Thursday, March 31, 2022


John Stoehr of The Editorial Board believes Republican politics is very simple:
Guns, abortion, immigration – what binds these “hot button” issues together in the Republican mind? Well, white supremacy, obviously.

I say “obviously” because there was a long period when I thought the defense of whiteness at society’s center, which is clear when you bother looking, couldn’t be right. It was just too simple.

But then I learned, thanks to effort, study and the influence of people who knew better, that white supremacy is no simple thing at all. It can’t be, as it’s the principle organizing the whole of our society.
I'm guessing that many of you agree with this. I'm not so sure. White supremacy might be the main component of GOP politics, but is it everything to Republicans? Don't Republicans hate a lot of other people in addition to non-whites?

Stoehr writes:

America’s first Black president was reelected more than a month before the Sandy Hook massacre during which 20 first-grade kids were shot to pieces down the road from where I live in New Haven.

The Republicans had a choice to make. They could turn away from a seditionary interpretation of the Second Amendment and toward good and sensible gun legislation to prevent other kids dying in cold blood.

Or they could lean into a seditionary interpretation of the Second Amendment on account of democracy having yielded another term for the first Black president who signaled the end of “our way of life.”

Do the right thing – let kids live? Do the wrong thing – let kids die? You know the answer. The Republicans and their white supporters would rather die, literally, than be replaced at the center of power. It was a fateful choice. The land is soaked by the blood of legions.

Dead kids were the price for protecting whiteness.
Really? The price for protecting whiteness was ... letting a mostly white group of very young children die?

You'll say, "Well, those kids were from Connecticut, which is liberal. Republicans didn't care if they died." Parkland, Florida, where there was another mass slaughter of mostly white young people, was also fairly liberal. But the right doesn't care even when there's a mass slaughter of churchgoing white Texans. Here's a tweet that was posted yesterday by wingnutty Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie:

Willeford did end this mass shooting, but only after 26 people died and 22 were wounded.

This group of victims was mostly white as well:

Wouldn't a party whose prime directive is taking care of white people want to keep people like this from dying? But I'd argue that the Republican Party isn't primarily concerned with taking care of white people. It's primarily concerned with stirring up any culture war outrage that will induce white people -- and non-white people, if possible -- to vote Republican so Republicans can continue winning elections and cutting taxes and regulations for rich people and giant corporations.

Very, very frequently, those culture war outrages have a racist component. But Republicans will use anything that works. They also like to make their voters hate advocates of gun control, whom they portray as either lily-livered, Prius-driving, soy-latte-swilling pajama boys or people of other gender identities who ally themselves with these half-men. Many of these demonized opponents of gun violence are white, but they're still the enemy to the GOP.

Stoehr moves on to abortion:
The Republicans are sacrificing the lives of children on the altar of whiteness while appearing oh-so-concerned about unborn children. But the pro-life movement doesn’t fear for all kids, just white ones.

Pro-life means pro-white.
Um ... I guess it is, although the GOP propaganda machine deploys people like Candace Owens to bewail the fact that Blacks can legally get abortions.

I know that this is meant to appeal to white people (See? Liberals are the real racists!), but Republicans also want to increase their share of the non-white vote (which they did in 2020).

And even if you buy Stoehr's notion that anger about abortion is anger about the loss of white babies -- rather than just another way to make GOP voters hate liberal Democrats, by painting them as depraved and evil -- why don't Republicans support any policies that actually help white people to raise children? Republicans supported aid to families during the first year of the pandemic when Donald Trump needed to dole out largesse in an election year, but they're very much opposed to such aid in general. They don't support paid family leave or universal health care. They support budgets that shift the tax burden from wealthy people to ordinary people, not the other way around. They talk a lot about "globalist" companies shippping jobs overseas, but they never want to punish them for doing so. They rail against undocumented immigrants, arguing that these workers hold down wages for native-born Americans, but they never crack down on the companies that hire these immigrants. You'd almost think they're lying when they refer to their party as the party of the working class.

I know that the obvious response to this is that Republicans don't want to support programs that benefit working-class whites because those programs will also aid Those People. But by definition, any such program will help more white people, simply because, in America, there are more white people. Other right-populist countries find ways to help the Volk -- in Hungary, for instance, some aid is expressly intended to improve the birthrate (though it's not working) -- but in America, when Republicans run the country, the message is "Let them eat the culture war." Republicans simply don't bother to aid their voters.

And just as Republicans tolerate the mass slaughter (of whites and others) that's the inevitable by-product of their gun culture, they also tolerate an approach to the COVID pandemic that now kills Republicans at a faster rate than Democrats -- and their voters are fine with that, because the ones who haven't died yet would rather be angry than safe.

Stoehr says that the Republican Party "has mainstreamed ‘the great replacement’" theory. He's right, but that doesn't mean the GOP actually wants to preserve the white race. It just wants to make enough people angry -- about increasing multiculturalism, but also about a hundred other alleged outrages -- to keep winning every election forever.


We're seeing a rise in the use of "ghost guns" -- guns with no serial numbers that are made from kits or printed on 3D printers -- and Gail Collins concludes that this is all President Biden's fault:
Mark this on your April calendar: Joe Biden does something about ghost guns.

OK, just sort of. But let’s be thankful for a start.
April is when we've been told to expect a new rule on ghost guns from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Collins blames Biden for the fact that this is taking so long, and barely acknowledges the other responsible parties.
And how’s Biden, who clearly sees himself as a champion of gun safety regulation, doing? “It depends on what your expectations were,” [Connecticut senator Richard] Blumenthal said, carefully. While many anti-gun activists say they’ve been disappointed, Blumenthal still has a lot of hope. “He’s more passionate and determined than any president in my memory,” the senator said....

Biden’s been consistent, if not always successful. His first attempt to name a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives imploded when the Second Amendment lobby managed to torpedo the nomination of gun control activist David Chipman last year. “Either this was impossible to win or the strategy failed,” Chipman said afterward — an analysis that could be used for many, many administration encounters with the United States Senate.
Maybe Biden shouldn't have imagined that he could win approval for an ATF director who works for the Giffords gun control organization -- but let's not overlook the automatic opposition of every Republican in the Senate, which Collins implies is somehow Biden's fault. And let's also put some of the blame on members of the Senate Democratic caucus:
... several Democrats from states with high gun ownership signaled to the White House they were uncomfortable with Chipman serving as the nation’s top weapons regulator.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona were undecided on Chipman. At the same time, Maine’s Angus King, an independent who votes with the Democrats, told the White House he was a likely “no.”
The gun lobby also played dirty, as usual:
Mr. Chipman placed most of the blame for his defeat on the gun lobby, in particular the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group that lobbied Mr. King and others.

And he singled out Lawrence G. Keane, a top executive at the group, for posting a picture on its website showing a federal agent — falsely identified in a tabloid article as a young Mr. Chipman — standing in the smoldering debris of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993, which he said prompted a spate of online threats.

“Larry Keane put up a photo of me that he knew was false, trying to get me killed,” said Mr. Chipman, who arrived in Waco, Texas, to assist in the investigation long after the A.T.F. had begun an assault that eventually resulted in the deaths of 82 civilians and four federal agents.
Keane feels terrible about this unfortunate mistake.
Mr. Keane, in a phone interview, called the accusation “categorically false,” adding that “the moment we found out that it was in fact not him, we pulled it from our website. If I had known it wasn’t him, we would never have used the photograph.”
Although Keene also blames the victim for all the death threats, because how dare Chipman show his face in public when he believes what he believes about guns.
He acknowledged that Mr. Chipman was the subject of death threats, which he called “extremely unfortunate and uncalled-for.” But he said Mr. Biden never should have nominated someone as belligerent to gun owners, manufacturers and dealers as Mr. Chipman.
Did the Biden administration handle this well? Okay, not really.
Mr. Chipman lauded the dedication of the Justice Department team, but said his attempts to get them to send reporters documents debunking the Waco claim failed — and he finally had to give journalists the information himself after concluding “no one’s defending me.”

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said that they quietly countered negative stories about Mr. Chipman, but believed the under-the-radar media strategy was the wisest course.
This is the classic Biden administration mistake -- believing that quiet diplomacy works with radical zealots -- but at least some of the blame ought to fall on the radical zealots themselves.

Collins continues:
But Biden, who’s still without a permanent A.T.F. director, did direct the Department of Justice to help stop ghost gun proliferation. That was a year ago. The department complied rather quickly, opening the new rules for comment last May. Public comment closed in August and then ....

Well, here we are. Waiting for word.

Biden also requested a ton of money for the A.T.F. in his budget — presuming the budget gets passed and there’s a new director who’ll know how to spend it.
May I point out here that losing a battle to get an ATF head approved is not a uniquely Bidenesque failure?
For the most part, the bureau has been operating under acting directors since Congress changed the position into an executive branch appointment that requires Senate approval in 2006.

The Senate has confirmed only one ATF director, approving Barack Obama’s acting director, B. Todd Jones, in a 53-42 vote in 2013.

President Donald Trump was forced to withdraw his ATF nominee, former Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury, after GOP senators refused to provide the votes to advance him out of committee. Republicans cited concerns that Canterbury’s support of the Second Amendment was weak.
Collins concludes, glibly:
So how’s the president doing? Feel free to vote:

A. Ghost guns! Hey, he’s got a start.

B. Ghost guns! Good grief, is that all he’s done?

C. Well, as long as he delivers before the Easter Egg Roll.
Biden has struggled. He's made strategic miscalculations. There's no question about that.

But the belief that Biden could have turned all this around if he'd just set his mind to it is pure Green Lanternism -- "the belief that the president can achieve any political or policy objective if only he tries hard enough or uses the right tactics." The gun lobby has near-total control over firearms policy in America. It acts in a singularly thuggish way. Its wishes are every Republican's command --yes, even the "good" ones -- and it has a few Democrats on a short leash as well. If we couldn't change the balance of power against these sleazebags after Sandy Hook and Parkland, then we have a lot of gall expecting Joe Biden to do significantly better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Susan Collins says she plans to vote yes on Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination to the Supreme Court, which surprises me -- I assumed there'd be no Republican votes for Jackson. I think that was a reasonable prediction given the nastiness of the party's attacks on Jackson in the Judiciary Committee hearings -- we were told Republicans would go easy on her because seating her on the Court wouldn't change its ideological makeup, but that turned out not to be the case. I also thought Mitch McConnell would want a unanimous GOP rejection of Jackson because Amy Coney Barrett got no Democratic votes, and Republicans always want to be seen as the angrier party.

But I guess Republicans can read a poll:
A broad majority of Americans say they would vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court if they were senators, a new Marquette Law School poll finds....

The poll found 66% of respondents say they would confirm Jackson if in the Senate, while 34% would oppose her.
And in a poll from Quinnipiac that's truly abysmal for President Biden -- he's at 36% approval, 55% disapproval -- Brown has very good numbers, and Republican senators don't.
Americans say 51 - 30 percent that the U.S. Senate should confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, while 19 percent did not offer an opinion.

Americans disapprove 52 - 27 percent of the way Republican Senators are handling the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, while 21 percent did not offer an opinion.

On the other hand, Americans approve 42 - 34 percent of the way Democratic Senators are handling the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, while 23 percent did not offer an opinion.
Republicans want to send the message to their base that they're unyielding partisan warriors, but the base knows Collins is occasionally not in lockstep, so partisan Republicans will just shrug, mutter "RINO," and move on, because Jackson was always expected to have 50 Democratic votes. So Collins's vote doesn't change the outcome.

But this vote will reinforce Collins's image as a non-partisan centrist. And then next year, when (in all likelihood) Republicans control the Senate and begin blocking all of Biden's judicial picks, Collins can go along with her party's blockade without a word of protest, and everyone will still remember this vote and see her as a foe of partisanship.

She won't cast a consequential vote that defies her party; however, she'll cast this one, which is inconsequential but high-profile. That approaches continues to work for her, and her state's voters keep falling for it.


I think it's quite possible that I'll spend my declining years under the Caligula-esque rule of President Marjorie Taylor Greene, but I'm suddenly less worried about one of her ideological soul mates, Madison Cawthorn. You know the story:
Controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is making headlines again after he told host John Lovell on the Warrior Poet Society podcast last week that Washington, D.C. is rife with “sexual perversion” and drug use....

Cawthorn [dished] the dirt about D.C. with Lovell. “The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington, I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, the average age is probably 60 or 70,” Cawthorn said, adding, “I look at a lot of these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life—I’ve always paid attention to politics—then all of a sudden you get invited to, ‘Oh hey we’re going to have a sexual get together at one of our homes, you should come.'”

“‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy,” Cawthorn continued....

“Some of the people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country, and then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you,” Cawthorn said. “And it’s like, this is wild.”
Cawthorn's fellow Republicans, who barely bat an eyelash when party-mates attend a conference run by neo-Nazis -- or, for that matter, try to overturn an election -- freaked when this story broke.
Kevin McCarthy isn’t the only senior Republican who wants to have a talk with Rep. Madison Cawthorn about his claim that some of his colleagues invited him to orgies and used cocaine.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus to which Cawthorn belongs, said he plans to speak to the North Carolina Republican one-on-one about the incendiary comment....

When asked whether they would reconsider Cawthorn’s membership in the group if he didn’t make clear whom he has evidence of taking part in group sex and drug use, Perry wouldn’t say either way: “We will discuss that when we get to it,” he replied....

One Freedom Caucus member, ... addressing Cawthorn on condition of anonymity, described responses from “across the political spectrum ... saying ‘what the hell?’”
Of course this upset them. Cawthorn broke the unwritten law of Republicanism: He suggested that the other side doesn't have a monopoly on evil.

If you're a Republican, you can say all kinds of crazy things. You can say that Anthony Fauci and Hunter Biden collaborated on bioweapons labs in Ukraine in an effort to harm Donald Trump. You can say that Xi Jinping printed counterfeit bamboo-paper ballots in order to throw the 2020 election to the Democrats. None of this makes you a bad Republican. None of this violates the core principle of Republicanism: that every bad thing in the world is the work of the enemy -- liberal Democrats, the media, the Deep State, evil globalists, RINO sellouts.

But here's Cawthorn saying that people he's admired do drugs and have orgies, which, on the right, are seen as terrible things only the adrenochrome-sucking decadent Democrats engage in. This is wrong! Politics is a simple morality tale -- our side is good, while the libs embody all the plagues and pestilences in the universe!

Cawthorn is not with the program. Cawthorn doesn't understand that he's supposed to say his allies have a monopoly on goodness. He'll never be an effective Republican cadre that way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Jonathan Last of The Bulwark tells us that we're taking Ginni Thomas much more seriously than Republican insiders do.
Here is a secret no one in Washington is willing to say out loud: Ginni Thomas is an idiot. The only reason she was texting the president’s chief of staff instead of being the angry cat lady on Facebook is because she married a man who got himself appointed to the Supreme Court.

... what we’re dealing with isn’t an intellectual, or even a smooth operator, but a Boomer with an internet connection, an important spouse, and too much time on her hands.

... Literally everyone in conservative Washington knows this about her.... I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard people in the various precincts of Conservatism Inc. laugh about the self-important preening, unserious dabbling, and incompetent hackery of Ginni Thomas over the years—in the wistful way a butler might indulge a wealthy child.
As Exhibit A, Last reproduces emails Thomas sent to some right-wing listservs. One reads in part:
Subject: WOW - Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke!!!

Compelling man. IMHO.

Well read.


Please consider helping more eyes and ears use this video interview to absorb what Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke is saying about Trump, America, the media and what is needed right now....
Here's another:
Subject:Rush Limbaugh’s Bo Snerdley Takes On NFL Protests And White Privilege


Please listen to Rush Limbaugh's amazing call screener, James Golden, AKA "Bo Snerdley" on the NFL flap, white privilege and the Republican Congress!

... Would love your help on social media with getting it heard by others too!
And another:
Subject: Please take time to listen to Joe diGenova about the weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence to protect HRC and destroy DJT

Beyond the #SchumerShutdown....Please take time to listen and pass on this compelling Joe diGenova video, which is going pretty dang viral today (from my standards)!

... Traffic today keeps the post up high where it gets natural traffic at Daily Caller, and THIS IS EDUCATIONAL!!
Last tells us that "the bizarre capitalization and punctuation," as well as Thomas's "obsession with talk radio and her genuflection before grifters like [James] O’Keefe, Clarke, and diGenova," make it clear that she's nothing more than a gullible simpleton.

Which tells you what the Republican insiders who mock Ginni Thomas think of their own voters.

Ginned-up culture-war claptrap of the kind that Ginni Thomas promotes in these emails is the entire Republican message to voters. Throw in some CRT, some gay- and trans-bashing, some COVID denialism, and some talk about Hunter Biden's laptop -- all of which Ginni is on board with, I'm sure -- and this is all Republican have to offer their base.

So if "people in the various precincts of Conservatism Inc." have contempt for Ginni Thomas, that means they think their voters are gullible simpletons, too, because those voters eagerly swarm to suck up this chum just the way she does, and therefore the smart folks of Conservatism Inc. keep tossing it out.

I don't believe that all high-profile conservatives understand that this is just nonsense intended to gull the rubes. Here's a famous name on the right who takes this kind of thing seriously: Donald Trump. Here's another: Donald Trump Jr. Also: Sarah Palin. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Paul Gosar. Kari Lake, who might be the next governor of Arizona. And in the next few years the list will just grow and grow.

The sort-of-good news is that powerful Republicans are smart enough not to believe the bilge they pump out 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The bad news is that they keep pumping it out regardless, because dividing America by making half of its voters angry and ignorant is good for Republican elitists' careers.


Jonathan Chait has written a pretty good feature story on our possible Ron DeSantis future. I appreciate the warning that the entire Republican Party has settled on DeSantis as the alternative to Donald Trump if Trump doesn't run in 2024:
People who do not ingest large amounts of conservative media may have difficulty comprehending the extent of the adulation both the Trumpist and the Trump-skeptical wings of the party have lavished on DeSantis. On a daily basis, the right-wing press churns out stories with headlines like “The Promise of Ron DeSantis,” “Could Gov. Ron DeSantis Be the Favorite GOP Frontrunner for 2024?,” “A Ron DeSantis Master Class in Rope-a-Dope,” “Media Keep Trying — and Failing — to Take Down Florida’s Ron DeSantis,” “Karol Markowicz on What Gov. Ron DeSantis Is Really Like: ‘So Real and Down to Earth,’” and on and on.
And it's good to be reminded that DeSantis rejects Never Trumpers altogether, but is very willing to embrace racists and other extremists.
[DeSantis's] proto-candidacy reflects a handful of working assumptions. First, that any former Republican voter who opposed Trump on moral rather than aesthetic grounds is gone and not worth trying to bring back. Second, that the right-wing groups Trump brought into the Republican fold or whose creation he inspired are either political assets or simply too important to be culled. And third, that Trump’s attempt to secure an unelected second term was a failure of tactics, not a disqualifying ambition that merited rebuke and ostracism.
Chait puts this more succinctly on Twitter:

Chait sees this as a professionalization of Trumpism, which is correct. DeSantis strokes right-wing voters' rage centers the way Trump does, and obsesses over Fox News grievances in a Trumpian manner, but, Chait writes, "without [Trump's] childlike inability to focus on what his advisers tell him. One DeSantis ally, confiding to the New York Times, summed up his appeal as 'competent Trumpism.'"

But even Chait doesn't quite understand how DeSantis got here. Chait went back and read DeSantis's 2011 book, Dreams from Our Founding Fathers, written when DeSantis was a congressman and member of the Freedom Caucus, which he helped found. After reading the book, Chait concludes that DeSantis isn't merely pandering to Trump -- he "developed reactionary suspicions of democracy before Trump ever came along, which positioned him perfectly to straddle the elite-base divide within his party." -- but Chait also thinks DeSantis "has adjusted nimbly from tea-partyer to Trumpista." But how is that an adjustment at all? They're essentially the same thing.

I give Chait credit for recognizing that Trump didn't invent the anti-democratic impulse in the GOP, but he seems to think it was there in its current form long before we were born. Chait says of DeSantis's book,
Its author ... has clearly given a great deal of thought to the book’s thesis: that Obama’s agenda of raising taxes on the rich and spending more money on the non-rich is an attack on the Constitution....

The Constitution, he argues, was designed to “prevent the redistribution of wealth through the political process.” ... The Constitution’s role, as DeSantis sees it, is to prevent popular majorities from enacting the economic policies they want.

DeSantis does not believe the Constitution merely establishes a set of ground rules for how policy should be written. He thinks the Constitution requires that conservative Republican policy prevail forever. This is not an original belief. It was the dominant right-wing position from the late-19th century through the middle of the New Deal...

DeSantis’s core conviction is that an outcome in which Democrats win majorities through free and fair elections and vote to expand social spending by taxing the rich is fundamentally illegitimate. He is far from the only Republican to hold this view. The American right has never fully accepted the legitimacy of democratically elected majorities setting economic policy.
Yes, but it hasn't always been the majority opinion on the American right that all elections won by Democrats are fundamentally illegitimate. That idea took off in the George W. Bush era, with its "voter fraud" obsession. DeSantis was born in 1978, which means he probably can't remember any kind of Republican politics other than the Democrats-always-cheat kind.

This and his obvious opportunism makes it unsurprising that he seized on Trump's stolen-election talk right away. DeSantis knows what sells to GOP voters. His instincts told him that this message would have mass appeal on the right, and he was correct -- it's not going away. The only question is why this doesn't marginalize him in the broader political culture.

Monday, March 28, 2022


The Associated Press reports on the owner of a radio station near Kansas City who proudly broadcasts Russian state propaganda:
A man who runs a little-known, low-budget radio station in suburban Kansas City says he is standing up for free speech and alternative viewpoints when he airs Russian state-sponsored programming in the midst of the Ukrainian war.

Radio Sputnik, funded by the Russian government, pays broadcast companies in the U.S. to air its programs. Only two do so: One is Peter Schartel's company in Liberty, Missouri, and one is in Washington, D.C.

Schartel started airing the Russian programming in January 2020, but criticism intensified after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Schartel said people accuse him and his wife of being traitors to the U.S. and occasionally issue threats. Some critics say he is promoting propaganda and misinformation, but Schartel maintains most people who call to complain haven't listened to the program.

“Some will talk to me, but others will still call me a piece of whatever," he said. "What I am thankful for is we are still living in a country where they can call me up. Even if they aren’t thinking about free speech they’re exercising that right.”
Schartel broadcasts Radio Sputink six hours a day, for a fairly small fee:
Schartel's Alpine Broadcasting Corp. is paid $5,000 a month to air Radio Sputnik in two three-hour blocks each day, according to a U.S. Justice Department Foreign Agent Registration Act filing in December 2021.
AP implies that Schartel's station doesn't have a political leaning and broadcasts a wide range of opinions:
KCXL's other programming includes shows that are heavily religious, offer opinions across the political spectrum and promote conspiracy theories. One program, TruNews, has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for spreading antisemitic, Islamaphobic and anti-LGBTQ messages.
"Across the political spectrum"? Really? Here's the list of shows on KCXL. Apart from Radio Sputnik and a number of religious broadcasts, I'm struggling to find even one show that's on the left. TruNews is singled out as if it's the only show on the station where you might find bigotry. It's certainly one possible source of bigotry on the station -- and also another potential source of pro-Russian propaganda. The March 18 broadcast is posted on the TruNews site under the headline
In addition, KCXL broadcasts Alex Jones every Thursday morning at 11:00. And every weeknight at 10:00, the station features Jeff Rense, who's mostly focused on crackpottery (Wikipedia says, "Rense's radio program and website propagate conspiracy theories, including those of 9/11 conspiracists, ufologists and advocates of the paranormal, the creation of diseases, chemtrails, evidence of advanced ancient technology, emergent energy technologies, and alternative medicine") but has also given airtime to the likes of David Duke and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. Rense said of Duke,
[Your videos] are without question the most brilliantly conceived and executed videos I have ever some across exposing the truth of Zionism as racism and the tribal effort to continue to subjugate and crush the western world....
On Mondays at 2:00 P.M., KCXL airs On the Right Side Radio. Here's a summary of the most recent show:
March 25, 2022 The History of Mind Control–And The Rest Of The Story...More Election Fraud–Pennsylvania...The Bidens–Limpet Mine Attached To the Ship Of American Foreign Policy...The Real Inflation/Unemployment Stats...Biden Admits “New World Order”
On the show's website, there's this:
Ukraine-The Matrix Mirage

* U.S. “Bioweapon” PROOF? – Investigators Found Something...

* China Backs Russian Reports Suggesting Bioweapons Found

* Stop Me If This Sounds Familiar, Victoria Nuland Admits The US Funded Biolabs In Ukraine

* **BREAKING VIDEO** Russia Tells the US “We Have Found Your Biological Weapons” (VIDEO)
(I'll spare you the links, which go to pages at a site called Just Patriots, as well as Gateway Pundit.)

Oh, and KCXL used to retransmit this guy:

Steve West, a Kansas City-based engineer, won the Republican primary for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives this week by trumpeting “old American” values. On his campaign website, he mentions the home repair company he runs with his son, his Clay County roots, and his belief that pornography should be “strickly regulated.”

What West neglects to mention are his forays into alternative media, where he has made all sorts of racist and anti-Semitic claims. On his weekly local radio show last year, for example, he said, “Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it.”

... [A] website [run by West] includes a 2,181-word, single-spaced rant against “Moslems,” whom he equates with Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. “Today in this country there are multiple mosques in every city,” he writes. “They are the equivalent of KKK temples or Nazi party headquarters.”
Our pal Pete Schartel was cool with this:
Pete Schartel, president of the radio station KCXL, which hosts West’s show, said in an email, “The comments on Steve West’s program are entirely his own and most are not shared by me. They are definitely a test of my moral resolve to always champion free speech. I do respect that he is willing to help this station survive by paying for his airtime and respect our listeners enough to trust that they will listen beyond the sometimes inflammatory nature of his comments in their own quest for knowledge.”
So how did Schartel start broadcasting Radio Sputnik? KCUR, the NPR affiliate in Kansas City, told the story in 2020:
The man responsible for broadcasting Russian state programming in the Kansas City area says he always dreamed of owning a radio station.

Today he owns two, plus a small fleet of radio transmitters across the Kansas City metro.

But money remains tight, he laid off his staff years ago and the stations sell airtime to local residents and religious organizations at cut-rate prices. He hasn’t given himself a paycheck in months.

So Pete Schartel’s ears perked up a while back when he heard that Radio Sputnik pays $30,000 a month to broadcast its programming in Washington, D.C.

“I’m going, ‘Oh my Lord, that’s twice what my whole budget is,’” he told KCUR in a two-hour interview at his flagship station, KCXL, last week. “They must have some money. Let’s investigate this.”

Schartel found Arnold Ferolito, the broker who negotiated the 2017 deal to broadcast Russian programming 24 hours a day in Washington, and made his pitch: “We’re right in the middle of the country. This would be a good test market.”

Ferolito agreed. Late last year, Schartel began broadcasting Radio Sputnik....
The original deal was negotiated in ... 2017? Remind me again: Who was inaugurated president in January of that year?

In fact, a recent Daily Mail story about Ferolito describes him as "Donald Trump Jr.'s Florida neighbor."
Businessman Arnold Ferolito, 79, has been pocketing money from the Russian government to broadcast Radio Sputnik from his family home, located in an exclusive Jupiter, Florida development whose residents include Donald Trump Jr. and fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Filings made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show Ferolito was hired in 2017 by the 'Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency', a media group owned and operated by the Russian government, to air Radio Sputnik....
And Pete Schartel thought it was a swell idea to get on board.

No one needs to give platforms to these people in the name of free speech. The Internet exists for the racists and crackpots (and the racist crackpots) to broadcast what they please; the Russians have Tucker Carlson, Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald, and plenty of other American messengers. I don't see Schartel looking left for radical, unpopular speech -- does he not believe that's silenced? But of course he probably doesn't. He probably thinks the three major networks and CNN and The New York Times represent the voice of the "radical left." Why wouldn't he? Every GOP politician and Fox host says that's what they are.

I don't want any of the people on Schartel's station silenced by law, but there's nothing noble about putting any of them on the air.


I'm seeing a lot of apolitical memes in response to the Will Smith's (real? staged?) attack on Chris Rock during last night's Oscars -- this seems to be the most popular one:

And I'm seeing quite a few memes from right-wingers who'd clearly like to do a little assaulting themselves:

If there are left/liberal slap memes, I haven't seen them.

The right likes this sort of thing more than the left. Remember this, from 2017?

Or this one, which was shown at a pro-Trump gathering in 2019?

In a way, you can't blame Paul Gosar for thinking he could get away with an animated video in which he killed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Trump always got away with it, right?

I don't know why right-wingers like these memes more than liberals. The right thinks it's because conservatism has cleverer people who operate better on the modern Internet, but I think the right (a) likes violence more than liberals, (b) obsesses over politics to the exclusion of all else, and (c) reduces politics to simple revenge. Liberals have concrete policy goals -- a serious approach to climate change, a reduction in economic equality, universal healthcare, anti-racism, respect for LGBT people, support for reproductive rights -- while the right is just pissed off at everyone who's not right-wing and wants us all to suffer.

Right-wingers would point to Kathy Griffin and that Trump severed head, but there's nothing like that happening on our side these days. Politics seems too serious and too full of suffering -- the pandemic, George Floyd, Ukraine. To right-wingers, though, violence is a joke. So this is perfect for them.

Sunday, March 27, 2022


President Biden is about to propose a wealth tax on the super-rich. The New York Times reports:
The White House will ask Congress on Monday to pass a new minimum tax on billionaires....

The tax would require that American households worth more than $100 million pay a rate of at least 20 percent on their income as well as unrealized gains in the value of their liquid assets, such as stocks and bonds, which can accumulate value for years but are taxed only when they are sold.
Can it pass? The Times tells us that that's not clear:
Moderate Democrats, including Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have balked at raising the corporate tax rate or lifting the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, leaving the party with few options to raise revenue.

Still, Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, slammed the idea of taxing billionaires after [Senator Ron] Wyden’s [earlier] proposal to do so was released, although Mr. Manchin has since suggested he could support some type of billionaires’ tax.
The Washington Post says:
... all previous efforts to tax billionaires have failed amid major political head winds, and it is unclear if Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will go along with the plan.
And here's CNN:
... the reality of it becoming law is unclear on Capitol Hill, where some more moderate members of the party have previously balked at such efforts.
Let me point out a word that doesn't appear in any of these stories: Republican. Not one Republican is quoted by the Times, the Post, or CNN.

That's understandable: The tax proposal, if it passes, will pass as part of a budget bill that every Republican in Congress will vote against. But I'd like to hear what Republicans have to say about this proposal to tax the wealthy. After all, Republicans have been saying for several years now that the "Democrat Party" is the party of "elitists" and that they're becoming "the party of the working class."

Much of the mainstream media takes this very, very seriously. Here's NPR last year:
Republicans are increasingly comfortable attacking corporations these days....

Top Senate Republicans — some considering 2024 presidential runs — have been echoing the call to remake the party even before the 2020 election. "We've got a big battle in front of us, Republicans do, to try and make this party truly the party of working-class America," Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said in November.
Writers such as the Post's Greg Sargent see new waves of Republicans, such as the "national conservatives," as a serious challenge to GOP orthodoxy:
This NatCon vision fuses economics and culture: The GOP and conservative movement have traditionally been too beholden to macroeconomic metrics such as gross domestic product growth as measures of national greatness. Free-market orthodoxy has undercut more fundamental values such as families and community.
The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib reported last year:
Starting a couple of years ago ... there has been a sprouting of new-wave conservative proposals designed to help working-class families, even if those plans required ditching traditional free-market economics....
Seib went on to describe policy proposals from Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton. So ... why not ask those guys how they feel about the Biden wealth tax proposal? Or ask them about other kinds of increased taxation of "elitists"?

No one in the press wastes time asking Republicans about these proposals because everyone knows they'd be opposed. Which is fine -- but in that case, stop telling us that the Republican Party might really be becoming "the party of the working class."

A few journalists understand this. in the Post last year, Paul Waldman called Republicans on their bullshit:
Let’s take this seriously for a moment and ask: What exactly is the Republican Party offering the working class?

Take, for instance, the memo Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) recently wrote for Republicans entitled “Cementing the GOP as the Working-Class Party.” ...

The revealing part ... is the actual policy suggestions Banks offers. In their entirety: harsh immigration policies; protectionism on trade; “Anti-Wokeness”; opposing “Wall Street” by complaining about covid lockdowns that hurt small businesses; and going after technology companies’ “censorship” of conservatives.

So if you’re looking for actual policies, that’s really just two things: immigration and trade. Which isn’t exactly nothing, but it sure isn’t much.

And when a Republican comes up with an idea to help people of modest incomes in a substantial way — as Mitt Romney did with a plan to give parents a generous no-strings child tax benefit — most other Republicans reject it.

... Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) came out in favor of a unionization drive against Amazon in Alabama — but not because he believes all workers should have the right to collectively bargain (he doesn’t). It was only because Amazon’s “leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values” by being too “woke.”

If your company is mistreating you but hasn’t weighed in on whatever culture war issue Sean Hannity is talking about, your plight is of no concern to Sen. Rubio.
The Jim Banks memo, which was addressed to House minority leader and likely future Speaker Kevin McCarthy, says that Republicans should be both pro-worker and pro-plutocrat, while being anti- ... well, let Banks explain:

So the Republicans are (a) pro-business, (b) pro-free market capitalism, and, based on their ongoing oppostion to taxing massive accumulations of wealth derived from big business, (c) pro-plutocrat ... but they're (d) anti-corporation. Whatever that means.

And we get the same nonsense in a post by Batya Ungar-Sargon at Bari Weiss's Substack that lavishes praise on a Rubio proposal to require every billion-dollar corporation to include a token worker on the board and allow the formation of a workers' organization that would be kinda-sorta like a union but wouldn't be able to negotiate wage increases:
Rubio’s bill, like much of what happens on the populist right, is navigating the Scylla of the pro-corporate Right and the Charybdis of the progressive-union Left, opening a new lane that casts itself as both pro-business and pro-worker. If the capital L labor movement has traditionally put workers in an adversarial relationship with management, and the pro-business right has historically ignored the plight of workers altogether, new populists like Rubio are seeking a way to give workers more power while circumventing the unions that are often aligned with the Democratic Party—and without succumbing to the big business pressures of the Republican donor class.
In other words, essentially no additional power at all, and definitely no more of the money that's being accumulated in great quantities by the extremely rich.

The headline of the Paul Waldman piece put it this way: "Republicans want to be a working class party. But not that much." Yup, that's about right.

Saturday, March 26, 2022


There is literally nothing a Democrat can do that won't be attacked by right-wing commentators as a threat to destroy civilization as we know it. Watch this Fox News commentary on President Biden's visit with U.S. troops in Poland:

Fox host Pete Hegseth says to Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt:
Charlie, I want to hone in a little bit on that word "corny." This idea that the president of the United States would go talk about our founding documents dismissively on the border of a shooting war when -- this is not to praise Vladimir Putin, but there's no way when he was onstage there was one equivocation about the justification of his stance on Russia. If there's one place to say, "This is the most beautiful document, we have the best system, we will defeat you," it's there. Yet he makes statements like that. Is that just Joe Biden-ism? Is that the modern left that says, "Well, you know, America was never that great," to quote, you know, the late -- or not the late, but the former governor of New York, Cuomo? I mean, what's the mindset there?
So what did Biden say? What America-bashing pronouncement did the president make in front of all these soldiers on the edge of a war zone? It must have been really bad.

It was this:
First of all, thank you. You represent 1 percent of the American people. None of you have to be here. You all decided to be here for your country. Every one of you volunteered. Every single one of you stepped up. And the rest of the 99 percent of the rest of the country, including me, owes you and owes you big, number one.

Number two, you know, we’re a unique country in many ways. And we’re the only country — the only country in the world not based — organized based on geography or ethnicity or religion or race or anything else; we’re based on an idea. Literally the only country in the world based on an idea that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women and men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.

Sounds corny, but it’s the truth of who we are. We’ve never lived up to it, but we never walked away from it. And the rest of the world looks to us. Because, you know, we not only lead by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. And your generation combines both.

The rest of the world looks at you and sees who you are. They see you are a multi-ethnic group of Americans that are, in fact, together and united into one so- — resolve: to defend your country and to help those who need help. That’s why you’re here.
In my world, that's a patriotic speech. But I'm not Fox commentator working myself up into a fake state of spittle-flecked rage.

Charles Hurt responds:
And Pete, nobody knows this better than you: In a roomful of men -- and women, probably -- who have sworn, who've signed up and sworn to give their lives for not only their fellow man beside them, but for that corny document, they have literally -- and they would walk into any fire to give up their life for that document.
Notice that neither Hegseth nor Hurt ever specifies which document Biden was quoting. I'm sure if you asked them whether it was the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, they'd have a 50/50 chance of guessing right, just like Marsha Blackburn. (It was the Declaration.)

Hurt continues, his voice getting progressively squeakier:
And to have this horse’s ass up there, their commander-in-chief -- and I hate talking like this because he’s still the commander-in-chief, and out of respect to those men in that room, you know, you hate to drag the guy, but he shouldn’t be there. He needs to be taken away. If he has family that cares for him, they need to take him away. He is not fit for this.
And now that we've been told about Dementia Joe (as opposed to Supervillain Joe, who as the sinister head of a cabal of globalist evildoers expertly undermines America with his every action), we move on to the greatest sin of all:

Biden had a bad reaction to spicy food.

Biden was defeated by that pizza! And by defeated, Boy Soprano Hurt means that Biden found the heat a bit much and asked for some water.

Oh, and later, while speaking with Polish president Andrzej Duda, he coughed once, sipped more liquid, and joked about coughing because he'd "had pizza pie with hot peppers on it." (Biden is probably the last English speaker on Earth who still says "pizza pie." I love that. Never change, Joe.)

Part of me finds this laughable, but this is the gauntlet Democrats have to run every day. Everything they say and do is attacked as a threat to everything decent people cherish about life in this country. One word in a highly patriotic speech is worse that 9/11 and Pearl Harbor combined.

And Pizza-ghazi! Yes, we were so much better off when our president was this guy, with his oh-so-normal consumption habits:
Everyone knew Table 72 belonged to the President. The round booth in the middle of the Trump Hotel’s mezzanine was impossible to miss....

And when the star appeared, you had to stick to the script. A “Standard Operating Procedure” document ... outlined step by step exactly what to do and what to say anytime Trump dined at BLT Prime, the hotel restaurant.

As soon as Trump was seated, the server had to “discreetly present” a mini bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. (This applied long before Covid, mind you.) Next, cue dialogue: “Good (time of day) Mr. President. Would you like your Diet Coke with or without ice?” the server was instructed to recite. A polished tray with chilled bottles and highball glasses was already prepared for either response. Directions for pouring the soda were detailed in a process no fewer than seven steps long—and illustrated with four photo exhibits. The beverage had to be opened in front of the germophobe commander in chief, “never beforehand.” The server was to hold a longneck-bottle opener by the lower third of the handle in one hand and the Diet Coke, also by the lower third, in the other. Once poured, the drink had to be placed at the President’s right-hand side. “Repeat until POTUS departs.”
That's when America was truly great!

Friday, March 25, 2022


I once thought that Dr. Oz was going to coast to victory in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, but polls show that the front-runner is David McCormick, who doesn't exactly seem compatible with the GOP's recent "party of the working class" branding.

From a New York magazine story about his wife, Dina Powell:
Take Goldman Sachs partner Dina Powell, the irresistibly charming, gossip-slinging, Washington–Wall Street power-brokering insider who served as Trump’s deputy national security adviser.... She isn’t running for office herself, but she’s been working hard to help her zillionaire hedge-funder husband, David McCormick, win the Republican primary to replace retiring senator Pat Toomey in his home state of Pennsylvania. (Despite years in D.C. and Connecticut, he still owns his family’s Christmas tree farm in the state.) Team McCormick got Trumpy quick. Stephen Miller works for the campaign, along with Hope Hicks.... McCormick has also got Breitbart apparatchiks and ran “Let’s Go Brandon” Super Bowl ads.
This is a party that sells itself as opposed to "elitists" and "globalists," and yet here's more about the wife of the party's likely Senate nominee:
There she was with Kobe Bryant and Bob Iger at a Hollywood dinner hosted by Brian Grazer and Ari Emanuel for Mohammed bin Salman in 2018. In 2019, she married McCormick. (They both had been previously married.) Afterwards, a glittering cross section of the ruling class hauled itself to Egypt for a days-long riverboat cruise down the Nile, from Aswan to Luxor: There was Paul Ryan, Axios founder Jim VandeHei, journalist turned Facebook exec Campbell Brown and her husband, Dan Senor. Oh, and fashion designer Tory Burch. (Hardly “populist potential,” as Breitbart pigeon Matt Boyle absurdly cooed about McCormick in a headline.)

When Vandehei’s star reporter, Jonathan Swan, married another reporter, Betsy Woodruff, Powell was at their Virginia wedding. When the Times opinion section had a pre-coronavirus Valentine’s Day party in the office, Powell was there at the invitation of Nicholas Kristof. She brought Washington Post columnist David Ignatius to a box to watch the Army-Navy football game in Philly with Trump.
This is why I laugh when writers like Greg Sargent of The Washington Post and Jason Zengerle of The New York Times tell us that there's a pro-working-class movement on the right that genuinely threatens to change the ideology of the Republican Party. The GOP will never head in that direction. It doesn't have to -- it's voters don't care whether their Republican politicians help them economically as long as those politicians stroke their rage centers. McCormick ran a "Let's go, Brandon" TV ad and is working with Donald Trump's most racist aide -- that's all GOP voters want. Do that and you can be as globalist and elitist as you want.

In other countries, right populists throw a few economic bones to the Volk in order to win their support. In America, why bother? All the Volk care about is grievance. Say you hate the people they hate and they'll love you.


Last night I read the Bob Woodward/Robert Costa story about Ginni Thomas's texts to Mark Meadows after the 2020 election and told you that the ideas Thomas was sharing with Meadows came from QAnon. That seemed obvious, but it's good to see it confirmed by the Daily Beast's Will Sommer, who writes regularly about QAnon:
Will Sommer, a Daily Beast reporter and the author of a forthcoming book on QAnon, analyzed the text messages Clarence Thomas's wife sent to Donald Trump's top aide.

"They reveal that Ginni Thomas is into some heavy-duty QAnon stuff!" Sommer wrote in a Twitter thread.

"This idea of watermarked ballots being used to catch Democratic voter fraud is big in QAnon, but I'm especially interested in her idea of military 'white hats' (in other words, good guys). That's a key QAnon phrase," he explained. "Ginni Thomas sent Meadows a Steve Pieczenik video about a 'QFS' system. QFS is the 'Quantum Financial System,' an idea of a mythical money system that will bring on a sort of right-wing utopia. Pieczenik is a regular InfoWars guest."
In fact, the video I posted last night, which I believe is the Rumble version of the now-deleted YouTube video Thomas sent to Meadows, is of a Steve Pieczenik appearance on InfoWars, with guest host Owen Shroyer substituting for Alex Jones.

In it, Pieczenik, a former U.S. government official turned crackpot, describes the alleged sting operation to catch the evil Democrats cheating on the 2020 election:
What happened was, we marked -- watermarked every ballot with what's called the QFS blockchain encryption code.
So what is QFS? Here's one explanation, from a Quora forum:
Quantum Financial System is a name for a number of conflicting conspiracy theories. Some allege that governments are building it to increase control over their citizens, other that it is being built by anonymous citizens to break the power of central banks. There are other variants as well.

The simplest, and most outlandish, version is that someone will launch a quantum computer into orbit, endowed with a highly advanced artificial intelligence program. Money will become worthless, all transactions will be intermediated by the satellite and denominated in precious metals.
Once you do even the small amount of digging into this nuttery, you start encountering a lot of acronyms -- GCR, RV, GESARA, NESARA. GCR and RV are the same thing:
What is the RV or GCR?

It is a belief that one day the U.S. dollar will collapse, which will affect the entire world financial system. As a result currencies around the world will be revalued and currencies will be backed by gold and other assets.
GCR stands for Global Currency Reset.

NESARA? Wikipedia has the best explanation. Don't skim past this -- the second paragraph is delightful:
National Economic Security and Recovery Act (NESARA) was a set of proposed economic reforms for the United States suggested during the 1990s by Harvey Francis Barnard. Barnard claimed that the proposals, which included replacing the income tax with a national sales tax, abolishing compound interest on secured loans, and returning to a bimetallic currency, would result in 0% inflation and a more stable economy. The proposals were never introduced before Congress.

NESARA has since become better known as the subject of a cult-like conspiracy theory promoted by Shaini Candace Goodwin, also known as "Dove of Oneness", who claimed that the act was actually passed with additional provisions as the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, and then suppressed by the George W. Bush administration and the Supreme Court. Goodwin's conspiracy emails have been translated into several languages and have a large following online.
A site called GESARA Help gets even wackier when explaining GESARA:
The Global Economic Security and Reform Act is a global prosperity program on the verge of being announced and activated.

This program is backed by precious metals deliverable well above quattuordecillion of US dollars (40 zeros).

All 8 billion of the human population will benefit from GESARA.

And the Earth will finally be free to experience itself as the abundant planet it was created to be.

Few realize that there is more than enough gold to make all human currencies in circulation.

This means that any and every human being could become a multi-millionaire instantly without debt of any kind if only given the resources. GESARA is about sharing the gold resources saved from humanity to humanity with humanity for humanity around the planet in a fair way.

Without any individual on Earth being out of reach of GESARA wealth redistribution program.

And no individual or organization anywhere on Earth will be able to stop GESARA once it starts.

The volume of GESARA will cancel all debts of credit cards, mortgages and other bank debts due to the illegal and corrupt form of banking and government activity around the world.

The income tax will be abolished as well, as GESARA will make personal taxes monetarily unnecessary.

A new 14% single rate tax on new non-core items will provide the sustainable revenue stream for all national governments after GESARA.
Did I mention how aliens fit into all this? Shoshi Herscu, author of a book called Mass Awakening, explains (note: the links below don't work):
QFS stands for Quantum Financial System and according to Galactic Connection site, it’s an off-world monetary system which cannot be rigged, in contrast with the current financial system. As it cannot be compromised – despite the many attempts to do so by the cabal – the cabal’s corrupt central banking will collapse. The cabal will have no access to this system. This system will allow the transfer of the new asset-backed currencies after the Global Currency Reset which will replace the US-controlled Swift system with all its ills of usury and manipulation....

The novelty about this system is that benevolent extraterrestrial Galactics provided the Alliance with this system which does not run on a conventional computer, but a quantum computer placed on a satellite. It is protected by SSPs to prevent it from being hacked.

According to the Galactic Connection site

“the activation of the QFS, the Galactic Alliance will completely destroy the Central Banking System that has been designed to destroy the world economy and put the world population into perpetual debt slavery.” This will be the path to humanity’s liberation from this kind of slavery....

This new financial system has been active simultaneously with the central banking system for more than a year. The Cabal attempted to hack this system multiple times to steal funds but were stopped in their tracks. Those bankers who attempted to steal funds from this system and transfer them illegally were caught red-handed and have consequently been arrested.

The activation of the QFS will lead to the Cabal’s demise. They try to prevent its implementation but our victory is near and they are about to lose the battle.

This system was not a 3D creation. It is considered to be alive Quantum benevolent Artificial Intelligence which comes with a ‘recognition system’ which is able to replace conscious humans and interact “with each financial transaction to ensure that it is transparent, legal, and owner-intended to prevent it from being compromised.
All of which, I guess, explains this graphic:

I'm not sure how all this relates to watermarked ballots, but I guess the extraterrestrials could explain it to me.

Do I think Ginni Thomas believes all of this, or even most of it? It seems as if she was just dipping a toe in the QFS waters in early November. Who knows what additional "research" she's done since then? However, I assume that if it doesn't involve the war against the evil Democrats, she's not particularly interested.

Just believing any of this seems like a red flag. On the other hand, so many Americans believe at least some of it that I can't regard it as insanity -- it just seems like the kind of mass delusion that groups of people regularly fall for. This one seems unusually toxic and widespread -- and very much bound up with dangerous tendencies on the American right. For Ginni Thomas and many other Republicans, it's an alternate reality available to be cited whenever facts in the real world don't live up to right-wing rage. Actual Democrats don't seem evil enough? Look at all the Democratic pedophilia the Cabal doesn't want you to know about! The election seems legit? Check the blockchain! Slanders against Democrats can be refuted in our world, but never in this one. That's the danger.

Thursday, March 24, 2022


One of the GOP's witnesses in the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings is a lawyer with a QAnon-adjacent organization that's under criminal investigation:
A top official from the controversial anti-child trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad will testify on the Republican panel at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing Thursday....

The official set to testify, Alessandra Serano, is the Chief Legal Officer for Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). The announcement from the Senate Judiciary Committee came after a heated day of questioning on Tuesday in which Republican senator Josh Hawley misleadingly accused Jackson of levying light punishments in child sex abuse cases....

OUR has a long history of controversies. Utah's Attorney's Office of Davis County is currently investigating OUR for a number of potential offenses, including misuse of funds, operators possibly being intoxicated on missions and whether its members have "engaged in sexual acts with human trafficking victims," according to a Vice News report published in June 2021, citing a source with knowledge of the investigation.

The organization was founded in Utah in 2013 by Tim Ballard, a former officer for the United States' Department of Homeland Security who in 2019 was appointed by former President Donald Trump to a White House advisory council to end human trafficking....

Individuals with connections to the group have ... had links to QAnon....

At a "Health and Freedom" conference in June 2021, actor Jim Caviezel shared QAnon conspiracies while promoting a biopic where he played OUR founder Ballard as a hero rescuing children around the world, Vice reported. Caviezel publicly claimed that traffickers were harvesting the chemical adrenochrome from children, a common myth in the conspiracy movement.

Caviezel had attended the conference, which featured speakers like the conspiracy theorist and QAnon influencer Lin Wood, to promote the movie....

Although OUR denied having any affiliation with QAnon or other conspiracy theory groups in a statement to Vice, Ballard told The New York Times in August 2020 that some internet conspiracy theories about child trafficking "have allowed people to open their eyes."
This happens on the same day that The Washington Post published a story by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa quoting text messages from Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in which she urged him to redouble efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Not only is Ginni Thomas clearly a zealot -- "“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!...You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice," she wrote in one text -- but she also shares QAnon theories with Meadows:
“Watermarked ballots in over 12 states have been part of a huge Trump & military white hat sting operation in 12 key battleground states,” she wrote.

During that period, supporters of the QAnon extremist ideology embraced a false theory that Trump had watermarked mail-in ballots so he could track potential fraud. “Watch the water” was a refrain in QAnon circles at the time.

In the Nov. 5 message to Meadows, Thomas went on to quote a passage that had circulated on right-wing websites: “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”

... The next day, Nov. 6, Thomas sent a follow-up to Meadows: “Do not concede. It takes time for the army who is gathering for his back.”
GQP? It's an appropriate name for this party.

The bit about watermarked ballots came from a video that Woodward and Costa apparently haven't watched:
The first of the 29 messages between Ginni Thomas and Meadows was sent on Nov. 5, two days after the election. She sent him a link to a YouTube video labeled “TRUMP STING w CIA Director Steve Pieczenik, The Biggest Election Story in History, QFS-BLOCKCHAIN.”

... The video Thomas shared with Meadows is no longer available on YouTube. But Thomas wrote to Meadows, “I hope this is true; never heard anything like this before, or even a hint of it. Possible???”
It's no longer at YouTube, but I think the video at this Rumble link is the same one. It's dated November 5, 2020, and it concerns the (totally implausible) alleged scheme to watermark ballots using blockchain technology. It appears under the title "2020 Election Sting Operation Donald Trump BlockChain Security Steve Pieczenik Interview."

Woodward and Costa tell us:
Pieczenik, a former State Department official, is a far-right commentator who has falsely claimed that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a “false-flag” operation to push a gun-control agenda.
The post is batshit crazy. This is just part of it:

Unless we catch a break, people like this will running the entire federal government by 2025.


Oh, look! Politico's John Harris says Donald Trump is losing his grip on the GOP!

Trump seems to do this a lot!

Somehow, Trump's grip persists -- but hey, maybe the loosening is real this time! So why does Harris say Trump's grip is slipping? Apparently Harris read The Catcher in the Rye when he was thirteen and it really stuck with him, because he thinks what people hate most of all is anyone who's a "phony." (Does anyone even use that word anymore?)
It strains memory now to recall that when Donald Trump first shoved his way into presidential politics seven years ago this spring, and soon after humiliated a long parade of establishment Republicans, his appeal to voters had a coherent dimension.

... The most powerful part of that argument was about the nature of establishment politics in both parties: It was the province of weak and contemptible people. Conventional politicians were calculating, careerist, cowardly — willing to sacrifice principle and the interests of ordinary Americans to suit their own interests. In short, the problem with American politics was that it was dominated by phonies.

... just because Trump is someone who is comfortable lying — anyone paying attention has known that since the 1980s — he was not at the outset of his political career defined by artifice. His grandiose self-conception, his vanity, his gleeful satyriasis — these are common traits in politicians, but most would try to hide them from view. Trump put them proudly on display. On the few occasions he was ever scolded into an apology — such as his notorious comments about how women like to be grabbed by famous people — he backtracked quickly. Whatever else you could say about Trump, he was not a phony.
Whatever else you could say about Trump, he was not a phony. I'm reminded of a famous tweet:

You do not, under any circumstances, gotta say that Trump is not a phony. The business skills he claims are phony. His alleged genius at dealmaking is phony. His claims of military and scientific expertise are phony. His religiosity (which fools many evangelicals) is phony. And I'm just scratching the surface.

But yes, Trump is genuine about a few things that many politicians lie about. Harris writes, "His grandiose self-conception, his vanity, his gleeful satyriasis — these are common traits in politicians, but most would try to hide them from view. Trump put them proudly on display." That's true. It's a big part of Trump's appeal. But Trump is still a fraud in every other way.

Harris regards Trump as genuine because he's genuine in a few ways that many of the people in Harris's small, insular world aren't. But now, according to Harris, Trump is phony in one of those ways. Consider his recent un-endorsement of Mo Brooks in the Alabama Senate race, ostensibly because Brooks wants to move on from discussing the 2020 election (in reality, it's because Brooks is trailing in the polls):
The move put an especially bright light on a trend years in the making: Trump has moved from being the beneficiary of America’s instinctual suspicion that most politicians are phonies who don’t really believe a thing they say, to being the enforcer against politicians who are insufficiently phony in professing blind devotion to him.
What? Harris thinks Trump looks like a phony because he demands that lesser Republicans kiss his ass? Trump's followers like that about him. They live vicariously through it -- they'd love to tell people to kiss their asses the way Trump does.

Harris continues:
One suspects that Trump himself does not realize how far he has drifted from the original source of his appeal as someone who is not connected to a reigning power structure and may lie and even cheat but does not traffic in the usual political B.S. Now Trump is trying to create his own power structure.
Every Trump follower wants him to create his own power structure! Apart from the QAnon types who think Trump is secretly running the country and allowing it to seem as if Joe Biden is in the White House as part of a brilliant plan, every Trump supporter believes that Trump was routinely sabotaged by evildoers and traitors from the moment he took the oath of office, and right up until January 6. They want all the saboteurs banished, if not executed. They want a power structure that consists of Trump loyalists only, because they're the only patriotic Americans.

In what other ways is Trump newly "phony"?
... even if one accepts that in his self-delusion Trump really does believe the election was somehow rigged against him, he also says lots of other things that he self-evidently doesn’t believe.

There is little doubt that Trump genuinely believes that the United States has no interest in being at odds with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and no business getting enmeshed in the Ukraine conflict. But now that Russian atrocities in Ukraine make that view broadly unpopular, Trump does what any conventional politician would do — pretend that his view is something else, and ludicrously assert that as president he would be much more confrontational with Putin than the Biden administration, including threatening the launch of nuclear weapons.
But Trump has been insisting that he's tough on Russia for years. In 2018, he said. "There's never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been." In 2019, he tweeted: "I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President." His 2020 campaign issued a press release headlined "FACT: Trump Has Been Tougher On Russia Than Biden." Of course this is phony -- but Trump has been phony this way all along.

Understanding the psychology of Trumpism is the kind of thing elite media figures should be good at -- it doesn't require them to give up their precious bothsiderism or take GOP threats to democracy seriously. But they can't even do this right.