Thursday, September 30, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
From Adam Serwer's 9-23-21 ATLANTIC article entitled "Trump's Plans for a Coup Are Now Public":
Last year, John Eastman, whom CNN describes as an attorney working with Donald Trump’s legal team, wrote a preposterous memo outlining how then–Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election by fiat or, failing that, throw the election to the House of Representatives, where Republicans could install Trump in office despite his loss to Joe Biden. The document, which was first reported by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their new book, is a step-by-step plan to overthrow the government of the United States through a preposterous interpretation of legal procedure.
Pence apparently took the idea seriously—so seriously, in fact, that,
according to Woodward and Costa, former Vice President Dan Quayle had to talk him out of it.
Prior to November, the possibility of Trump attempting a coup was seen
as the deranged fever dream of crazed liberals. But as it turns out,
Trump and his advisers had devised explicit plans for reversing Trump’s
loss. Republican leaders deliberately stoked election conspiracy
theories they knew to be false,
in order to lay a political pretext for invalidating the results. Now,
more than 10 months after the election, the country knows of at least
five ways in which Trump attempted to retain power despite his defeat.
Serwer then goes on to explain, in detail, those five methods: 1) Trump tried to pressure secretaries of state to not certify, 2) He tried to pressure state legislatures to overturn the results, 3) he tried to get the courts to overturn the results, 4) He tried to pressure Mike Pence to overturn the results, and 5) When all else failed, he tried to get a mob to overturn the results.
At the rally prior to the vote count in Congress, Trump urged the crowd to act, saying, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” The explicit goal of the rally and subsequent riot was to pressure Congress, and Pence in particular, into overturning the election results. Trump told his followers, “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.”
This scheme didn’t work on its own, but it certainly could have helped one of the others: Imagine if Pence had gone along
with Eastman’s absurd plan, and a mob had been present at the Capitol
to help enforce the decision and menace lawmakers who tried to oppose
it—then what? As it stands, the mob ransacked the Capitol and forced
lawmakers to flee. Had the mob succeeded at reaching any actual
legislators, the consequences could have been catastrophic [...].
Those who attempted to subvert democracy have faced few political or legal consequences. As is typical, some rioters are facing prosecution while the elites who tried to overthrow the election through more bureaucratic or procedural means remain in good standing with their peers. The failure to impose accountability for an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order will encourage further such efforts.
Meanwhile, those rare Republicans who did stand up against this attempt to destroy American democracy are the only ones dealing with real political consequences from their party, facing primary challenges, being forced into retirement, or being stripped of their leadership positions. Republican officials who were unwilling to use their office to overturn the election results are seeing challenges from Trump devotees who will, should the opportunity arise again.
To read Serwer's entire article, click HERE.
From Peter Boghossian's 9-8-21 post entitled "My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit":Early in the 2016-17 academic year, a former student complained about me and the university initiated a Title IX investigation. (Title IX investigations are a part of federal law designed to protect “people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.”) My accuser, a white male, made a slew of baseless accusations against me, which university confidentiality rules unfortunately prohibit me from discussing further. What I can share is that students of mine who were interviewed during the process told me the Title IX investigator asked them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.
With Title IX investigations there is no due process, so I didn’t have access to the particular accusations, the ability to confront my accuser, and I had no opportunity to defend myself. Finally, the results of the investigation were revealed in December 2017. Here are the last two sentences of the report: “Global Diversity & Inclusion finds there is insufficient evidence that Boghossian violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment policy. GDI recommends Boghossian receive coaching.”
Not only was there no apology for the false accusations, but the investigator also told me that in the future I was not allowed to render my opinion about “protected classes” or teach in such a way that my opinion about protected classes could be known — a bizarre conclusion to absurd charges. Universities can enforce ideological conformity just through the threat of these investigations.
I eventually became convinced that corrupted bodies of scholarship were responsible for justifying radical departures from the traditional role of liberal arts schools and basic civility on campus. There was an urgent need to demonstrate that morally fashionable papers — no matter how absurd — could be published. I believed then that if I exposed the theoretical flaws of this body of literature, I could help the university community avoid building edifices on such shaky ground.
So, in 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title: “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” This example of pseudo-scholarship, which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems.
Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. They also occasionally showed up on my office door, in one instance accompanied by bags of feces. Our university remained silent. When it acted, it was against me, not the perpetrators.
I continued to believe, perhaps naively, that if I exposed the flawed thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could shake the university from its madness. In 2018 I co-published a series of absurd or morally repugnant peer-reviewed articles in journals that focused on issues of race and gender. In one of them we argued that there was an epidemic of dog rape at dog parks and proposed that we leash men the way we leash dogs. Our purpose was to show that certain kinds of “scholarship” are based not on finding truth but on advancing social grievances. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.
Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State filed formal charges against me. Their accusation? “Research misconduct” based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who accepted our intentionally deranged articles were “human subjects.” I was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human subjects.
Meanwhile, ideological intolerance continued to grow at Portland State. In March 2018, a tenured professor disrupted a public discussion I was holding with author Christina Hoff Sommers and evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. In June 2018, someone triggered the fire alarm during my conversation with popular cultural critic Carl Benjamin. In October 2018, an activist pulled out the speaker wires to interrupt a panel with former Google engineer James Damore. The university did nothing to stop or address this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined.
For me, the years that followed were marked by continued harassment. I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit on and threatened by passersby while walking to class. I was informed by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes. And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation....
To read the entire post, click HERE.
Friday, September 24, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
From Drew Harwell, Craig Timberg, and Hannah Allam's 9-21-21 WASHINGTON POST article entitled "Huge Hack Reveals Embarrassing Details of Who’s Behind Proud Boys and Other Far-right Websites":
Extremism researchers and political opponents have treated the leak as a Rosetta Stone to the far-right, helping them to decode who has been doing what with whom over several years. Initial revelations have spilled out steadily across Twitter since news of the hack broke last week, often under the hashtag #epikfail, but those studying the material say they will need months and perhaps years to dig through all of it [...].
Earlier this month, Epik also briefly provided service to the antiabortion group Texas Right to Life, whose website, ProLifeWhistleblower.com, was removed by the hosting service GoDaddy because it solicited accusations about which medical providers might be violating a state abortion ban.
An Epik attorney said the company stopped working with the site because it violated company rules against collecting people’s private information. Online records show Epik was still the site’s domain registrar as of last week, though the digital tip line is no longer available, and the site now redirects to the group’s homepage.
Epik founder Robert Monster’s willingness to provide technical support to online sanctuaries of the far-right have made him a regular target of anti-extremism advocates, who criticized him for using Epik’s tools to republish the Christchurch gunman’s manifesto and live-streamed video the killer had made of the slaughter.
Monster also used the moment as a marketing opportunity, saying the files were now “effectively uncensorable,” according to screenshots of his tweets and Gab posts from the time. Monster also urged Epik employees to watch the video, which he said would convince them it was faked, Bloomberg News reported [...].
The breach, first reported by the freelance journalist Steven Monacelli, was made publicly available for download last week alongside a note from Anonymous hackers saying it would help researchers trace the ownership and management of “the worst trash the Internet has to offer.”
After the hackers’ announcement, Epik initially said it was “not aware of any breach.” But in a rambling, three-hour live-stream last week, Monster acknowledged there had been a “hijack of data that should not have been hijacked” and called on people not to use the data for “negative” purposes.
“If you have a negative intent to use that data, it’s not going to work out for you. I’m just telling you,” he said. “If the demon tells you to do it, the demon is not your friend.”
To read the entire article, click HERE.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
The martyred sun is discovered by Aries, a Fellow-Craftsman, and at the vernal equinox the process of raising him begins. This is finally accomplished by the Lion of Judah, who in ancient times occupied the position of the keystone of the Royal Arch of Heaven. The precession of the equinoxes causes various signs to play the rôle of the murderers of the sun during the different ages of the world, but the principle involved remains unchanged. Such is the cosmic story of CHiram, the Universal Benefactor, the Fiery Architect: of the Divine House, who carries with him to the grave that Lost Word which, when spoken, raises all life to power and glory. According to Christian mysticism, when the Lost Word is found it is discovered in a stable, surrounded by beasts and marked by a star. "After the sun leaves Leo," writes Robert Hewitt Brown, "the days begin to grow unequivocally shorter as the sun declines toward the autumnal equinox, to be again slain by the three autumnal months, lie dead through the three winter ones, and be raised again by the three vernal ones. Each year the great tragedy is repeated, and the glorious resurrection takes place." (See Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy.)
CHiram is termed dead because in the average individual the cosmic creative forces are limited in their manifestation to purely physical--and correspondingly materialistic--expression. Obsessed by his belief in the reality and permanence of physical existence, man does not correlate the material universe with the blank north wall of the temple. As the solar light symbolically is said to die as it approaches the winter solstice, so the physical world may be termed the winter solstice of the spirit. Reaching the winter solstice, the sun apparently stands still for three days and then, rolling away the stone of winter, begins its triumphal march north towards the summer solstice. The condition of ignorance may be likened to the winter solstice of philosophy; spiritual understanding to the summer solstice. From this point of view, initiation into the Mysteries becomes the vernal equinox of the spirit, at which time the CHiram in man crosses from the realm of mortality into that of eternal life. The autumnal equinox is analogous to the mythological fall of man, at which time the human spirit descended into the realms of Hades by being immersed in the illusion of terrestrial existence.
To purchase Hall's THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES, click HERE.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Recommended Listening: Check out Adam Sayne and Serfeil Stevenson's 9-1-21 CONSPIRINORMAL interview with Jonathan Vankin, author of CONSPIRACIES, COVER-UPS and CRIMES, THE WORLD'S GREATEST CONSPIRACIES, and (his most recent book) CLOSE TO ZERO. Here's Sayne and Stevenson's description of the episode:
We welcome first time guest Jonathan Vankin to the show to discuss his new book "Close To Zero: How Donald Trump Fulfilled His Apocalyptic Vision and Paid His Debt to Putin With a Devastating Biological Warfare Attack on America." We examine what Trump knew about Covid and how he may have allowed it to run rampant to fulfill his own Apocalyptic vision. We also discuss the craziness that is the Conspiracy world today and what it means for the future.
You can contact Jonathan Vankin and get his books at his website.
Conspirinormal 381- Jonathan Vankin (Close to Zero)
Monday, September 6, 2021
Sunday, September 5, 2021
From NPR's 9-3-21 report entitled "Jacob Chansley, Self-Styled 'QAnon Shaman,' Pleads Guilty To Felony Over Capitol Riot":
An Arizona man who sported face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns when he joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty Friday to a felony charge and wants to be released from jail while he awaits sentencing.
Jacob Chansley, who was widely photographed in the Senate chamber with a flagpole topped with a spear, could face 41 to 51 months in prison under sentencing guidelines, a prosecutor said. The man who called himself "QAnon Shaman" has been jailed for nearly eight months since his arrest.
Before entering the plea, Chansley was found by a judge to be mentally competent after having been transferred to a Colorado facility for a mental health evaluation [...].
Chansley was among the first wave of pro-Trump rioters to force its way into the Capitol building. He yelled into a bullhorn as officers tried to control the crowd, posed for photos, profanely referred to then-Vice President Mike Pence as a traitor while in the Senate. He wrote a note to Pence saying, "It's only a matter of time, justice is coming." He also made a social media post in November in which he promoted hangings for traitors [...].
Chansley is among roughly 600 people charged in the riot that forced lawmakers into hiding as they were meeting to certify President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Fifty others have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating in the Capitol.
Only one defendant who pleaded guilty to a felony charge has received their punishment so far. Paul Hodgkins, a crane operator from Florida who breached the U.S. Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag, was sentenced in July to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing an official proceeding.
Chansley's lawyer said his client has since repudiated the QAnon movement and asked that there be no more references to his past affiliations with the movement.
To read the entire article, click HERE.
FromEliza Relman's 9-1-21 BUSINESS INSIDER article entitled "Caesars Entertainment Cancels a QAnon Conference Featuring Michael Flynn at Its Las Vegas Venue":Caesars Entertainment canceled a QAnon conference scheduled to be held in October at their conference space in Las Vegas, 8 News Now first reported on Tuesday.
The event, called the For God & Country Patriot Double Down, was set to take place October 22-25 with tickets selling for between $650 and $3,000.
"We can confirm that the Patriot Double Down will no longer be held at Caesars Entertainment properties," a Caesars spokeswoman, Kate Whiteley, told Insider. She declined to say why the event was canceled.
The group behind the event, the Patriot Voice, held a similar conference, called the Patriot Roundup in Dallas over Memorial Day weekend. Both events were organized by John Sabal, a Trump loyalist who goes by QAnon John, and center around a vast web of lies and baseless conspiracy theories.
Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, and Jim Watkins, who ran pornography sites before creating the online forum 8kun, where the anonymous "Q" user posts about the conspiracy theory, were expected to speak at the October event alongside a slew of other far-right activists.
To read the entire article, click HERE.
From Christopher Burns' 8-30-21 BANGOR DAILY NEWS article entitled "QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Who Organized Far-right Belfast Event Dies of COVID-19":
The conspiracy theorist who organized a far-right event calling for an audit of Maine’s 2020 election results in Belfast last month has died from COVID-19.
Robert David Steele, a former CIA officer turned promoter of far-right QAnon conspiracy theories, was hospitalized earlier this month after he began displaying symptoms of COVID-19, according to Vice News [...].
Steele also promoted antisemitic conspiracies and opinions, including that “satanic Zionists” are plotting against white people, that Jews aren’t “loyal” to the U.S. and called for the eradication of “every Zionist who refuses to be loyal to their country of citizenship and the rule of law,” according to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
During last month’s event at the Crosby Center in Belfast, Steele and other attendees pushed for a “forensic audit” of Maine’s election results, although no such legal mechanism exists and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud or election irregularities here or nationally.
In addition to Steele, the event featured speeches from Richard Mack, the leader of a group arguing sheriffs can overrule federal law, and state Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred, who faces calls for her resignation over remarks she made earlier this month comparing Gov. Janet Mills to the Nazi “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele.
To read the entire article, click HERE.
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Here are some relevant excerpts from Anne Applebaum's 8-31-21 ATLANTIC article entitled "The New Puritans":
[T]he modern online public sphere, a place of rapid conclusions, rigid ideological prisms, and arguments of 280 characters, favors neither nuance nor ambiguity. Yet the values of that online sphere have come to dominate many American cultural institutions: universities, newspapers, foundations, museums. Heeding public demands for rapid retribution, they sometimes impose the equivalent of lifetime scarlet letters on people who have not been accused of anything remotely resembling a crime. Instead of courts, they use secretive bureaucracies. Instead of hearing evidence and witnesses, they make judgments behind closed doors.
I have been trying to understand these stories for a long time, both because I believe that the principle of due process underpins liberal democracy, and also because they remind me of other times and places. A decade ago, I wrote a book about the Sovietization of Central Europe in the 1940s, and found that much of the political conformism of the early Communist period was the result not of violence or direct state coercion, but rather of intense peer pressure. Even without a clear risk to their life, people felt obliged—not just for the sake of their career but for their children, their friends, their spouse—to repeat slogans that they didn’t believe, or to perform acts of public obeisance to a political party they privately scorned [...].
[N]o one quoted here, anonymously or by name, has been charged with an actual crime, let alone convicted in an actual court. All of them dispute the public version of their story. Several say they have been falsely accused; others believe that their “sins” have been exaggerated or misinterpreted by people with hidden agendas. All of them, sinners or saints, have been handed drastic, life-altering, indefinite punishments, often without the ability to make a case in their own favor [...].
Many of these investigations involve anonymous reports or complaints, some of which can come as a total surprise to those being reported upon […].
Secretive procedures that take place outside the law and leave the accused feeling helpless and isolated have been an element of control in authoritarian regimes across the centuries, from the Argentine junta to Franco’s Spain [...].
The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are rather typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes, enforced by heavy peer pressure. This is a story of moral panic, of cultural institutions policing or purifying themselves in the face of disapproving crowds. The crowds are no longer literal, as they once were in Salem, but rather online mobs, organized via Twitter, Facebook, or sometimes internal company Slack channels [...].
No one—of any age, in any profession—is safe. In the age of Zoom, cellphone cameras, miniature recorders, and other forms of cheap surveillance technology, anyone’s comments can be taken out of context; anyone’s story can become a rallying cry for Twitter mobs on the left or the right. Anyone can then fall victim to a bureaucracy terrified by the sudden eruption of anger. And once one set of people loses the right to due process, so does everybody else. Not just professors but students; not just editors of elite publications but random members of the public. Gotcha moments can be choreographed. Project Veritas, a well-funded right-wing organization, dedicates itself to sting operations: It baits people into saying embarrassing things on hidden cameras and then seeks to get them punished for it, either by social media or by their own bureaucracies.
But while this form of mob justice can be used opportunistically by anyone, for any political or personal reason, the institutions that have done the most to facilitate this change are in many cases those that once saw themselves as the guardians of liberal and democratic ideals. Robert George, the Princeton professor, is a longtime philosophical conservative who once criticized liberal scholars for their earnest relativism, their belief that all ideas deserved an equal hearing. He did not foresee, he told me, that liberals would one day “seem as archaic as the conservatives,” that the idea of creating a space where different ideas could compete would come to seem old-fashioned, that the spirit of tolerance and curiosity would be replaced by a worldview “that is not open-minded, that doesn’t think engaging differences is a great thing or that students should be exposed to competing points of view.” [...]
Students and professors, editorial assistants and editors in chief—all are aware of what kind of society they now inhabit. That’s why they censor themselves, why they steer clear of certain topics, why they avoid discussing anything too sensitive for fear of being mobbed or ostracized or fired without due process. But that kind of thinking takes us uncomfortably close to Istanbul, where history and politics can be discussed only with great care.
[I]f we drive all of the difficult people, the demanding people, and the eccentric people away from the creative professions where they used to thrive, we will become a flatter, duller, less interesting society, a place where manuscripts sit in drawers for fear of arbitrary judgments. The arts, the humanities, and the media will become stiff, predictable, and mediocre. Democratic principles like the rule of law, the right to self-defense, the right to a just trial—even the right to be forgiven—will wither. There will be nothing to do but sit back and wait for the Hawthornes of the future to expose us.
To read Applebaum's entire article, click HERE.