Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"America’s Beer Hall Putsch"

From Benjamin Carter Hett's 1-16-21 LOS ANGELES TIMES Op-Ed piece entitled "The Trump Insurrection Was America’s Beer Hall Putsch":

Very soon after the nation watched in horror as a mob ransacked the U.S. Capitol, journalists and politicians began speaking of a coup.

The fallout from these events has been dramatic and will continue. But we need to understand a crucial point. The guy in the Viking hat and his friends could break windows. A member of the mob could kill a police officer. Rioters could plot to assault members of Congress. All of this is terrifying. But these people and their criminal actions are not the most dangerous threat to our democracy. The real threat comes from people in business suits or police uniforms who are inside the system — and that threat remains [...].

After the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, 139 Republican members of the House and eight members of the Senate, led by Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, came out of hiding to vote to object to the electoral college vote count. While a police officer lay dying, they supported Trump’s lie of a stolen election and embraced the insurrectionists’ cause.

Imagine the events of the past weeks and months if someone like Hawley had been the secretary of state in Georgia, or someone like retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn held a significant military command. Imagine what would have happened if the Republicans held majorities in both houses of Congress and could have overturned the electoral college results. Imagine if the courts had been more generously stocked with judges willing to entertain the Trump campaign’s ludicrous arguments.

Above all, imagine if the president had been a bit more competent, a bit more strategic, a bit more daring. Hitler, after all, was at least willing to be present at the violence his words inspired. He was also more persuasive in his dealings with important officials.

It is much more common for democracies to be undermined by seemingly legal actions taken from within than by violence from without.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Black Helicopters Over Los Angeles

From Joseph Trevithick's 1-13-21 THE DRIVE article entitled "Everything We Know About The Mysterious Dark Helicopters That Have Been Circling Los Angeles":

Yesterday, plane spotters in the greater Los Angeles area caught glimpses of three mysterious Bell 407 helicopters painted overall in what looks to be a dark gray color, but with no easily identifiable markings. Covered in antennas that one might expect to see on examples in use by military or law enforcement units, but unlike any we at The War Zone are familiar with, the sightings immediately caught our attention. While we don't know for sure who is operating them or for what purpose, these helicopters appear to have a very unusual history and there are solid indications that they could be associated with a very secretive U.S. military aviation unit.

To read the entire article, click HERE

Monday, January 18, 2021

Gerald Locklin, R.I.P. (1941-2021)

My colleague, Gerald Locklin, passed away yesterday. Earlier today, Rich Archbold of THE LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM published the following obituary:

Gerald Locklin, a legendary local teacher, writer and poet who helped shape the literary landscape of Southern California for decades and was friends with the better-known Charles Bukowski, died from coronavirus-related complications Sunday, Jan. 17, said his son, Zachary Locklin. He was 79.

Locklin had been living in the Sunrise Assisted Living facility in Huntington Beach since March. When he tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, he was taken to Kaiser Permanente in Irvine, where he died, his son said.

The literary figure taught writing at Cal State Long Beach for 42 years, but was also a prolific writer himself. He published more than 3,000 poems, works of fiction, reviews and articles that appeared in periodicals. He also wrote several books, including “Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet,” a memoir of his friendship with Bukowski, one of Los Angeles’ premier literary figures. At one time, Bukowski, who spend his later years living in San Pedro, called Locklin “one of the great undiscovered talents of our time.”

Locklin was known for his direct, straight-forward style of writing, with humor and playfulness and emphasis on the human condition. But, above all else, his encouragement of young people and their writing talent is what Long Beach literary leaders were talking about Monday.

To read Archbold's entire obit, click HERE

Courtesy of filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson, here's a video of Locklin reading from his 2011 book, YOU NEED NEVER LOOK OUT A WINDOW: THE COMPLETE COAGULA POEMS....


Jack Kirby's Son on the Capitol Attack

What follows is a statement written by Neal Kirby, the son of Jack Kirby, creator (or co-creator) of most of the Marvel Universe, including Captain America:

Statement to Insurrectionists

My father, Jack Kirby, along with his partner Joe Simon, created Captain America in 1941. Perhaps the most iconic symbol of patriotism since the "Spirit of 1776," Captain America has stood as a symbol and protector of our democracy and the rule of law for the past 79 years. He was created by two Jewish guys from New York who hated Nazis and hated bullies. Captain America stood up for the underdog, and, as the story was written, even before he gained his strength and prowess from Army scientists, always stood for what was righteous, and never backed down.

At 72, I have a fairly vivid personal memory of every political and cultural upheaval since Castro's revolution in the mid-1950s. Add to that my father's stories, and I could probably paint a picture of the battlefields of northern France surrounding the city of Metz in WWII as well. However, the events that transpired at our nations' Capitol on Jan. 6, an insurrection inspired and fomented by our own president, will be the event that haunts me forever.

While watching one of the horrific videos of the storming of the Capitol, I thought I noticed someone in a Trump/Capt. America t-shirt! I was appalled and mortified. I believe I even caught a quick glance of someone with a Captain America shield. A quick Google search turned up Trump as Captain America on T-shirts, posters, even a flag! These images are disgusting and disgraceful. Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump. Where Captain America is selfless, Trump is self-serving. Where Captain America fights for our country and democracy, Trump fights for personal power and autocracy. Where Captain America stands with the common man, Trump stands with the powerful and privileged. Where Captain America is courageous, Trump is a coward. Captain America and Trump couldn't be more different.

My father, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America and WWII veterans, would be absolutely sickened by these images. These images are an insult to both their memories. If Donald Trump had the qualities and character of Captain America, the White House would be a shining symbol of truth and integrity, not a festering cesspool of lies and hypocrisy. Several of our presidents held the same values as Captain America. Donald Trump is not one of them.

Kirby's biographer, Mark Evanier, adds some thoughts of his own in his 1-14-21 blog post right HERE

By the way, Jack Kirby (well-known for his prescience) created the science fiction comic book OMAC back in the mid-1970s. Is it just my imagination or does "Mr. Big" (seen in the cover below) look eerily similar to Donald Trump?

Dept. of "It Had to Happen Sooner or Later!" Dept.

"Far-right Extremists Call for the Execution of 'Coward' Trump After He Asks for Calm Following Riot"

--1/16/21 RAWSTORY Headline

Q Suicides (Part One)

From Tamar Lapin's 1-13-21 FOX NEWS report entitled "Medical Examiner Releases Georgia Man's Cause of Death After Capitol Riot":

The Georgia man who was found dead after being charged in connection with the US Capitol riot shot himself in the chest, reports said Tuesday.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner ruled that Christopher Stanton Georgia died by suicide, according to local outlet 11Alive News.

The 53-year-old — who had been charged with unlawful entry and violating a citywide curfew that took effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the day of the siege — was found Saturday by his wife, in the basement of their Alpharetta home.

She called 911, telling officers that there was "blood everywhere," according to a police report obtained by the Daily Mail.

Cops removed two semiautomatic SKS rifles from the home, officials said.

To read Lapin's entire article, click HERE.

On a related note... 

From Claudia Koerner and Julia Reinstein's 1-11-21 BUZZFEED article entitled "A Capitol Police Officer On Duty During The Coup Attempt Has Died By Suicide":

A US Capitol Police officer on duty during Wednesday's coup attempt by Trump supporters died by suicide on Saturday, his family has announced.

Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, had been assigned to the Senate Division and joined the department in 2005.

Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Liebengood's family, told BuzzFeed News the officer had been at the Capitol during the insurrection.

"His death is a tragedy that has deprived all of us a dedicated public servant," Pollack said. "His family has suffered a devastating loss and asks that they be given space to grieve in private."

His death came days after an attempted coup by violent Trump supporters left a fellow Capitol Police officer dead. Officer Brian Sicknick was injured while "physically engaging" with rioters and later died at a hospital.

According to CBS News, several Capitol Police officers have threatened self-harm in the days following the riot.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE

Jessica McBride's 1-10-21 HEAVY.COM article ("Howard Liebengood: A Tribute to the Capitol Police Officer Who Died") provides more information about Liebengood and his father:

4. In Addition to Being Sergeant of Arms, Liebengood’s Dad Became a Powerful Lobbyist With Ties to Prominent Senators

According to journalist Yashar Ali, writing on Twitter, “Liebengood’s father, also Howard Liebengood, died in 2005. He was the Senate Sargeant at Arms in the early 1980s and then became a powerful lobbyist and an associate of Paul Manafort’s.”

The father’s obituary in the Chicago Tribune says that Howard S. Liebengood “was Senate sergeant-at-arms, chief of staff for two senators and a prominent Washington lobbyist.” He died of a heart attack in Vienna, Virginia, at the age of 62.

According to the Tribune, Liebengood’s dad “was a protege of former Senate majority leader Howard Baker, the Tennessee Republican. He was sergeant-at-arms from 1981 to 1983.”

He supervised “185 computer specialists, nine carpenters and seven barbers and the Capitol Police,” the newspaper reported, and he later joined the Tobacco Institute “as executive vice president for federal relations” and formed the lobbying firm Gold and Liebengood with former Capitol Hill staffer, Martin Gold, according to the Tribune. It became Washington D.C.’s fifth largest lobbying firm, representing the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Hopi Indian Tribe, Federal Express and more.

He was employed at a law firm and “became chief lobbyist for Philip Morris Cos. Inc.” He was very well connected, friends with Senator Fred Thompson, Republican of Tennessee, and chief of staff to Republican Senator Bill Frist....

To read McBride's entire article, click HERE.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Talking Chameleo, Gang Stalking and QAnon w/ Robert Guffey & Recluse

On January 4, THE FARM podcast aired an interview with Yours Truly (originally recorded by Recluse back on November 18). Over the course of this two-hour interview we discuss my book CHAMELEO, nonlethal weapons, Kevin Coogan, Francis Parker Yockey, gang stalking, trolling, doxxing, alternate reality games, QAnon, LARPing, conspiritainment, SAIC, private intelligence companies, SRI, remote viewing, MK-ULTRA, cults, Thomas Schoenberger, Skinwalker Ranch, Cicada 3301, Michael Aquino, Paul Vallely, "From PSYOP to Mind War," Michael Flynn, the Joint Special Operations Command, Richard Shaver, and H.P. Lovecraft!!!

Listen to the entire episode right HERE

Friday, January 15, 2021

GUARDIAN: "US Police Three Times as Likely to Use Force Against Leftwing Protesters, Data Finds"

From Lois Beckett's 1-14-21 GUARDIAN article entitled "US Police Three Times as Likely to Use Force Against Leftwing Protesters, Data Finds":

Police in the United States are three times more likely to use force against leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters, according to new data from a non-profit that monitors political violence around the world.

In the past 10 months, US law enforcement agencies have used teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and beatings at a much higher percentage at Black Lives Matter demonstrations than at pro-Trump or other rightwing protests.

Law enforcement officers were also more likely to use force against leftwing demonstrators, whether the protests remained peaceful or not.

The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests across the United States since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by Trump supporters.

Barack Obama highlighted an earlier version of these statistics on 8 January, arguing that they provided a “useful frame of reference” for understanding Americans’ outrage over the failure of Capitol police to stop a mob of thousands of white Trump supporters from invading and looting the Capitol on 6 January, a response that prompted renewed scrutiny of the level of violence and aggression American police forces use against Black versus white Americans.

The new statistics come from the US Crisis Monitor, a database created this spring by researchers at Princeton and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED), a nonprofit that has previously monitored civil unrest in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Reconnaissance Mission One Day Before Capitol Attack

From Kyle Cheney and Sarah Ferris' 1-13-21 POLITICO article entitled "Dems Demand Details of ‘Suspicious’ Capitol Visitors Day Before Attack":

More than 30 House Democrats are demanding information from Capitol security officials about "suspicious" visitors at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5 — a day before violent insurrectionists swarmed the building — that would only have been permitted entry by a member of Congress or a staffer.

"Many of the Members who signed this letter ... witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), in a letter to the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, as well as the acting head of the Capitol Police.

The lawmakers, some of who "have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity," noted that Capitol tours have been prohibited since March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and they said the tours were so unusual that they were reported to security on Jan. 5, ahead of the following day's violence.

"The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day," they wrote. "Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex. The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious."

They are asking the security officials to reveal whether any logbooks of visitors are available and if they include names of those admitted to the building by lawmakers. They also ask whether any law enforcement agencies have requested similar information and what limits Capitol security officials apply to visitors brought in by members.

Sherrill first raised alarms Tuesday that some members of Congress may have provided "reconnaissance" tours to would-be insurrectionists.

In a 13-minute Facebook video billed as an address to her constituents about the House's efforts to hold President Donald Trump accountable for inciting the riot, Sherrill included the allegation as part of a call to hold Trump's allies in Congress accountable as well.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

 Members of Congress Gave ‘Reconnaissance’ Tours Day Before Attack on Capitol, Rep. Mikie Sherrill:

Unusual Tours In Capitol Ahead Of Trump Mob Attack Prompts Investigation:

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"The Real Deep State"

From Nicholas Grossman's 1-11-21 ARC DIGITAL article entitled "QAnon Woke Up the Real Deep State":

[N]ow that QAnon was involved in violent sedition, the national security state is paying attention. Arrests of people caught on camera storming the Capitol have already begun. Prosecutions will follow. Big tech companies — who, while powerful, are weaker than, and have a healthy fear of the government — are now treating QAnon almost like how they treat ISIS. A giant federal apparatus built to fight al Qaeda will shift some capacity to fighting you, especially the white nationalist and anti-government militias in your orbit.

You cheered on lawyers who said they’d release the Kraken. But now you’ve poked Leviathan.

This is what you need to absorb: QAnon and “stop the steal” are forever associated with a violent attack against the United States. Maybe that’s not what it’s meant to you, maybe you think that’s a misread of last week’s events, but that’s how the real Deep State, a lot of elected officials, and much of the public sees it.

If that isn’t what you signed up for, now would be a good time to get out.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Zip Tie Guys

From Rowan Farrow's 1-9-21 NEW YORKER article entitled "An Air Force Combat Veteran Breached the Senate":

As insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol this week, a few figures stood out. One man, clad in a combat helmet, body armor, and other tactical gear, was among the group that made it to the inner reaches of the building. Carrying zip-tie handcuffs, he was captured in photographs and videos on the Senate floor and with a group that descended on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite. In a video shot by ITV News, he is seen standing against a wall adjacent to Pelosi’s office, his face covered by a bandana. At another point, he appears to exit the suite, face exposed, pushing his way through the crowds of demonstrators.

A day after the riots, John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto’s Munk School, notified the F.B.I. that he suspected the man was retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock, Jr., a Texas-based Air Force Academy graduate and combat veteran [...]. 

Brock denied that he had entered Pelosi’s office suite, saying that he “stopped five to ten feet ahead of the sign” bearing her title that insurrectionists later tore down and brandished. However, in the ITV video, he appears to emerge from the suite. Brock said that he had worn tactical gear because “I didn’t want to get stabbed or hurt,” citing “B.L.M. and Antifa” as potential aggressors. He claimed that he had found the zip-tie handcuffs on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he told me. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one. . . . I didn’t do that because I had put them in my coat, and I honestly forgot about them.” 

To read the rest of Farrow's article, click HERE.

From Nick Visser's 1-10-21 HUFFINGTON POST article entitled "FBI Arrests 2 Men Seen With Zip Tie Restraints During U.S. Capitol Riot":

Federal investigators arrested two men for entering the Senate chamber while carrying zip ties during the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The FBI on Sunday said it arrested Eric Munchel, a 30-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee, who appeared to be the man photographed in military-style gear holding plastic restraints during the riot. Officials also arrested Larry Brock, who lives in Texas, saying he appeared to be holding “a white flex cuff, which is used by law enforcement to restrain and/or detain subjects.”

The New York Times, citing officials involved in the case, said authorities recovered several weapons during Munchel’s arrest. The FBI also said the photos of him appeared to show “an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward, ostensibly to record events that day.”

To read the rest of Visser's article, click HERE.

From Dan Kois' 1-8-21 SLATE article entitled "They Were Out for Blood":

[T]here were other rioters inside the Capitol, if you look at the images. And once you see them, it’s impossible to look away. The zip-tie guys.

Call the zip ties by their correct name: The guys were carrying flex cuffs, the plastic double restraints often used by police in mass arrest situations. They walked through the Senate chamber with a sense of purpose. They were not dressed in silly costumes but kitted out in full paramilitary regalia: helmets, armor, camo, holsters with sidearms. At least one had a semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails. At least one, unlike nearly every other right-wing rioter photographed that day, wore a mask that obscured his face.

These are the same guys who, when the windows of the Capitol were broken and entry secured, went in first with what I’d call military-ish precision. They moved with purpose, to the offices of major figures like Nancy Pelosi and then to the Senate floor. What was that purpose? It wasn’t to pose for photos. It was to use those flex cuffs on someone [...].

They went into the Capitol, as Congress was counting electoral votes, equipped to take hostages—to physically seize officials, and presumably to take lives. The prospect is terrifying. But just because it seems unthinkable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think hard about what almost happened. Don’t dismiss the zip-tie guys as “LARPers” or “weekend warriors.” First of all, given the well-documented overlap between ex-military, law enforcement, and right-wing militias, it’s entirely possible these guys were weekday warriors using their training in service of extracurricular interests. (One of the Twitter sleuths who are now trying to track them down sure seems to think they’re ex-military.) More importantly, the long awful course of history reminds us how slippery the slope is from playacting as a strike force to actually behaving as a strike force. Once the zip ties go on, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a “real” terrorist or not [...].

But it could have been much, much worse. If the rioters had been a little quicker through the doors; if senators and representatives hadn’t just moved from their joint session into separate chambers to debate the Arizona challenge and had instead still been packed into one harder-to-evacuate room; if any number of things had happened differently, the three people next in the line of succession for the presidency might have been face to face with those zip-tie guys. And then: Who knows.

To read the rest of Kois' article, click HERE.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

MILITARY.COM: "The Pentagon Has 6 Months to Disclose What It Knows About UFOs"

From Oriana Pawlyk's 1-4-21 MILITARY.COM article entitled "The Pentagon Has 6 Months to Disclose What It Knows About UFOs":

As part of the newly passed COVID-19 relief legislation, lawmakers are demanding answers from U.S. intelligence agencies and the Defense Department on the potential existence of UFOs and other unidentified aerial phenomena.

The $2.3 trillion omnibus appropriations legislation passed last month includes the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal 2021, which provides more resources toward investigation gathering and "strengthening open source intelligence" collection among the agencies, according to a release from Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who introduced the bill in June. The Senate passed the legislation in July.

Some of that information includes what the Pentagon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its counterparts know about unidentified aerial phenomena -- also known as "anomalous aerial vehicles." Lawmakers expect to see a report on the collected UFO data 180 days from the bill's passage, according to the legislation.

News website Complex was first to report the details. The report will be unclassified, but will include a classified supplement.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"These People Are Trying to Kill You"

From Minyvonne Burke and Rima Abdelkader's NBC News 1-8-21 report entitled "Black Woman Says Group of Trump Supporters Attacked Her Following L.A. Rally":

A Black woman in California said a group of nearly 40 pro-Trump demonstrators attacked her and called her the n-word following a rally in downtown Los Angeles.

Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime after speaking with the woman.

"The woman has been identified & interviewed by the LAPD. Based on her statements & other evidence, a hate crime/battery report was taken," the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement on Twitter.

The woman, Berlinda, 25, said she was walking when she saw the large group on Wednesday, according to NBC Los Angeles, which noted that she asked that her last name not be used. Earlier in the day, a protest was held, with many demonstrators carrying "Stop the Steal" signs.

Berlinda said that several people in the group told her to take her face mask off. She told NBC Los Angeles that the crowd started following her after she flipped them off.

"A bunch of women and men started yelling, 'take off your mask, don't wear a mask,'" she said, telling the outlet that she asked one man in the group to leave her alone. "And that's when the guy went and took his hand, clawed me in the face. And then just smacked my phone in my face."

Berlinda said others shoved her and she was called a racial slur.

The assault was captured by photographer Raquel Natalicchio, 29. She told NBC News in an interview Thursday that she saw Berlinda walking by herself and heard the protesters heckling her and asking if she voted for President Donald Trump. It is unclear whether all those shown in Natalicchio’s photos were involved in the alleged assault.

Berlinda told them no and flipped them off and kept walking, Natalicchio said.

"They kept kind of heckling her for that, and then she told them to put on a mask," Natalicchio said, noting that many people who attended the rally did not have a face mask on. "As soon as she told them to put a mask on, they swarmed her and circled her and started pushing her around amongst them, and trying to intimidate her."

Natalicchio said one woman snatched Berlinda's hair extensions out "and began assaulting her." Berlinda tried to defend herself and several men started hitting her with metal flag poles, according to Natalicchio. The woman was also believed to be pepper-sprayed in the eyes.

One man came forward to help. He was captured in an image grabbing Berlinda from behind to pull her to safety.

"That guy, I call him my hero," Berlinda told NBC Los Angeles. "That guy picked me up, was whispering in my ear, telling me, 'Keep going. You're OK. I got you, I have your phone. You're OK, I'm going to get you out of here. These people are trying to kill you.'"

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Trump Rioters

From Namita Singh's 1-8-21 INDEPENDENT article entitled "Trump Rioters Could Face Long Jail Terms Because of His Executive Order to Punish BLM":

Condemning the violent rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen in a statement assured that those responsible for the attack would "face the full consequences of their actions under the law." 

The protesters are liable to be punished with up to 10 years in prison for “injury of federal property," under the executive order signed by President Donald Trump during the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests in July 2020. 

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Furry Q

From David Covucci's DAILY DOT article entitled
"Major QAnon Figure Stands Atop House Chamber in Fur Costume":

As supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol today—ending this nation’s boast of two consecutive centuries of a peaceful transition of power—a QAnon supporter stood atop the dais of the House of Representatives, a symbol of a movement that has been at war with American democracy since Trump came to power.

Jake Angeli, known in Q circles as the Shaman for his face paint and furs, was part of the crowd that attempted to seize the U.S Capitol.

Throughout the day numerous Q supporters were spotted in the movement that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

"He Believes the End of the World is Coming"

From Shaila Dewan and Kay Nolan's 1-4-21 NEW YORK TIMES article entitled "Pharmacist Accused of Tampering With Vaccine Was Conspiracy Theorist, Police Say":

A pharmacist who was arrested on charges that he intentionally sabotaged more than 500 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at a Wisconsin hospital was “an admitted conspiracy theorist” who believed the vaccine could harm people and “change their DNA,” according to the police in Grafton, Wis., where the man was employed.

The police said Steven Brandenburg, 46, who worked the night shift at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., had twice removed a box of vials of the Moderna vaccine from the refrigerator for periods of 12 hours, rendering them “useless.”

“Brandenburg admitted to doing this intentionally, knowing that it would diminish the effects of the vaccine,” the police said.

The attempt to destroy precious doses of the vaccine came over the holidays as the state worked to administer vaccines quickly to frontline health care workers. As of Saturday, the state had received 159,800 doses of vaccines and had administered 64,657, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the Moderna product is sometimes described as a “genetic” vaccine, it does not alter a person’s genes in any way [...].

Last month Mr. Brandenburg told his wife, who is in the process of divorcing him, that “the world is crashing down around us,” according to a motion she filed last week asking for sole custody of the couple’s two daughters, 4 and 6, after she learned he was under investigation in the incident at the hospital. She said she feared his reaction if he lost his job.

In her motion, Gretchen Brandenburg said that on Dec. 6, her husband picked up the children and dropped off a water purifier, a large bucket of powdered milk and two 30-day emergency buckets of food.

“He told me that if I didn’t understand by now that he is right and that the world is crashing down around us, I am in serious denial,” she said in an affidavit. “He continued to say that the government is planning cyberattacks and plans to shut down the power grid” [...].

The Brandenburgs married in 2012, and Ms. Brandenburg filed for divorce last June. At a hearing in July, her lawyer testified that his client feared Mr. Brandenburg’s “temper” and said the parties have “vastly different views regarding parenting and views of the world.”

“My understanding is that the respondent is more aligned with the feeling of conspiracy theories,” the lawyer, Brian Herro, said. “He has theories about Covid-19. He believes the end of the world is coming. So my client would like him to be out."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Jack White and the Masonic Bench

From Hailey Bollinger's 4-22-20 CityBeat article entitled "Jack White Reupholsters Masonic Bench as Gift to The Lodge's Masonic Sounds Studio in Dayton, Kentucky":

You're most likely familiar with Garage Rocker Jack White and his singular voice from his leading role in well-known bands The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. And while his musical career may be what introduced you to the man of many talents, you'll be pleased to discover (if you haven't already) he's also a master upholsterer. 

One of White's most recent projects is a vintage masonic bench, which he restored — and added a bit of creative flair to in the form of a built-in amplifier — as a gift to Johnny Wirick's Masonic Sounds Studio inside of Dayton, Kentucky's The Lodge, a century-old Masonic Lodge that has been renovated into a bustling arts hub over the past decade. 

We chatted with Wirick via email to learn about his relationship with White and more about the one-of-a-kind bench. 

Wirick, a Punk Blues Rock guitarist who also goes by the name Johnny Walker, is a member of The Soledad Brothers and most recently the All-Seeing Eyes (among many other bands). He met White while playing in dive clubs throughout Toledo and Detroit and the two connected through music — practicing guitar and teaching each other, experimenting with recording, seeing bands play [...].

According to Wirick, the Masonic bench that was used in White's gift to him was a surprise over a year in the making. Wirick says the bench was from a Blue Lodge (a certain type of Masonic lodge) and was originally found with blue material.

"It holds all kinds of secrets that I can't tell you about. Some I probably don't know myself," Wirick says. 

To read the entire article, click HERE.

"Trump Pushed QAnon and 4chan-created Conspiracy Theories"

From Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny and Jane C. Timm's 1-4-21 NBC News report entitled "Trump Pushed QAnon and 4chan-created Conspiracy Theories in Georgia Call":

President Donald Trump cataloged a series of false conspiracy theories during an hourlong call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday in which he sought to overturn the state's election results, and they were familiar to anyone following the far fringes of the internet.

Trump floated fragments of several baseless conspiracy theories that were primarily pushed by QAnon followers over the last two months, including a widely debunked theory about voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems.

The wide-ranging slew of theories, spawned on extremist forums like 4chan, were repeatedly referred to by Trump as “rumors” that are “trending on the internet.” He claimed they were reasons Raffensperger should “re-examine it [the election] with people that want to find answers.”

And while Trump has embraced conspiracy theories for much of his tenure as president, Saturday's call offered a look at just how much he is now relying on some of the most outlandish theories from obscure corners of the internet to make his case for election fraud.

"Trump manages to distill down to a 10-minute monologue what would take the average person years to pull together,” said Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Donovan noted that many of the baseless claims floated by the president have been embraced in recent weeks by pro-Trump media.

“Everything from fakes, forgeries and machine hacking to collusion across parties, it's all laid out in detail with rapid fluidity,” Donovan said, noting the conspiracy theories laid out in the call “are very popular on right-wing media like Parler and Newsmax.”

Trump “pulled together all the major talking points,” Donovan said.

To read the entire report, click HERE.

Mysterious Loud Booms

From Hayley Fixler's 1-4-21 FOX 8 News report entitled "Mysterious Loud Booms Shake Local Homes":

Hundreds of people called into the Forsyth County [North Carolina] 911 center this weekend, reporting that they felt an explosion.

The dispatch center was overwhelmed with calls. 

Those four loud “booms” were heard both Saturday and Sunday in different areas in the Triad. The source is still a mystery.

“[We’re] Lewisville and there was just... just now two huge explosions,” said one person who called into the 911 center in Forsyth County. 

“We’re all out here. The whole neighborhood felt two large booms,” said another caller.

The explosion noises were heard and felt across different parts of Forsyth, Guilford, Rockingham, Surry, Davie, Stokes and Randolph Counties. 

“The fourth time, I was like ‘oh my lord,” recalled Randolph County resident Donna Greene. “I was beside it, and it rattled. It rattled the fireplace.”

It rattled her too. 

The “booms” broke the Saturday night silence and then again on Sunday afternoon.

“I didn’t hear about the Saturday booms until I made the [Facebook] post. [People] said they were hearing it in this area on Saturday too,” said Faye Potts, who lives in Reidsville. “[My neighbors] said they could hear it as well. It rattled the dishes.”

The mystery sound shocked a lot of people across the Triad as they tried to guess what those noises could be.

“I assumed it was tannerite or something,” Potts said.

“I’m thinking it was military doing maneuvers. I really do think that,” Greene said.

Even the experts don’t have a concrete explanation....

To read the entire report, click HERE.