the price of being a mook

And by the way, no. No, there’s no “rich debate about whether or not a document is declassified if a president has decided but not communicated it outside of his own head.” Jesus suffering fuck, people. I mean, just listen to yourselves.

Okay, now as I was saying…wait, where was I?

Right, I hadn’t even started yet. Okay, as I was about to say, it’s a job of work being a Trump martyr. I’m thinking about this mook Ricky Shiffer. You know, the MAGA fuckwit who decided to start the War Against the Deep State by attacking an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. First, you’re never going to make it to the Martyr Hall of Fame if your name is Ricky. Ricky is a fine name for a second baseman on a minor league team or the regional manager for a company that sells convenience store snack cakes. But not for a martyr. Rick would have been okay. Richard would work. But Ricky? Never gonna happen.

Second, Cincinnati? It’s a fine city, no mistake, with wonderful architecture, some very fine sports teams, the home of a truly great ice cream (Graeter’s black raspberry chocolate chip is exquisite) and a rich history of riverboats exporting pork products. But it’s not on the list of Best Places to Take the Fight to the Deep State. Cincinnati is where you’d go if you want to start a War on Decent Chili (oh lawdy, they do terrible things to chili there), but if you’re going to take on the FBI, then really, look elsewhere.

Third, it’s really hard to be a martyr for Comrade Trump. I mean really, really, REALLY hard. It’s hard on account of if you’re an ordinary white working stiff with a history of making racist and violence statements and you commit a crime for Trump, you’ll be almost immediately written off BY OTHER MAGA FUCKWITS as a Deep State stooge.

Ricky Shiffer said all the right MAGA things, just like MAGA Republicans in Congress. He said the FBI was a threat, they were the enemy of the people, they were corrupt thugs, the people have to fight back, the FBI must be destroyed. He echoed the GOP establishment. Only he apparently actually believed what they were saying. He followed through. Not effectively, but he acted on what almost every Republican was saying. And now?

Ricky Shiffer — not a martyr, just a mook.

Now Ricky Shiffer is considered a ‘crisis actor’. Now his attack on the FBI is seen as a false flag incident. Ricky Shiffer died stupidly, in a corn field, wearing body armor, thinking he would be a martyr, an example to his fellow ‘patriots’. Now his fellow ‘patriots’ are accusing him of being Antifa. Here’s a smattering of comments from FreeRepublic:

I suspect this is an FBI operation given the blow-back from a lot of people on both sides with the raid on Trump’s home. — by CFW

FBI asset, BLM, or Antifa? — by mass55th (“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~~ John Wayne )

This isn’t a coincidence. This was timed for today. We’re going to see these RAT antics every day from now until election day. — by FlingWingFlyer (The House is supposed to represent the people, not the friggin’ Federal government. )

Right, this doesn’t pass the smell test. — by pacificus

Almost certainly, they murdered the CI/patsy they paid to do it. Until evidence to the contrary turns up, I will assume ALL attacks on the FBI or any other Federal agency are 100% false flag attacks. — by backwoods-engineer (Hold on, y’all, 2022 is going to be a ride you won’t soon forget!)

They used the stooge, then killed him for his efforts. — by TheElectionWasStolen

Stevie Wonder could have seen that a false flag was incoming. — by Cowgirl of Justice

FalseFlag — by joma89 (Buy weapons and ammo, folks, and have the will to use them.)

Odds are, Ricky Shiffer won’t be the last mook to take up arms for the delusional cause of Comrade Trump. Violent, threatening rhetoric is a staple of the GOP diet and Trump’s followers are eating it up as avidly as ducks devouring cracked corn. I’m not convinced there’ll be a January 6th Only With Guns, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened. And if/when it does, the mooks who join in will be characterized by the mooks who didn’t as false flag crisis actors.

It’s the price of being a Trump mook.

it’s not rocket science

It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my toes in the fetid fever swamp of FreeRepublic. I was curious to see how they were responding to the FBI executing a search warrant on Comrade Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort/home while Trump his ownself was up in Communist NYC taking the Fifth Amendment in a civil fraud suit.

There were a few surprises. For example, I expected to see a lot of posts claiming the FBI had ‘planted’ incriminating documents in Mar-a-Lago. That’s been a common theme on FOX News, after all. But there was very little of that. I was also surprised to see a small but persistent group of Freepers who were seriously concerned about the gravity of the situation. They supported Trump, of course, but were disturbed by the accusations that he’d taken and kept classified documents in his golf club. They felt it was irresponsible. The Freepers in this group were always accused by the majority of being ‘woke leftists’ who were, deliberately or not, undermining Trump.

Many Freepers simply dismissed the entire matter, either as ‘fake news’ or political theater by Democrats meant to disrupt the mid-term elections.

“Given the FISA fraud, 2 nonsense impeachments, and the blind eye given leftists, I consider any charge against Trump to be baseless and solely politically motivated.”
by fruser1

Other Freepers found the matter confusing–not the claims made by the FBI and the DOJ, but the motivations of Trump opponents. They could NOT understand why anybody would deliberately want to oppose President Donald J. Trump. It just didn’t make sense to them.

“At least they unsealed the warrant so Trump knows what he’s up against. It’s still weird that they’re coming after Trump before he’s even announced his 2024 run, before he’s any kind of threat to their agenda. Generally law enforcement only spends this kind of effort on career criminals. That obviously isn’t the case with Trump so I don’t know what they’re playing at.”
by FormerFRLurker

Who can possibly understand why the FBI would even consider searching Trump’s home for classified documents? It’s ridiculous. It’s crazyworld.

It’s just the FBI; it’s not rocket science.

But most Freepers clearly believed the ‘raid’ on Mar-a-Lago was an attack directed at Trump his ownself. Why? Because 1) the work left hates him and/or 2) they’re terrified he’s about to expose them for what they ‘really’ are. (SPOILER: what they are, apparently, is evil pedophile god-hating communists.)

“It doesn’t make sense why they are so obsessed with destroying him unless he himself presented a huge threat to them BEYOND being elected POTUS again.
Think about it, when he was in office he didn’t go after them, he even let Hillary walk after the collusion hoax. So why are they still after him? Because they are terrified of something he has! A list, and I think it involves kids, pedophilia.”
by GrandJediMasterYoda (As long as Hillary Clinton remains free, the USA will never have equal justice under the law).

“Gore, Biden, Garland, Obama, both Clintons – they’re all in this together. The thought of targeting a political opponent with imprisonment is pure evil.”
by Observator

“The Left MUST STOP him BEFORE he announces….there must be an INDICTMENT…..they KNOW he’s totally innocent, but they DESPISE him because they are EVIL, VILE, LYING DESTROYERS of GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD THINGS!”
by Ann Archy (Abortion……. The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)

Evil, vile, lying destroyers of good people and things always go after innocent people like D.J. Trump. It’s not clear to me why, if Trump has information proving so many woke leftists are evil pedophile god-hating communists, he hasn’t published it, but apparently he’s waiting for the right moment. (Tangent: another Freeper explained that the hate of these wicked Leftists is exactly why there hasn’t been anything good on television since Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.)

There was also a large contingent of Freepers with a vast knowledge of the nuances and subtleties involved in of the process of classifying and declassifying sensitive documents, knowledge they’d gained through intensive study over the last day or so. Having familiarized themselves with these nuances and subtleties, they universally agreed the nuances and subtleties weren’t that important, and could just fuck right off.

“The president doesn’t have to write up anything. He can wave his hands over the documents and say, ‘Presto! Declassified.’ Why is that so hard to grasp? The president is the ultimate consumer of all the classified information, and as the head of the executive answers to no one else within the executive. This is not rocket science.”
by curious7

It’s hard to argue with that. Waving presidential hands over documents is deffo NOT rocket science. I mean, you know, there might be some top secret, compartmentalized documents that involve science–and maybe even rockets–but overall, it’s not even remotely rocket science. So the opinions of FBI rocket scientists can be dismissed out of hand.

Rocket science has no place in FreeRepublic.

folks buying groceries refreshing the tree of liberty

As Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Oh, and kids in school. And folks shopping for groceries, if they’re not white.” Yesterday, while I was enjoying a pleasant…what?

Okay, some of you are saying, “Greg, old sock, I don’t think you’ve accurately quoted our boy TJ.” Maybe you’re right; this may not be an exact quote, but it’s close enough to the way it’s interpreted by a lot of people who identify as right-wing lunatic gun nuts. Okay, okay, maybe they don’t actually identify themselves that way, but stop calling me old sock.

I mean, sure, TJ was talking about Daniel Shays, a farmhand in western Massachusetts who was having trouble paying his taxes, partly because he was also having trouble collecting the pay he was supposed to have received as a grunt in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. There’s still a lot of debate about what TJ meant by that tree of liberty bullshit, but the right-wing lunatic gun nuts take it as an article of faith that TJ was suggesting folks need to periodically have a good old fashioned bloody war of rebellion against the legitimate government. This is exactly WHY the term lunatic is included in the name of ‘right-wing lunatic gun nuts’.

But even right-wing lunatic gun nuts have trouble explaining how mass murder events at schools, mall, movie theaters, and grocery stores fit into that ‘blood of patriots and tyrants’ business. Especially when…oh yeah, and churches, I forgot to include churches. And temples and mosques. Anyway, right-wing lunatic gun nuts have trouble explaining how that blood of patriots stuff fits with those mass murders committed by white men specifically against victims who aren’t white. Or men. Or people who don’t quite fit into the right-wing lunatic gun nut definition of ‘men’.

So the right-wing lunatic gun nuts have developed a pair of sure-fire (get it? Sure-fire? See what I did there? I’m a hoot) responses to those events. First, they…well, wait. I say ‘first’ as if this is the preferred response, which would be inaccurate on account of these two responses are pretty much equally relied on. So when I say ‘first’ I’m just admitting that I can’t share two responses at the same time. These responses are numerical, not sequential. Or the other way around, maybe? Doesn’t matter.

First, they blame the mass murder on emotional health. As in “This kid who shot up the supermarket in Buffalo must be CRAZY because, yeah sure, he says he was motivated by hate and he says white folks are being replaced by non-white folks who breed faster and yeah sure, that’s exactly what Tucker Carlson says on FoxNEWS every night, but c’mon, you’d have to be CRAZY to believe that, so there, it’s a mental health issue.”

Second, they claim the mass murder is a false flag event perpetrated by Democrats or Jews or some other Satanist-pedophile group in order to TAKE OUR GUNS, or at least distract us from Hunter Biden’s laptop. They seem to think this is a perfectly reasonable thing to believe.

Sometimes they combine the two responses, suggesting Democrats and Jews and other Satanist-pedophile groups convince mentally ill white folks to commit mass murders to distract the population from some vague but really awful thing that Democrats, Jews, and other Satanist-pedophile groups really enjoy.

But as I was saying (you may have to refer back to the beginning of this blog), yesterday, while I was enjoying a pleasant 30-mile bike ride from one bike pub to another bike pub, some white kid went to a supermarket in a predominantly black community and killed a whole bunch of folks who were just buying groceries.

Mentally ill (probably) white kid led astray (probably) by Democrats, Jews, of some other Satanist-pedophile group (probably), but clearly guns aren’t the problem.

Right now on television (I don’t actually know this, but I know this) some conservative is on a national news Sunday program explaining that the mass murder in Buffalo would never have happened if we had better mental health programs, which we can’t afford to make free because that would raise taxes, but maybe for-profit insurance companies could include mental health anti-mass murder options for people who can afford it, but guns don’t kill people, mentally ill people kill people and if they didn’t have guns, they’d do it with axes, do you really want to ban axes, and besides guns are good because an armed patriot inside the store could have returned fire and prevented more needless death, and sure there was a security guard who did return fire and hit the killer, but the shooter was wearing tactical body armor which is protected by the Second Amendment, however a highly trained patriot could have shot him in the head–or at least the part of his head that wasn’t covered by his tactical helmet–and that would have ended the tragic situation, but there’s nothing in the Second Amendment that says private citizens should have to undergo training to carry a weapon, and did I mention the kid was mentally ill, because that’s the problem. Unless if was a false flag event.

So it turns out TJ, whatever he actually meant, was right about the blood and the tree of liberty. We are refreshing the fuck out of that tree.

anocracy

The CIA (yes, that CIA) sucks in massive amounts of data and information from a whole galaxy of sources. One of those sources, when it comes to assessing the stability of a nation, is the Center for Systemic Peace. You’re probably asking, “Greg, old sock, just what the hell is this Center for Systemic Peace…and is that really it’s actual, no-shit name?”

Yes, that really is its name. The CSP was founded in 1997 to conduct “research and quantitative analysis in many issue areas related to the fundamental problems of violence in both human relations and societal-systemic development processes.” Basically, they evaluate a nation’s stability by looking at stuff–like the spectrum of social conflict, the methods of governance, and the various responses of the population. The CSP does this for just about every nation state that has a population of over half a million. Also, stop calling me ‘old sock’.

One of the CSP’s metrics for national stability is what they call a ‘polity score’. It measures ‘regime authority’ on a 21-pont scale with a zero point at the center: -10 being an hereditary monarchy, +10 is a consolidated democracy. They tend clump nations into three groups: 1) autocracies (-10 to -6), anocracies (-5 to +5), and democracies (+6 to +10).

Now I suspect you’re asking, “Greg, old sock, what the fuck is an anocracy?” Good question. At the high end (+5) an anocracy is a form of government that’s democratic but has autocratic features; at the low end (-5) it’s an autocratic government with some democratic features.

Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First, the CIA uses the CSP as a tool for understanding how fucked up nations are. They have their own reasons for doing this, of course, some of which are almost certainly nefarious, but the CSP metrics are universally seen as pretty damned reliable. The second reason I’m telling you this is because the US, for most or our history, has been either a +9 or a +10. For a long time, the US was the world’s longest continuing democracy.

This is insurgency

Now we’re not. According to the CSP, under the Comrade Trump administration the polity score of the US dropped to a +5, which drags us right out of the democracy zone and dumps us in with the anocracies. How’d that happen? You can find the CSP’s abbreviated political history of the US here.

It’s sad that the US is now just a high-functioning, democracy-leaning anocracy. What makes it all very much worse, though, is that anocracies are much more susceptible to insurgencies, and nations that with active insurgencies are more likely to slide into an actual civil war. And we’re seeing overt signs of a growing insurgency movement in the US.

Depending on which poll you look at, somewhere between 17-38% of folks who identify strongly as Republicans believe the use of violence to ‘restore America’ is acceptable or necessary. Every state in the Union has at least one civilian armed militia movement. Some militia groups are national–the Oathkeepers, the III Percenters, the Proud Boys, etc. Members (and supporters) of militia groups have engaged in anti-government ranging from the insurrection on 1/6/20, to a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan and put her on ‘trial’, to threatening the lives of local election or school board official. These aren’t just crimes; they’re insurgent actions.

The III Percenters are insurgents

Again, the US is still at the high end of anocracies. We can claw our way back into the realm of full democracies. But there’s no guarantee we will. At this point, the Republican Party is effectively acting as the political wing of an inchoate collective of insurgent groups, all of whom want to install some form of right-wing authoritarian government. Since Senators Sinema and Manchin have given the GOP the power they need to suppress voting, the odds of the US sinking lower on the polity scale have increased.

The Oathkeepers are insurgents

It’s hard for me to even say this–mainly because this should be unthinkable–but we may be witnessing a cascade of events that will be the end of representative democracy in the United States. And because it should be unthinkable, most of the people in the US aren’t thinking about it at all. Most of us are just assuming everything will go on just about as it always has. And maybe it will. But I’m not confident about it. I keep thinking of the closing stanza of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

ADDENDUM (1/28): It appears that Uncle Joe’s move to the Oval Office has allowed the US to claw its way up from a 5 on the Polity Scale to an 8. We are now a middling, shaky democracy. Yay?

fractal insurrection

This year we’ve seen municipal school board meetings disrupted by aggressively angry crowds, threatening harm and violence against elected school board officials if they don’t set the pandemic masking policies demanded by the crowd. Many in those crowds don’t even have children attending schools in that district; they’re just angry about mask mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at school board meeting

We’ve also seen several State legislatures disrupted, swarmed by packs of aggressively angry armed men, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for setting–or even merely debating–state policies they opposed.

On January 6th, we saw the federal government disrupted and the US Capitol building breached by aggressively angry insurrectionists, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for certifying the legitimate election of the next president.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at Kentucky State Capitol

This is fractal insurrection. Insurrection is a complex dynamical system that’s self-similar across different scales. Zoom in on any part or facet of the intimidation and aggression, and it looks the same as the larger view. The intimidation and aggression seen at school board meetings is the same as the intimidation and aggression seen at state capitols, which is the same as that seen at the US Capitol.

These insurrections are recursive; they’re created, nurtured, fueled in the same way. Wrap lies and disinformation around one or more tiny kernel of truth, repeat it, add a dash of victimization, repeat, a wee bit of conspiracy theory, repeat, increase the urgency, repeat, and the cascade effect drives it farther and faster. Repeat the process over and over in an ongoing closed feedback loop, most often in social media, which promotes self-reinforcing partisan bubbles. The forces that drive people to storm the US Capitol to stop the transfer of presidential power are the same forces that drive people to a school board meeting to stop schools from requiring mask/vax mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at US Capitol.

The sad thing is, that process can be considerably disrupted if social media were held accountable for the spread of lies, disinformation, and threatening behavior. There’s a place for unpopular (or even flat out offensive) opinions on social media, but those opinions can be expressed without lies, disinformation, or threats.

For example, it’s one thing to express the opinion that President Uncle Joe Biden is feeble and intellectually infirm, but it’s another thing to claim he ordered Alec Baldwin to murder Halyna Hutchins because she’d been a journalist in her native Ukraine and had uncovered information demonstrating Hunter Biden was a criminal. (And yes, that’s an actual conspiracy theory I’ve seen espoused on social media.)

So long as social media is more focused on keeping (and monetizing) their members than on their civic responsibility, we’re going to continue to see this sort of fractal insurrection expand to other arenas of social interaction.

cane toads of politics–part 2

Back in June of 2014–that’s 20fucking14, people–I wrote about the cane toads of politics. I was talking about the way the Republican Party was deliberately encouraging fuckwits and conspiracy theorists to disrupt healthy political discourse as a tool for gaining and staying in power. My point was….wait. Damn it. Hold on.

Okay, cane toads–a quick and dirty primer: they’re a species of truly massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund toads that are also poisonous to predators. These gargantuan bastards will eat anything, including each other if no other food is handy. Greedy industrialist farmers who wanted a cheap, easy way to control insects introduced cane toads to sugar cane fields in places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and now–because cane toads ARE such massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund, poisonous toads–the cane fields are overrun with cane toads.

Every Republican governor in the US.

Right. My point, as I was saying, was that introducing and promoting cane toads (or any invasive species) into an environment inevitably results in the destruction of other species that are actually helpful to that environment. When you introduce the cane toads of politics–the gun toads, the climate toads, the religious toads, the abortion toads, the conspiracy toads–into local and national politics, you create the conditions that inevitably degrade and destroy a healthy political environment.

Right now Texas is a cane toad state; it’s overrun with cane toads. Florida is just about there. Almost every state with a Republican governor and legislature is heading in the same direction. Right now, today, Texas is a state where almost anybody can openly carry a gun in public–no need for a license, no need for training, no need to obtain a permit, no need to undergo a background check. Sure, you’re supposed to legally obtain that gun, but nobody is going to check to see if you did.

Right now, today, Texas is a state that has deliberately and systematically made it more difficult for Black and Latino citizens—citizens of Texas–to cast a vote to determine who will govern them and make their laws. Right now, today, Texas is a state in which it is almost impossible for a person who is pregnant to obtain a legal abortion, even if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.

How is that possible? It’s possible because cane toads eat their own. Like I said back in 2014, Cane toads don’t stop being cane toads just because the beetles are gone. They’re still hungry and they’re still poisonous, and they don’t stop. This is why there are no longer any moderate Republicans. This is why there are no pro-choice Republicans, no Republicans who believe in climate change or reasonable firearm safety legislation, this is why we have anti-vax and anti-mask Republicans, this is exactly why there are Republicans who support insurrectionists. There aren’t any moderate pragmatic Republicans anymore because the cane toads ate them.

If we want to preserve the cane fields of representative democracy, we have to drive out the cane toads.

asshole culture

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had the stomach to delve into the feverish miasma of FreeRepublic, so this morning I decided…wait. Damn it. Okay, sorry, first tangent of the day. Can you actually ‘delve’ into a ‘miasma’?

I mean since the 1600s, ‘miasma’ generally referred to effluvia or foul-smelling vapors that rose from the ground and was considered to be infectious or injurious to health (which is applicable to FreeRepublic). But ‘delve’ comes from the Middle English term delfan, which meant “to dig, turn up with a spade or other tool, excavate.” Can you dig a stink? Not so much. However, I see that modern definitions of ‘delve’ include ‘to search for information’ so I’m going to go with yes, you can delve into this particular miasma.

Sorry. Back to business. FreeRepublic, where Asshole Culture masks itself as patriotism. The first post that caught my eye was about an article in the New York Post, a daily tabloid local to NYC.

“An unvaccinated Virginia man who thought he was ‘invincible’ to COVID-19 is rallying anti-vaxxers to get their shots from his hospital bed, where he is laid up with a dire case of the virus.”

Now, I’m fairly certain that none of the Freep folks who responded to the article actually 1) live in NYC or 2) read the NY Post on a regular basis, or 3) give a rat’s ass about what happens in NYC. But this topic is raw meat for FreeRepublic patriots. And they didn’t disappoint.

  • “People should direct their anger to the culprit…Chiiina.” by HighSierra5 (The only way you know a commie is lying is when they open their pieholes.)
  • “has he received the correct Rx, or is he being used? did he take preventative HCQ, or was that politically not allowed?” by Diogenesis (Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum)
  • “Doesn’t look like any kind of hospital room I’ve ever been in.” by Mathews (It’s all gravy, baby!)
  • “Crisis Actor. Clowns giving money away.” by Cletus.D.Yokel
  • “If you’ve decided not to vax, you really must have Ivermectin or HCQ on hand.” by G Larry (Those destroying the Constitution must demonize those who would defend it.)
  • “I would much rather die from Covid than live with the shot.” by Safrguns
  • “An unvaccinated Virginia man should shut up it’s his business not ours or this could be another Fake” by butlerweave
  • “Put this guy beside one of the people killed or maimed by the shot. And what therapies were used? Ivermectin? HCQ? Anything? No…” by DesertRhino (A coup government may not claim the protection of the same constitution it overthrew. )
  • “Another sick fat dude. Maybe COVID isn’t the problem. When you’re obese, there’s a lot of crap that can kill you…” by Magnatron
  • “Who sticks a damn microphone up to a dying man’s mouth so he can make a PSA? This is as phony as a 6 dollar bill. Looks like that hospital needs to finish up it’s drywall.” by dforest (huh)
  • “If the media wanted, they could print about 12,000 human interest stories how someone got the vaccine, then died.” by Flick Lives (We may or may not have reached herd immunity, but we’ve definitely achieved herd stupidity.)
  • “This is the third story I’ve read this week where a supposed average everyday person is “dying” from COVID and giving us a dire warning of the need to get vaxxed. Funny how all three of these poor souls are overweight/obese and were probably already suffering from one or all of diabetes, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney failure due to their being fat slobs.” by Qui is (Biden spews and Harris swallows)

These folks are why the Tractor Supply Company had to put up signs warning their customers NOT to ingest large animal de-worming chemicals. They’re shining examples of willful stupidity tempered with arrogant unthinking nationalism, completely unfettered by empathy.

Another short tangent. You may have noticed one of the Freep commenters had a tag line that read Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum. That’s the motto of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, which back in the 11th century were more commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller. They were a religious military order–crusaders and all that. The motto translates as “defence of the faith and assistance to the poor”.

Asshole culture may not be immune to Covid-19, but they’re certainly immune to irony.

the curious ‘martyrdom’ of ashli babbitt

Jesus suffering fuck. Yesterday Comrade Trump held an ego rally in Sarasota, Florida (as if Florida hasn’t suffered enough recently). Like all his ego rallies, this one was filled with the usual lies and the customary bullshit. But lately Trump has added a sparkly new element of sedition to his repertoire. At the rally yesterday, he repeated a line he’d used earlier as a distraction from the indictment (on multiple felonies) of the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer and the Trump Organization itself. He asked this question:

Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

It’s not really a question, though. I mean, it’s not like Trump was asking the crowd for an answer. No, that question is a code. It’s a shout out to the seditionists who tried to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power. Those four words contain an entire galaxy of disinformation, lies, delusions, and sedition. They imply that Ashli Babbit is some sort of martyr–that she knowingly sacrificed her life in the service of Trump.

Babbitt, as you know, was part of the violent mob that illegally stormed the Capitol Building on 1/6/21 in an effort to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election. She was a devoted follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory–one of those people who believed (and maybe still believe) Comrade Trump was engaged in a secret war against a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles (primarily Hollywood actors and Democrats) who operate a global child sex trafficking ring. Don’t ask me why Trump, who was the actual president of the United States, would have to conduct a secret war against these people. I mean, I’m confident most folks are pretty much opposed to Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles, even if they’re NOT part of a global child sex trafficking ring. You’d think a president would have no problem publicly announcing, “I’ve had it up to HERE with all those Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles, this shit has to stop!” But no, the QAnon folks believe Trump’s war against the pedophiles had to be conducted in secret because…something something.

So Ashli Babbitt, to support Comrade Trump in his secret war, joined the insurrection and stormed the Capitol Building. She made her way to the barricaded door of the Speaker’s Lobby, behind which several Members of Congress and their staffs were escaping. One rioter shattered a window into the Lobby, and Babbitt decided to climb through. By that point, security personnel had been alerted that pipe bombs had been discovered in parts of DC. They’d also been told some of the insurrections were probably armed. Babbitt was wearing a knapsack as she started to climb through the window. Security staff can be heard on the video shouting “Get back! Get down!” But she didn’t; she started to climb through the window. A member of the security services fired a single shot, which killed her.

For years right-wing extremists have relied on he-did-not-comply-with-police-orders as a justification for law enforcement killings of unarmed people (mostly black men). Ashli Babbitt failed to comply multiple times. First she failed to comply with police orders to stay behind the barricades outside the Capitol Building. Then she and others illegally broke into the Capitol building. She did so with the criminal intent to disrupt a legal election process. Finally, she refused to comply with the lawful orders of several armed law enforcement officers who had their weapons drawn and pointed at her.

Ashli Babbitt willfully and knowingly, despite repeated warnings, attempted to enter a restricted (and barricaded) area through a window that had been criminally breached, and was shot and killed as a result.

To Trump supporters, this makes her a martyr.

Well, not at first. At first, Trump supporters claimed the Capitol was stormed by Antifa masquerading as Trump supporters. That meant Ashli Babbitt was probably an Antifa crisis actor. I’m NOT MAKING THAT UP. Early on there were several posts on FreeRepublic that suggested Babbitt wasn’t a real Trump supporter at all, that she wasn’t even a true QAnon believer, that she was, in fact, part of a false flag operation designed “to stop Trump from having rallies.” There were even early posts suggesting that Babbitt wasn’t even dead.

“…why was she the only girl in the room with all of those Antifa and BLM people and why would she be the first to climb through the window? Wouldn’t that be a guy thing? What would a hardcore Trump supporter who is a Quanan fanatic be inside the Capitol rather than listening to Trump’s speech? [T]he people in the room did not hit the deck when the gun went off… [and] how convenient a BLM guy with the CNN reporter just happened to be in the perfect spot to record it.

This was a fake riot to embarrass the fake violent Trumpsters to give the House a reason to stop counting and shame the Repubs to hide the fake vote. This was their final coverup to get their fake President across the finish line”

But the Ashli-is-Antifa conspiracy theory died off pretty quickly and was consumed by the Ashli-the-Martyr conspiracy theory. Oh, and just to be clear, these right-wing nutjobs see her death as a murder. A deliberate murder. An assassination. A nonjudicial execution, in fact. Even members of Congress are willing to spread that lie. During a hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, the GOP’s current Bull Goose Loony, flat out asked, “Do you know who executed Ashli Babbitt?” Gosar went on to claim, “The Capitol Police officer that did that shooting appeared to be hiding, lying in wait and then gave no warning before killing her.”

Comrade Trump, by asking ‘Who shot Ashli Babbitt?’ is deliberately feeding that same rabid rat delirium. He’s not only telling his followers that the election was stolen from him (and them), but that his enemies are willing to kill them if they stand up for Trump. That’s not only a despicable lie, it’s dangerous. You know some of his followers are out there, armed and angry, plotting to take revenge. And some are probably willing to join Ashli Babbitt and become martyrs.