Archives for category: Insane

I promised myself I would not post anything about Orange 45 unless absolutely necessary. Then I read this. Dave Pell asks a crucial question:

Is a coup still a coup even if that coup is totally coup coup? Yes, Trumpist efforts to overturn the election have been laughable, lawless, and ludicrous, and have officially put the Lame into this Lame Duck session. Rudy Giuliani literally melting down during a conspiracy theory filled presser attended by his son who hours later tested positive for coronavirus certainly had elements of dark (running) humor. Was it hair dye dripping down the side of his face? Was it mascara? My guess is that it was snake oil. Whatever it was, it’s rare that you can spring a leak from both temples and have it be the least embarrassing part of a public appearance. The assertions were so absurd that we felt nostalgic for Rudy’s better days back at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. And yes, amid all the weird theories thrown out by what Jenna Ellis described as the president’s “elite strike force team” there were only a few actual legal claims, all unsubstantiated, except those substantiated by the wrong data. For example, “the affidavit Sidney Powell hyped, which alleges that many precincts in Michigan have more votes than actual voters, is based on data from Minnesota.” At least they picked two states that begin with the letter M. And M&Ms melt in your mouth not on your face. So yes, yes, it’s all meme-ably hilarious. But this administration, with the backing of its party, is also launching very real attack on the core principles of democracy. The GOP’s official Twitter account shared an excerpt of the instantly infamous presser in which Sidney Powell explains that President Trump won by a landslide. General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy, whose job it is to certify the clear election outcome, has still refused to do so. President Trump is meeting with Michigan officials in the White House to convince them to reverse the vote in their state. And he’s trying to set up meetings with officials from Pennsylvaniaahead of that state’s Monday vote certification. Will any of this work? Almost certainly not. But if you try to shoot a person on Fifth Avenue and you miss because you’re a lousy shot (or because your leaking mascara-sweat dripped all the way to your trigger finger), it’s still attempted murder. And the president, with almost no pushback from his minions or his party, is attempting to murder American democracy. So it’s funny. But in a very unfunny sort of a way. But for the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of illnesses, and incalculable damage to America and democracy writ large, this would all be funny. 

+ “Trump’s effort to subvert the election results has been made explicit and unmistakably clear. He is no longer merely pursuing spurious lawsuits in state courts; in recent days, he and his lawyers have confirmed publicly that Trump now is trying to directly overturn the election results and the will of the American people by pressuring Republican state legislators to appoint electors who will vote for Trump in the Electoral College instead of Biden. The fact that Trump is almost certain not to succeed in actually remaining in office past January 20thdoes not in any way make this less alarming.” Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker: Trump’s Clown Coup Crisis

+ Why Trump’s Attempts to Overturn 2020 Election Are Unparalleled in US History

+ A long, long, long shot? Yes. Impossible? WaPo: Just because an attempt to steal an election is ludicrous and ham-handed doesn’t mean it can’t work

+ Let the record show that Mitt Romney, from the impeachment to the coup attempt, is the one GOP senator to take a principled stand. He may not be your favorite. He may not have done the right thing every time. But as we remember the enablers, let’s remember those who spoke out. Sasse, Romney pan Trump campaign’s tactics in contesting election

+ Meanwhile, after the hand recount, Biden (on his birthday) won Georgia again. (Does that mean Trump now needs two conspiracy theories for Georgia?)

Trump fired Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, because he refused to allow Trump to use the military to suppress domestic protests.

Now the top layer of Pentagon officials is stepping down and will be replaced by Trump loyalists.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/10/politics/pentagon-policy-official-resigns/index.html

Our allies are worried. We should be too.

Is Trump planning a military coup?

Stephanie McCrummen wrote this story in the Washington Post about what happened when Kevin Van Ausdal ran against a member of QAnon in a Congressional district in Georgia.

There was a time when Kevin Van Ausdal had not yet been called a “loser” and “a disgrace” and hustled out of Georgia. He had not yet punched a wall, or been labeled a “communist,” or a person “who’d probably cry like a baby if you put a gun in his face.” He did not yet know who was going to be the Republican nominee for Congress in his conservative district in northwestern Georgia: the well-known local neurosurgeon, or the woman he knew vaguely as a person who had openly promoted conspiracies including something about a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Anything still seemed possible in the spring of 2020, including the notion that he, Kevin Van Ausdal, a 35-year-old political novice who wanted to “bring civility back to Washington” might have a shot at becoming a U.S. congressman.

So one day in March, he drove his Honda to the gold-domed state capitol in Atlanta, used his IRS refund to pay the $5,220 filing fee and became the only Democrat running for a House seat in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which Donald Trump won by 27 points in the 2016 presidential election.

He hired a local campaign manager named Vinny Olsziewski, who had handled school board races and a couple of congressionals.

He came up with a slogan — “Save the American Dream” — and posted his first campaign ad, a one-minute slide show of snapshots with voters set to colonial fife-and-drum music.

He gave one of the first public interviews he had ever given in his life, about anything, on a YouTube show called Destiny, and when the host asked, “How do you appeal to these people while still holding onto what you believe in?” Kevin answered, “It’s all about common sense and reaching across the aisle. That’s what politics is supposed to be like.”

All of that was before August, when Republican primary voters chose the candidate with the history of promoting conspiracies, and President Trump in a tweet called her a “future Republican Star” and Kevin began learning more about Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose first major ad featured her roaring across a field in a Humvee, pulling out an AR-15 rifle and blasting targets labeled “open borders” and “socialism.”

He read that she was wealthy, had rented a condo in the district earlier in the year to run for Congress, and that before running she had built an online following by promoting baseless, fringe right-wing conspiracies — that Bill and Hillary Clinton have been involved in murders, that President Obama is a Muslim, and more recently, about the alternate universe known as QAnon.

“I’ve seen some mention of lizard people?” Kevin said, going through news articles to learn more about QAnon. “And JFK’s ghost? Or maybe he’s still alive? And QAnon is working with Trump to fight the deep state? I’m not sure I understand.”

He plunged deeper, reading about a world in which a cryptic online figure called Q is fighting to take down a network of Democrats, Hollywood actors and global elites who engage in child-trafficking and drink a life-extending chemical harvested from the blood of their victims. He read about an FBI memo warning that QAnon followers could pose a domestic terrorism threat, and the reality sank in that the only thing standing between Marjorie Taylor Greene and the halls of Congress was him. Kevin.

“I’m the one,” he said. “I’m it.”

That was how the campaign began. Thirty-one days later it was over, and within those 31 days is a chronicle of how one candidate representing the most extreme version of American politics is heading to Congress with no opposition, and the other is, in his words, “broken.”

It is an outcome that was in some ways years in the making, as all but the most committed Democrats in northwestern Georgia had long become Republican, or abandoned hope of winning the mostly White, mostly rural district of gun shops and churches, leaving the Democratic Party so weak that in 2018, the nominee for Congress was a man who had run a nudist retreat.

But as Greene gave a victory speech railing against the “hate-America left” and calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “b—-,” Kevin sensed an opening. He would counter her extremism with moderation. He would talk about jobs and health care. He would double down on civility. As he told Vinny soon after hiring him as campaign manager, “People say I’m a nice guy, and I am. I think that’s the best approach.”

His team urged him to become more forceful, to respond with anger and outrage to her charges against him. He wasn’t used to that tone. Greene launched a fierce attack on Kevin.

“We have had enough,” she began, launching a tirade against “the radical left” and “Marxist BLM” and “these thugs, these domestic terrorists, these anarchists, these insurrectionists” and the Democrats’ “globalist plans, their open-border plans, their take your guns away plans, their abortion kill babies up to birth and maybe even afterwards plans.” She urged people to enter a raffle to win the AR-15 she’d used in her campaign ad because “socialism does not belong in America” and “we need to blow it away.” And then, for the first time, she addressed Kevin.

“I’m running against a radical Democrat. A Democrat socialist. He’s an AOC progressive — that really means communist — candidate,” Green said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), “who absolutely loves AOC and Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, you know, king of the basement dwellers. So, help me beat this Democrat in November. Help me go on to Congress.”

Below the video, her supporters began posting comments.

“WWG1WGA,” one wrote, using QAnon code for “Where we go one, we go all.”

“Gloves are off,” another wrote.

The comments kept coming, and Kevin, trying to calm his nerves, went into a spare bedroom, shut the door, and stayed there long enough that his wife finally texted him from another part of the house to see if he was okay.

“She is calling for a civil war!” he texted back, referring to Greene. “And I am expected to call her out tomorrow!”

Greene ratcheted up her attacks by posting a photo on Facebook, this one showing her in sunglasses and holding an AR-15 rifle next to a photo of three of the four Democratic congresswomen known as “The Squad,” titled “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”

The race gained national attention but Kevin’s life began to fall apart. He made a video to respond to Greene. Donations began flowing in. The national media was watching the race. But his wife asked for a divorce. She couldn’t deal with the stress anymore. On Day 28 of the campaign, a sheriff’s deputy served him with divorce papers and told him he had to leave the house.

Kevin was homeless. He headed to his parents’ home in Indiana and moved into the basement. He gave up the campaign.

Marjorie Green ran unopposed.

A week later, Marjorie Taylor Greene was arriving in her Humvee for a pro-gun rally at a rural amphitheater not far from where Kevin once lived.

Alongside county sheriff’s deputies, the Georgia III% Martyrs provided security: a dozen or so men and a few women equipped with AR-15s, earpieces, camouflage and bulletproof vests. One man had a battle ax dangling from his belt. They fanned out around the fenced perimeter of the park while a hundred or so Greene supporters milled around, a few wearing little patches that read “WWG1WGA” or “Q Army” and others who said they didn’t know or care about QAnon but just knew that Greene “shares our values.”

“Marjorie was all there for us, one hundred percent,” said Ray Blankenship, who had in August started a new gun group called the Catoosa County Civil Defense League to guard against everything he believed Democrats stood for, including gun confiscation, rioting and socialism. “People will step up when it’s time,” he said.

Onstage, a guest speaker was talking about “a time when you will be asked to shed another man’s blood because he is a threat to your very way of life.” Another talked about “the communist Democrats.” Another said that vice-presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris “wants to come to your house and take your guns away.” Another began his speech by yelling into the microphone, “FREEDOM!!!!” and out in the audience, a man wearing a hat with a “Q Army” patch was listening.

“I think people are waking up,” said the man, Butch Lapp.

“The silent majority is silent no more,” said his wife, Rebecca, and now the Martyrs were radioing each other for “backup,” and forming a protective huddle around Greene as she made her way to the stage with no opposition anywhere in sight.

“I am so proud and so excited to represent northwest Georgia!” she began.

Back in Indiana, Kevin reflected on what happened:

“I wanted to be the voice of reason against fear. I wanted to draw attention to big issues in the district,” he said during a walk one afternoon, thinking back to the beginning.

“My opponent, unfortunately, embraced QAnon beliefs. I saw her disgusting comments. I thought, ‘She is basically talking like a terrorist,’ ” Kevin said.

“When I had to do that statement, I was scared,” he said. “I’m being told I need to make a direct attack on groups who respond to people with violence. Who glorify violence.”

“My staff had monitored backchannels and seen where Q people were making threats, and we talked about what to do about death threats,” he said.

“I felt out of control. I had no control. I felt unreal. I didn’t know what to do with myself in the quiet. I felt uneasy. I felt I was on the rails and floating through,” he said.

I was breaking down,” he said. “I was just broken.”

But now all of that was over, and he was walking down a street in Indiana describing the person he had become in the fall of 2020.

“I’ve not really been eating. I’ve been sleeping a lot. Avoiding news. I blocked anyone talking ill about me. One or two said they want to punch me in the face,” Kevin said.

“I’m worried the political situation is not going to get better. I worry we may not be able to turn it around. I knew Trump was a fascist, and I knew he was going to destroy this country, but I didn’t know how much. And Marjorie’s only going to make it worse.”

In the Trump era, voices of reason became targets.

We have heard a lot about some cult-like group called QAnon, but I for one know very little about it. I think it had some connection to Pizzagate, the incident when some guy rushed into a pizza place in D.C. with an assault weapon, in search of a basement where Hillary Clinton supposedly had imprisoned little children who were going to be sexually abused or someone was planning to drink their blood. As it turned out, there were no children, there was no basement. Fortunately, no one was killed.

QAnon is back in the news after Trump was asked about them,and he feigned ignorance (he has praised them in the past).

I know far less about QAnon than Trump (who gets briefed by the FBI). So when I saw that the Financial Times, a reputable publication, had released this video that is supposed to explain QAnon, I watched it.

I am now more confused than ever. I feel like I just slipped down a rabbit hole, but it’s not Wonderland.

Here is CNN’s summation of a very peculiar belief system.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/16/tech/qanon-believer-how-he-got-out/index.html

Folks, the federal government is in the hands of some very unstable people. The man in charge of communicating public information about the coronavirus at CDC is an unhinged Trump loyalist.

This story was in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus made outlandish and false accusations on Sunday that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll.

Mr. Caputo, who has faced intense criticism for leading efforts to warp C.D.C. weekly bulletins to fit Mr. Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger from opponents of the administration. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers.

He went further, saying his physical health was in question, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”

“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” Mr. Caputo said, describing “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.” He also said the mounting number of Covid-19 deaths was taking a toll on him, telling his viewers, “You are not waking up every morning and talking about dead Americans.” The United States has lost more than 194,200 people to the virus. Mr. Caputo urged people to attend Trump rallies, but only with masks.

To a certain extent, Mr. Caputo’s comments in a video he hosted live on his personal Facebook page were simply an amplified version of remarks that the president himself has made. Both men have singled out government scientists and health officials as disloyal, suggested that the election will not be fairly decided, and insinuated that left-wing groups are secretly plotting to incite violence across the United States.

But Mr. Caputo’s attacks were more direct, and they came from one of the officials most responsible for shaping communications around the coronavirus.

C.D.C. scientists “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next,” Mr. Caputo said. “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”

A longtime Trump loyalist with no background in health care, Mr. Caputo, 58, was appointed by the White House to his post in April, at a time when the president’s aides suspected the health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, of protecting his public image instead of Mr. Trump’s. Mr. Caputo coordinates the messaging of an 80,000-employee department that is at the center of the pandemic response, overseeing the Food and Drug Administration, the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health.

“Mr. Caputo is a critical, integral part of the president’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

Mr. Caputo’s Facebook comments were another sign of the administration’s deep antipathy and suspicion for its own scientific experts across the bureaucracy and the growing political pressure on those experts to toe a political line favorable to Mr. Trump.

This weekend, first Politico, then The New York Times and other news media organizations published accounts of how Mr. Caputo and a top aide had routinely worked to revise, delay or even scuttle the core health bulletins of the C.D.C. to paint the administration’s pandemic response in a more positive light. The C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports had previously been so thoroughly shielded from political interference that political appointees only saw them just before they were published.

Mr. Caputo’s 26-minute broadside on Facebook against scientists, the news media and Democrats was also another example of a senior administration official stoking public anxiety about the election and conspiracy theories about the “deep state” — the label Mr. Trump often attaches to the federal Civil Service bureaucracy.

Mr. Caputo predicted that the president would win re-election in November, but that his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., would refuse to concede, leading to violence. “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.”

There were no obvious signs from administration officials on Monday that Mr. Caputo’s job was in danger. On the contrary, Mr. Trump again added his voice to the administration’s science denialism. As the president visited California to show solidarity with the fire-ravaged West, he challenged the established science of climate change, declaring, “It will start getting cooler.” He added: “Just watch. I don’t think science knows, actually.”

Mr. Caputo’s remarks also dovetailed in part with those of Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime confidant of both Mr. Caputo and Mr. Trump. Mr. Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress was commuted by the president in July, told the conspiracy website Infowars on Friday that Mr. Trump should consider declaring martial law if he lost re-election.

Grant Smith, a lawyer for Mr. Stone, was among the followers who had joined Mr. Caputo’s talk on Sunday. Mr. Caputo has 5,000 Facebook friends, and his video was viewed more than 850 times. He has now shut down his account.

Over all, his tone was deeply ominous: He warned, again without evidence, that “there are hit squads being trained all over this country” to mount armed opposition to a second term for Mr. Trump. “You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” Mr. Caputo added.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Caputo told The Times: “Since joining the administration, my family and I have been continually threatened” and harassed by people who have later been prosecuted. “This weighs heavily on us, and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe.”

He insisted on Facebook that he would weather the controversies, saying, “I’m not going anywhere.” And he boasted of the importance of his role, stating that the president had personally put him in charge of a $250 million public service advertising campaign intended to help the United States return to normal.

The Department of Health and Human Services is trying to use that campaign to attract more minority volunteers for clinical trials of potential Covid-19 vaccines and to ask people who have recovered to donate their blood plasma to help other infected patients. Department officials have complained that congressional Democrats are obstructing the effort.

While Mr. Caputo characterized C.D.C. scientists in withering terms, he said the agency’s director, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, was “one of my closest friends in Washington,” adding, “He is such a good man.” Mr. Caputo is partly credited with helping choose Dr. Redfield’s new interim chief of staff.

Critics say Dr. Redfield has left the Atlanta-based agency open to so much political interference that career scientists are the verge of resigning. The agency was previously seen as mostly apolitical; its reports were internationally respected for their importance and expertise.

Mr. Caputo charged that scientists “deep in the bowels of the C.D.C.” walked “around like they are monks” and “holy men” but engaged in “rotten science.”

He fiercely defended his scientific adviser, Dr. Paul Alexander, who was heavily involved in the effort to reshape the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports. Mr. Caputo described Dr. Alexander, an assistant professor at McMaster University in Canada, as “a genius.”

“To allow people to die so that you can replace the president” is a “grievous sin,” Mr. Caputo said. “And these people are all going to hell.”

A public relations specialist, Mr. Caputo has repeatedly claimed that his family and his business suffered hugely because of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Caputo was a minor figure in that inquiry, but he was of interest partly because he had once lived in Russia, had worked for Russian politicians and was contacted in 2016 by a Russian who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Caputo referred that person to Mr. Stone and was never charged with any wrongdoing. Mr. Caputo later wrote a book and produced a documentary, both entitled “The Ukraine Hoax,” to undermine the case for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

Mr. Caputo worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign for a time but was passed over for a job early in the administration. He remained friendly with Dan Scavino, the former campaign aide who is now the deputy chief of staff for White House communications and played a role in reconnecting Mr. Trump and Mr. Caputo.

Some of Mr. Caputo’s most disturbing comments were centered on what he described as a left-wing plot to harm the administration’s supporters. He claimed baselessly that the killing of a Trump supporter in Portland, Ore., in August by an avowed supporter of the left-wing collective was merely a practice run for more violence.

“Remember the Trump supporter who was shot and killed?” Mr. Caputo said. “That was a drill.”

The man suspected in the shooting, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was shot dead this month by officers from a federally led fugitive task force in Washington State. He “went down fighting,” Mr. Caputo said. “Why? Because he couldn’t say what he had inside him.”

Trump defended the QAnon conspiracy theorists at a news conference as “people who love our country.”

President Trump on Wednesday offered encouragement to proponents of QAnon, a viral conspiracy theory that has gained a widespread following among people who believe the president is secretly battling a criminal band of sex traffickers, and suggested that its proponents were patriots upset with unrest in Democratic cities.

“I’ve heard these are people that love our country,” Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference ostensibly about the coronavirus. “So I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.”

When told by a reporter about the central premise of the QAnon theory — a belief that Mr. Trump is saving the world from a satanic cult made up of pedophiles and cannibals connected to Democratic Party figures, so-called deep-state actors and Hollywood celebrities — Mr. Trump did not question the validity of the movement or the truth of those claims.

Instead, he offered his help.

“Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” the president said lightly, responding to a reporter who asked if he could support that theory. “If I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”

A separate article explains “What Is QAnon??

QAnon is the umbrella term for a sprawling set of internet conspiracy theories that allege, falsely, that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.

QAnon followers believe that this clique includes top Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros, as well as a number of entertainers and Hollywood celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres and religious figures including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. Many of them also believe that, in addition to molesting children, members of this group kill and eat their victims in order to extract a life-extending chemical from their blood.

According to QAnon lore, Mr. Trump was recruited by top military generals to run for president in 2016 in order to break up this criminal conspiracy, end its control of politics and the media, and bring its members to justice.

An article in the Los Angeles Magazine explained QAnon:

It’s not behind a paywall.

Here is a portion:

Until recently, few knew much about QAnon. The right-wing conspiracy movement emerged in 2017 as a result of cryptic clues posted on the internet that portray a world in which Donald Trump works secretly to vanquish a coven of global elites, including top Democrats and Hollywood celebrities, who torture children, traffic them for sex, and even eat them. Flagged as a violent threat by the FBI, banned from Twitter and TikTok, and avidly courted by the Trump campaign, QAnon has become the most potent force in American politics that most Americans have never heard of. In a few short years, QAnon-associated accounts have metastasized on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok at an unprecedented rate. The pandemic has further fueled its growth, uniting anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers with the Sandy Hook skeptics already part of QAnon’s growing coalition. That coalition apparently also includes everyone from Roseanne to porn queen Jenna Jameson to former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. (The general, a QAnon icon, recently released a video of himself and his family earnestly reciting the QAnon pledge.)

There are thousands of groups and pages devoted to QAnon on Facebook, with millions of members and followers, according to an internal Facebook report leaked to Ari Sen and Brandy Zadrozny of NBC News. A popular Reddit group called the Qult Headquarters now offers support to the estranged families and friends of QAnon converts. The group, dedicated to debunking the conspiracy theory and deprogramming its devotees, has more than 24,000 members. Once a strictly American phenomenon, QAnon has gone global. There is evidence of QAnon presence in 71 countries and on every continent save for Antarctica, says Concordia University researcher Marc-André Argentino.

The group’s followers also include some mentally unbalanced people who have latched onto the QAnon ideology with a fervor that has broken into real life in dangerous ways. Defense lawyers for the man charged in the murder of the underboss of the Gambino crime family in New York City, say their client is obsessed with conspiracy theories and believed the mobster was a member of the “deep state.” (The same man had previously attempted to make citizen’s arrests of Schiff and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.) The landscaper arrested for igniting the 2018 wildfire that burned nearly 20,000 acres of Orange County and destroyed a dozen homes had posted dozens of conspiracy videos on his Facebook page, including some about a satanic cult that ruled the world and a mysterious U.S. intelligence insider who is working with Donald Trump to thwart it. A QAnon believer and self-identified member of the alt-right Proud Boys in Seattle killed his brother in January by stabbing him in the head with a four-foot-long sword, later claiming he thought his brother was a lizard. In June of last year, an armed man inspired by a QAnon post barricaded himself in an armed vehicle and blocked traffic on the Hoover Dam bridge for hours. He was demanding the Justice Department release a (nonexistent) secret report on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server that a QAnon influencer had claimed was being stashed at the dam.

Despite its outlandish allegations, the group has also become an increasingly influential player in GOP politics. Fourteen QAnon supporters are running for Congress in 2020; two, including Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a GOP candidate and avid conspiracy theorist with a history of making racist comments, seem poised to win. Despite early objections from a few party members, she has encountered little opposition from party leaders or the president. In fact Trump, who frequently retweets out QAnon conspiracy accounts, warmly congratulated the candidate on her victory. At this stage in its growth, QAnon “is driving conversation on the online right,” says Kevin Roose, the tech columnist for the New York Times. “Many of the stories that end up trending on Twitter or Facebook are there because QAnon found them and pushed them. It is a lot bigger and more influential than people realize.”

The basic premise of QAnon is this: “Q” is a top government insider close to the president who has proof that global elites secretly enslave and torture children and extract from their blood what they believe is a life-extending chemical named Adrenochrome. Q’s targets range from Democratic politicians like the Clintons, Adam Schiff, and the Obamas to globalist moguls like Bill Clinton and George Soros to celebrities like Tom Hanks and Chrissy Teigen. Trump and his military allies are working secretly to unmask all these evildoers and make sure that they are carted off to Guantánamo and hanged for their crimes. The enemies of QAnon are, in nearly every case, enemies of Trump, which experts say is no coincidence. “At the end of the day, this conspiracy theory is targeting the Democratic establishment,” says Cristina López G., who studies QAnon for the liberal research group Media Matters for America. “To believe Q requires rejecting mainstream institutions, ignoring government officials, battling apostates, and despising the press,” wrote journalist Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic. “One of Q’s favorite rallying cries is ‘You are the news now.’ Another is ‘Enjoy the show,’ a phrase that his disciples regard as a reference to a coming apocalypse: When the world as we know it comes to an end, everyone’s a spectator.”

The QANon candidate for Congress in Georgia won the primary. She will be elected in November as it is a staunchly a Republican district. Trump congratulated her.

Parodist and entertainer Randy Rainbow is at his best up iF this video, explaining how a disinfectant will kill the coronavirus, and kill you too!

 

Just when you think Trump could not get crazier, this happens.

 

The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email, reviving a politically toxic matter that overshadowed the 2016 election, current and former officials said.

As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox, said current and former State Department officials. Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post.

In virtually all of the cases, potentially sensitive information, now recategorized as “classified,” was sent to Clinton’s unsecure inbox.

State Department investigators began contacting the former officials about 18 months ago, after President Trump’s election, and then seemed to drop the effort before picking it up in August, officials said.

Senior State Department officials said that they are following standard protocol in an investigation that began during the latter days of the Obama administration and is nearing completion.

“This has nothing to do with who is in the White House,” said a senior State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing probe. “This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails, which is about 3½ years.”

To many of those under scrutiny, including some of the Democratic Party’s top foreign policy experts, the recent flurry of activity surrounding the Clinton email case represents a new front on which the Trump administration could be accused of employing the powers of the executive branch against perceived political adversaries