Archives for category: Bigotry

Al Franken is the former Senator from Minnesota. He wrote this retrospective on Rush Limbaugh in the New York Daily News.

Rush Limbaugh died this week. His impact on our nation’s discourse and polity will long outlive him.

Many Americans had been puzzled when President Trump bestowed upon Limbaugh our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After all, previous honorees include Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King and the crew of Apollo 13. I, however, was not surprised. Because without Limbaugh, there is no (former) President Trump.

Rush was the first broadcaster to take full advantage of the FCC’s little-noticed 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. Since its adoption in 1949, the rule had required broadcasters to present controversial issues in a fair and balanced manner. Its repeal cleared the way for disreputable broadcasters to present manifestly dishonest and unbalanced content, and Rush, it turned out, had a real talent for just that kind of thing.

And when I say talent, I mean it. Limbaugh created right-wing talk radio, holding court three hours a day, five days a week for 32 years, attracting an audience of 20 million listeners because he was compelling, sometimes funny, always provocative, if routinely sexist, homophobic and racist.

Racist? He once asked his audience, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

Homophobic? In 1990, Limbaugh ran a recurring segment entitled “AIDS Update,” in which he’d mock the death of a gay man who had just recently died of AIDS, cheekily playing ironic popular songs like Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.”

Sexist? You may remember Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who testified before Congress in 2012, on an exception within the Affordable Care Act that would allow religious institutions to opt out of covering contraception. Here’s Limbaugh referring to her testimony that contraception can cost as much as $3,000: “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke (sic), who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

Rush went on like that for quite a while. He had three hours to fill.

But mainly, he was a shill for the right wing of the Republican Party. Along the way, he promoted conspiracy theories: Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered; global warming is a hoax; Barack Obama was born in Kenya; COVID-19 is no worse than the common cold and is being used by the media to prevent Donald Trump’s re-election. And, yes, the election was stolen.

Here’s what he told his listeners on Jan. 7: “There’s a lot of people out there calling for the end of violence…lot of conservatives, social media who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstance…I am glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord didn’t feel that way.”

In 1995, I wrote a book, “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot And Other Observations.” The book was satirical, but its intent entirely serious. Limbaugh’s radio show had become an effective arm of the right wing of the Republican party. The previous November, Republicans had won the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and the new Speaker, Newt Gingrich, named Limbaugh an honorary member of the class of ’95.

At the time, Limbaugh had a TV show in which he referred to “The White House dog” while the control room put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton.

The show’s producer, Roger Ailes, would go on to run Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel, whose slogan, ironically, would echo the “fair and balanced” language of the Fairness Doctrine, purporting to provide a balance to the liberal mainstream media.

Fox’s right-wing propaganda machine had built a huge, rabid audience by relentlessly attacking Democratic administrations and then functioning as virtual state TV for President Trump. Currently, the network is faced with a $2.7 billion lawsuit from election software company Smartmatic, for spreading false rumors that the company had helped Joe Biden steal the election in several states (none of which, by the way, had used Smartmatic’s software).

Right-wing radio. Right-wing TV. Then came the internet, where websites like Newsmax and Breitbart and social media platforms like Facebook have created a more opaque world where far more extreme and untethered worldviews fester and grow.

This is how you get QAnon. How not a small number of Trump supporters believe that not a small number of Democrats are blood-sucking pedophiles. It’s how you get a member of Congress who blamed Jewish lasers for starting the wildfires in California. It’s how you get Jan. 6.

The most dangerous problem facing America today is the existence of two universes of information. The second universe, a universe of disinformation, has been expanding since 1989. Rush Limbaugh was the Big Bang.

Bette Midler wrote about Limbaugh’s death on Twitter and was not as polite as Franken.

David Berliner, a distinguished scholar of American education, is writing a long essay about the dangers of public funding for religious schools. Currently numerous red states are considering proposal to expand vouchers and transfer more public funds to religious schools, typically without accountability. Their actions will overturn the historic tradition of separation of church and state. As the Pastors for Texas Children often say, that separation guarantees religious Liberty.

Berliner writes:

Public dollars for support of religious schools costs citizens billions of dollars annually, and ends up supporting some horrible things. A contemporary example of this is the criteria for entrance to the Fayetteville Christian School (FCS) in North Carolina. 

The Fayetteville Christian School is recipient, in a recent school year, of $495,966 of public money. They got this in the form of school vouchers that are used by students and their families to pay for the students religious schooling. The entrance requirements for this school, and other religious schools like it, frighten me, though they are clearly acceptable to North Carolinians. From their website, in 2020:1

“The student and at least one parent with whom the student resides must be in agreement with (our) Statement of Faith and have received Jesus Christ as their Savior. In addition, the parent and student must regularly (go to) a local church. (We) will not admit families that belong to or express faith in religions that deny the absolute Deity/Trinity of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior and path to salvation. …. FCS will not admit families that engage in behaviors that Scripture defines as deviate and sin (illicit drug use, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality (LGBT), etc.)

Once admitted, if the student or parent/guardian with whom the student resides becomes involved in lifestyles contradictory to Biblical beliefs, we may choose to dis-enroll the student/family from the school.” 

[Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.fayettevillechristian.com/copy-of-criteria-1

So, despite the receipt of public money, the Fayetteville Christian School is really notopen to the public at all! This school says, up front and clearly, that it doesn’t want and will not accept Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s, and many others. Further, although supported by public money, it will expel students for their family’s alleged “sins”. Is papa smoking pot? Expelled! Does your sibling have a homosexual relationship? Out! Has mama filed for divorce? You are gone! The admissions and dismissal policies of this school–receiving about a half million dollars of public funds per year–are scandalous. I’d not give them a penny! North Carolina legislators, and the public who elects them should all be embarrassed to ever say they are upholders of American democracy. They are not.

Dana Milbank is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Post.

He wrote about the Republicans’ anti-Semitism problem. They refuse to denounce anti-Semitism. Bigotry multiplies.

For more than five years, I begged Republicans to reject the creeping anti-Semitism Donald Trump brought to the party, noting on the eve of the 2016 election that “when a demagogue begins to identify scapegoats, the Jews are never far behind.”


But I never expected I would see in my lifetime, in the United States of America, what occurred on the floor of the House this week. One hundred ninety-nine Republican members of Congress rallied to the defense of a vile, unapologetic anti-Semite in their ranks who calls for assassination of her opponents.


This is more than a Republican problem, it’s an American problem. You don’t have to be a scholar of 20th-century Europe to know what happens when the elected leaders of a democracy condone violence as a political tool and blame the country’s ills on the Jews.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), who is quickly becoming the de facto face of the Republican Party, has suggested that the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, where white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us,” was actually an “inside job” to “further the agenda of the elites.”


She shared a video in which a Holocaust denier claimed that an “unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” with the purpose of “breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.”


She posed for campaign photos with a white-supremacist leader and then refused to renounce the man.
She approved of a claim that the Israeli intelligence service assassinated John F. Kennedy, and she speculated that wealthy Jewish interests — the Rothschilds, a target of anti-Semites since the 19th century — set forest fires in California using lasers from space.

This isn’t idle bigotry, for she “liked” a social media suggestion that “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who has committed “a crime punishable by death.” She posted on social media about hanging Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, approved of a suggestion that FBI agents be executed, and posted a photo of herself with an automatic weapon next to three Democratic members of Congress, calling herself their “worst nightmare.”


On the House floor this week, she offered no apology and no direct mention of her anti-Semitic and violent statements. Using Christ-on-the-cross imagery, she condemned those who would “crucify me in the public square for words that I said, and I regret, a few years ago.”


But she didn’t regret them. She had tweeted the night before: “We owe them no apologies. We will never back down.” She retweeted an article featuring another QAnon adherent attacking the Republican Jewish Coalition. And several Republican colleagues gave her a standing ovation Wednesday night when she delivered a private speech that Republicans said was similar to the unrepentant one she gave in public on Thursday.


House Republicans refused to sanction her for her outrages, and on Thursday, all but 11 House Republicans voted against a successful Democratic measure to remove her from House committees.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene will be remembered for breaking new ground for her wild anti-Semitism,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me after the vote. Greenblatt, whose group has tracked all-time high levels of anti-Jewish incidents during the Trump years, wrote three letters to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about Greene since her nomination, and he urged McCarthy to remove her from committees. Greenblatt received no reply.

Greene’s ugly pronouncements about Muslims and Black people, and her harassment of school-shooting survivors and families of victims, are no less reprehensible. But the rallying around this unrepentant anti-Semite by Republicans is an ominous new frontier. The Republican Jewish Coalition said it is “offended and appalled by [Greene’s] comments and her actions.”


Yet on Thursday, House Republicans rushed to her defense. “We’ve all said things we regret,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.


Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) protested the proceedings by forcing a vote to adjourn. “We shouldn’t be wasting the time of this body attacking a member of this body,” he said.


Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) disowned Greene’s rhetoric, but what he really found “sad” and “unprecedented” was that Democrats weren’t giving her “due process.”


Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) informed Democrats that “today is really about one party single-handedly canceling a member of the other party because of something said before that member was even elected.”


Republicans have used similar gaslighting in their response to impeachment. Trump helped organize a rally, incited his supporters to attack the Capitol and refused to call for an end to their murderous spree as they rampaged in search of elected officials in their hopes of overturning the election. But Democrats are the ones doing something “unconstitutional” by holding an impeachment trial after he left office?


Insurrection? Sedition? Assassination? Move on, the Republicans say. These actions and threats are mere “distractions” from the real issues.

Republicans defended Greene with absurd parallels. They attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for past anti-Semitic statements — omitting the crucial distinction that Omar, after Democrats roundly condemned her words, said, “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. … I unequivocally apologize.”


Greene, by contrast, remained unrepentant. On Friday, she held a celebratory news conference, again refusing to recant, or apologize for, her violent and anti-Jewish words and gestures.


Would she apologize for advocating for the execution of Pelosi?
“

I don’t have to,” she said, calling for the journalist to apologize instead.


Would she disavow her endorsement of putting “a bullet to the head” of Pelosi?


Accusing the questioner of lying, she replied: “That’s your problem and that’s how we end news conferences.” She walked away.


In retrospect, it’s clear Trump led us to this point. In his 2016 campaign, he singled out prominent Jews as part of a “global power structure” that doesn’t “have your good in mind.” He elevated white supremacists, spoke of “blood suckers,” told Jewish Republicans they wouldn’t support him “because I don’t want your money,” and shared an image of a Star of David atop a pile of cash.


As president, he spoke of the “very fine people” marching among the white supremacists in Charlottesville. Anti-Semitic violence increased significantly: pipe bombs sent to favorite Trump targets such as financier George Soros, and the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Yet Trump continued, embracing the far-right, violent Proud Boys in a presidential debate.

As Thursday’s emotional debate drew to a close, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the House majority leader, displayed a poster taken from one of Greene’s social media posts showing her with an AR-15 next to photos of two Muslims and one Latina — Reps. Omar, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — and Greene’s caption: “Squad’s Worse Nightmare.”


“They’re not ‘the Squad’,” Hoyer thundered. “They are people. They are our colleagues.”


He asked Republicans: “Imagine your faces on this poster. Imagine it’s a Democrat with an AR-15. Imagine what your response would be, and would you think that person ought to be held accountable?”
One hundred ninety-nine House Republicans looked at that invitation to assassination and voted to defend its author. God only knows what horrors they have unleashed.

Rejoice Christian School in Owasso, Oklahoma, was expelled because she told another girl that she had a crush on her.

If every little girl who had the same feelings for a best friend admitted the same, there would be very few little girls left in school. Children at that age are not thinking about sex, although their elders are.

Should public funds support religious schools? Of course not.

On the day before the election, Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing a “1776 Commission” to rewrite American history. This commission was intended to refute the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which told the story of American history from the view of African Americans. It was also, allegedly, an answer to “critical race theory,” which you can be sure Trump could not define. I thought this was a bad idea, since history should be written by historians, not by presidential commissions packed with cronies and ideologues.

On December 18, with 33 days left in his term in office, Trump announced the members of his commission, all predictably conservatives and reactionaries. The group was headed by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, a Trump ally. I called this “absurd.”

Many thought that the commission couldn’t possibly rewrite American history in the few days allowed to them, but miraculously they issued a report just a few days ago. Presumably, it was written before the commission ever met (if it ever met). The commission said that slavery was unfortunate but it was widespread and everyone did slavery. So there.

Talk about looking on the bright side!

Ironically, the not-long-awaited report was released on Martin Luther King Day. MSNBC host Chris Hayes said it read like a sophomore year term paper by Stephen Miller, Trump’s minister of hate. He interviewed Christina Greer, a professor at Fordham University, and said that Hayes was too generous. She said it read like the term paper of a sophomore in high school.

Peter Greene, who specializes in reading horrible reports so that others don’t have to, gave the report its due: It is awful. Beyond awful. It is rightwing drivel.

The 1776 Commission released their thing today, and pardon my French, Mom, but holy shit is it bad. You knew it was going to be bad. It’s really bad. You probably didn’t know that Progressivism is on the same Challenges to American Principles list with slavery and fascism. Slavery, by the way, is addressed primarily through a massive whataboutism. 45 pages, and every one of them is filled with horrific, racist, dumb, awful awfulness (okay, pages 2 and 4 are blank). 43 pages of awful (without any footnotes or endnotes or citations or bibliography in sight for this work of ultimate scholarship). I don’t have the time at the moment to pick apart all of it (I’ll link to it, but you really shouldn’t read it on a full stomach, and empty stomach, or at the end of a hard day)...

It’s like someone managed to take the 1950s version of squeaky clean white American life and mash it up with 1950s style Soviet Commie borg-style mind-melding. No critical thinking here. This is “education” that rejects pluralism, inquiry, actual thought and scholarship, while simultaneously nodding at and minimizing injustice, asserting that victims of such injustice should stay calm and love their country because it includes people who have the right values (and the right personal circumstances). 

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and may the Biden administration swiftly drop this damned thing into the deepest circular file in DC. 

President Joe Biden signed an executive order last night wiping out Trump’s 1776 Commission.

The Guardian reports that the Club for Growth, a radical rightwing group of the super-rich, poured millions into campaigns to help elect Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and others who took a stand against facts, a fair election, and the U.S. Constitution.

The Club for Growth wants low taxes. Why should the uber-rich expect to pay more in taxes, after all? They hate social programs and anything that enables the federal government to protect the general welfare.

An anti-tax group funded primarily by billionaires has emerged as one of the biggest backers of the Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US election results, according to an analysis by the Guardian.

The Club for Growth has supported the campaigns of 42 of the rightwing Republicans senators and members of Congress who voted last week to challenge US election results, doling out an estimated $20m to directly and indirectly support their campaigns in 2018 and 2020, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

About 30 of the Republican hardliners received more than $100,000 in indirect and direct support from the group.

The Club for Growth’s biggest beneficiaries include Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, the two Republican senators who led the effort to invalidate Joe Biden’s electoral victory, and the newly elected far-right gun-rights activist Lauren Boebert, a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

Although the bizarre conspiracy theory group called QAnon has only two members elected to Congress, it has two members in Congress. That was not a typo. The KKK–so far as we know–does not have any members in Congress. Nor do the Proud Boys. But QAnon seems to have a strange power over the Republican party, so much so that most of its members voted to overturn a fair and free and amply verified presidential election.

One of the two major parties has succumbed to a cult with a mad ideology.

The Washington Post describes the curious hold that QAnon has over the Republican party in this article.

The siege on the U.S. Capitol played out as a QAnon fantasy made real: The faithful rose up in their thousands, summoned to Washington by their leader, President Trump. They seized the people’s house as politicians cowered under desks. Hordes wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the “Q” symbol and toting Trump flags closed in to deliver justice, armed with zip-tie handcuffs and rope and guns.

The “#Storm” envisioned on far-right message boards had arrived. And two women who had died in the rampage — both QAnon devotees — had become what some were calling the first martyrs of the cause.

The siege ended with police retaking the Capitol and Trump being rebuked and losing his Twitter account. But the failed insurrection marked a grim milestone in how the paranoid conspiracy theory QAnon has radicalized Americans, reshaped the Republican Party and gained a forceful grip on right-wing belief.

Born in the Internet’s fever swamps, QAnon played an unmistakable role in energizing rioters during the real-world attack on Jan. 6. A man in a “Q” T-shirt led the breach of the Senate, while a shirtless, fur-clad believer known as the “Q Shaman” posed for photographers in the Senate chamber. Twitter later purged more than 70,000 accounts associated with the conspiracy theory, in an acknowledgment of the online potency of QAnon.

The baseless conspiracy theory, which imagines Trump in a battle with a cabal of deep-state saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex, helped drive the day’s events and facilitate organized attacks. A pro-Trump mob overwhelmed Capitol Police officers, injuring dozens, and one officer later died as a result. One woman was fatally shot by police inside the Capitol. Three others in the crowd died of medical emergencies.

QAnon devotees joined with extremist group members and white supremacists at the Capitol assault after finding one another on Internet sanctuaries: the conservative forums of TheDonald.win and Parler; the anonymous extremist channels of 8kun and Telegram; and the social media giants of Facebook and Twitter, which have scrambled in recent months to prevent devotees from organizing on their sites.

I have seen many videos of the violence on January 6.

This is one of the most powerful of them, filmed by Luke Mogelson, published and posted by the New Yorker.

I hope you don’t need a subscription to watch it.

In case you can’t open it, here is most of the video, posted at CNN.

The New York Daily News published messages released by Amazon to defend its decision to boot the right-wing Parler off its site.

Amazon sought to justify its shutdown of Parler on Thursday by sharing with a federal judge several deranged posts from the anti-social network.

Amazon attorney Ambika Doran said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle that the tech giant had no choice but to stop hosting Parler on company servers after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“The content at issue … encourages rape, murder and torture,” Doran said. The lawyer filed examples of inflammatory, disturbing Parler posts in court, which she called “the tip of the iceberg.”

The posts showed Parler users discussing mass murder of liberals, extreme homophobia and transphobia, racism, and attacks on Amazon itself.

“On January 20 we need to start systematically assassinating #liberal leaders, liberal activists, #blm leaders and supporters, members of the #nba #nfl #mlb #nhl #mainstreammedia anchors and correspondents and #antifa. I already have news worthy events planned,” read one bloodthirsty post.

Parler is demanding that Amazon restore its services.

ProPublica identified several well-known hate groups that took part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, including the “Proud Boys,” the “Oathkeepers,” the “Bougaloo Bois,” and other white supremacist groups. Some promised a return to D.C. on January 19.

The Anti-Defamation League posted a guide to the leading figures of the white supremacist, anti-Semitic hate groups. This post is a “who’s who” of what ADL calls the “alt right” and the “alt lite.”

These are the people who inject a steady flow of bigotry and hatred into the public sphere.

Here is one of the entries:

Who’s Who: The Alt Right

Andrew Anglin runs the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. Anglin claims that his website “is designed to serve as a hardcore front for the conversion of the masses into a pro-White, anti-Semitic ideology.” His preferred audience is men, specifically “all disenfranchised and angry White males under the age of thirty,” and he has banned women from contributing content. Anglin promotes the hatred of Jews and the denigration of minorities, particularly black people, and encourages his followers to troll and harass their “enemies” – including journalists and private citizens. Anglin is a self-identified leader of the hardcore faction of the alt right. He also wrote a piece for the The Daily Stormer titled “A Normie’s Guide to the Alt Right,” in which he explains different facets of the movement.

If you open the link, you will see that Mr. Anglin is wearing a MAGA cap.

The New York Times published a description of the Far-Right symbols seen at the Insurrection.

It would be best if you get a subscription to the NY Times, so you can actually see the symbols. The omnipresence of these symbols demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that the mob was led by “Antifa,” which loathes Trump and his fascist enablers.

Militiamen showed up proudly bearing the emblems of their groups — American flags with the stars replaced by the Roman numeral III, patches that read “Oath Keepers.” Alt-right types wore Pepe the Frog masks, and QAnon adherents could be seen in T-shirts urging people to “Trust the Plan.” White supremacists brought their variant of the Crusader cross.

And then there were thousands of Trump supporters with MAGA gear — flags, hats, T-shirts, thermoses, socks. One flag portrayed President Trump as Rambo; another featured him riding a Tyrannosaurus rex and carrying the kind of rocket-propelled grenade launcher seen on the streets of Mogadishu or Kandahar.

The iconography of the American far right was on display on Jan 6. during the violence at the Capitol. The dizzying array of symbols, slogans and images was, to many Americans, a striking aspect of the unrest, revealing an alternate political universe where violent extremists, outright racists and conspiracy theorists march side by side with evangelical Christians, suburban Trump supporters and young men who revel in making memes to “own the libs.”

Uniting them is a loyalty to Mr. Trump and a firm belief in his false and discredited insistence that the election was stolen. The absurdity of many images — the patches that read “Zombie Outbreak Response Team,” for instance — only masked a devotion that inspired hundreds from the crowd to mount a deadly attack on Congress...

The Militias

Out in force were right-wing militias like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, whose symbol, the Roman numeral III, could be seen on patches and flags. Both groups are anti-government, pro-guns and, nowadays, devoted to Mr. Trump.

Others on the right who share the militia’s anti-government views often signal their beliefs with the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner dating to the American Revolution with a rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.” Dozens were waved at the Capitol last week.

And then there is the Confederate battle flag. A man carried the banner of secession and slavery through the halls of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Boogaloos and Proud Boys

The Boogaloos marked themselves by wearing their signature Hawaiian shirts. A group of Proud Boys showed up in orange hats.

Both the Boogaloos and the Proud Boys include racists and anti-Semites, though the outright white supremacists tend to keep a lower profile. Some wear Crusader crosses or Germanic pagan imagery that has become popular on the racist and anti-Semitic fringes. Others have adopted the “OK” hand gesture as their own, seeing it as mimicking the letters “W” and “P,” for “white power.” [Trump frequently makes that hand symbol.]

Pepe and ‘Kek’

Pepe the Frog, the smirking cartoon amphibian that has become a widely recognized symbol of the alt-right crowd, was a common sight.

Also on display were the green-and-white flags of Kekistan, the fictional country that is home to the deity “Kek.” In the meme-driven culture of the alt-right, a satirical religion has sprouted up around Kek “as a way to troll liberals and self-righteous conservatives,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “He is a god of chaos and darkness, with the head of a frog, the source of their mimetic ‘magic,’ to whom the alt-right and Donald Trump owe their success.”

The flag is partly derived from the Nazi flag, a design that is treated as a provocative joke in alt-right circles.

QAnon

This conspiracy theory falsely claims that there is a cabal of Democrats, deep-state bureaucrats and international financiers who use their power to rape and kill children, and that Mr. Trump was elected to vanquish them.

The canard is convoluted and confusing, but its iconography is clear and was plentiful: There were shirts with the letter “Q” or slogans like “Trust the Plan”; signs saying “Save the Children”; and flags with the abbreviation “WWG1WGA,” which stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All.”

There were a few more categories. You get the idea. They are conspiracy theorists and insanely gullible, susceptible to the lies of a con man.