t there, then everything would be fine,” Lewandowsky says. “Whereas if you don’t believe in a conspiracy theory, then you just have to say terrible things happen randomly.”
The article goes on to discuss how Americans are becoming increasingly worried about the future of the country, while also believing (both Democrats and Republicans) that their “side” has been losing too often in recent years. This “existential crisis” as they put it, can lead to more conspiratorial thinking. They conclude by stating that conspiracy theories are a human reaction to confusing times.
And the times, y’all. They are confusing.
Controlling the narrative is one way to feel more secure in your world view and can bring comfort in spite of the ever-changing events around you. Furthermore, the more disenfranchised you feel in your own life, the more prone you are to believing conspiracy theories as a way to belong. The desire to belong is a psychological and physical need for human beings.
Of course, it isn’t just about world events. Certain personality traits also play into the tendency to believe conspiracy theories. Josh Hart, an associate professor of Psychology at Union University, says that these people tend to be more suspicious, untrusting, eccentric, need to feel special, and have a tendency to view the world as an inherently dangerous place (2018). Furthermore, when a conspiracy is proved real (think Russian interference in the 2016 election or Watergate), people are going to be more willing to believe that the outrageous could actually happen. I’ve even read a little bit about what some psychologists and addiction experts are calling “conspiracy theory addiction disorder.”
Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses certainly play a part in the world of conspiracy theories, but I think it’s really important not to make a blanket assumption that anyone who believes a conspiracy theory is mentally ill. We have a history in this country of blaming mental illness for violence and other terrible things that happen, and I want to make it perfectly clear that this is an unfair assessment of mental illness. The vast majority of people who are mentally ill are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness aren’t violent, and only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people living with serious mental illness (mentalhealth.gov, 2017).
That last bit is really important, because now I want to talk about the violence that has been incited as a result of QANON.
In October of this year, journalists at The Guardian chronicled at least 12 instances of QANON linked violence. The first recorded incident dates back to June of 2018, when an Arizona man blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an armored vehicle. The man, Matthew Wright, was apparently unhappy that Trump had not made the arrests that Q said would be made. Wright was armed with 2 “military style” rifles, 2 handguns, and 900 rounds of ammunition.
The list goes on (which you can read for yourself and is linked in my reference section at the bottom of this post) to list instances of bomb making, murder, kidnapping, smashing up churches, derailing a freight train, making threats against Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, and car chases. One of the offenders, Neely Blanchard, a Kentucky woman, was arrested in March of this year for kidnapping her twin daughters from her mother’s house (her mother had legal custody). She’d also been charged back in 2013, for kidnapping another one of her children who was in the custody of her mother-in-law. Blanchard, who had a history of run-ins with the law, was found with her twins at the home of anti-government extremists by using cell phone tracking. Blanchard used the “sovereign citizen” argument to claim she should have custody of her kids (it’s an interesting theory, but I won’t go into it here). The Guardian reported that QANON is popular is sovereign citizen groups, in part because these groups believe that the government and child protection agencies who take children away from their parents are actually responsible for abusing them.
I’m mentioning Neely Blanchard specifically, because on Monday, November the 15th, she murdered a man in Marion County, Florida. The man was 50-year-old Christopher Hallett, who’d actually been trying to help her regain custody of her children. According to the Tampa Bay Times (2020):
Hallett, 50, ran an entity called E-Clause LLC that featured a Facebook page filled with documents, graphics and articles about whether governments have authority in many instances over individuals. This viewpoint is frequently summarized as the “sovereign citizen” movement.
Blanchard, who was 33 at the time, was out on $10,000 bail, awaiting trial on the previous kidnapping charge from March of this year. Despite the fact that Hallett had been attempting to help her, she eventually began to believe that he was working with the government to keep her children away from her.
As late as November 12th, Blanchard was tagging Hallett on Facebook, and they seemed to have a good relationship. Blanchard’s Facebook (there are at least 2 accounts) is full of pro-Trump posts and photos of herself in Make America Great Again gear. On November the 3rd, she posted a live video of herself and one of her children at a Trump election rally. In a reshare of that video on November the 4th, she mentions something about a 2:22 p.m. time stamp and “2:22” being there all along, which honestly, I didn’t even have the energy to research by this point, but she does reference it in a post on the same day below the re-share of her live video:
It’s clear that Neely Blanchard was deep into the conspiracy theory life, and that this is a pattern of behavior for her. All of the signs were there. Ultimately, she took a life, destroyed her own life, and altered the lives of her three children and everyone close to her indefinitely.
If it hadn’t been QANON, Donald Trump, and the supposed Sovereign Citizen movement, it would have been something else. Still, this reality doesn’t make up for the fact that Blanchard felt emboldened to act. It doesn’t make up for the fact that when you have movements like QANON slithering into the mainstream and given permission to do so by the President of the United States, you’re going to have more believers taking matters into their own hands, because they truly believe that the truth is on their side.
And why wouldn’t they believe it?
In the months leading up to the election, Trump, his inner circle, conservative media, and QANON supporters geared up by throwing out unfounded claims about mail-in ballots, knowing full-well that those who mailed in their ballots this election cycle would be more likely to be Democrats, given the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic (which I plan to discuss in another post) had become more about national politics than national health, with conservatives on one side and liberals on the other. It came as no surprise that when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were poised to defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence, that the wild accusations and disinformation about voter fraud began to circulate. I touched on some of that in my first post about Scytl and Dominion, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Never before has conspiracy theory had a home in the mainstream like it does right now. It has permeated nearly every corner of popular culture and our government. On October 2nd, 2020, the U.S. House voted on H.Res 1154, a resolution condemning QANON and rejecting the conspiracy theories it promotes. The resolution as sponsored by Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and had both Democratic and Republican co-sponsorship. The resolution passed by an overwhelming margin, with 371 “yes” votes and only 18 “no” votes. The 374 “yes” votes were a mixture of Democrat (225) and Republican (146), and there were 40 members of the House who did not vote. However, of the 18 “no” votes, 17 were Republican and 1 was Independent (Desert Sun, 2020). That means that at the time, at least 18 Congressional House members refused to denounce QANON.
Just before the election, the QAnon Anonymous podcast reported that at least 92 Congressional candidates had endorsed or promoted QANON. Ultimately, two QANON candidates won their races and will be allowed to shape the political landscape of our country. Lauren Boebert won her House bid in Colorado, and Marjorie Taylor Greene won her unopposed House bid in Georgia. President Trump congratulated them both.
I know that all of this seems absolutely ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine that anybody could believe that Q is an actual intelligence agent or that the QANON movement has any validity. But people absolutely believe it. I think that’s partly because so much of the QANON base has absolutely no idea about the origin of Q or the message boards where the movement got its start. The problem is that many people were pulled into the fold through mainstream social media. They weren’t on 4chan or Reddit or 8chan or even 8kun. Sure, lots of them were, but the growing number of believers suggests to me that they’re probably getting most of their information secondhand. They started by watching a YouTube video or reading a tweet or Facebook post. They saw Paul Furber on InfoWars. They were listening to Alex Jones or some other random podcast. They were filling themselves up with disinformation from news sites like the ones I’ve discussed in previous posts. They unwittingly got involved with #savethechildren, because it’s easy to see how that hashtag and that cause could lure someone into the dark underbelly of the world of Q.
They’re also listening to people who are public figures like Rudy Giuliani or General Michael Flynn and his senseless lawyer, Sidney Powell.
They are listening to our president.
And it doesn’t really matter how people got there. It doesn’t matter if they’re in deep or a casual Q supporter. It doesn’t matter if government officials buy in to QANON or if they’re simply placating a growing number of disenfranchised voters. What matters is that we have a big problem, and now that we’ve opened this grotesque fucking version of Pandora’s Box, the likelihood of closing and tightening the lid (and throwing it into the ocean for good measure) is slim.
The last four years have seen a rise in disinformation and distrust in the media, and now it’s so commonplace that calling out this disinformation when we see it is met with an eyeroll. It’s met with being called a sheep for citing legitimate sources like Pew Research or the World Health Organization or even the Center for Disease Control. The usual ways of picking apart conspiracy theory (like I’ve done here) are truly not enough.
Because how do we combat a group of people who believe that the only truth that exists is the one they’ve created? How do we move forward?
I don’t know the complete answer, but I do know that it’s going to take diligence. It’s going to take years of bi-partisan effort in government. It’s going to take average citizens like you and me, using every chance we are given to resist the narrative.
Today, it’s QANON, but tomorrow, it’ll be something else. Just like QANON is Pizzagate adjacent and Pizzagate is Deep State adjacent, there is surely another Q out there, lurking in the darkest corners of the Internet, waiting for their turn to create chaos.
Let’s be clear, The Deep State, even before it was called The Deep State, has always existed in the minds of citizens all over the world. That’s because people are generally distrustful of authority and their government. The idea that there are secrets that civilians don’t know about the government, the military, and the way those in power operate is not uncommon. I mean, we all know there are governmental secrets. It makes sense that rumors about those secrets would be popular fodder.
This means that The Deep State is fluid, hasn’t always had a name, and the way we’ve come to know and understand this theory has changed over time.
According to Rebecca Gordon over at Business Insider (2020), The Deep State is actually coined from a Turkish phrase, “derin devlet.” It’s a way of describing a government within a government. This phrase was coined in the 1990’s and has been used to describe a shadow government in nations other than Turkey, like Mexico and Egypt (think the Arab Spring, circa 2011).
However, it seems like this theory of a shadow government isn’t entirely the case. In these other countries, The Deep State refers more to those who are members of crime organizations or rogue military agents working within the government and not an entire shadow government pulling the strings like puppet masters. In fact, many of these agents in other countries were well known. They weren’t/aren’t anonymous, and it wasn’t/isn’t necessarily a conspiracy theory. Moreover, this term has been used, more often than not, to refer to developing countries that would not necessarily be considered as “democratic” as the United States, with constantly shifting figureheads, civil wars, governmental coups fighting for control, and oft overtly corrupt powerplays more noisy than the will of the people.
It’s really more about corruption, and at its core, The Deep State we’ve come to know and love here in the United States is also about corruption. It’s increasingly become a way for President Donald Trump to blame any failing on his part on this anonymous deep state, and as I said in my earlier post—credit where credit is due—it’s actually pretty brilliant.
It’s batshit, but it’s brilliant.
I’d wager a guess that although the term Deep State didn’t become a household phrase in America until around 2017, nearly all political conspiracy theories in the United States (like JFK and the moon landing) have some root in the idea of The Deep State.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States in September of 2001, and the subsequent (and seemingly never ending) war on terrorism, we were presented with the fruits of Michael Moore’s labor, otherwise known as the quite famous documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. I remember going to see it in the theater as a college student. It was explosive. Later, Edward Snowden was talking about TDS and using this specific term in 2014, during the Obama Administration (Crowley, 2017).
But the 2017 deep state and the early 2000’s deep state, and even Edward Snowden’s deep state are not the same. The idea of TDS doesn’t have to be rooted in lunacy. Sometimes, it’s rooted in fact. That’s the thing with TDS. It means something different to every single person and group of people who pass around these ideas, and once in a while, a deep state theory will be right. There are plenty of articles out there that talk about the factual side of TDS and why so many so often get it wrong (there are a couple of those articles listed in the reference section).
So, all of that aside, what is The Deep State theory here in America right now? What are the origins? Who’s responsible for it? And why, in God’s name, is our president talking about it in news conferences from the White House?
Well, let me tell ya—it’s kind of hard to know. There’s just so much information floating around and so many different ideas about TDS and how it operates, that it can be a bit overwhelming to get to the bottom of it. In fact, there probably is no bottom.
Author Gregg Jarrett suggests in his book Witch Hunt (2019) that TDS is a cabal (a word you’ll hear a lot) of government officials at the very top who are making a concerted effort to get rid of Donald Trump. First, he says that this cabal wanted to prevent Trump from being elected and then after he was elected, the mission changed to overturning the vote and illegitimating his presidency. He calls these people “malicious” and “insidious” liars.
Essentially, this group of people at the top of the government are afraid of Trump because he’s promised to drain the swamp, and they aren’t ready to be dismissed. Trump himself has said, “Unelected deep state operatives defy the voters to push their own secret agendas are truly a threat to democracy itself.” This belief is held by nearly everyone surrounding Trump, and they talk about it on a regular basis to any conservative news show that will allow them to do it. Pretty much any time Donald Trump uses the terms “rigged” or “corrupt”—he’s talking about TDS, and he continues to assert that any member of the government, no matter the side, who doesn’t agree with him is involved with TDS.
The TDS isn’t expressly anti-liberal or anti-democrat. It’s really anti-government, and the deeper you go into theories of TDS, the more extreme these theories become.
This is where you’ll start to see much of the xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism ooze through—in those deep, deep state theories that are actually all conspiracy and no theory, touted by the likes of Alex Jones with the help of people like Roger Stone (who, if I have to pick a master of the dark arts, is really my favorite). It’s important to note that this kind of behavior is not new for Alex Jones. He’s been raging against the machine since his days in Austin, Texas, and Roger Stone has been a key player in politics since the Nixon-era. I also want to point out that people like Jones and Stone are at the heart of Trump’s “birther” lies about Barack Obama.
What we’ve seen in the last few election cycles are concerted steps away from conspiracy theories rooted in simple paranoia or anything even remotely rational. The new deep state theories that we’ve seen in the last decade or so, and especially within the last 5 years, are rooted in flat-out lies. Take for example “Pizzagate”—the far-fetched notion that the Clintons and other Democratic and upper echelon politicians were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a D.C. pizza shop called Comet Ping Pong. The basement didn’t exist, and neither did the pedophile ring. But that didn’t stop people on the internet from believing it, and it didn’t stop Alex Jones from screaming about it to his millions of followers. One dedicated believer even drove all the way from NC to DC to fire two rounds into the pizza place on a Sunday afternoon.
He’d been listening to a lot of Alex Jones.
Amanda Robb at Rolling Stone (2017) says it took the magazine nearly a year to figure out what could have started Pizzagate, which was eventually traced back to an October of 2016 Facebook post written by a user named Carmen Katz, the alter ego of a Joplin, Missouri, attorney named Cynthia Campbell. She deleted the alt account after being contacted by Rolling Stone, and upon further investigation, journalists at Rolling Stone traced what they describe as the “seeds” of Pizzagate to…you guessed it—anonymous message boards and no doubt some neck beard living in his mother’s house and calling himself FBIAnon. You know what got those seeds planted? Leaked emails between Clinton and her campaign manager, where they talk about pizza just an awful lot. Even as recently as 4 months ago, users on YouTube were commenting on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show segment (that was originally posted 4 years ago) about Pizzagate, calling him a pedophile and a liar for simply suggesting the whole thing was ridiculous.
Because we all know that not believing in a non-existent pedophilic sex ring means you’re clearly in on the non-existent pedophilic sex ring.
Pizzagate isn’t the only child abuse trope being sold by conspiracy theorists online. The idea of a sex-trafficking cabal where Hillary Clinton cuts the heads off of children and drinks their blood has been circulating the Internet for years.
A vast majority of new deep state theories center around Hillary Clinton and anyone in her orbit. This is partly because she’s a member of the political elite, partly because she’s a Democrat, and partly because she’s a woman. The prospect of Clinton becoming the first female President of the United States was just too much for people to take, and her years in the public eye left her vulnerable to the most vile lies about everything from the way she looked to the way she handled her duties as Secretary of State during the Obama administration.
Clearly, for a woman to be as accomplished as she is, she must be secretly eating babies. I’m not suggesting that Clinton is perfect—I’m suggesting just the opposite—she was an easy target. But any time you have a 9/11 truther and Sandy Hook denier like Alex Jones at the helm, you know that the story is just going to get louder and more ridiculous as long as he’s given a platform to eviscerate her character, even if this assassination is in the form of a lie-filled bullet. Like her or not, I think most rational people (are there any left?!) can agree that she is most definitely not spending her date nights with Bill in the non-existent basement of a pizzeria.
Of course, being rational isn’t really that important to people who believe that making more room at the table for others means they’ll lose their own place. Being rational isn’t important to people who see their way of life circling the drain, because they’ve been sold the lie that “liberal” and “communist” and “socialist” mean the same thing and the LibComSoc Army is coming to steal their bibles, their guns, and their tattered Trump flags attached to their 4-wheel drive trucks.
Being rational isn’t important to guys like Steve Bannon, who just a few weeks ago suggested that Trump ought to behead Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray and put their heads on pikes in front of the White House lawn (yeah, he really said that).
Bannon, by the way, was arrested over the summer for defrauding investors in a fake “We Build the Wall” campaign. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Yet, people still believe him. People still believe Trump. They still believe Giuliani and everyone else in Trump’s inner circle (which is growing smaller and smaller by the day). They still believe anyone who steps up to the podium willing to sell them relief from our ever-changing world, and in some ways, I get it. I get it, because I’ve seen the shift from Yellow Dog Democrats in my home county who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, to birther fanatics who champion a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, stinking of money, and says, “Hey, I’m just like you. You were right all along. The elitists hate you. They laugh at you behind your back. They think you’re stupid.”
And these people who’ve been working two and three jobs to support their families and still can’t pay their bills, who remember what it was like to make a living wage working on the line in a factory that has long since left the area and taken the economy with it, sigh deeply and say, “Finally. Someone who understands the injustice.”
It’s not about the lie. It’s about the way it feels to believe the lie.
At the end of the day, no matter how you rationalize it, The Deep State is messy. It’s not organized. There isn’t a “leader” the way QANON seems to have a leader (which we’ll discuss in Part 2). And that’s probably because the idea of TDS has been around for so long. With advances in technology, the TDS has been given a platform that it never had before, made worse because the President of the United States refuses to admit that the most recent (and disgusting) theories to come out of TDS and QANON are fake. Just like with the fake news stories, TDS and QANON are legitimized by the trickle down (thanks Reagan) alternate reality that exists from the people making the laws to the people drinking Mtn. Dew Code Red and typing furiously on their keyboards at 3 a.m.
Roger Stone, the man who was voted most likely by Sam and Dean Winchester to have sold his soul to a crossroads demon, cut right to the point when he said: Hate is a more powerful motivator than love.
Stay tuned for Part 2: QANON, where I dive into the origins of this conspiracy movement and discuss the irony of their #savethechildren crusade when they, themselves, got their start on a message board that was literally full of child porn.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks on Parler, lurking, while simultaneously researching QANON and other far right and extremist theories. Here’s what I’ve found out about Parler (buckle up, this is gonna be long and bumpy):
First, what the fuck is Parler? I assume most of you reading know what it is by now, but just in case you don’t, it’s a social media platform that was created by John Matze. According to Fox Business (2020), Matze graduated from the University of Denver in 2014 and created Parler, “after being exhausted with a lack of transparency in big tech, ideological suppression and privacy abuse.”
(Aaaaangry white guy alert.)
It’s also pretty rich coming from the creator of a site that requires a personal cell phone number to even register an account.
Anyway, having never heard of Parler until Joe Biden became President-Elect and conservatives began having a collective meltdown and pledged to leave Facebook for this hip, new place where you could be as racist and antisemitic and fear-mongering as you wanted with absolutely no consequences, I was surprised to see that the platform itself was more than 2 years old.
Parler is touted as being one of the last bastions of hope for “free speech” on the Internet, but that free speech is protected only if you aren’t a damn liberal. Plenty of former Parler users report being booted for, you know, speaking freely.
So, I knew right away that if I was going to join Parler, I’d have to pose as one of them, which is exactly what I did.
Aaaaand it’s pretty much what you’d expect. It’s like if your racist Uncle Bobby Ray cloned himself for the family Thanksgiving dinner and every single one of his clones started talking at once—just an amped up Twitter for hardcore Stop The Steal conservatives to gather and share conservative conspiracy theories and news articles.
But what’s startling is just how MANY news outlets there seem to be for this kind of thing. Typically, we think of the “big” ones, starting with the more middle-of-the-road Fox News (yeah, they’re middle-of-the-road comparatively) to Breitbart to The Blaze to the National Review to OAN to NewsMax, but the reality is that there are far, far more, and the deeper you go, the darker and more problematic the information that is being shared becomes. The People of Parler, as I’ve begun referring to them, don’t seem to discriminate between any of these news sources and share them arbitrarily among themselves. And why wouldn’t they? That’s specifically what this social media outlet is for. You don’t see it nearly as much on Twitter or Facebook, because these platforms are a melting pot of ideologies. Quite a bit gets lost in the mix, and both Twitter and Facebook have, at least recently, begun tagging or banning false news, especially in regard to Stop The Steal and the 2020 Presidential Election.
On Parler, this is not the case.
Perhaps what I find the most disturbing about Parler (there are lots of things, but we don’t have time for all of that) is the sheer volume of conservative politicians, figureheads, news anchors, or simply conservative “famous” people who are using the platform to disseminate propaganda and outright lies to their large (and growing every day) following. Much of the information shared has no basis in reality, and in fact, can be easily disputed by simply doing the bare minimum of a Google search.
One such article from a website not even trying to hide their partisanship and aptly named We Love Donald Trump (dot com) is titled, “Rumors Fly That Server Seized In Raid Shows Trump Actually Got 410 Electoral Votes; Media Panics” and shows a picture of an electoral map with every state in red (even California) except for 12. The story goes on to suggest that this map was created to show what the results of the United States Presidential Election really looks like, according to a server that was “allegedly” seized in a raid overseas in Germany earlier this week.
There is, however, no evidence cited in the article, unless you count a bunch of Twitter accounts sharing screenshots of conservative news media outlets reporting the information as well as the map, which also has no source. Literally anyone could have created the map. In other words, there is no hard evidence, no original source. The reason there is no original source is because this is a conspiracy theory about a raid (that literally never happened) in Frankfurt, Germany, where this company doesn’t even have any offices. The article is quick to dismiss this reality check, though, by stating that networks like CNN have jumped into “damage control” mode by claiming the that the raid never happened…because it didn’t.
The company that was supposedly raided is called Scytl and they have also reported that the raid never happened and that they are especially certain, because they don’t have any offices in Frankfurt and have only ever had temporary backup servers there, which are no longer in use, and haven’t been in use for more than a year (servers that are not connected in any way to any work they’ve done in the United States). They also confirm that while they have clients in the United States, and they provide election night reporting, poll worker management, online election worker training, online voter education, and electronic pollbook and ballot delivery (a fact I discovered while perusing their website), they do not provide voting machines for US Elections and therefore would not tabulate any actual votes in the US.
So, in order to believe the claim We Love Donald Trump (dot com) and others are promoting, you’d have to believe, at a bare minimum, that this is a multinational conspiracy to rig the election in Biden’s favor (and if you’re on Parler, this wouldn’t be a hard sell). You’d also have to believe that Scytl, a private company, is also involved or being forced to lie to the public, and that they actually do provide voting machines for the Presidential election in the United States, a fact which is apparently being kept secret, because according the U.S. Assistance Election Commission’s website, Scytl isn’t listed as a certified company for voting systems in presidential elections, and in fact, is not listed anywhere on the website (yes, I checked myself, and you can, too, in the list of references at the bottom of this post).
Furthermore, you’d also need to believe that Scytl itself isn’t the only company in on the rigging of the election, due to the widespread (and false) claim that Dominion voting systems are also not secure (they ARE certified by the USAEC).
But where did this information about Scytl and their alleged role in the 2020 Presidential Election originate?
Naturally, internet conspiracy theorists aren’t typically forthcoming with their sources, which means I had to do some investigative research to figure out when/where this information was first reported. The earliest reporting about this fake raid is from a website called Great Game India (dot com), a website that appears to be absolutely devoted to wild conspiracy theories, is on November 14th, but the earliest they started reporting on this purported election fraud involving Scytl was on November 13th, just a few days after several articles suggesting Dominion voting machines were the real culprit in election fraud.
Now, it’s possible that GGI got its information from the depths of one of the many QANON and Deep State message boards on the Internet (think 4Chan), which I’ll discuss in a later post. I don’t have the wherewithal to go wade into that shallow gene pool, as I’m saving my energy for the deep dive into the history of QANON. So, while it’s possible (and probable) that this theory was born via message board, the earliest reporting I’ve found is a report from GGI that is 24 hours apart from the report of the fake raid.
Additionally, the article asserts the involvement of Scytl, a company they say is now bankrupt (and to be fair, this is true) was involved in the 2020 election, when the information they provide is not only information from the 2016 election (which they of course don’t mention) but also that the services are the same services that I’ve already mentioned, which have nothing to do with providing ballot machines or counting votes. Of course, if you don’t know any of that, because you haven’t bothered to research further, you might believe the bullshit. Scytl, for its part, provides this information clearly on their website.
Of course, if GGI admitted that Scytl had anything at all to do with the 2016 election, an election in which (as we allllll know) Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States, it would almost certainly make them look like they either didn’t care about possible election fraud during that election cycle OR that they’re lying about possible election fraud now. This omission is especially important, because the writers at GGI included an exhaustive list of elections where they claim Scytl has a history of voter fraud, while conveniently leaving out Scytl’s involvement in 2016 in the US.
So, what is it, my dudes? Does Scytl have a history of hijacking Democratic elections as you claim, with the exception of the Trump/Clinton election, or are you making a concerted effort to do a little hijacking of your own by stretching the truth so far that not even Tiger Balm could cure those stretch marks?
Great Game India seems to pride itself on “exposing” information and then taking credit when the story is picked up or is further “exposed.” GGI’s source, it appears, for the fake raid story is simply, “A US Intelligence Official” which is a common moniker for keyboard conspiracy theorists on Deep State and QANON message boards. But, hey—credit where credit is due: this is particularly smart, because if you question the validity of the information, all anyone has to do is say that this official cannot reveal themselves or that the person reporting the supposed leaked information cannot reveal their source. That way, the source stays vague and secret, and it is impossible to delegitimize.
Admittedly, I felt quite a bit of satisfaction after spending the better part of today debunking this ridiculous story. However, the reality is that the feeling I was left with was one of sheer exhaustion, and that’s not because I ran a marathon on the Internet. It’s because stories like this exist by the hundreds of thousands, they’re shared and reshared by the millions, and there is simply not enough time in the day, not enough people, to go around debunking each and every one of them. Furthermore, while I love a good conspiracy theory just as much as anyone, and political conspiracy theories far predate the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, the fact of the matter is that conspiracy theories like this one serve to do nothing more than corrode the infrastructure of Democracy, and the corrosion is coming at us faster and faster, because these theories have broken away from the darkest corners of the web and are now being touted not only by our friends and family members, but also by some of the most high ranking officials in our government.
What this means is that conspiracy theories like this one will continue to clog the waterways of truth, and lots of people are going to drown along the way. Lots of people are going to believe this shit, maybe because they want to, maybe because they don’t have the tools or critical thinking skills to find the answers for themselves. Just as many people, when presented with the evidence that the conspiracy theory they believe that week is categorically false, will simply refuse to believe that evidence. They will scream about the liberal media. They will claim opinion as fact, and they will slither back into places like Parler where they will be welcomed with opened arms and closed minds.
Tiny Blue Dot
NOTE: Sources are cited below, because I’m a nerd and also because source citation fucking matters.